First time Photographer. Which flash to buy? – Flash review.

I have spent the last few months dabbling in videography for the occasional wedding, reception etc. I have been focusing on filming and editing.

Last Saturday I worked closely alongside a photographer for a wedding reception. I was pretty impressed by her gear. She could work fast and handled the low light conditions and large groups of people really well without having to change lenses or flashes/speedlites very often.

As a result of that function I have been approached to potentially film and photograph a similar reception. Other than the obvious challenge of juggling both roles it has led me to look into photography gear.

My main focus was a flash or speedlight so I too could handle low light conditions. I knew I needed something that wouldn’t blind and wash out peoples faces but also be flexible with individual portraits and group photography.

Once I started to look into it I noticed a few common products. I investigated further and found a couple of useful sites and thought I would share them.

The following basics I found on the Canon website.

Canon 270 EX

Suitable for entry level photographers, the 270EX helps control lighting in everyday situations.
it’s lightweight and compact design is a plus for travel or personal photography.

Though small in size it allows long range flash photography. It has inbuilt tilt options to allow for a bounce function.

It has a fast and silent recycling ability. (Great for situations like weddings)

In store  $199 – $226
Online $129 – $147

Canon 580 EX II Speedlite

Portable and compact the Canon 580 EX II is suitable for bounce flash and telephoto lens shooting. Accurate and consistent flash exposure in all situations.The 180 degree swivel head and tilt settings allow bounce for softer lighting.
Wireless, dust and water resistant.
Has in-built colour balance transmitter to ensure white balance is communicated to camera body allowing correct colour balance at all times.

Here is a link to a Sydney based hire company, Digital Logic. They outline a few features. They also hire for only $25, wowsers!

In store  $515 – $649.
Online $443 – $486

Canon 430 EX II Speedlite

Similar to the 580 Ex II speedlite in egards to bounce and telephoto shotto, the 430 EX II also has more control over flash power as it can be set manually in 1/3rd stop increments from 1/1 to 1/64th power.
Advanced speed capabilities with fast and silent recycling capabilities.
Also includes auto focus assist and flash control.

In store $379
Online $285

As you can see it pays to shop online. Those quotes are from Digital World International and B&H.

I didn’t find this basic information too helpful as I still needed to understand more of the technical specifications. I found the following review which actually compared all three. It was very helpful Check it out.
Canon Flash Comparison

I’m still trying to get my head around some of the basics when it comes to a flash. Here is another link which explained it to me. A few years old but still relevant. This explanation also refers to both the 580 EX II and the 430 EX II which was very helpful.
Flash Guide.

As a final note, I found this site which appears to be a photographers tutorial of wedding photography. There is some pretty good stuff here for first timer photographers and videographers. The checklists are pretty good for the standard shots you need to get.
‘Wedding Photography, Lessons learned’.


I hope you have found this useful.


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