Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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This website has been a lot of help so far, thank you! I ended up doing my first Maternity shoot yesterday and it went fantastic! I am pleased with how the photos came out (especially with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens). However, it was a cloudy day and a "Speedlite" would have come in handy on a lot of the shots.

I am relatively on a budget this week, but can save up in the next few if need be, I came across two that were suggested....

Canon 270EX II Speedlite- Which I would need about another week or so to save up for...

Or

Yongnuo TTL Flash Speedlite YN-465- Which some reviews claimed that Yongnuo isn't the best choice, and some say it is especially on a budget. This one I can purchase now.

Does anyone have any recommendations on Speedlites. I am new to shooting still photos, (newborns, maternity and birthing). My budget is at least under $100. If not, then I can save up the next few weeks.

Thank you for any help you can give!

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1  
Yes, get a Yongnuo. It is a great way to learn manual flash and they are a bargain. –  dpollitt Sep 23 '13 at 16:01

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

For $100 you are probably going to get a lot more power from third party flashes. I personally like having Canon flashes for the peace of mind on future compatibility and the effortlessness of using them, but Yongnuo makes pretty decent budget third party Speedlights in general from what I understand (though I am not familiar with that particular model) and for the under $100 price range, I'd probably want to try to get as much power as possible.

As long as it has good compatibility with Canon's E-TTL, then power is pretty much the next most important factor. Being able to act as a remote slave is also nice, but this can be added on with something like a PocketWizard later even if not directly supported (though it does cost a bit more that way). It is also very nice if high speed sync is supported, though this is mostly helpful for outdoor shots where such a cheap flash may very well not be powerful enough anyway. When moving up in to the $200-$300 price range, I'd move high speed sync up to a higher priority, but it will probably be less useful in your price range.

It is true that given an unlimited budget, the third party probably isn't the best bet. I'm very happy with my Canon 600EX-RT and wouldn't trade it for a third party, even at the discounted price, but if your options are first party with less power or third party with more, I'd agree that power wins every time unless there are major feature losses (and maybe even then sometimes).

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Thank you so much AJ, I keep reading some of the third party ones aren't exactly the best, but some say they will be great for a beginner. But in the long run, it would be smart to purchase the canon's. –  Amanda Brown Sep 23 '13 at 23:47
    
@AmandaBrown - exactly, there are two perspectives to look at. It is true the third party ones are not as good as the Canon ones of equivalent level. That's why ultimately most people that do stuff professionally end up getting the better quality Canon gear at the higher price, but as far as ability goes, you get more bang for your buck, even if it is less bang overall with the third party. If you want the best, go with the Canon, but if you want something that is the most capable for the price so you can learn, the third party is the way to go. –  AJ Henderson Sep 24 '13 at 2:27
    
Just be aware that some things about the third party are going to be annoying and not as good as the Canon, but that's why it's a lot cheaper even if the core functionality is there for a much lower price. You'll be able to light a scene from further away for the price with third party, but it won't be weather proof, won't be as care free and won't be as well built, but it will still let you take photos you couldn't take spending the same amount on a first party lens. –  AJ Henderson Sep 24 '13 at 2:28
    
AJ- This is a rather hard decision for me then. Since I am a beginner I wouldn't want to spend a whole lot on one, but then again I enjoy what I am doing (newborns, maternity and birthing) and typically would like something that would benefit. I do have a small studio, but on location and w/ the babies in the studio a speedlite (I read) would come in handy. Not sure which one to exactly purchase, and hopefully in my budget range too. –  Amanda Brown Sep 24 '13 at 2:46
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@AmandaBrown - Yes, the relevant number for flash power is the guide number. The guide number is the distance at which you can get a standard exposure at ISO 100 at f/1. For example, a 600EX-RT has a 60 meter (190ft) guide number, so at ISO 100, it can expose an f/2.8 image at 68 feet. Since light fall off is also non-linear, the 430EX is orders of magnitude brighter than the 270EX you were looking at. –  AJ Henderson Sep 24 '13 at 13:37

Don't get the 270EX, it can't tilt sideways (I've discovered lighting from the side is much better for portraits than strait light or light from above), also it doesn't have on-flash controls meaning it's mostly useless off camera, if you go for Canon original I wouldn't get anything less than a 430EX II

Because I'm on a limited budget I got a YN-465 and I love it - it works perfectly on my 550D/T2i in TTL mode and off-camera in manual mode (with a cheap radio trigger), also, it's probably the simplest flash to operate (one dial and one button).

But the YN-465 is maybe not compatible with the 600D/T3i (according to this page)

And it is a you-get-waht-you-pay-for deal, the YN-465 is missing quite a few features that the Canon original flashes have.

Also, I would also check the YN-468, it has most of the features missing from the YN-465, better build (they changed the battery door that broke on my flash) and it's about $75 on ebay. in the page I linked to earlier there are old conflicting reports on compatibility with the 600D/T3i so you should check it it is compatible using other sources before buying.

Important note: I love flash photography but there is a learning curve, if you just put the flash on the camera and point it forward you are likely to get horrible results, make sure you have time to learn how to use the flash and to play with it before you have to use it on a real shoot.

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Nir- Thank you so much! I just checked into the YN-468 on Amazon, and read all the questions people have asked, and the reviews.. that is in my price range too for the T3i! I have never in my life done flash before, however I admit I did buy a few books, and one of them was the rebel dummy book to learn more about everything. I plan on before jumping into it with maternity and newborns to practice as much as I possibly can. What else should I purchase with the YN-468? I was going to get Pop-Up Universal Soft Screen Box External Flash Diffuser for newborn shoots as recommended? –  Amanda Brown Sep 23 '13 at 23:46
    
@AmandaBrown I'd also recommend taking a look at Lumiquest's softboxes. They are quite easy to use and do a very nice job for the price (fairly cheap). –  AJ Henderson Sep 24 '13 at 3:14
    
An off-shoe cord so that you can still use E-TTL with the YN-468 off the hot shoe. They come in lengths from about 2 feet (amazon.com/Zeikos-ZE-OCSCC-Camera-Canon-Flash/dp/B0029LHXM6) to at least 10 feet (amazon.com/Pixel-E-TTL-Off-Camera-replaces-OC-E3b/dp/B003GR6IUK). –  Michael Clark Sep 24 '13 at 3:20
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For basics on using strobes for flash, there's no better source than strobist.blogspot.com/2006/03/lighting-101.html –  Michael Clark Sep 24 '13 at 3:23
    
Michael.. thank you so much! –  Amanda Brown Sep 24 '13 at 3:29

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