Need some advise

Started Mar 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sailor Blue
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Re: Need some advise
In reply to anthonyhnj, Mar 14, 2013

Listen to Zee Char. He gave you excellent advice - use strobes in the studio, use hot-shoe flash in the field.

At this time the new Canon 600EX RT and the ST-E3-RT are orphan products. There aren't any other flash units or even RF receivers that will work with them. To me this means I wouldn't buy them unless I had a very specific need for several 600EX RTs because I was a professional who traveled to places where I knew that the flash units would have to hold up to heat, dust, humidity, and getting banged around a lot.

For an amateur I recommend starting with a lower cost hot-shoe flash and RF trigger system. It won't be as rugged as the Canon system, but then it is rare that the amateur needs that. Instead of a 600EX RT I would say buy a Yongnuo YN-565EX, or if you are know you are going to be using the flash in rough conditions get the Nissin Di866 II, which is near the Canon in quality and ruggedness but cheaper.

Speedlights.net | Yongnuo YN-565 EX Flash Review (Equiv 430EX II & ETTL-II on/off-camera)

Speedlights.net | Nissin Di866 II (Mark 2) | Speedlights.net

As a beginning studio photographer you should buy studio strobes, not hot-shoe flash units, for work in the studio. Photography is all about lighting, the highlights and shadows that give a flat image a 3-D appearance. Lighting is critical with portraiture. Studio strobes have modeling lights that will let you see the lighting before you ever press the shutter. With hot-shoe flash units you have to guess at the lighting, take a test shot, chimp the image, adjust the lighting, take a test shot, chimp, adjust, take a test shot, chimp, etc., etc., etc. You are waisting your time and the model's time.

My advice is that you plan on having two sets of equipment, hot-shoe based for field/location shooting and studio strobes for studio work.

Return the equipment you have except for the YN-622's. Buy one YN-565EX and later add a couple of YN-560 IIs for use in the field. You will be shooting in ETTL mode only when the flash, usually mounted on the camera, to subject distance is constantly changing. ETTL exposures are effected by skin color, clothing brightness, background brightness, and the ratio of subject to background. Plan on using Flash Exposure Compensation a lot a dn doing a lot of post processing exposure corrections when you use ETTL.

If you can shoot with off-camera flash you wan to shoot in manual flash power mode for consistent exposures. The YN-622s will give you the ability to adjust the off-camera flash power form the camera, a very nice thing to have.

You will want to have a sturdy but portable stand and a good light diffuser for the off-camera hot-shoe flash. I recommend the Photek Softlighter II. It is easily portable, opens and closes like an umbrella, and because of the front cover is less likely to blow over than a simple umbrella. Be sure to have someone hold the stand or sand bag if if possible. The smaller one is less likely to blow over, the larger one is useful for everything from a head shot to a standing portrait.

Photek SOFTLIGHTER II

For the studio I recommend you start with a single 300 Ws or 600 Ws strobe, stand, and 60" umbrella.

Impact Convertible 60" Umbrella UBBW60 B&H Photo Video

Please don't do what I did the first time and buy cheap low quality studio strobes. They were pretty much junk and quickly wound up in the trash. The next time I did my homework and picked out and bought quality equipment that has keep me very satisfied for almost three years. I wrote the following article to help others avoid my costly mistake.

Sailorblue - Digital Photography Review - Equipment Guide for Setting up a Small Home Portrait/Glamor Studio

Once you learn how to use one studio strobe then add a second and then third light for fill and background. You can use the YN-565EX or YN-560 IIs for hair and accent lights. My current recommendations are for the PCB AllienBees B800 and B1600, or if you want a bit better light then get the Einsteins. The Flashpoint DG600 from Adorama (their house brand) is my budget recommendation.

Paul C. Buff

Adorama Flashpoint DG600 300 w/s Monolight, Blue FP600DG

As you add more lights you can add more modifiers. When you can add a large softbox, 3'x5' is a nice size, then a smaller 24"x24" or 28"x28" one.

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Living and loving it in Bangkok, Thailand. Canon 7D - See the gear list for the rest.

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