On Flash Photography: Part 1, The Decision Process

After shooting a couple of concerts, I realized I was pretty lucky since the stage here at Libis has decent lighting. After taking photos of my niece’s post-baptism reception, I again realized that I shouldn’t really rely on always cranking the ISO to 1600, so I use the pop-up flash. And after getting some blog ad money cash’d, I decided to take the plunge, and get an external flash for the camera.

I’ve been looking for one since I was in Shanghai, but I believe it was a good decision to prioritize other things, since I don’t think it was something that my gear then badly needed. Now’s a different case, since I do want to push my photography a bit up the scale.

First off, the flash to buy: I’ve been eyeing Sigma flashes since, since its budget-friendly, and has about 80% good reviews (specifically for the Sigma EF-500 DG Super). The Canon flashes are expensive, though just before I bought the flash I have now, I was dead-set on getting a Canon Speedlite 430EX.

I got a Sigma EF-500 DG ST, which is rarely reviewed, has no LCD, but is less than five thousand pesos cheaper than Sigma’s higher-end model, the Super, or the 430EX. A comforting after-purchase thought was: hey, a 430ex cost as much as the CPU I bought last December; and what do these things do? Throw light!

Sigma EF-500 DG ST: The Cheapest 'E-TTL' Camera Flash for Canon

Here’s what pushed me to the more practical buy:

[The Sigma EF-500 DG ST is] possibly the best E-TTL flash available in its price range. Good power, autozoom, bounce/swivel head, and a few manual power settings. It’s all the flash most hobbyists will ever need. But it has no high speed sync, and doesn’t work with garden variety hotshoe adapters. Not a good choice if you might want to use it off-camera.

-Curtis Newport [
source]

And what makes Mr. Newport statement so convincing? He re-packaged the EOS Flash Bible into the more concise and readable FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY 101 – A BEGINNER’S GUIDE. Hence, there’s some form of credibility to base my judgements on, compared to the kind of advice I’d usually hear from the gear-hungry Canon horde, aka slaves to the brand.

But I could’ve gone much cheaper, you know. I’ll talk about that on a later post.

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3 thoughts on “On Flash Photography: Part 1, The Decision Process

  1. j says:

    errr cam? lalalal!

  2. […] Vivitars to consider). The de-facto lighting expert over the Canon Digital Photography forums cites the Sigma EF-500 ST as the most bang-for-the-buck E-TTL II compatible external flash for the hobby d… (I bought one). Bottom line: the Digital EOS line of flashes isn’t the end-all, be-all of […]

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