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Old October 21st, 2006, 05:05 PM   #1
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Canon Speedlite as a flash system?

I bought some incandescant lights/reflectors for portrait stuff a while ago. If I'd known what I was doing I wouldn't have... they just do not have enough power to work in ISO 100 with slow lenses. So I ponder getting another Speedlite flash and using their wireless capabilities, with my reflectors, as a flash system.

These will certainly not replace a decent powerful set of cold lights, and in the long run will probably cost more. But if the 430EX is any benchmark then they are decent flashes IMHO and can be used for other things as well. All I would have to do is screw them to the stands/reflectors I got with the hot light kit. (The reflectors are metallic umbrellas if that matters)

I'm anxious to hear if anyone has messed with the wireless stuff much and if them being infrared-based causes many problems. Thanks for any advice,
Jeffm
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 09:15 AM   #2
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ive got 2x 580ex's and cannot fault them.. the power, tweakability and total control is astounding for a light of this type

the 580ex also acts as a transmitter so u dont need the seperate shoe transmitter.. I usually run a fixed light off the side (75w video light) <background/hair>, one 580ex on the other side, and the one on cam as a fill. Im still working out a perfect mobile "studio look" system, but im happy so far
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 10:56 AM   #3
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Jeff - I have a few of the older 550's as well as a couple full kits of strobes. For location work, they canon ir stuff is excellent and very lightweight. If you keep a lot of fully charged nimh's on hand, they recycle quickly and put out a great deal of light. When bounced off an umbrella, they auto-adjust their output, as long as the "eye" can see whichever unit you're using as the master. Close range, the IR works extremely well (and offers full ttl). Longer than 10 feet, it's about 50-50. Outdoors at night, I've had good results too over long range, but the IR is really the wrong tool. If you need range, nothing beats pocketwizard.

One thing to keep in mind is that you pay a price for the integration of the system flash units. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of them and they work great. but, if your goal is studio-lighting, you can get a LOT more bang for your buck by buying actual dedicated strobes. As far as price-performance goes, I've found that Elinchrom monolights are about the best deal you can find. A number of years ago, I was mixing my 250 ws elinchroms with some 1000 ws dynalights, and my Eli's were about 2 stops brighter at full power! So just like hotlights, the 'watts" aren't everything. Elinchrom uses very efficient tubes and reflectors to get a LOT of output, plus they're the cheapest lights you can buy that stay color-temp correct overy their full dimming range. Check out the 400 bl packages, they're pretty cost-competitive to buying a few Canon flashes. Plus, Elinchrom is a major brand in lighting, so you can find just about ANY accessory you want, including their own giant octabank softbox.


Hope that helps!

Oh, and for portable they make something called the "Ranger," which is UNREAL. 1300 ws battery powered heads, incl. ringlight. It's my most-often used light for stills.
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Old October 22nd, 2006, 11:40 AM   #4
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Jeff, if you are on a budget you might want to check out the DIY and low-cost ideas dreamed up in The Strobist.

http://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/02...-strobist.html
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 11:30 AM   #5
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Thanks for all the helpful advice/experience!

Peter Jefferson: Do the different color temps of the lights still look ok? (flash and the incandescant background light?)
Yeah no need for the ST2 shoe trigger thingy... actually I read that the 580's IR range is better then the ST2, almost double if I recall!

Does anyone know if a Speedlite can be slaved with a Pocketwizard or etc? I don't think the Speedlights (even the 580) have a PC connection :/
***I've since found that Paramount builds cords for this...

I'm not ignoring advice on proper colds, rather I'm kind of looking for something real small and fast to get started with for the time being. Thanks so much all!
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Last edited by Jeff Miller; October 23rd, 2006 at 12:10 PM.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 12:31 PM   #6
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yes, but I've always used a workaround for the pocketwizard rig. I have cheap hotshoe ->pc (with a little pigtail wire) + the pocketwizard pc->minijack mono

I'm sure someone makes this exact adapter, somewhere... but this works for a few things.
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Old October 24th, 2006, 07:55 AM   #7
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Peter Jefferson: Do the different color temps of the lights still look ok? (flash and the incandescant background light?)

((okies, well, i run either 35w, 75 or 100w bescor lights, with either dichroic filter glass when outside, or flat plain clear glass with 1/2 stop diffusion paper <the paper is rated at 1/2 stop loss once applied. I use to sheets of filter paper for each light, effectlively bring the stop down by -1
This gives a soft white glow as opposed to a hard red and with barndoors, u can mess around with the exposed elements. I havent had an issue using these lights, and their cheaper than getting another 580ex... in fact, i can get 3 of thee lights for teh price of 1 580ex.. but u really u only need one of these..
they come in handy either way
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