Category Archives: Photography Gear 2013 – 2014

A First Look At Canon 430EX II Speedlite

Yesterday I posted a quick review of the Gisteq Flashmate II LED Macro Lighting System that I received as a Christmas gift. I also said that today I would tell you about another awesome gift from my hubby. In addition to the ring light, D gave me a Canon 430EX II Canon-430EX-II-Speedlite-FlashSpeedlite! Like I said; Santa was very good to me. 😀

Tonight I sat at my desk in the middle of the room and had a little fun just playing with this new flash. Now this room seems to be a normally lit room, a ceiling fixture with two compact florescent bulbs, a white ceiling, and white walls. [In desperate need of a fresh coat of paint but that’s a story for another day.] I aimed my Canon 7D at a shelf about 6 feet off the floor, hanging on a wall about 8 feet from my chair. This little test was an eye opener — I should have picked up this speedlite a long time ago!!!

I’ll let the resulting images speak for themselves…

1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - No Flash
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – No Flash
1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - Built In Pop-Up Flash Fired
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – Built In Pop-Up Flash Fired
1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight up and bounced off the ceiling
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight up and bounced off the ceiling

 

1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight forward
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight forward

 

1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight backwards and bounced off the wall about 9 feet behind me
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – 430EX II Speedlite at full power aimed straight backwards and bounced off the wall about 9 feet behind me
1/200 - f/8 - ISO 200 - 105mm - 430EX II Speedlite at full power off camera triggered wirelessly
1/200 – f/8 – ISO 200 – 105mm – 430EX II Speedlite at full power off camera triggered wirelessly

 

40EX II — Pros

  • quick recycle time
  • locks securely into the hot shoe
  • releases quickly
  • settings can be controlled through the camera menu system
  • feels solid but not too heavy
  • tilts and swivels smoothly and stays in place nicely
  • can be used off camera as a slave flash and triggered wirelessly with my 7D
  • improves white balance
  • seems to be easy to use
  • features full manual control
  • E-TTL II/ E-TTL/TTL metering

430EX II — Cons

  • a little noisy while zooming
  • runs on AA batteries so there may be a need to invest in rechargeables
  • on flash buttons are a bit hard to use [but it can easily be controlled through he camera menu]
  • I’m not finding a battery level indicator

Oh there’s so much new information to learn!!


 

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Gisteq Flashmate II LED Macro Lighting System

Oh! Wow! New toys!! Don’t you just feel like a kid again when you get something awesome for Christmas? Like… say… new flashes??!! One of the awesome gifts I received for Christmas was a Gisteq Flashmate II LED Macro Lighting System from D. [He found it at Photojojo; they give it the fun name of Oh! Wow. Ring Light.]

image from Photojojo
image from Photojojo

This is a pretty awesome little light and I look forward to getting in more practice with it. I already know it’s going to be a great addition to my kit and will be well used for product shots and other isolated stock photo images. And how great is it going to be for macro shots of those flowers next spring?!!!! Looking forward to that too!

I don’t think it’s a ring flash that you’d want to use for portraits; the LEDs are a little harsh to look at and I don’t think your subject would appreciate it at all. I think it would need a little improvement in the form of a diffuser of some type to be good for that; and LEDs have a shorter range than your regular camera flashes anyway. It is much better suited for closer subjects; after all it is called a Macro lighting system.

Why is it called a lighting system? Well it’s like this… The light is made up of two units that are connected by a cord; the control box that attached to your camera’s hot shoe and the light itself that attaches to the front of your lens. It comes with 8 transfer rings that allow it to fit lenses with filter thread sizes of 49, 52, 55, 58, 62, 67, 72, and 77mm. The controls on the box include the power wheel that turns the unit on and adjusts the lighting output from 1/4 power to full power, buttons to change from continuous operation to flash, and buttons that let you turn off the left or right half of the light should you need that. [Not sure why I’d need that but I have only used it for a brief time so far.] Oh! and the two units clip together to make it a little easier to store.

Yep; this will be a lot of fun and cut down on the post production time. Do you see the difference in the colors and shadows between these two shots? Getting those products isolated and creating a clean white background will be even easier now.

Coffee cup lit with two side lights only.
Coffee cup lit with two side lights only.
Coffee cup lit with two side lights and the Gisteq Flashmate II.
Coffee cup lit with two side lights and the Gisteq Flashmate II.

I’m off to play with my new toy some more; maybe tomorrow I’ll tell you about another of my awesome gifts!

Have a great day!


 

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