Which flash to use for the Canon 5D M2?

Started Nov 12, 2012 | Questions thread
Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 4,384
Re: Which flash to use for the Canon 5D M2?

123val wrote:


I've got the Canon 5d mark ii and have mainly been doing landscape work and the occasional natural light portrait. I'd like to do more portrait work, in lowlight outdoors as well as indoors and am considering what flashes I'd need to buy. Having checked amazon there seems to be quite a range, with prices from £30 up to over £200 for a single flash. In addition, the wireless triggers have a similar discrepancy in price. I don't want to waste money on cheap gear that doesn't work effectively with my camera but at the same time, don't wish to overpay if I don't need to.

Hello Laura, I sometimes use several Nikon SB800 speedlights as stand-alone lights when I'm shooting outdoors; I trigger them using pocketwizard radio triggers.

When I purchased a Canon 5D2, I knew that I wasn't going to buy a Canon flash no matter what the price was because I didn't want to get locked into a flash system that would only work with Canon.

I opted for the Metz 76 model flash with bracket.


It's a big flash, has lots of power, and I use it with a separate battery pack.


The battery pack allows me to shoot with it for a very long time, even when I'm using it nearly at full power (daylight sessions when i'm using a telephoto lens, shooting toward the sun, etc..)

I would make the same purchase again, even though there are some niggles here and there with the flash (e.g. archaic menu system, occasionally for no reason you'll get an over exposure, I don't have much faith in Metz as a company with great customer service even though I haven't had the need for such and lack of a port to plug in wireless trigger or other device... ridiculous in this day and time!)

I would not invest in a Metz battery for the flash because they just don't seem to last long. Mine was fine for nearly a year before it started to lose noticeable performance, others had to beg Metz to replace their battery in less than a month. Doesn't seem like Metz is too responsive to customers in my opinion. ** The battery issue wasn't much of a concern to me because I bought the auxiliary battery (Quantum) to use with the flash and was surprised that a new Metz battery was shipped to me with the flash unit. I would not pay $130 USD for such a battery. I strongly recommend a separate battery pack.

1) I'm looking for advice on whether my camera only works with a certain type of flash, and suggestions as to which make/model of flashes are worth considering

Metz or Quantum would be my choice. I prefer a big flash with a lot of power especially if you shoot in the daylight hours (e.g. families on the beach, hiking, day sports, ... anything where you aren't close to the subject requiring you to have a lot of power in order to get that even "punch" or colourful "pop" in your photographs from your flash.

2) regarding the remote trigger - is that the only way to get the flash off camera, or is there another method I should consider? Also, do the prices of the remote trigger reflect its ability to perform and any recommendations as to which make/model would be appreciated

I've used pocket wizard for years- radio triggers is the only way to go in my opinion, and Pocket wizard is somewhat of an industry standard. Cheaper alternatives exist that might be just as reliable/strong?

I either connect the receiver transmitter to a studio strobe light on a dolly, or I connect receivers to smaller speedlights when I want to place several lights in neat places like on the other side of a wall to illuminate a hallway, hung from a ceiling, duct taped to a cement wall, or on the floor directly behind the model to illuminate her from the rear for a nice rim-lighting affect.



The bottom line for me was not to get locked into a particular brand when buying lights. If I'm paying close to $1,000 for a flash unit, then I want to be able to use it on any camera that I might decide to use whether it be Nikon, Canon, or otherwise.

Buy something that you can use for years to come. You can almost never have too much light at your disposal. But a flash that will stand up to your most difficult shooting situation (e.g. shooting at f/8, Neutral Density filter on a 300mm lens... and you shooting toward the sun in the afternoon)

Look at the Metz and or Quantum line of flashes and see if something fits your fancy and budget.

I hope that helps

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