Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waiting for the light

Wherein the lead character once again narrowly escapes a great set-back to his plans and ends up spending more than expected.

So as a follow-up to my previous indecision on which way to follow, I ordered a flash. Of course this was not without complications.

From the start my mind was set on an off-camera flash setup, so I was primarily looking at those I could use as either as a dumb optical slave or with an E-TTL cord of the longer variant. Knowing that the Canon Speedlites usually don't function as slaves other than in Canon's own wireless system I started looking quite quickly at third-party flash units, and my eyes stopped on the Metz 48 AF-1.

Looking at it longingly, I browsed to the website of the online store I was going to order it from. Then, a couple of weeks before I figured I would have enough funds to buy it the price was raised by about 40€. Bummer.

But I went ahead with it anyway, seeing as this was the flash my mind was set on. To accompany it I also ordered a 48" silver reflective umbrella. After a few days of waiting I then got an e-mail from the store saying that the estimated time for the umbrella to become in stock had been changed from 1-2 weeks to 3-6 weeks... This was not satisfying, as I had the money and wanted the stuff as soon as possible to start playing around with it, so I looked around at the other umbrellas they had.

Now, I'm usually the kind of person to let my mind rest once I have something, but with lighting I want to know as much as possible so I kept reading up on flash units, and while wondering what to do with the umbrella, I found out that the Metz flash unit did not work as a dumb slave. While it said it would function as slave on the Metz product page, they intended for it to be used as a slave in a wireless setup, one with either the Metz 58 or the Speedlite 580EX II as master to trigger it. This was upsetting for my plans, but somewhat of a stroke of luck seeing as I had not paid the order yet and could easily cancel it.

So I quickly regrouped. I needed a flash with dumb-slave capability, as the E-TTL cord was not something I could get immediately after the flash and I wanted to get going off-camera. Looking around at flashes in the same price-range as the Metz 48 I came across the Nissin Di866. A very capable unit, it would seem, with a feature-set out-classing the Metz 48 and the Canon Speedlite 430EX II, placing it somewhere between the 430 and the 580. Somewhat inflated guide numbers, which can be expected from most flashes to some degree, but still cheaper than the Speedlite 430 while still having the dumb-slave option, and as a bonus having a PC sync port...

I was familiar with the PC sync port from having read many of the articles on the Strobist, so I knew what it was and what I could do with it. It would take more work than a E-TTL cord, but it would be much cheaper and easier to replace and/or extend if I needed to.

So with that decided I made an order for the Di866. But I still had the umbrella conundrum, so I looked at what they had in stock ready for shipping, and came across the 60" version of the silver reflective umbrella. Measuring up 60" on my measuring tape I came to the conclusion that it was really fucking huge, then I ordered it anyway.

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