A flashy addition to the shiny camera

September 22, 2007 | Author: | In: Everyday Life, Photography

Ever since I got my shiny camera last year, I’ve always wanted more equipment such as a flash, different lenses, a tripod, bags, filters etc. Over the year I’ve come to gotten use to using what I only had and can see the limitations with just the standard equipment. But today, I finally bought my first piece of serious equipment. The Canon Speedlite 580 EX Mark II!

I have used the 580EX Mark I before on the jobs with my photography boss, and it was a fabulous piece of equipment. It made me wish I had something like this whenever I attend conventions, both anime and other types of conventions. With Animania and Supanova coming up, I thought it’s a prime time to buy one of these. I was also going to be a photographer as Animania staff, but due to some circumstances, I’ve declined to do the job, but that doesn’t stop me from buying this.

There are a few changes that I notice over it’s predecessor, but they aren’t anything too major so I won’t go into details. The best thing about this is that it only costs me $595 AUD. Retail price it’s about $800. So how come I got it for so cheap? Well firstly I bought it from Discount Digital Photographics, who are based in Sydney and are pretty much parallel importers. What it means is that they import goods outside the usual distribution methods, however it is not illegal, and with DDP not having a shop front (the business is all inside a family’s apartment) they also save money themselves, and pass these savings onto the customers. Some people say that i should look on eBay, but I don’t trust eBay when it comes to high value goods such as camera equipment. Plus most of the time, eBay prices are close to retail.


Now this is only the start of the things that I want to buy. The next item will definitely be a lens, but I’m not sure if I want the Canon 60mm macro lens or the Canon 10-22mm wide angle lens. I was actually contemplating buying the macro lens with the flash, but I didn’t want to part away with an extra $545. Why these two lenses? Obviously the macro lenses for my figure photography, and the wide angle for conventions and regular landscape shots. My next trip to Japan, which won’t be till next year, I plan to do a LOT of photography. But I also want to go around to many other places to take photos such as Europe and America, but that’ll happen later in life.

So for the readers who own cameras, what other equipment do you own?

10 Responses to A flashy addition to the shiny camera



September 23rd, 2007 at 12:46 am

Aww! You got the silver body. Black is back man! What’s going on here! lol j/k
But the flash would match a lot more if you had a black body.

I don’t know how you feel about the new EXII since you only got your hands on the original 580EX for a short period of time, but the new 580EXII kinda sucks. Things a lot of people miss or hate:

*Hearing the sound of the flash recharge (tells you when you can shoot again).
*Flash will automatically power off for ten minutes after so much use (some sort of internal counter system). Great to save Canon some money on warranty, sucks for us on the field.
*The new locking mechanism for the flash does not work well with the older Canon cameras (20D, 30D). There are times when I shoot and the flash does not fire! The hotshoe on the body and the flash don’t make full contact (happens around 5% of the time). I would imagine the EXII not having these problems on the newer cameras such as the 1D Mark III or 40D
*The flash seems to be weaker somehow (e.g. 1/4 is slightly under exposed on the EXII when compared to the EXI under the same conditions)

The only thing that’s probably better about the EXII is the improved recycle time… wow… and my flash will turn of after so many shots. That helps *hint of sarcasm there -_-()*
*burns his EXII and hugs his EX*

The lenses I use:
24-70mm L series



September 23rd, 2007 at 12:49 am

Nice flashy thing. I have the first version of that flash and have been very happy with it. I have the 10-22mm as well mated with a 30D. I’d have to give the lens a 3.5 out of 5 stars. It does great for tripod interior shots, and regular outdoor architecture/nature shots, but if you’re hand-holding with a flash, the outer edges of the photos will never get enough light from the flash head. It’s simply too wide. Perhaps there is a way to mod the light to get better coverage. The lens is obviously not as sharp as the L series lenses, and it won’t work with full frame camera bodies, but the price is cheaper (though still pricey). I don’t recommend the 10-22mm for portraiture unless you like distortion. Nevertheless, it is super-lightweight and will definitely be in my bag next trip to Japan. As for macro work, I have a 24-70 2.8 L which does a pretty darn good job. Though not a true macro lens, it’s able to get closer than my other lenses and still keep things in focus. Check the forums at dpreview.com for insight on lighting your macro subjects without having to spend extra money on equip.



September 23rd, 2007 at 4:16 am

Garry: Who doesn’t read DPreview? lol



September 23rd, 2007 at 10:53 am

AOforever1: Colour is the last thing that comes to mind when I purchase equipment. Plus I think it would look weird if I had a silver flash, lol.

The use of an external flash is still new to me so I’ve yet to come across any of the issues you raised there. But I can see where you are coming from as I do also notice the slight disadvantages of the Mark II over the Mark I. Of course the use of the Mark II on camers such as the 20D and 30D don’t really concern me since I’ll never buy that kind of equipment. Perhaps when I’m stinking rich, lol. Though from what I’ve learnt from photography so far, you just have to learn how to work with the equipment that you have to get the full advantage of it. Sure enough using what I had before was good, but I was already seeing limitations in what I can do. But anyway, I’ll see how good the flash is when Animania and Supanova come up.

Garry: The 10-22mm isn’t a lens that is suitable for a flash since it can only cover so much of an area. Although I plan to get the 10-22mm, I don’t plan to use it for portraits or anything, I’ll leave that to the 18-55mm or even the 75-300mm. I plan to use the wide angle mainly for landscapes etc since its better to use that kind of lens for overseas trips, or to use it when I go to car shows.

Interesting choice for a macro. I never thought of trying to use something like that for a macro lens. Though Since majority of my photography is macro photography, I prefer if I get a proper macro lens as using the macro filters for the 18-55mm is becoming a pain. All it is is a magnifying glass attached to the front. Thanks for the link, I’ll have a read through there when I get the chance.



September 23rd, 2007 at 10:29 pm

Now you got a flash! I expect better photos from you!



September 24th, 2007 at 9:32 am

Oooo, pretty lol. I never liked carrying big/heavy things, I got used to carrying my six lb laptop now though, so I don’t know if I will ever get cameras and accessories to go with that can’t fit in my pocket. When I went out to take my figure pictures, one tripod was the size of my hand and the other was a normal light-weight compatible tripod. Camera fit nicely on a pouch that hung on my belt. I know I won’t get as good quality as your pictures but its how I go lol.



September 25th, 2007 at 10:08 am

Hearing this makes me wanna own a DLSR camera… just bought my first digicam few months ago, so gotta wait a year or two before deciding to buy a DLSR one.



September 26th, 2007 at 12:26 am

Hey AOforever1, thats interesting what you say.
I upgraded to the 580EXII and got rid of the old one, BIGGEST mistake ever.
The ONLY thing this one has over it is the recycle time like you mention.
Sound is CRITICAL!
The power off kinda sucks but only a bit. The BIGGEST problem is when your using a master and slave config. STUPID idea canon.
I dont have any issues with the locking mech with my 40D but on the odd occasion it doesnt fire. Sometimes the older model used to do that, but less often.
As for the flash being weaker, something is different but I can hardly notice. I might measure it sometime now you brought that up :)
What I really have a issue with is the wireless remote, which is dead important to use with this flash. In short, its shit. its utter rubbish.. grr do you have one?



September 26th, 2007 at 10:00 am

Windbell: LOL, you’ve gone to Japan, so I expect to see lots of photos!

AS: I’ve never had to ever carry around a laptop since I don’t own one. Though I did borrow one form a friend a while ago and it does get annoying carrying around something like that. Later on I’ll be carrying more equipment for my photo shoots but right now it’s not that bad.

samejima: Well even a digicam is still a nice purchase, although nothing compared to a DSLR, you can still have fun with it. Hopefully by the time you have the money to buy one, something better would’ve come out.

Uradox: With what you and AOforever1 have been saying, seems like I should bought myself the 580EX I :( I can probably see the the disadvantage of the power off thing and I’ll most likely see it this weekend with the Animania convention. Although it’s something I’ll have to live with now that I bought the flash and I’m not willing to go and spend money on another flash. Though for what I want to do, which is simply take photos at conventions, or when on the job, this is good enough I guess. At least I’ll let my boss know that the 580EXII is probably not a good upgrade.



September 26th, 2007 at 2:58 pm

I dont think the power issue will be that big of a deal for what your using it for. Its just annoying when you have other units setup as slaves and you have to resync everything again.
Dont get me wrong, for general point and click stuff the flash is ok. I only get frustrated with it on the professional side.
For the record I have never once used my dslr out in public in japan. Strange as it may seem I dont like the image it suggests (even though you see many middle age japanese men with them). I hate the whole tourist look, so its a small camera in my pocket for everything :)

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