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Pondering Which Flash to Buy

Fortkentdad

Fort Kent, CA
275 posts

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Fortkentdad Registered since 01st Sep 2012
Sat 01-Sep-12 06:19 AM

I'm just getting started in the DSLR hobby. I have an old Nikon SLR which I tended to leave in the "auto-everything" mode in part due to the cost of film and developing, the delay in waiting to see how things turned out, and being happy with the pictures I was taking in the auto-everything mode.

I bought a D5100 earlier this summer and am now beginning to get past the auto stage and starting to learn how to use the camera in variety of other modes. Still a ways to go before I'll dial up the M setting but using the A and S settings more and mroe.

I figure it is about time I add a flash and have been doing some on line research to find out which flash will be best. I had to get over the sticker shock of a new SB700 at $400 at our local camera shop. It is available online in Canada for $330+ shipping.

So I thought I'd look at the alternatives.

I initially was impressed with the specs on some of the ebay and amazon offerings, but found that there are many cheap chinese made flashes. If I was to go that way I'd go with a Yongnuo 565ex for about $150. But I'm concerned about the QC after reading the negative reviews on line. Still there are satisfied customers who say "why pay more?".

Then I saw a Bower on special at Bestbuy.ca for $125, it had decent specs and would probably do - but then I found a very telling review of the Canon version of the same flash ( http://www.ronmartblog.com/2011/01/review-bower-sfd926c-digital-shoe-mount.html ) It put me off of the Bower trail.

I found another brand name I recognized - Sigma and found their Sigma EF530 DG Super on sale for $195 from $350 from McBains of Edmonton. Great deal. It has a "super" GN of 53m compared to only 28m on the SB700 and for far less loonies. For about $50 more I can step up to the more current EF610 with a GN of 61m and a few other refinements. Reviews of the Sigma seem to be good with just a few unhappy customers. Maybe this is the one for me??

In my research I came across another brand name that gets great reviews in general and that was Metz. I am looking at either their 44 AF1 or 50 AF1(GN 44 & 50). I read that the 50 is an update of their award winning 48 Af1 model. If I can't afford to drive a German engineered automobile, maybe I can manage a German made flash??? I understand that the controls are a little more complicated than the SB700 which gets bonus points for its intuitive set up.

Still another option I came across is a Vivitar DF 483, good reviews, a trusted name and a GN of 50m. I found I'd have to import it from the USA into Canada which shouldn't be a big problem, other than waiting. But for the price ($149) I could add a DF-293 Bounce Zoom for $90 more and have it function as a slave unit - two for less than the price of one, good deal, or no?

So how to decide.

The safest route is to go with the SB700 as my first flash, but that's $350 or there abouts if I order it on line. I'm a little disappointed in the GN of 28, but there is no way I'm going to buy the SB900 or 910, that would be too much to put out right now.

If I move away from Nikon brands I am tossed between the Metz 44 or 50, and the Sigma 530. They will set me back $200-250. Or else go with a pair of Vivitars and play with multiple flash units, that is appealing too.

What to do?


FKD
Alberta CANADA

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