This is my quick overview of my experiences using My new Canon 430EX II, and my Cactus v4 wireless triggers.
First things first, I am reasonably new to the world of DSLRs, and only got my first flash within a couple of days now. I am in no way experienced, so this is just a review from a guy who doesn't really know what he's doing yet.
So far, put simply, my experience has been VERY good. I have had almost no problem learning & understanding these new components and I look forward to improving my general photography using them.
Canon 430EX II
the flash seems very well made, and easy to use. The buttons are well placed and easy to reach whether it is the top of a camera or on a flash stand.
ETTL is extremely easy. just put it on the camera and click away, but Manual mode can take a long time to get used to. I feel i will be spending many a day trying to master flash outputs and zooms, in combination with aperture and shuterspeeds.
^^shot in ETTL. flash pointed straight at the ceiling. 1/250sec f/1.8 50mm^^
The HighSpeed sync worked well, but The flash wasn't really powerful enough to get anything more than a bit of fill flash at shutterspeeds faster than 1/400th
The power of this flash is going to plenty powerful enough for me. I could not Imagine needing anything with a higher guide number for the type of shooting I will be doing. The following shot was NOT taken at night. it was taken at about 2:00 in the afternoon, on a slightly overcast day, i.e. Not direct sunlight, but still fairly bright.
^^1/320sec f/11 flash @1/1^^
first impressions: ......................... Cheap
funny about that huh?
They look and feel very cheap, The Plastic is light weight, and doesn't feel like it would stand up to any abuse, the aerial looks and feels like it was an afterthought and the transmitter hotshoe connector bit (its real name escapes me) is entirely plastic with a cheap (more plastic) screw up tightener.
But guess what.... they only cost me about $60AUD, so i wasn't expecting anything different.
Thats is all of the negatives over. These things are AMAZING. All i had to do was insert the batterys, attach the flash, and we were away. Nothing more to it (unless you want to change the channel, but that is just as easy). Creative opportunities opened up by wireless triggers is immense, and at such a cheap price, I couldn't imagine spending my money on anything else.
Straight out of the box, and sitting atop a 4 foot tripod I was getting consistent triggers at about 15 meters. After putting new batterys into the receiver, and putting it on a 2.5 meter flash stand, i was getting approx 75-80metres... and then i ran out of room to test.
(i ran out of room on out property, then ran out of room in the next door neighbors.)
My only complaint is that occasionally (maybe 1% of the time) the flash is triggered a little late, and the second shutter curtain has started closing. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, the black bar is terribly annoying.
All in all. I am extremely happy with both purchases, and would recommend them to anyone