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50D with a 580EX or 430EX II or 580EX II Speedlites... HELP!

Thomas Baumann , Nov 28, 2012; 11:07 a.m.

Hello, my level of photography is intermediate and is a hobby (ie, family gatherings, events, etc) I shoot with a Canon 50D and use my Dads old Canon 199A as a flash with a diffuser set up manually and works great but I think its time to upgrade to something better that will work better with my camera.
I don't really use the bounce feature but like to defuse the light when shooting so any of the 3 will probably do a better job than the 199A so so power isn't an issue there.
I have a few questions:
1. I can pick up a 580EX on Ebay pretty cheap and it's more powerful than the 430EX II but will all the functions work with my camera?
2. Has anyone used the 580EX with a 50D?
3. Will either of the flashes change the amount of light it outputs when I zoom in and out?

4. Will the flash do the light metering or will the camera with the 580EX and 50D setup?
2. Will the flash do the light metering or will the camera with the 430EX II and 50D setup?
5. What are the major and minor differences between the 580EX and 430EX II and 580EX II?
6. I would go with the 580EX II new but it is a bit pricey and i am on a budget. Is it worth trying to pick one up used or save some $$$ and go with the 580EX or 430EX II?

HELP! I'M SO CONFUSED!

Responses

Marcus Ian , Nov 28, 2012; 11:17 a.m.

1. Yes.
2. Yes. (many of us have)
3. Yes, both. They are designed to do so, by focusing the light specifically, it uses less power to give the same exposure.
4. Camera - ETTL is ETTL.
2. Same answer.
5. The major differences are that the 430ex has lower max power than the 580/580II, and that the 430ex can ONLY act as a slave when used in a wireless setup. The 580s can both act as masters. The 580II has a metal foot a shroud, and is designed to be a smidge more efficient and powerful than the 580.
6. In your shoes, either a 430, a 580(1) or a 580II will work fine for just about everything you'll consider doing. In your shoes, It's probably not worth it to get a 580II, I'd stick w/ a 430, a 550, a 430II, or 580. All of those will do what you need, and work well doing it.

Dan Ferrel , Nov 28, 2012; 11:23 a.m.

  1. Yes, more powerful. Yes, the 580 is more superior in every way except that it's physically bigger.
  2. I have not.
  3. Yes, all flashes you have listed will "zoom" with the focal length of the lens and even take into account the 1.6 crop of the camera sensor.
  4. The 580EXii has the ability to meter via it's own sensor. All EX flashes will meter via the camera.
  5. As stated before, the 580 is superior in every way except that it's physically bigger than the 430. Depending on how long you're holding the camera/flash setup it can work out your arms. The 580 can work as a wireless master to the 430 or another 580, but not the other way around.
  6. If I had it to do all over again, I would have bought the 580 first. But that was before you could use the popup flash on your camera to wirelessly trigger (via eTTL) a 430EX. I have yet to have to replace a flash. While they do wear out, it's not like you have to buy one the next time a new flavor comes out (as you can see using your 199a). It is an investment.

If you're planning on using the popup to trigger both your new investment flash and the 199a keep in mind that you'll have to work around eTTL or use radio triggers or find an optical trigger that works (EX flashes are finicky, but the 580EXii is much less so).

Whatever way you go, bouncing is an essential feature. I practically can't shoot without it.
http://photonotes.org/lookup/ This has more than enough technical info on what you're asking about. Scroll down to the flash section. Please note that there are 430EX, 430EXii, and 430EZ. The EZ series will not work with a digital EOS camera. Always ensure you're looking at an EX flash, double check it when buying used.

Marcus Ian , Nov 28, 2012; 11:32 a.m.

Dan, (re#4) does that work w/ the 50D? I knew that the 580II can meter by itself, but does that feature ever function w/ the 50D (I thought it did not)?

Dan Ferrel , Nov 28, 2012; 11:39 a.m.

Dan, (re#4) does that work w/ the 50D? I knew that the 580II can meter by itself, but does that feature ever function w/ the 50D (I thought it did not)?

I've never used one but from what I've read it can external meter, but not via wireless eTTL. While on camera it can. I could be wrong on this though. If you're triggering via a cable, on camera, radio triggers, or optical slave it can meter externally (meaning it can meter the scene much like your 199a).

James Turner , Nov 28, 2012; 02:11 p.m.

If you're on a budget, get a 580 EX Mk. I and spend the difference (or some of it) on an off-camera cord, a Stofen diffuser, a "speed strap" and some CTO gels ... but then you're arguably into a different forum.

Thomas Baumann , Nov 28, 2012; 05:42 p.m.

Marcus, Dan and James, Thank you all for the great responses.

Looks like I'll try to pick up a 580EX and like James suggested i'll spend the extra cash and "get a 580 EX Mk. I and spend the difference (or some of it) on an off-camera cord, a Stofen diffuser, a "speed strap" and some CTO gels"

Thank you all again

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