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Recommend a cheap flash

afroturf

Member
Joined
12 Jul 2007
Messages
105
Location
Nottingham
Hi I'm new to slr cameras, I've just purchases a Canon 1000d mainly for photographing my fish and tanks. I have zero knowledge of slr camaras and equiptment and would just like a few pointers for the correct equiptment I'll need to get some good shot.

I've read that lenses and flashes are as important as the camera itself. I intend to buy a macro lense but that will have to wait till the next pay day so I'll be using the standard lense that come with the camera till then. So I think I'll need to but a flash to place above the tank whilst taking shot. Could any one advise on ones I could use probably second hand as I have very few pounds to spend I'd also need a cord or transmitter too.

Cheers,
 

mjenner

Member
Joined
17 Oct 2008
Messages
111
Location
Chessington, Surrey
Hi Afroturf,

Regarding the flash, I'd been asking myself the same question over the last few weeks as to what flash to get for my DSLR (I was increasingly fed-up with my on-camera pop-up flash spoiling photos and burning out pictures). Unfortunately I came to the conclusion that good-quality flashes are hard to find for Canon, although there are a number of budget flashes, they might not be quite as compatible or versatile.

I have been finding myself doing more and more people shots (a succession of weddings, I think I've reached that time in life...) and I need to be be able to angle the flash to bounce it and get a softer, less direct light. I wanted a Canon flash as they should talk E-TTL 2 properly (the code that Canon cameras use to tell the flash the details of the shot being taken so it can automatically configure the flash for the correct power and area). The only flashes that Canon offers that allow these things are the 430EX Mk2 and 580EX Mk2 (which are both fairly pricey). There is one cheaper flash, the 220Ex, but this is not powerful enough and has a fixed flash, you can't angle it at all (and it's still £127!).

I was lucky and picked up a 580EX Mk1 secondhand from the wedding photographer at one of the most recent weddings I attended for £180 (they're going for about £200-£240 on eBay), this is almost the same as the Mk2 version without some additional weatherproofing and it's a little noisier (a very very slight flash-whine but I've not really noticed at all). The Mk2 version is going for about £300-£350 on eBay and £419 in Jessops! (and they wonder why they aren't getting as many customers as they used to?!)

I'm planning on getting a wireless transmitter (an ir reciever is built into the flash, I think you set the flash to "slave" and it'll fire when it recieves an IR signal from the transmitter that is connected to the camera), or I'll get an extension cable later on. This should hopefully avoid excess light from the flash and should allow me to position the flash where it'll produce a good shot of the tank without bouncing off the glass.

A good macro lens will help you no-end, look to go as low aperture-wise as possible (f2.8 probably, anything lower is stupidly expensive), the price of the lens will go up immensely but it'll allow you to capture action properly without a flash providing there's fairly good light in the tank to begin with. However with a flash, a higher aperture will be less of a handicap.

That's just my advice from what little I know, I'd wait and get a second (or third) opinion from the other guys on the forum as they know quite a lot more than me regarding aquarium photography or might know of a decent 3rd-party flash that's cheaper :).

Hope that was of some help,

Cheers,

Matt
 

afroturf

Member
Thread starter
Joined
12 Jul 2007
Messages
105
Location
Nottingham
Hi guys cheers for the reply I've been looking at the 480 and 220 canon flashes, I'd obviously rather get the 480 but can't really afford it at this time. Are there any models from other manufacturers say metz or sunpak that would be compatible and cheap that you can recommend?

Bugs that a intresting vid, is there anyone on here who has made a diy lighting setup rather than using flashes. Is it really a possibility? wouldn't you get lots of glare from the glass?
 

mjenner

Member
Joined
17 Oct 2008
Messages
111
Location
Chessington, Surrey
Hi Afroturf,

I really would recommend a 480 min for the fact that you'll probably outgrow a 220 too quickly as it's very limited and of fairly low power. I'm afraid I don't know too much about the 3rd party ones, but the fact that I've not seen anyone using one to my knowledge tells me something about that. If you've got a money issue like me, try going secondhand, there's not too much that can go wrong with a flash (yes, the 580 and 480 are a bit more complex with the moving bulb assembly, but it's very robust still) and the odd scratch won't hurt it's ability to flash. (I'd be a bit more wary of buying something like a camera body secondhand, but a flash would probably be ok?)

Alternatively (or additionally), Yep, I don't see why you couldn't use a powerful light, maybe something like a worklight from B&Q to light the tank (not sure about the colour tinge though), I don't see any problem with reflections, so long as you're shining it into the water, or another pane of glass, not into the pane you're shooting through :).

All I'd say is make darn sure the light(s) is/are secured and can't fall in, otherwise I could foresee a bzzzt... sizzle... dead fish scenario... :wideyed: :)

Good luck and happy shooting! :),

Matt
 

bugs

Member
Joined
7 Sep 2007
Messages
367
afroturf said:
Bugs that a intresting vid, is there anyone on here who has made a diy lighting setup rather than using flashes. Is it really a possibility? wouldn't you get lots of glare from the glass?

I've "painted" a scene with a torch on a slow exposure... That's quite an interesting effect.

You avoid glare by directing both the light source and camera carefully - same as with a flash, albeit with lights you see it before you take the shot. Light is light at the end of the day - sure it has different temps but you can set digital camera's to compensate so nothing lost IMO. A fast lens gives you more flexibility; reducing your dependency on intense lighting.

Reflected daylight is good. If you have a strong natural light source coming in to the room, try reflecting some of it on to the subject with a bright white board or similar.
 
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