Saturday, February 24, 2007

430EX vs Sigma EF-500 DG Super

Test shots while deciding between the Canon 430EX and the Sigma EF-500 DG Super. The Flashes were mounted on a Canon 350D. Special thanks to Watsons photo store for being patient while I try the flash.

Sigma EF-500 DG Super Shot number 1 (average)

Simga EF-500 DG Super Shot number 2 (Dim)

Simga EF-500 DG Super Shot number 3 (bright)

The 4th shot is exposed the same as the 3rd shot. 4 shots of the same subject and 3 different exposures confirms the forum reviews of an inconsistent flash output of the sigma on a Canon camera.

Canon 430EX 1st shot

Canon 430EX 2nd shot. 3rd and 4th shot are still about the same exposure showing consistency in the output.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy New Year

I recently bought a flash (See previous post) to be able to capture those dragons that will be raoming around on the eve of the chinese new year. The plan was sidelined because we have to visit family during the weekend. We went out the next morning. I captured this along Macapagal Blvd while waiting for the other car to fill up at a gas station.

I saw Bert at the mall waving at the crowd. He was promoting healthy teeth. Did you know that he has a collection of paper clips? Ernie was not around.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


At last, my financer allowed me to buy a Flash.

It was a long tug of war between the Sigma EF 500 DG Super and the Canon 430 EX.

The EF 500 DG Super has more features:
More powerful than the 430EX. GN 50 m at 105mm
Optical slave capability
Stroboscopic flash

After scores of hours spent online to decide which flash, I've decided to prioritize the Sigma flash because the Sigma flash is cheaper and has more features especially the optical slave capability. I'll be able to use the flash off-camera and also use it for my Canon A610 point and shoot camera which doesn't have a hot shoe.

People are complaining on the sigma about:
1. Build quality. After seeing it, I'd agree that it looks cheap and flimsy. But I'm not that harsh on equipment so it'll probably survive in my hands. Not a problem.

2. Inconsistent flash output. People say that the flash sometimes over exposes and sometimes under exposes.

Now THIS IS A PROBLEM. I'm not that good in shooting at manual settings so automatic exposures using E-TTL II is a must for me. But since others seem to be satisfied with their EF-500 flash, I'd still take a look at it.

This is where a real (vs online) store becomes handy. You get to try out the equipment first before buying.

I went to Hidalgo to check out the EF-500. I asked the clerk to get me a fresh one. If it doesn't have the "inconsistent flash" problem, I'll buy that unit. I installed the flash on my camera and started doing test shots. The photos are a bit dark. I tried it at optical slave mode, the photos are still dark. I fired the pre-flash manually using the FEL button on the camera then took the shot, this time the photo came out overexposed. That means the the flash is firing at the pre-flash instead of the main flash of a digital system. So far, both problems are still probably fixable as I've only browsed through the manual and has not read it thoroughly yet.

I'm sure though that the flash is in E-TTL mode. So I plugged the flash on the hotshoe once again and took 3 shots on the same location. The first came out slightly underexposed, the second is under exposed and the third is over exposed. This confirms the inconsistent flash output problem stated above.

I bought the Canon 430EX. It's P1,500 more expensive and has less features, but at least I get consistent output.

(test shots at the store)

Monday, February 5, 2007

dSLR head to head @ Photoworld 2007

We went to the photoworld 2007 exhibit and tried out different cameras on the same entry level price/spec range.

I've tested them both in ambient light and with the use of built in flash. Most test is at ISO1600 as this is the setting I'll use the most as I shoot indoor events most of the time. I wasn't able to try out the Sony alpha since the units on display are running low on battery.

Canon 350d performed well.

Nikon perfromed well but this is the D80 and not the D40 starter system. I was surprised that this uses an SD card instead of a CF card memory. I thought CF was a standard for big guns (dSLR).

Pentax K100 performed well. I was surprised as there little talk about this gadget. It churned out good images. This uses an SD card as well. So maybe CF is not standard after all.

Olympus E500 is the noisiest.
After using my Ridata CF card with this one, it gave a CF card error when inserted back to a Canon camera. So this was the last shot for the day using that CF card.

The verdict: For my type of shooting, Canon it is. Pentax is a performer but not much talk going around the forums.