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Thread: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

  1. #1

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    What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    As the name ...what should be ?

    I really need a bit of help here, because I didn't use any external flash previously, and the technical specifications are clearing a bit, but not enough.

    I need a flash for fill flash or bounce from walls/ceiling.
    Do I really need 580 EX II ? I know that 580 might be put as master if more then 1 flash is used, is more powerfull, better build...
    My actual gear is 40D + 18-55 IS kit lens + 70-300 IS USM and a 50mm 1.8. Is 580EX II too much ? is 430 EX II just enough?

    Thanks for any info/hints you may pass,

    Leo

  2. #2
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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Leo,

    I recently went through this same debate. In the end, I decided on the 580 EX II. My thought was that since the 580 EX II can fire at lower power, it can do everything that the 430 EX II can do plus a bit more. I figured that way I would buy it once and not regret not getting the better flash a couple months down the road. I guess it does depend on your budget too though as the 580 EX II is significantly more expensive.

    - Bill

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    The choice between the 580EX ii and the 430EX ii depends on the use you have for your flash and of course, your budget.

    http://photo-tips-online.com/review/...anon-580ex-ii/

    The 580EX ii is, of course, more powerful but, many photographers don't need the power of the bigger flash.

    The 580EX ii is somewhat weather sealed but, unless you are working with a camera and a lens that is also water sealed (yours are not), this doesn't mean a hill of beans. Additionally, you can always use some sort or rain cover if shooting in inclement weather. I would advise this even if your equipment is relatively water sealed.

    The ability of the 580EX ii to tilt down can help with some close-up shots but, I will normally shoot off camera if I am working up close. The full rotation of that unit can be a help in some circumstances but, it would not be a deal breaker for me.

    The 580EX ii built in bounce card is of no use to me because I always have a Joe Demb Flash Diffuser Pro handy.

    The ability of the 580EX (series) flash to control other flashes is absolutely no reason to purchase the 580EX ii over the 430EX ii. Yes, I like to use two or more flashes but, one thing should be obvious... You cannot control another flash with a 580EX unless you have that other flash. Since you will need to buy, beg, borrow or steal (scratch that last one) another flash, IMO, doesn't matter is you buy a flash with control capability first or second.

    There are some differences in the control systems of these two flashes which may or may not make a great difference in your choice. I don't use my hotshoe flashes as pseudo studio strobes in the Strobist fashion...

    The 580EX ii can use a remote battery pack but, unless you are shooting events, this might not be a deal breaker.

    There is a difference in both the size and the weight of the two units:

    Canon Speedlite 580EX II Flash 13.2 oz (375g) 3.0 x 5.3 x 4.5" (75 x 134 x 114mm)

    Canon Speedlite 430EX II Flash 11.6 oz (330g) 2.8 x 4.8 x 4.0" (72 x 122 x 101mm)

    I carry at least one flash with me at all times and usually have it mounted on my camera. The extra 73 grams might or might not make a difference at the end of the day but it really is not that great of a difference. The smaller size of the 430EX ii just might make it a bit handier to carry all day mounted on my camera. When I shoot with my Stroboframe bracket, the extra 73 grams would be really not much when compared with the total weight of the setup.

    However biggest factor in choosing between these two flash units might just be the price. The 430EX ii is listed on Amazon USA at $285 (USD) while the 580EX ii costs $487 (USD)... That is a significant difference.

    I don't know the prices of these two units in your country but, I would assume that the difference in prices might be comparative and the total price differential might even be greater.

    You may find that a used 580EX or 430EX might suit both your needs and your wallet better than a new flash.

    I have researched both units. Which one did I choose? Heck, I shoot with the 550EX and have been doing so for many years. It doesn't have the bells and whistles of the 580EX ii or even some of the advantages of the 430EX ii but, it does what I want a flash to do: provide decent lighting when and where I want it. It is older technology but, it suits me quite well. I can live without the bells and whistles...

    What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 8th June 2011 at 02:27 PM.

  4. #4

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Gents,
    Thanks for your info. Most probably I will go to 580 EX II but those 500 Euro are going to hurt my wallet.

    Thanks again,
    Leo

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    I'd suggest the 580EX II - in bounce situations you often need all the power you can get.

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Thanks Colin,

    Clear up my mind. As I said, I need to bounce..... so I need the full power. Good to know.

    Leo

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Put it this way, I have 4 of them - and I use two as a pair into a shoot through umbrella - sometimes even that's not enough (but not often). The other day I was doing an interior shoot - didn't realise that 1 of the pair was manually set to full power until later on in the shoot - so 2x 430EX wouldn't have been bright enough in this situation.

    What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

  8. #8
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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    It's not just the power of the 580EX II you want for bouncing, but also the 360-degree swivel capability. While both flashes swivel 180 degrees to the left, the 580EX II also swivels 180-degrees to the right, while the 430EXII can only swivel 90 degrees to the right. That eliminates all surfaces behind you on the right as bounce surfaces.

    What you do need to understand is that the scenario Colin describes above, using shoot-through umbrellas is actually more efficient than bouncing, and that he's actually lost LESS power with the umbrellas than you would by bouncing. If you plan on bouncing a lot in low-light situations, you are going to want to increase your ISO to let the ambient help your flash out. A flash is still only powered by four AA batteries, after all. While it can put out a lot of light, it does have an upper limit, and you are likely to hit it, even if you get the 580EX II. The advantage of the 580EX II, power-wise, over the 430EX II is about one stop.

    A 430EX II is still a fine workhorse flash if you can't afford a 580EX II. And if you want to go Strobist and shoot off-camera, if you can go Manual (i.e., no eTTL, no high-speed sync, no remote commanding) with radio triggers, you could probably get a full three-light set up with radio triggers, stands, and umbrellas for the same price as a single 580EX II. You also need to keep in mind that a good low-end studio strobe, like an AlienBee 400 or 800 is going to cost less than that 580EX II and give you considerably more light. So, what you want the flash for is the most important way to prioritize which purchase to make.

    It sounds like a 580EX II is probably the best choice for you feature-wise, but I'm with Richard, if it's going to hurt your budget to get one, then look into purchasing a used 580EX (Mark I), 430EX (Mark I) or 550EX. The 580EX (mark I) may be the sweet spot. Used in good condition, they're in the US$300 range. They do not have the lever and metal foot of the Mark II, you can't control it from the camera menu, there's no external sensor mode, and no PC port, but it does do 360-degree swivel, is a wireless master, and has the same output as the Mark II. It's also hecka easier to switch into Master/Slave mode than a Mark II, and hecka easier to replace a broken foot. And if you're good with electronics and a soldering iron (or you can find someone who is), you can add a 3.5mm minijack sync port.

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Thank you,

    But I will not go for "mark I". SH market in Romania is not the best one, and most of the eBay sellers are not dellivering in Eastern Eurobe. Beside this, "US Prices" + transport+ VAT/Taxes is closing the gap to local price, and I do need the local warranty. I'm not in a hurry, and I will not do the same mistake again ( I bought 70-300 IS USM instead of 70-200 F4 L ... )

    Again, thanks to all for your hints,

    Leo

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Just a thought... If you are going to just use bounce flash then just get an aftermarket and use manual. The main costs of canon latest generation are because they have ETTL and has RF capability. RF capability is useless and ETTL is ok but non essential. The only other piece would be to make sure you have HSS capability... That is useful...

    Neil

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Thanks Neil,

    RF...I don't know ( not yet, to be honest), but HSS might be usefull in my case ( taking picture of kids iside house)

    Leo

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    Re: What should be 430 EX II or 580 EX II ?

    Quote Originally Posted by tihsgod View Post
    The main costs of canon latest generation are because they have ETTL and has RF capability. RF capability is useless and ETTL is ok but non essential. The only other piece would be to make sure you have HSS capability...
    No portable flashes on the market have RF (Radio Frequency) capabilty - that's where the likes of Pocket Wizards make their mark - I'm guessing you're actually meaning wireless capability (which actually works optically, in the visible light spectrum). I wouldn't call wireless capability "useless" - indoors it works pretty well (due to bouncing off walls etc), and even outside in controlled conditions it's "OK". Not trying to split hairs, but the reason I commented is that probably the single biggest thing that someone can do to improve their flash photography is to get the flash off the camera - and generally that means wireless capability (in some form).

    ETTL also isn't "essential" (just like autofocus isn't "essential"), but it certainly makes life a LOT easier in an environment where you can't retake shots easily, and you expect a high % of keepers.

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