Author Topic: Canon EOS Speedlite advice  (Read 3019 times)

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Offline eloquentXI

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Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« on: June 15, 2008, 01:29:23 PM »
So...I hope this is posted in the right place but I had a question concerning a new investment.
My brother gave me his Rebel XT (yep, he finally did!) and I'm looking to get a Speedlite
I'm doing live band photography at some local venues and I just can't get the shots I want without a flash

so...what is your advice, would it be smart to get 430X?
Thoughts?


Thanks so much!
Still Meggers, just a little more grown up now. :)

Offline Melkar

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2008, 03:22:02 PM »
Hmmm...  I'd try to avoid flash, but I realize that at some venues it just gets too dark to get the shot otherwise.   I'd also really avoid shooting the flash directly at the band.  Blinding the musicians is generally not a good thing (unless their music is really bad  ;D).

That said, I'd go for a hot-shoe flash that tilts/swivels, so you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or wall.  That creates a more diffuse light source than the "Deer in the headlights" look.

In this example, I metered the stage at 1/30th f/2.8 at ISO 1600.  I was shooting (M)anual with a fast lens (Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 ) and I bounced my flash off the ceiling.  The ceiling was black, so it would not add a color cast, and it also would "eat" light so I didn't power the flash down much.


In general, for low-light you want a fast lens (max aperture f/2.8 or lower), shoot high ISO (1600 or 800 if 1600 is just too noisy), if you've got an incident light meter - take a meter reading on stage with the lights on at you're widest aperture and shoot manual, if you don't -- use Aperture priority (Av) and dialin -1 stop exposure compensation (maybe more depending on how dark the stage is) so you don't blow the skin tones.  Also shoot Daylight or Tungsten white balance (NOT Auto).  Use "burst" mode on your camera and shoot a series of 3-5 shots in a burst so hopefully one of them will have less camera shake than the others.
As a last resort, add flash.

If you don't have a "fast" lens, you might consider getting the Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens ($80 approximately).  It's optically VERY sharp, and on your camera will be equivalent to 85mm.  That will work if you can get close to the stage.

As to flash, instead of the Canon 430EX, I'd spring the extra $$$ for the Canon 580 EX II, it will treat you better in the long run.

Most importantly, have fun with it!
BCNU,
  Melkar

Offline Zeagle

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2008, 06:59:38 PM »
There is nothing wrong with using flash and I say get the speedlight. The 430ex should be fine for you to start with and will allow you to learn your technique. Low light performance shoots are some of my favorites to do and I always carry a flash in my kit. When in AV or M mode the flash will act as fill/expose for the subject, stop motion, and allow for ambient lighting of off subject exposure. Always shoot RAW and use auto white balance.

For another perspective check out this website for a really good explanation of non-high ISO and non fast glass photography in clubs and concerts. http://www.digitalfrog.nl/?p=30#more-30.

I used flash in the following 2 examples and the EXIF information is embedded if you would like to read the exact settings. The flash head was angled at ~70 degrees as the ceiling was to high to bounce off of. Shot in RAW, Auto White Balance, and post processed for exposure, color temp, saturation, and sharpness.







Offline Deckyon

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2008, 08:32:13 AM »
having 2 speedlites, I will have to say go for it.  Not the 430 - you will outgrow it quickly.  Go for the 580 II (or find a good 580 for less)

Be a little more patient, save a little longer, and get the better flash.  You will not regret it.
Thanks,
Brad

Offline DeadBishop

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2008, 04:55:19 PM »
The first question that we should ask...what's your budget?  Do you plan on doing the band shoots for money, or are you doing this for your own enjoyment?  If you're not looking at getting anything in return and just doing this for your own enjoyment, I'd go for the 430EX if you're on a budget.  Depending on the circumstances, I can shoot a wedding with just a 430EX.   

If you're looking at making this a viable business, invest in the 580EX, and more importantly, a "fast" lens.  You'll have that much more of an advantage when shooting to get the shots right the first time.  Most stage shots are done with a fast lens using available light.  You may not always be able to be close enough or even be allowed to use flash in some venues, and the right lens will take care of that.
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Offline Aragorn II

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2008, 06:33:03 PM »
so...what is your advice, would it be smart to get 430X?
Thoughts?

If you do not need a flash immediately, you may want to wait a couple of months and consider the Canon 430 EX II.  It is suppose to have the same type of metal foot and locking mechanism as the Canon 580 EX II and offer 20% faster flash recycling time than the current 430 EX model.
Cuio nin mellon
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AbleArcher

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2008, 11:22:01 PM »
I used the 430EX quite a bit last year at the CRF.  I had two of them, one mounted on each of my 30D's.  It is a fine flash, but I don't have the experience with the Canon flash system, as I do the Nikon Flash system (I much prefer the Nikon system, btw).

Depending on your budget, I would go ahead and find a used 430EX.  People will likely be offloading them in anticipation of the newer 430EX II.  Try it out and see how you like it.  As you get more sophisticated, you can another flash like the 580EX II and have it control the 430EX off camera for some nicer modeling light.  I opted to use a diferent device (a Canon ST-E2) to control both of my flashes off camera. I would advise against buying a cheaper off brand alternative.  The 430EX offers an option called High Sync which allows you to shoot at higher shutter speeds (albeit, at lower power) than your camera's max flash sync speed.  This become important when doing fil flash on bright Sun-lit days. You might ned to double check this to make sure that your camera supports that...I have never used a Digital Rebel.

You can see samples of my daylight work at the festival using the 430EX flash.  I tend to use fill flash alot in the high contrast light that is usually present at high noon on faire days.  Go to www.iflphoto.com to see them.  You can view EXIF data there too, if you're interested.   www.iflphoto.com

-Josh

Offline eloquentXI

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2008, 11:26:11 PM »
Thank you so much for all the advice everyone!
I did go and buy a 430 EX.
This is not something I am going to make a career as, but just something as a side-hobbie and love and maybe to do a few gigs to make money of off.

I'm already starting to fall in love with it but can't wait to take it to a show and do some pre-show Promo shots for a friends band on Friday night.
I'm even more excited to take it to AARG in July/TRF in the Fall.

Again, thanks so much!
Still Meggers, just a little more grown up now. :)

AbleArcher

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2008, 03:17:00 PM »
Be sure to read up on Bouncing your flash, as well as a cheap little flash bouncer called A Better Bounce Card.  A quick Google search will get you teh necessary information.

Also...considering reading up on Dragging the Shutter for a delayed flash effect for indoor band shots.

Offline eloquentXI

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Re: Canon EOS Speedlite advice
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2008, 06:59:23 PM »
Be sure to read up on Bouncing your flash, as well as a cheap little flash bouncer called A Better Bounce Card.  A quick Google search will get you teh necessary information.

Also...considering reading up on Dragging the Shutter for a delayed flash effect for indoor band shots.

Thanks so much! This is really helpful!!
Still Meggers, just a little more grown up now. :)

 

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