I have the gear in my sig and now I'm trying to get my flash off camera. I was all set to start this effort by purchasing a couple of ETTL cords, one short and one long, cheap stand, and an umbrella and lightbox setup. I don't do this for a living, shooting family casual and family event photos, so I was going to ride this setup and save money for probably two more flashes and some ETTL radio triggers.
Then I made the mistake of watching Syl Arena's discussion of the 600RT and ST-E3 on B&H TV (YouTube). He basically gushed about them for an hour and a half. From what I can tell, the only downside for what I want to do is that the ST-E3 doesn't have autofocus assist. I'm not sure how big a deal that could be but I do shoot in low light occasionally so I could see that being a potential issue issue. I need to dig a bit deeper on that but aside from that it looks like an attractive setup.
Before we go any further, I don't do this professionally so my paycheck isn't on the line, and I don't need this gear. I might want it, but I don't need it. Which makes more sense?
1) Work with ETTL cords for now and save money for ETTL radios. Buy a set of radios once I saved for them, then add two more 580's and radios over time.
2) Sell the 580, buy a 600 RT, then add an ST-E3 and two more 600's over time.
I see that Canon has refurb 600's right now for $439. If I sell my 580 and buy one I'd be out $100 or so on the one flash. If I buy an ST-E3 at $299, I won't need to buy a TT1 and TT5's at $199 and $225 each. Assuming I'm patient and can find deals on the 600's it seems like that would be the cheaper way to go since I wouldn't need to buy the external radio. Is my reasoning on this correct or not? Which route would you be more likely to take?