Help suggest a flash for a Canon XTi
June 30, 2009 9:55 PM   Subscribe

Can someone recommend a camera flash for a Canon XTi for around $120? I really want the speedlite 430 but its just out of my budget right now and I'm still basically a beginner. Is there anything comparable at that price that still offers a swivel head that can go in all 4 directions (as in, left right up down)? Can I still get good results from something at that price? the guys at the camera store are really trying to upsell me and tell me that anything at my price range will basically suck.
posted by postergeist to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: The Vivitar DF400MZ and Sunpack PZ42XC seem to be the two most suggested alternatives on the net. Any thoughts?
posted by postergeist at 10:09 PM on June 30, 2009

I just recommended the Canon Speedlite 270EX to a coworker today who wanted to give bounce flash a try after seeing some of my indoor pictures on flickr. That one goes for around $150 brand new, and is the cheapest Canon-made flash available. But yeah if your budget is really that tight for a bounce flash, you're gonna have to look at offbrand flashes. Quick Adorama search-

Digital Concepts 918AF - $100
Nissin Di622 - $150

I like my tiny Nikon SB-400 speedlight (270EX equivalent). It's small, less obtrusive than the bigger flashes and lets me bounce off ceilings in landscape-orientation shots. At some point later on I'll get the full rotating head flash so I can bounce in portrait mode, but for now, it works great. Really, really great actually. I seldomly use my on camera flash except for flash-fill during daytime.

I've come across relatively good remarks on Sunpak for casual photography.
posted by liquoredonlife at 10:25 PM on June 30, 2009

The 430 isn't a very good or useful flash, you are better off saving your money. The 580ex is where it's at, sadly. It's all about power with flashes, and the 420 doesn't have much.

You can look at for suggestions on other, cheaper used flashes to buy, and how to use them.

The advantage of using Canon flashes is that you can use TTL metering, which for things like events and anything done in the moment is pretty amazing technology. It makes things quite easy. Flash stuff can take a while to understand.

I'd really recomend you save your money for the 580ex. But you'll learn a lot from it all with a grain of salt.
posted by sully75 at 10:35 PM on June 30, 2009

From your post it isn't clear why you want a flash. Do you just want more power than the XTi's internal flash? Do you want to be able to bounce the flash off the roof or a wall? Do you want to remove it from the body completely? Or are you just hoping a separate flash will magically give you better photos?

(None of this is meant to sound snooty - an honest answer will help us help you)

I'd strongly suggest that before you buy a flash look at Strobist - here's a link to a post from three years ago where David discusses the basics of what you want in a flash, but the whole site has an absolute wealth of information on flashes and how to use them creatively.

Now you might quickly decide off camera lighting isn't your thing, but have a poke around the site first if you think you're going to get enthusiastic about using your flash to create better looking photos.
posted by puffmoike at 4:11 AM on July 1, 2009

Bugger. Should have really read the OP's question more carefully. Sorry.

Still - have you looked at Strobist? The Strobist community at Flickr is a great spot to search for specific discussion of the particular flashes you mention - the standard of discourse is pretty high by web standards (if not always at MeFi levels).
posted by puffmoike at 4:15 AM on July 1, 2009

BTW the Strobist site will tell you that the 580EX is overpriced and you should get an old manual flash. It is overpriced, and you can do things with older flashes, BUT TTL capability is pretty cool once you figure out what you can do with it.

The salesman is kind of right, everything in your price range will kind of suck.
posted by sully75 at 8:22 AM on July 1, 2009

« Older Gold fences on tv   |   Upgrading from Act! v10 to v11... worth it? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.