Buying an speedlight for Nikon D5100 and CLS
Thanks a lot.. I am looking to the strobist website you pointed and now I am looking for the stuff it is suggesting, it means more questions on the way.
If I were doing it again with Nikon I'd do this:
* never buy one of their 'commander' flashes (you probably can't afford to anyway). Too much money down the sink for too little gain. This just pertains to how much use I got out of their CLS system. You could be different.
* Do you want easy flash-assisted shots without the harsh flash of on-board camera flash? If so, buy a third-party Nikon compatible flash to get TTL-metering, bouncing and easy settings for quick shots. This could mean something cheap like the Nissin di466 or Sunpak PZ42X or SunPak PZ40X or cheaper Sunpak PF30XN.
I'd use one of these Nikon-compatible TTL flashes on-camera (or on a camera bracket with TTL cable) for easy auto everything settings when I don't want to think or simply don't get the chance to think when taking shots. You'll get images just like any expensive Nikon flash would give you sitting on your camera. A higher budget will give you a more powerful flash, obviously. Using these units off-camera, I hear some can't be triggered with a radio trigger and some simply go to 'sleep' after a predetermined amount of minutes, which might not be ideal for remote triggering, but I'm not up-to-speed on which units are suitable for off-camera amongst the TTL-compatible Nikon models from Nissin and Sunpak that I mentioned.
If you don't want all that TTL auto stuff, simply get any flash that can fire on your cam manually and count the savings. Like the Yongnuo YN560II. You can control the level of light yourself from the back of the unit. Easy enough in controlled conditions.
If my desire was to branch out into off-camera flash with creative lighting setups (or simply to use a manual flash)
* I'd get some Yongnuo RF-603 triggers; so cheap from Yongnuo's ebay store.
They can act either as transmitters or receivers; get 3 to start with; 1 to transmit and 2 to attach to 2 flash units you buy. For flash units I'd recommend the YongNuo YN560II model. Get 2 of those for starters (and you can afford them too). They are manual flashes and work very well. They can work either as dumb slaves or connected to radio triggers. Each radio trigger connects to the shoe on the RF-603. YN560II flash models come wiith a stand and pouch for each unit.
Back to the Yongnuo radio triggers. They can act as remote controls for your D5100 too.
Any Yongnuo RF-603 triggers that are compatible with Nikon will work for your Nikon (all Nikon versions are all the same) but the only difference is they come bundled with different cables. The bundled cable simply lets you take a pic wirelessly by holding the trigger in your hand and hitting the button on the unit. If you don't want this, you don't have to attach the cable to your D5100 and you don't need any cable attached to your cam to fire flashes remotely; it's just another feature of the triggers. The right shutter release cable for the 5100 is the N3 version cable. You simply connect one end of the cable to the transmitter unit on your hotshoe on the cam, and the other end to the side of your D5100 if you want to use a trigger as a remote control. The version of cable that's bundled with your trigger is listed in the ebay listing.
You can get three RF-603 triggers and two YN560II flash units for around 200 bucks. Good luck
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