SMP_Homer wrote in post #13319487
I find the assortment of 3rd-party flashes very interesting
But I always worry about reliability. If something happens to a Canon flash, we know where to send it to fix it, and we have a rough idea how long it will take.
If your thinking is that the flash is disposable and you'll just another to replace it, it may not take long before you could have just bought a reliable one
I have zero experience with any flash outside of Canon's own, but have friends that went the cheap route only to moan about it later
You have several levels of third party flashes.
At the top would be companies that produce high quality designs and have US service centers. You should feel perfectly safe with them. Metz, Sunpak, and Sigma all fit into this category and make very good units. You can't go wrong with them unless you want wireless E-TTL through pocket wizards.
Next you have retail stores in the US with good reputations who hire out Chinese manufacturing companies to make them a "store brand" unit. Adorama's Flashpoint brand would be an example. With support and service from a good company like Adorama you don't have to worry as much but the quality will likely be less than that of the better brands.
Next you have companies who do nothing but sell stuff that is ordered from a manufacturer of generalized devices. You will often find nearly identical units under different brand names which are made in the same plant by the same people with only cosmetic differences. A good example would be Bower, Vivitar and such. Often these are the same devices as "store brands" and service can vary from brand to brand depending on who the "store" is. These are the ones I avoid.
Then you have companies that are trying to break into the market with new and innovative products. Nissin and Yongnuo come to mind. They represent a great value but they dont' have US service centers, or even offices and thus a greater risk.
But sometimes that doesn't matter. If you can get a flash for $100 with the features of a $300 flash, you can buy two and have a spare if the first one breaks. No reason to service it. Just throw it away. You're still $100 ahead.
I am serious....and don't call me Shirley.
Canon 7D and a bunch of other stuff