220ex for the G1 -- Don't laugh!

Started May 25, 2001 | Discussions thread
Michael w Regular Member • Posts: 487
Re: 220ex for the G1 -- Don't laugh!

Wow, Darob, looks like you're among the lucky few with a G1 that works correctly with a 3-rd party flash in manual mode. I use a Sunpak 383 as well and prefer it over Canon flashes for a number of reasons, but the fact that my G1 mistreats it badly causes a lot of headache. A word of warning for anyone who is considering non-EX flashes: checkout discussions on this topic (hot recently) before getting into it.

Going the Sunpak 383 route is much more difficult, but if you're willing to go through it there are some real advantages:

  • color temperature is much more natural than Canon EX (like day light)

  • much cheaper ($69), almost same power as 550EX

  • full manual stopping down (550EX is the only EX flash that supports same)

  • forces you to learn manual flash photography. Once comfortable with it you can produce considerably better results than E-TTL, especialy in difficult fill situations.

That said, a non-Canon flash doesn't seem to be an appropriate route for Linda. I'd say she'll be much better off with the 420EX. It's not hard to do bounce flash with the 420EX, Linda. And once you've done the bouncing thing, you will not be happy with a flash that can't do so. A 220EX w/ off camera cord will bounce (inconveniently) in a very small room, but it will not have enough power to bounce in most situations.

darob wrote:
I believe that a lot of the "advice" on this one is a matter of
personal preference. For what it is worth, here are my
experiences. I have a 220EX and a Canon remote cord (I bought the
cord some time ago to use with a 540EZ and a couple of EOS bodies
with that system). Bounce flash with the 220EX and the G1 does
work, but I rarely do it because of color balance issues (you need
a white ceiling). Unfortunately, bouncing the 220EX is not easy
unless you have a grip with a tiltable shoe (the 220EX does not
have a swivel head like the other models).
My preference (which turns out to be less expensive) is to use a
Sunpak 383. It bounces in all directions (i.e. its flash head tilts
in both the vertical and horizontal axes). Generally, I tilt the
flash head straight up and use a small diffuser (it causes no color
balance problem, softens the harsh flash shadow, and is
sufficiently "off axis" to reduce red eye).
None of the "auto features" of the camera work with the Sunpak 383
or the similar Vivitar models (I have a twenty years old Vivitar
283 with a high trigger voltage that does not work with recent
model cameras), but that is not a problem. The Sunpak flash has a
built in sensor that takes over the metering task. I set the G1 to
manual mode, shoot at ISO 50 or 100, and use the f stop reading
indicated by the flash -- this provides about the same degree of
control over those settings that the Canon dedicated flashes
provide in AV mode.
My experience so far (maybe a thousand G1 flash pictures over the
last six months) indicates that the Sunpak works slightly better
than the Canon EOS falsh systems with the G1. The G1 does not work
like the other EOS cameras with multi zone metering and flash
exposure lock. In those instances (backlit scenes with sunsets,
etc., where you want proper exposure of both (a) the sunset's
colors and (b) the foreground subject -- usually a person), using
the EOS bodies and the E-TTL and A-TTL capabilities of the EOS
flash system cannot be matched by the Sunpak.
The important thing to remember in all of these adventures in
camera exposure is simple: bracket your shots, experiment, and
remember what "worked" in a particular situation. Unlike film
photography, the G1 offers the opportunity for endless experiments
and quick verification of results. The G1 gives you enough control
so that your experiments can lead to amazing results -- that you
can see on the spot -- without the expense and delay of film
And that is why I used the term "personal preference" in the
begining -- the G1 is sufficiently flexible to do about anything,
given some effort and experiments. This forum has a wealth of
information about the various techniques, and I have not ceased to
be surprised at the many different methods available to achieve
similar results and effects. And for that reason, I can say only
that my experiences are just personal preferences.

Linda wrote:

My new G1 and I are becoming best friends.
Today I've ordered the additional Viking 128 CF card and am taking
baby steps as I go along.
Next up .. a convenient external flash.
I went and looked at the 400 series, and am sure it's a wonderful
flash, bouncing every which way, and if I get into portrait
photography I'm sure I'll want one.
BUT, the 220ex seems like it might have some advantages for travel
pictures, being nicely small, and capable of providing adequate
light when needed, especially for fill flash.
(I understand I could add a Canon off camera shoe cord 2 if I
wanted to bounce the flash. ???)
Comments are appreciated.

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