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Author Topic: 580Ex - Worth It?  (Read 3937 times)
Ben Rubinstein
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« on: August 10, 2005, 04:01:38 PM »
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The 580ex is accurate to a third of a stop as opposed to the half stop or so of previous models. That said, the problem has a  99% probability of being the camera/user not the flash. The camera does all the math and tells the flash 'fire at X level of power'. If shooting digital then you are experiencing Canon's awful flash system to the full. The D30, D60, 10D, 1D and 1Ds use the older ETTL flash system which is absolutely awful. The 20D, 1D mkII and 1Ds mkII all use the newer version, ETTL II which is said to be more consisitent and reliable.
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Hunter
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2005, 06:24:20 PM »
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I shoot with ID/1Ds Mark II bodies depending on the subject matter. Can I use use the 550? Sure, however it uses the old ETTL system, and I've never found it to be nearly as consistent as Nikon's system- just my opinion (and I remember it was echoed by many on Rob Galbrath's site some months ago). So having said that, is the 580 more consistent- especially with the distance chips that are incorporated in some Canon lenses and their new ETTL system? Is the complete system more consistent- especially with regard to fill flash?
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2005, 05:28:56 AM »
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So having said that, is the 580 more consistent- especially with the distance chips that are incorporated in some Canon lenses and their new ETTL system?

Nope, the new ETTL II is camera based not flash based and so will work as well with your 550ex, except not on your 1D/1Ds that predate ETTL II.

Using ETTL is technically possible if you use it how it is supposed to be used, but it assumes that you can find a focus point over a neutral surface and that it is in the same plane of focus as the eyes, almost impossible for the kind of work I do (wedding). You could use FEL but by then your subject has wandered off. Whatever workaround you may have, ETTL cannot be used for spur of the moment shots, it takes time to select the focus point and only then focus.

I went over to Auto flash a while back and have perfectly consistent and predictable flash exposures (I use two Metz 54 mz-4's which have ETTL II and Auto).
I don't have any ETTL II bodies so I can't tell you how ETTL II measures up, it is said to be far better and finally workable. On the other hand I've not been impressed with it's fill flash in pictures I've seen.
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Hunter
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« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2005, 03:49:39 PM »
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I apologize for undoubtedly bringing this up again, but I searched the forum and couldn't find any info. So: I have a 550EX and have been less than thrilled with results, (very inconsistent compared to the Nikon system). Is the 580Ex any better i.e. more consistent? I'll buy one if it's worth it, but not if it's just a marginal improvement. Any input would be appreciated.
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Khurram
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« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2005, 04:07:17 PM »
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what do you mean when you say the 550ex is inconsisent??  are you talking about the flash or the flash metering system??  I had two 550 (and a 420) which i recently replaced with 580's,   But it had nothing to do with being unhappy with the perermance of the 550's.  I made the switch bcoz:
-i'm planning to switch to digital in next year, and was getting a head start on upgrading my flashes (since the 580's will make up for the crop factor),
-i liked the layout of the controls on the 580
-tax wise,  made sense to switch (CCA incentive)

Are you sure that the inconsistancy you are experiencing isn't a flash metering issue?? (i.e. using nikon metering techniques for Canon).  I find Canon's flash metering to be brilliant - particularly when using Flash Exposure Lock.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2005, 07:12:19 PM »
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I have some tips here to significantly increase the consistency of flash exposure with Canon E-TTL. It addresses the most common flash consistency problems and makes Canon flash fun to use again.
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Hunter
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2005, 11:35:13 AM »
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but it assumes that you can find a focus point over a neutral surface and that it is in the same plane of focus as the eyes, almost impossible for the kind of work I do (wedding). I've not been impressed with it's fill flash in pictures I've seen.
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Exactly. The 550 sucks when it comes to fill flash- the Nikon system just worked, I didn't have to find
"a neautral" or proper "plane of focus" anything...
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