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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 7:16 am 
Hi,

Im looking at trying strobist photography and need some help and advice.

Firstly i have a canon 500d and 550d. Are these cameras OK for strobist work ?

Apart from this what should i get ? Off-camera strobes, speedlights ? I cannot afford canon speedlights. Can i get the ones on ebay Yongnou-460 or some brand. How does one find out how bright a flash is ? is there any wattage / rating ? What should i be getting ? Id mainly want to do some portraits / property (hotel rooms) / automobiles.

Also how do they shoot in daylight and yet the subject stands out while the whole background and environment looks dark.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 10:24 am 
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Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 4:42 pm
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Location: The Netherlands
You could look for the question here, and if it hasnt been asked yet, you can ask it there as well.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:01 pm 
Thanks Wout


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:08 am 
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2010 3:39 pm
Posts: 485
First question, those cameras will do ok.
Second question, you can get inexpensive flash guns, the things you look for are : the flash power can be set manually at least to 1/32, manual zoom.
About how bright the flash is. Flash power is rated by Guide Number (GN). Most have enough for your needs.
Third question:
Put the camera in manual mode.
Switch of the flash(es)
Meter with the camera the background
Set shutter speed to max sync speed. I think that yours have it at 1/250 s
Set aperture to underexpose the background by let’s say 1 stop.
Switch on the flash(es) and set flash power to something like ¼ -1/8
Make a test shot.
Adjust flash power so you get correct exposure.
For this to work the background has to be far enough so that your strobe(s) don’t illuminate it.
Hope that helps

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Canon PowerShot S100
Canon 50D , SIGMA 10-20 f3.5 ,Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM, Canon EF 100/2.8 macro Canon EF 50/1.4 ,Canon EF 85 f1.8,Canon EF-S17-85 4-5.6 Old Tamron 28-300 inherited from my Canon Rebel G film camera
Canon580EXII
http://www.errre.net


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 3:59 pm 
Radu > Thanks for your suggestions. It would really help me.

I ony dont comprehend the last (modus operandi) part.
If i meter for a background but i bright day light and then underexpose 1 stop. Then do you think the flash will still supersede that day light and id still get the main subject well exposed. Im not able to grasp this concept alone.

I mean, i underexpose for the background. Fine. But then everything would turn out dark right ? Because if ive stopped down enough to turn a daylight background dark, then the flashes dont stand a chance to beat that brightness right ? Wont the main subject also, inspite of the flash be underexposed ? Unless the flashes are REAL bright ones (brighter than the environment light) ?

Am i not understanding the concept properly or is this to be done at golden hour kind of times to get a balance of background + well lit subject ?

Thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 9:43 pm 
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The flash duration is about 1/10000 s. So no matter the shutter speed, all the light emitted by the flash will reach the sensor. Ambient light is diminished by the shutter speed, of course, and this gives you the possibility to diminish ambient light. On a sunny day at noon in direct sunlight there is less control of course because the light is too strong. But in shade or at the golden hour you can extinct ambient light completely.
This is the background correctly exposed at about 5:40 PM 1/160, f:5, ISO 160
Image
untitled shoot-004.jpg by Radu Coman, on Flickr
This was taken eight minutes later, 1/125, f:7.1, ISO 160. I’ve decided to close more the aperture to increase the DOF so shutter speed is longer at 1/125 but still background is underexposed.
Image
untitled shoot-008.jpg by Radu Coman, on Flickr
As you can see the background is much darker and the subject is correctly exposed.
At 1/250 the background would have been black and still the subject correctly exposed.
I’ve used a flash with a ¼ CTO gel at ¼ power through a white umbrella about 1 meter from the subject.
The shots are on the lousy side of the bad category (my first attempts actually) but I hope these illustrate the concept.

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Radu
Canon PowerShot S100
Canon 50D , SIGMA 10-20 f3.5 ,Canon EF 24-105 L IS USM, Canon EF 100/2.8 macro Canon EF 50/1.4 ,Canon EF 85 f1.8,Canon EF-S17-85 4-5.6 Old Tamron 28-300 inherited from my Canon Rebel G film camera
Canon580EXII
http://www.errre.net


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 4:41 pm 
Hi Radu,

Do all flashes work at a fixed speed of 1/10,000th (approx ofcourse) of a sec ?

I never knew that. I was under the impression that flashes also have something like a shutter speed. I mean they "flash" for longer or shorter sort of like a shutter speed. And i thought we have to set this shutter speed on the flash depending on the shutter speed we choose on the cam body.

I also assumed that when the flash was mounted on the cam body it would set its own "flashing" speed depending on the shutter speed. Ive got it all wrong ? Then what is flash sync speed ? Sorry i dont know anything about flashes :(.

It would be really helpful if you can clarify the above like you would for a complete dummy.

Thanks Again.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 7:46 pm 
Hi Radu,

Hope you saw my earlier message. As im about to buy some off camera flashes and wanted to understand enough not to make a mistake in my purchase.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:53 am 
hello Plainman007


I may be able to shed some light on your question :)

Small flashes are an excellent way to get started with flash and believe me it is a lot easier then it is sounding. What you want to do is pick up a flash unit you can afford. Because you said you couldn't pick up the newest Canon 580 EX II speedlight which isn't a problem. Not only could you pick up a Canon 430EX for a lot cheaper but there are also other brands to look into such as sunpack, Sigma, Vivitar or Metz which are all a lot cheaper. I would personally avoid the cheap Yongnou flashes made in Asia. Just make sure they are compatible with your Camera body before purchase.


Now because you have a Canon body, you will need either a sync cord or some type of flash trigger to get your flash to work off camera. A sync cord is your cheapest option but will limit you to the length of it and if your like me, you'll trip over it most of the time. Another cheap but good way is to use a remote flash trigger similar to this

http://diyphotographystuff.info/24/how-to-make-your-flash-off-camera/

It will work great but can limit you sometimes when in bright sunlight

The best option is a Pocket wizard setup but it will set you back a few hundred. It's the most dependable and will always fire.

If you want further information about off camera flash, In box me and Ill answer and explain any questions you may have.

You may want to give this video a look as it is an intro to an amazing DVD that taught me a LOT about flash. Changed my life.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRvC0LJCyeE


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 3:55 pm 
Hi Slick,

Thanks for chiming in. Why do you suggest not buying the YoungNou flashes ?. Any specific flaws. They seem to be my best option at the moment as they fit my budget. Was planning to buy 3 strobes so need to fit the budget accordingly.

Based on what you told me i immediately looked up sunpack flashes, metz and some other flashes. Most seemed mute in controls (non existant) on the rear, and yet 4 times costlier than a YoungNou. The slightly large looking ones are as expensive as a Canon Original speedlite. This defeats the purpose of me getting an aftermarket product.

Please do let me know. And do do fairly reasonable outdoor shots like a biker etc what power rating guide nos should i look for on the flash.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 5:38 pm 
hey Plainman,

If you really want to get the Yongnou Flashes that you see on e-bay go for it. I just have had no experience using them. I personally just try to invest in the best possible quality I can afford. I didn't realize you were buying more than one flash unit all at once. For that then I suppose you'd have no choice but to buy a Yongnou flash.. Most of the cheaper flashes I suggested either are TTL or Manual. You will find you will usually work in manual for off camera flash in order to balance your lights so that's why I suggested those products.

You will also have to keep in mind that you will now need 3 flash triggers as well so budget for that.

If your just learning flash, may I suggest starting to learn on one flash unit and then adding more and more. Learning the basics first will help you out in the long run when it comes to more complicated lighting set-ups.

Here is an article explaining Guide numbers on Flash units.

http://www.naturephotographers.net/articles0703/jm0703-1.html


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 6:24 pm 
Hi Slick,

Nice to hear from you immediately. I was in fact just browsing through all the flashes on ebay. Now im trying to decide between the YongNuo YN-460 II or the YN-560. The only major differences in them is that the 560 has a manual zoom reflector.

I wanted ask you a major question. the YN-460 II has a rated flash duration of 1/800 whereas the YN-560 is 1/200. Which is better ? Especially for freezing motion more effectively ? My camera can do a max of 1/4000th of a sec shutter speed. Id really like to know how this 1/400th and 1/200th flash speed makes a difference ? My cams are the T1i and T2i.

Ofcourse like you said i will buy 1 first, learn to use it for about 2-3 months and then opt for 1 or 2 more. Im assuming i need 3 at least for a 3 point lighting setup. Id like to do outdoor shots that make my subject (mostly a portrait or an automobile) really pop out and stand apart from the background while maintaining a good background landscape color of sunsets etc. Or even in bright daylight maintaining a dark landscape with a pop to the main subject. Maybe rarely the interior of a hotel room or reception ? Are these flashes ok for this kind of work.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 8:47 pm
Posts: 202
Location: Osijek
so your topic in here got me wondering about the time, since Radu said that flash duration is 1/10000 of a second, that seemed to short for me so i looked up wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_%28photography%29,

there is a great explanation on how does the flash work and explains why is sync speed that what it is.

for what i learned faster the flash the better, because than it will illuminate only one moment of the exposure, stopping that moment, in contradiction longer flash will act as a ambient light and illuminate more moments that will than make a motion blur..

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 5:16 am 
Yes all standard flash units will be fine for portrait photography. Your flash sync speed is dependent on your camera bodies which I believe are both 1/250 second as already stated.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 7:58 am 
So i understood that, but then with my T1i & T2i bodies am i limited to only a maximum shutter speed of 1/200th of a second (i actually checked the documentation and fastest sync speed is not 1/250) ? I mean once i have the wireless trigger mounted and my flashes off camera will i still be limited to 1/200 sec shutter speed ? Thats ok with portraiture, stationary automobiles, realestate indoor etc.

But what about action shots and freezing motion of say someone jumping in the air ? I cant do that with the bodies i have and these flashes ? How do take pics at 1/500th of a second shutter speed using these flash units ? This is why i started this topic before buying. Because ill either have to buy a superior body or superior flash that can make this work.


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