Photography Studio and Lighting Forum

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  1. #1
    Too square to be hip. almo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Sweet home Ala... Florida

    Which flash best suits me?

    The 580 EX/EX II or the 430 EX?

    I will be investing in a flash in the next few months, I hope, and having next to 0 experience with any flashes other than my own Sunpak Auto 144 D. My flash was made for film, it is 3rd party, and it had NO auto features on any camera I have ever used it with.

    I had a nice flash with the Oly I had way back when, but I never really had much chance to use it.

    So, enough background. I would be using the flash mainly for close up nature, and people. Shots like these...

    I would eventually like to use the flash along with another/others in a master slave combo for my fish photography, but that is a future concern. The issue here is the two I mentioned above.

    I am not adverse to buying the 580ex or the ex II, but the 430 is way more in my price range. Power only has to be good enough for close up work and portraits. The fish stuff counts as close up.

    The camera and lenses I have are the 30D, EF 70-200 f/4L, EF 50mm 1.8, Sigma 17-35mm 2.8-4 EX, and I am looking into The Sigma 10-20mm 4-5.6 EX.

    This is my situation. Advise would be great!

    Last edited by almo; 07-07-2008 at 06:50 PM.
    John Cowan
    Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.
    ~Ernest Hemingway~

  2. #2
    mod squad gahspidy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    N.Y. U.S.A.

    Re: Which flash best suits me?

    If you can swing it, I would recommend going for the 580EX ll . You will one day be looking for more flash power and you will have it. Even if you are taking basic shots or portraits you should/will start experimenting with bouncing your flash off walls and ceilings for more natural and effective looking results, and for this you may find you need the greater power. Also, the 580EX ll head swivels 180 deg in either direction which adds a whole lotta convenience and flexibility.
    Something else that is usually overlooked is the 580 EX ll can also put out a softer flash than the 430 EX. It can go down to 1/128th whereas the 430 Ex can go down to 1/64th. meaning if your very close to your subject you can get a softer light output if need be.
    Plus the ability to use it to fire other EX flashes makes this one very versatile and a fantastic piece of equipment. I have two of them.
    The 430 EX is a fine flash as well, but I'm just sayin if you can swing the extra dough, go for the better one and have no regrets down the road.
    please do not edit and repost my photos


  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Talking Re: Which flash best suits me?

    I just struggled through your question. I already bought a 430EX last year when I bought my 30D. I thought I had saved some $$ Now I want to take better portraits inside and need a better lighting system. Anyway, although it is discussed in several areas here, I found a site that put the situation in plain terms. Check out the website

    Mr. Gardner goes through the progression of flashes and lighting purchases. I followed his advice in the end and bought two 580EXII flashes. He says that "luckily" my 430EX will hold its value on Ebay!

    Best of luck

  4. #4
    Panarus biarmicus Moderator (Sports) SmartWombat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004

    Re: Which flash best suits me?

    I would go 580EXII.
    Heck, I did - and I bought a 580EX as my first flash.
    I don't use multi-flash often, but it's been very useful with the Canon built-in controller.

    BUT I would only do that for convenience and laziness.
    For cost I'd go out to and read their advice and put the money I save on the cheaper flashes into a wireless trigger system.

    My insect photography as a teenager was all done with two cheap flashes, one off-body and a smaller flash in the hot shoe. Neither was adjustable and I managed just fine.
    It was a matter of a few test shots to get the exposure and then a tape measure to make sure I was always 2 feet from the subject !

    Scroll down to the Sports Forum and post your sports pictures !

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