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550 EX repair

dan vidal , Jan 25, 2005; 12:28 p.m.

My 550 EX has taken a beating recently. The red plastic covering the AF beam emitter is cracked, though I have that fixed with some superglue, and the performance is unaffected.

The more important problem is that the zoom head motor has jammed the flash in the position closest to the top (105mm i think?) and will not move. The 550 detects this and looks like it is working around it. I use it in a bounce configuration or off camera with an ST-E2 all the time anyway, so it isn't a huge hinderance...however I think it is very inefficient on the batteries.

Nonetheless, is it worth sending in for repair, or should I just spring for another 550 on eBay? A 550 on eBay goes for around $225 or so.

I thought briefly about the 580, but I don't see the need for it as my 10D body makes no use of the advantages the 580.

So, should I repair or replace?


Bill Goldman , Jan 25, 2005; 12:59 p.m.

The answer is obvious. Call Canon, describe the problems, and ask how much they will charge to repair it. If the cost is less than $225, have it repaired.

dan vidal , Jan 25, 2005; 01:01 p.m.

I figured that, but I was just hunting for someone who maybe had the same problem and could say "they said x amount over the phone, but it really came to this amount..."

Philip To , Jan 25, 2005; 01:38 p.m.

Canon will not overcharge you. Please pick up your phone and call now. =)

Stephen Crary , Jan 25, 2005; 03:35 p.m.

"Canon will not overcharge you. Please pick up your phone and call now. =)"

Woohoo! finally! Now I can go out and pay $400 for that lens that cost $1400 yesterday.

Steve Dunn , Jan 25, 2005; 04:24 p.m.

I thought briefly about the 580, but I don't see the need for it as my 10D body makes no use of the advantages the 580.

That's today. Do you foresee trading in the 10D on a 20D, 1D/Ds II, or some other future body in the next little while? If so, it might be worth considering spending more now to buy a 580EX, as opposed to spending less now to fix or replace the 550EX and then more later to upgrade to the 580EX.

The 580EX also has some features which would apply to your 10D. The AF assist beam properly covers all seven points, rather than five. It zooms wider. It has a built-in catchlight reflector. It's slightly more powerful (though not really that much). It supposed has cycle times about 25% faster. It's a bit smaller. It has some mechanical improvements relating to tilt/swivel operation. Mostly, these are relatively minor things, but maybe some of them might be of value to you.

That said, though, if you're not planning on upgrading from the 10D any time soon, and none of those 580EX features would be much use to you, then I'd agree with previous responses. Get an estimate on fixing it, and then either do that or buy another one.

dan vidal , Jan 26, 2005; 12:30 p.m.

Obviously an upgrade is in the cards....oddly enough I looked at the specs on the 580 after posting this...pricewise it is a little steep for me right now, though!

René Damkot , Jan 28, 2005; 10:25 a.m.

550 or 580?

Go for the 580. Why? 1) head will swivel 180 degrees left AND right. (so you can finally bounce 'backward' when shooting 'portrait' ccw) 2) one button for release tilt / swivel of head 3) dail for settings 4) ONE button to set High speed flash / second curtain. 5) in one word: ergonomics

Btw: the 550EX uses its diffuser screen as bounce card. Works for me... You could always try to open the flashhead, and re-align the insides. I doubt that there's something totally broken. (If there is, you could always try to set it to 24 mm fixed, and use it as a slave...)

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