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View Full Version : Canon flashes 420ex, 550ex, or 580ex?


northbounddesign
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 13:49
Im looking into buying a flash for my digital rebel, what does everyone think about
the Canon Speedlite 420ex E-TTL Flash ($175)
the Canon Speedlite 550ex E-TTL Flash ($300)
the Canon Speedlite 580ex E-TTL II Flash ($410)

Jon
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:06
The 550EX or 580EX will give you Flash Exposure Compensation, which the DR doesn't have built-in. For that reason, I'd go with one of them. Others here advocate the Sigma 500 DG Super, which has most of the features of the 550, including E-TTL and, I think, FEC.

northbounddesign
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:10
do you think i should go with the 580ex over the 550ex?

DaveG
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:17
do you think i should go with the 580ex over the 550ex?

The 580 is the latest and the greatest.

Having said that, I'm in no hurry to get one as I have a 550 plus two 420's. If I could do it again, and especially if I was on a budget, I'd still get the 550 and with the money I saved I'd be well on my way to affording a 420.

As soon as you have a 550 and a second EX flash you can start to do wireless ttl flash work and THAT'S where cool comes in. If you want to see some shots that I've done with a 550 and a 420 email me at dgrandy@grandyphoto.com

Jon
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:20
Is the extra, what, 1/3 stop worth it to you (says he, with both)? I don't think much else that the 580 offers over the 550 comes into play with the DR; mostly with the newer models like the 20d and the Mk IIs. But that may also be a consideration; do you expect to get another Eos digital in the next couple of years? The 580 will give you room to grow. Or getting 2x Sigma 500 DG Supers for the same money might be even more worth it - dual flash setup and more light output when both are used. GN of 50 each (meters) compared to the 550's 55 and 580's 58.

C.S.I.
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:27
I just got the Sig DG 500 Super.......superior to the 420, very close to the 550 (for $100+ less :) )

Jon
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:35
Can you confirm FEC with it and the DR, then? It's not entirely clear from Sigma's web site, and one, possibly critical, point I can't attest to.

EXA1a
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 14:54
The 550EX or 580EX will give you Flash Exposure Compensation, which the DR doesn't have built-in. For that reason, I'd go with one of them. Others here advocate the Sigma 500 DG Super, which has most of the features of the 550, including E-TTL and, I think, FEC.
I own a 420EX and use it quite often with my 300D.
Now, I don't want to start a "hack" discussion again. Just wanted to mention that the modified firmware works in my 300D without any problems since June. I make use of use of the "hack's" features FEC (for all flash sessions), One Shot (standard), Synch Speed (for most flash sessions), and MLU (astro, macro, micro shots).
Apart from that, I would buy a 550EX today, simply because I bounce flash light if possible and higher flash output gives you more room to play. However, the 550EX feels quite bulky on top of a 300D.

--Jens--

petewood
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 15:44
Mind if I jump in?
Say I buy a 550 ex, I already have a 430ez, the 550ex has a slave transmitter (radio I guess) to activate other 550's but can they also be light activated as with larger studio strobes?

ie; If my 430ez fires in the hot shoe on my eos 20d, will the 550 ex on a tripod, 30 feet away, fire in sync?

I rekkon it's a NO, but theres always hope and the canon web-site don't specify
cheers, pedro

timmyquest
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 15:47
Unless you have one of the new canon bodies i see no sense in spending the $450 in a 580, it wont give you anything the 550 wont on the rebel and it's far less money.

robertwgross
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 16:18
Mind if I jump in?
Say I buy a 550 ex, I already have a 430ez, the 550ex has a slave transmitter (radio I guess) to activate other 550's but can they also be light activated as with larger studio strobes?

ie; If my 430ez fires in the hot shoe on my eos 20d, will the 550 ex on a tripod, 30 feet away, fire in sync?

I rekkon it's a NO, but theres always hope and the canon web-site don't specify
cheers, pedro

Basically, no to everything. Any XXX-EZ flash does not support ETTL. Assuming you are using an EOS digital camera, you want any XXX-EX flash.

The 550EX can act as a Master transmitter, but it is not via radio. Nor can other 550EX flashes be slave triggered by normal optical flashes. 550EX flashes will trigger slaves via a near infrared data burst before the main pop.

None of this is secret Canon information.

---Bob Gross---

DaveG
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 17:20
Mind if I jump in?
Say I buy a 550 ex, I already have a 430ez, the 550ex has a slave transmitter (radio I guess) to activate other 550's but can they also be light activated as with larger studio strobes?

ie; If my 430ez fires in the hot shoe on my eos 20d, will the 550 ex on a tripod, 30 feet away, fire in sync?

I rekkon it's a NO, but theres always hope and the canon web-site don't specify
cheers, pedro

No.

Sorry.

A 550 (or a ST-E2 projector) must be used as a Master. Another 550, 580 or 420 can be used as a slave. Your 430EZ cannot be used AT ALL with a 20D as it has neither E-TTL or E-TTLII.

The system is the Canon Wireless TTL and is a light, not radio slave system. It is immune from anyone elses' flash setting off your, but the Master/Slave must be in line of sight. I love it and use it as often as is practical. But you are out of luck with the 430EZ.

Sharon P Johnson
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 19:13
I have the 550 EX Speedlite. Last fall, I tried to take indoor photos with my Digital Rebel in very poor lighting using only the camera flash, and it was miserable. Then I decided that I would not use the camera for indoor shots unless I had a Speedlite. The 580 was not out at the time, but they are very close. I would definitely get the 550 over the 410. Reason: can use it as a master and attach a 420.

markubig
28th of December 2004 (Tue), 22:16
Someone mentioned that the 550 is top-heavy on the 300d. . . i haven't seen either in person yet, but is the 580 a lot smaller than the 550 as well as more powerful?

colliewalker1
29th of December 2004 (Wed), 00:44
I own a 420EX and use it quite often with my 300D.
Apart from that, I would buy a 550EX today, simply because I bounce flash light if possible and higher flash output gives you more room to play. However, the 550EX feels quite bulky on top of a 300D.

--Jens--There has been little mention of the 420EX in this discussion suggesting that it doesn't rate at all compared with the 550EX and 580EX......:cry:

I have been thinking of buying a 420EX for indoor porttraiture use(bounce flash off the ceiling) with my 300D/Digital Rebel: the inbuilt flash works well but of course produces the inevitable shadows. By far the best offer I have found is by 7 Day Shop for 125 (around $237)

The amount of use in my case hardly justifies the expense of the more powerful flashguns: how effective do you find the 420EX when bouncing the flash?

Denis Boisclair
Cheshire, England

timmyquest
29th of December 2004 (Wed), 01:36
Someone mentioned that the 550 is top-heavy on the 300d. . . i haven't seen either in person yet, but is the 580 a lot smaller than the 550 as well as more powerful?


It is top heavy with any flash, and...front heavy ( ??? ) with any telephoto lens. This is also true with any non 1D series camera that does not have a battery grip on it. Even then it's still top heavy, only now there is more for your hand to keep it stable.

dhbailey
29th of December 2004 (Wed), 04:23
There has been little mention of the 420EX in this discussion suggesting that it doesn't rate at all compared with the 550EX and 580EX......:cry:

I have been thinking of buying a 420EX for indoor porttraiture use(bounce flash off the ceiling) with my 300D/Digital Rebel: the inbuilt flash works well but of course produces the inevitable shadows. By far the best offer I have found is by 7 Day Shop for 125 (around $237)

The amount of use in my case hardly justifies the expense of the more powerful flashguns: how effective do you find the 420EX when bouncing the flash?

Denis Boisclair
Cheshire, England

I have the 420EX on my 20D and have been quite happy with it, both as a bounce and straight on. The problem is that it isn't as powerful as the 550EX or 580EX and so the rooms you can use it in can't be as large. And it doesn't have the on-flash adjustments that the 550Ex or 520EX.

But it does work well as a bounce.

mr.photoguy
29th of December 2004 (Wed), 06:15
That's why I don't want a 420ex. I need a flash with adjustments and more controls. I love being in control ..lol . I bought this thing, I am telling it what to do ..lol..

I will soon have a 550ex, does anyone know of any flashes that makes good slave flashes, and are under 150 or 180 a pop?

Jon
29th of December 2004 (Wed), 07:50
That's why I don't want a 420ex. I need a flash with adjustments and more controls. I love being in control ..lol . I bought this thing, I am telling it what to do ..lol..

I will soon have a 550ex, does anyone know of any flashes that makes good slave flashes, and are under 150 or 180 a pop?
Yes, the 420EX. As a slave, you exert a lot of control on it via the master flash (550EX in your case).

Lenny_D
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 08:32
I own a 420EX and it makes a nice combination with the 20D. Not too heavy and for nearly everything powerfull enough, don't forget that you can use higher ISO's without problem which really extends the range of the flash. Flash exposure compensation is possible with the 20D in combination with the 420EX, it is an in camera setting and communication with the 420EX is taking care of it.
The price difference 420EX - 580EX almost justifies to buy a 20D instead of a 300D ;-)

Lenny

-----------------------
20D, kit lens 18-55mm, 50mm f/1.4
G3

paulhillion
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 11:44
I had the 580EX as a Christmas present & my first thought was to sell my 420EX on eBay but then reading here on the forum I'm thinking that for the small price I'd get for it I'd be better keeping it to use as a possible slave? As I know nothing about a 'slave' setup could one of you be so kind as to give me a quick introductry lesson on how I'd go about setting this up & what if anything I'd need to purchase?

Many thanks & Happy New Year to you all.

Paul.

alan sh
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 11:51
You don't need to purchase anything else. Set the 420 into 'slave' mode using the switch at the bottom of the flash gun. Put it on the stand and place it somewhere near the camera.

On the 580, put it into Master mode. Thats it.

By default the wireless channels will match.

Alan

merrrrjig
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 12:15
Does anyone know how fast the sigma flash recharges?

elwood58
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 14:07
I am using the 420EX with my DRebel. I have the Battery Grip as well, so a fairly balanced package when hand-held. I figured that when I actually get to the point of being able to have success, by other than accident, I can move up to the 5 series and use the 420EX as a slave.

Happy Shooting and Happy New Year!

DaveG
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 14:28
You don't need to purchase anything else. Set the 420 into 'slave' mode using the switch at the bottom of the flash gun. Put it on the stand and place it somewhere near the camera.

On the 580, put it into Master mode. Thats it.

By default the wireless channels will match.

Alan

If you want to use lighting ratios you'll also have to designate channels for each flash as well, in this case A or B. I use the 550 as the Master and it defaults to A. The next flash, a 420 is set to B. Doing it this way makes sense to me but INVERTS the ratios. What should be a 3:1 lighting ratio would become a 1:3 and vice versa.

Using ratioed lighting is great since you can control the fill light from the camera position and change things in the middle of a shoot without having to touch the slaved flash. This may not mean much if it's a studio setup, but in a public place it's wonderful.

alan sh
31st of December 2004 (Fri), 15:02
I can see I still have a lot to learn - I didn't understand that at all

Happy new year !!!