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)

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