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Off camera flash. 430EX + Pocketwizards

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by Lovah, 12 Oct 2007.

  1. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Hi,

    I'm interested in getting a flash. Next to the normal use (on-camera), I want to experiment with off-camera flash. For a flash I was thinking about getting the 430EX. Wires etc seems like a pain and very limiting for off-camera flashing, so I wanna go wireless. The Pocketwizards seem to be the best at this.

    But first a question. One of the best/cheapest camera stores sells these.
    Pocket Wizard Plus II Transciever 212euro
    Pocket Wizard Zender Plus 192euro

    Is this the price for a set of two? Or just for one?

    If it's just for two, then that means about 400 euro for a set. Am I not better off getting a 580EX II instead? (about 440euro here). Then I have two flashes, and I can set the 580 as a master over the 430. I know the infrared will be quite limiting, but I will have two flashes...

    Using the pocketwizard system, makes every flash 200euro more expensive.

    ideas? suggestions?
     
  2. Fod

    Fod what is the cheesecake?

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    i'd go with the 580ex and 430ex combo tbh. i've seen pro photogs use the IR setup on the canon flashes without issue, even when they don't have line of sight between flashes - the IR emitters are rather powerful!
     
  3. padrejones2001

    padrejones2001 Puppy Love

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    I have two 580EX's and an ST-E2 transmitter. Never had an issue shooting with them as the work on both IR and RF, if I'm not mistaken. No line of sight needed at all.
     
  4. Nath

    Nath Your appeal has already been filed.

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    Get a few cheap Nikon SB24s, eBay some generic wireless flash triggers, and read Strobist. Fantastic light and it stops you spending ridiculous amounts on the auto-everything Canon flashes. If you're just messing about with wireless flash, pocketwizards seem slightly OTT. :)

    Edit: Should probably have read the bit about on-camera flash too. In that case, if it's a choice between 430 and 580, I'd say go with the 580. You might appreciate the extra power and better build quality.
     
    Last edited: 12 Oct 2007
  5. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Hi,

    So is the price of the PocketWizards for one or for a set of two?
    The store I am going is really far (3 hour train drive) so I don't wanna go unprepared.
    I'm going tomorrow.

    How well does the 580 master + 430 slave work? I'm especially interested in using a off-camera flash outside, on the street.. in the woods.. How well does it work outside a studio environment???

    So how much do the pocketwizards cost? 200 per set? or 400? I would happily spend 200 if they are as good as I'm told.. but 400 is just a bit too much...


    PS; padrejones2001 : are u using those 580's , controlled by the ST-E2, inside? Or also outside ? (street, woods, huge building, open square?)
     
  6. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    PocketWizards tend to run about $200 per transciever (which can function on the camera or on the flash, to my understanding). Not sure how that'll translate to your local currency, but I'd expect that's the price for one.

    I wouldn't really bother with the infrared triggering - I think it's quite limiting. First, you can only go off-angle by so far without some sort of odd mirror contraption to my understanding, but I suppose it varies greatly by your conditions. If anything, go for some cheap eBay triggers to experiment as they work reasonably well, and go for the 580exII. The eBay ones aren't as reliable so don't plan to use them for a professional shoot, but unless you need your strobe a quarter mile from your camera, they'll probably suffice (and you're talking about $35 for a pair, and can add more receivers pretty cheap - and they go right on to the hotshoe so they'll work with nearly any flash). I haven't used a 430, but I know that it does NOT have a PC cord socket unlike the 580II, and as far as I'm aware, PWs only connect to the flash via a PC cord (and you'd need a cheap hotshoe adapter for a flash without one, like the 430).

    My 2 cents. If you want two strobes, I'd say go for a 580exII for on-camera work and maybe one of those $85 Vivitar units, and a set of the ebay triggers (which will run you around $50 for a trigger and two receivers) until you can justify the cost of PWs. Don't forget that as soon as you go off-camera, you're going to want umbrellas and light stands and all that good stuff too.
     
  7. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Thanks for your reply Firehed. It was really helpfull!

    cheers
     
  8. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    With pleasure. I need something to fill my time with while saving up for that f/4L glass you're enjoying.
     
  9. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Hi Again Firehed,

    I've just looked up those triggers on ebay, and they only work for about 10 metres?! That's fine for product photography indoors, but my main purpose for them was to light up a particulair part in evening/night landscape pictures. Are there no "inbetween" options between these cheapo's and pocketwizards?

    I'm not a professional, nor will I ever be. I don't need the reliability of the pocketwizards, but I do need there range. The triggers need to function in the woods, behind several trees.. or inside of a degrated barn while I'm outside 50 metres further away taking the shot. It doesn't mather if they misfire now and then.

    I was thinking about getting a gorillapad for its lightweight and easy positioning of the flash and maybe some sort of small softbox or tiny umbrella for softening the light.

    And while I'm getting a flash, I might aswell get one that will do a proper job mounted on my camera aswell (580II).

    On the subject of the F4L, the 17-40 F4 L is fantastic. I really love it. Just make sure F4 is enough for you.. I sometimes wish I went F2.8. Lucky I have the 50F1.8, although different range.. it's quite helpfull when the light begins to go.
     
  10. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Unfortunately without a wired solution, you're really stuck with either the PWs or the ebay triggers AFAIK. You could do a half-wired solution if the strobes are all going to be within a 10m radius or so (put the trigger itself off-camera close enough to hit the flashes). There's supposed to be something else in the works (if you read Strobist you'd have heard of it - the radiopopper or something) but that's not here now and I don't know what the pricing will be.

    What I've done with my trigger is a cheap and dirty little hack to get a bit extra range and reliability out of it. Basically, pop the thing open, and solder in a little longer antenna. It's a five-minute job if you have any soldering skills, and maybe six if you don't. I'll be happy to do some range testing later if you'd like, though I wouldn't expect it goes anywhere near 50m. Maybe in open air 5% of the time, but not with any obstructions.

    Also just keep in mind that if you do end up needing wires for whatever reason, the 400D doesn't have a PC socket, so you'll need a hotshoe adapter for that as well. The 580II is the only Canon flash that does have it, though just about any other recent strobe will as well. As such, it's the only Canon flash that'll plug into a PW without the need of a hotshoe adapter. Of course the things are only about ten bucks each, but it's still an added cost, and of course something else that could go wrong if you're a cynic like me.

    Thanks for the 2c on the f4L glass. That's what I hear, and I'm very tempted to save for the 2.8 kit, especially as the new 40D gets twice the AF accuracy if you've got a 2.8 or faster lens on it, or something like that (not that I have a 40D, but it'll probably be where I upgrade in time). But the 24-70f/2.8 lens doesn't have IS unlike the 24-105f/4 which does, and of course it's a lot more expensive.


    The almost good news is that you can get a pair of PWs off ebay for $340 plus shipping, which is a bit cheaper than it sounds like you're looking locally. $40 int'l shipping, but $380 for a pair is still better than >400euro
     
  11. Jumeira_Johnny

    Jumeira_Johnny 16032 - High plains drifter

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    Search for Bowen's Pulsars. They are the in between triggers. They come in a set of 2 transceivers. You will need PC sync ports. And 2 AAA's. http://www.bowens.co.uk/

    Firehed, 2.8 > IS any day. Focus on technique. IS/VR isn't a gimic, but it's not a crutch either. Why would you need IS on a 24-70/2.8? At 105 and limited to f/4...ok I can see IS as a bonus. But a 2.8 mid range zoom? I never understood that.

    Btw, I routinely use the IR triggers on my D200 and 2 SB-800's and have rarely felt hampered by range or reach. You have to think about it a bit, but it works. I'm thinking about getting 2 more SB-600/800's. Also, I would check out Manfrotto's Justin clamps (175F) before the Gorillapod thingy. They are, honestly, awesome. I keep 2 in my bag for the SB's, always.
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2007
  12. coorz

    coorz Miffed

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    Pocket Wizard Plus II Transceivers are around 200 euro's here in Benelux (see konijnenberg.be), quite an investment as you need one for each flash /body. Also you'll need the proper sync cables as well.
    Elinchrom Skyports are another cheaper option too.
     
  13. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Bouth the Bowens Pulsar and the Elinchrom Skyports look very promosing. Thanks for the suggestions.

    The skyports are about 100£ (140Euro) for a set (transmitter + receiver). Even with a 580EX, people still seem to use a hotshoe adapter to connect the receiver, these seem to cost a whopping 30£. A second receiver will set you back another 76£. It troubles me though that you can't lock them in the hotshoe port of your camera and the aerials don't look that strong.

    The Pulsars are 260Euro for a set of two. Best price I could find, 355 in another store. They do seem alot better build though, plus they are receive/transmitter in one.

    I think I'm going for the Skyports, they are even cheaper and I've read alot of positive reviews about it.

    Coorz, any idea when I can get them (skyports)?
    UK stores are likely to be more expensive.

    For the mainflash I'm still undecided between 580EX II and 430EX. I don't need the Master function, I have no idea what the power difference means and apparantly the Skyports don't connect to the 580's pc connection anyway? The 430EX is lighter and smaller aswell..

    Thanks for the suggestion on the Manfrotto Clamp, I'll be sure to check it out.

    L
     
    Last edited: 14 Oct 2007
  14. coorz

    coorz Miffed

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    Calumet is quite expensive indeed, however they might have some second hand stuff, as their shop isn't high profile retail like konijnenberg, I've been to the Amsterdam 'shop', just some messy warehouse on industrial terrain.
    http://www.fotoflits.nl/index.php is the official reseller for Elinchrom in NL.
     
  15. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    I'd say go for the 580II over the 430 as your main flash. I was in the same situation not too long ago, and came to that decision. I can't really comment on the weight relative to the 430, but it can make your camera a bit top-heavy. However, I've found that if I'm shooting portrait with the thing on-camera, I can actually use the strobe as a grip of sorts with my left hand. What I tend to do is set the thing at a 45º angle both H and V so it's shooting high and to the left, but then attach my $15 Sto-Fen diffuser. It helps bounce the light off the walls and ceiling and makes for very soft and attractive lighting, and is probably the best you're going to do while it's on-camera. Anyways, the 580II also has more reach to it, and I believe it has a faster recycle time as well. The most useful upgrade (aside from full weather sealing and the PC port, though the former only really matters if you're rocking a 1D) is having a dial instead of the cross-key buttons. It makes it a lot quicker to dial in your settings rather than mashing buttons to get there, which doesn't really sound that significant but that alone makes me want to upgrade to a 30d/40d from my XTi for the same reason. I can set it to -3 to +3EV in 1/3stop increments when doing TTL metering (auto mode), or get a 7-stop range in 1/3 stop increments in manual mode (1/128 to 1: 1/128, 1/128+3, 1/128+7, 1/64...)

    I also have no idea if the 430 has a stroboscopic shooting mode on it - I don't believe it does. But the 580II goes from 1-199Hz and you can set it to either fire as many as it takes relative to the shutter speed or fire a set number at a given speed (ex 3 blasts at 50Hz even if you have a 1sec exposure). The 580II also allows a greater rotation range - 180º in both directions, where the 430 only does 90º in one of the directions.

    Blah blah blah, you get the idea. If you're serious, you'll probably end up with the best one eventually anyways. At least with the flashes, the upgrade isn't nearly as expensive as getting the fastest lenses out there. And for any others that you're using off-camera, you can go with something much cheaper like the Vivitar 285 where the only thing you really need is zoom and output control.


    Also, thanks for the IS advice J_J. At this point, the only reason that IS is a really desirable feature for me is that I like doing fireworks shots (however seasonal they might be, but I do live in New Hampshire now where we can get them anytime) and such, and being able to get a good exposure on a 1/4s handheld shot would be a great bonus for me. If you've ever tried getting fireworks shots, there seems to be a lot of luck involved if you're on a tripod, since it's a lot harder to follow them and get where they might be as compared to handheld. And around the 50mm mark (at least on my XTI, so about 80mm on a full-frame) seems to be a good length, which is why I'd consider it a valuable feature for a mid-length zoom. Maybe I'd eventually go for the 24-70 f/2.8L for my main shooting, and pick up the 28-135 IS which is only around $400 for that kind of stuff, that way I don't have to make such a compromise, as I'd love to have the extra stop for normal shooting.

    edit - just noticed what you said about the skyports not liking the PC connection on the 580. Perhaps they meant on the old 580 and not the 580II, as the former doesn't have a PC connection? I'm fairly sure that the PC socket is extremely standard across all flashes, not like the hotshoe where you've got the oddballs like the 285HV that have some odd sync voltage. But double-check me on that, as I'm just making an educated guess.
     
  16. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Hi Again,

    Thanks Coorz, I think I'll order a set there.

    Thanks Firehed! I'll follow your advice and go for the 580II. You're probably right about the it being an older 580 without a pc connection (didn't know the old one didn't have one). The hotshoe adapters don't come cheap so thats a nice feature!

    I've already got my eye on a 285 (non HV)! Hopefully it hasn't sold yet.

    Jumeira Johnny, thanks for the suggestion on the Manfrotto Clamp. Unfortunatly fotokonijnenberg does not carry them, but I'll send them an email to see if they can order one for me, if the price is right. Hopefully they aren't too expensive..

    Impressed by this photographer: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lostsoul
    I think I'll get a set of colour gels aswell :)

    L
     
  17. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    You should look into one of Strobist's kits sold through MPEX (mpex.com/strobist) if you want to pick up a 285 as well. Though they may only sell them with the HV units - I'm not sure. But $185 or so for a flash, umbrella, stand, battery pack, charger, PC cord, gels, a grid spot kit, and some other stuff. Doubt they ship to Belgium though.

    The hotshoe adapters shouldn't be that expensive though. Many I've seen are <$20.
     
  18. Nath

    Nath Your appeal has already been filed.

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    MPEX post worldwide iirc, people from the UK and Europe seem to be buying the starving student kits quite regularly. :)

    Remember though Firehed, camera gear is far more expensive here most of the time. For example, your 580EX II would be £350/$700 over here...
     
  19. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Ouch. I always forget that our crap dollar is more than made up for by rip-off Britain. Even if it's a Belgian asking the questions :)
     
  20. Lovah

    Lovah Apple and Canon fanboy

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    Thanks for the MPEX suggestion Firehed. I'm on the lookout for the flashes themselves around here. Found two already dirtcheap, just hoping that they haven't sold yet! The kits look bloody interesting though! May get one of the sets without flash. I can't use the HV's though as they don't work with the skyports.

    Very interesting is that they have the Justin Clamps that J_J suggested. So I'll probably order those and some Gel kits and other mandatory accesoires there. I wanna keep everything portable, so I'm not sure stands and an umbrella is really on my wish list. But may get them anyway for some product photography at home.

    Thanks again everybody for such a great input and help!

    Yeah, the UK is more expensive then Belgium. I work in a industrial printing company and we love to print for the the UK ! :)

    Will the skyport transmitter connect to my 580II flash (PC cable) ?
    So I get a on-camera flash and auto trigger the two off camera 285's?
    I'm getting a 580II , two 285's (just because they are cheap) and two receivers for the skyport
     

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