GoDox Lighting Kit, Just the ticket! [Review]

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I’ve got a little secret… I’m pretty rubbish at ‘off camera flash’ but you know the best thing, it’s easy to suck at something and not worry so much if you have the desire to learn how to get better.

Flash Lighting and Accessories by GoDox from Elemental

With digital photography, it’s pretty easy to try and try and try again, because there’s no developing time, there’s no film cost, there’s no fixer to spill! There’s simply no excuse for you to continue to suck at off camera flash… what? you can’t practice because a Canon Speedlite 580EX II is WAY TOOOOO EXPENSIVE? Fair call, they’re not cheap! They are really good, but you’re right, they’re not cheap… So, I have a very functional, robust alternative for you… It costs £80 (or £50 if you don’t ever want to plug in an external battery) per flash unit and you can also get a remote trigger for it for £50… So, essentially, for £130 you’re set up to use flash, off camera, remotely and ‘on the cheap’ Yeah!

The handy remote trigger is called a REEMIX RMII and, as well as being a 16 channel flash controller, can also control your camera* (remote shutter) and the receiver has a handy umbrella holder built in, so you can attach it to your flash unit, slot an umbrella in and go flashing wild.

You can take it a step further, with the GoDox thinkLite TT560PB you can add an external battery pack, the GoDox ProPac PB820. It plugs right into the flash unit and will have you flashing for a good while (250 to 320 full power flashes, 1 sec recharge time, 2 hr battery recharge time) and comes in photographer black or sexy lime green (I went green!)

Having picked up the three units, Here  is my experience with them.. The start of my journey to better flashing if you will!

I have a Canon 580EXII.. That’s a great unit! It’s powerful, it’s fully featured and it’s EXPENSIVE. To work on an article that allowed more people who are just starting out, to be involved in trying off camera lighting, I wanted to use readily available and more ‘cost sensitive’ kit… I have tried out the Elemental studio lights once before, So, back on the http://studio-flash.com website I went and I came across the GoDox gear and made my enquiries. Hello? Scotland Yard?

I know how well my Canon flash unit works, so I had a good bench mark… The Canon has the higher guide number (Higher guide number = more powerful flash) of 39 as opposed to the 38 rated ThinkLite.. Not much in it really.. Though, the Canon does have all the bells and whistles, as well as ETTL (basically means your camera tells the flash what to do if it’s all compatible) For this little test, I wanted to set everything to manual to help teach myself what all the buttons did! That, I believe, is what you should do, too!

So, the first little test (that mattered!)  that I used my ThinkLite for was a quick real estate shoot, I had a brightly lit outdoor shot of a house to take, I had a lovely blue sky that, if I exposed for, meant that the house was a bit dark.. I bumped the power on the little flash up to full, popped it on a Nasty Clamp and stuck that on the front fence facing the house… Taking a few photos, mostly inspired by a recent “One light real estate shoot” from Strobist, David Hobby, I tried to blend the flash in with the ambient light and get the photograph that I needed. The whole time using the REEMIX II to pop the flash and I also had the battery pack plugged in, giving me simply awesome recycle times (the time it takes for the little red light to come on and say “I’m ready to flash again!”)

Go Easy! It’s my first shot it this type of thing 😉

You can see the Nasty Clamp attached to the right hand end of the railing above and the shadow of the front porch light headed up and left. This is pretty much out of the camera with a little perspective correction (I couldn’t stand in front, there’s a tree!) So the sky is nice and blue and the front of the house is easy to see because of that light there. It could be a bit brighter and with a bit of an ISO bump, it would be. This was f/8.0, so I probably could have opened her up a little more, too, if I needed to. I got what I was after.

The flash unit is very simple. It has an off / on switch, an 8 level power output switch  (1/128, 1/64, 1/32, 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 1/1) and a couple of buttons to use the slave mode, slave mode doesn’t mean you can yell “Hey flash, get me a coffee” form the next room… It means that, in S1 mode, when you fire another flash, that the ThinkLite will also fire – this means that you can start getting all creative and have a pair of GoDox ThinkLite flash units and use one as your main light and one as your fill light or your hair light (fill, adds extra light where you need it – it fills and a Hair light is just that, adds a little light to the hair / side / back of the subject, gives your image some depth)

I had a whole three bedroom house to photograph for our real estate agent, the ThinkLite sitting on the end of the Nasty Clamp (Seriously, If you don’t have Nasty Clamps, get a pair! they’re such life savers!) with the remote trigger and external battery – I’d clip the unit on to the top of a door, angle it around until it was working how I wanted it to work and get my image. Mostly I’d fire the flash into a wall or ceiling to diffuse the small hard light that you typically get from a flash gun, the wall acting as a big reflector (Make sure your walls are white and not burnt orange… imagine light hitting a burnt orange wall and turning your photo into a big cup of Fanta!)

The kitchen shows the blend of flash and sun light..

This photo (above) is natural light through the roof / skylights, and the darker back of the house has the ThinkLite on the Nasty Clamp attached to the top of the shower screen door, low power firing out into the hall way. Whilst the balance of the color temp is way off (you see the bluer flash v the warmer sun) that’s very easy to fix with a gel for the flash or, if you’re a bit more lazy, in post!

the external battery hadn’t even dropped down a notch (it has 5 notches to show you when you need to recharge) I can see great use for an external batter as a wedding photographer or event photographer (I wish I had one of these when I was shooting events back in London!!!) You take the thing and clip it to your belt / put it in your camera bag and flash over and over…

This is all the gear I used on the day!

As I said at the start, I’m not a ‘Strobist‘ (not even in the same city, park or country!)  …though, now with my new found love for lighting and the ability to practice (on everything and everyone… yay for my two year old!) I’m getting better at it!

So, let’s look at the specs of the ThinkLite TT560

Guide Number 38
Flash Modes M, S1, S2
Tilt 0 – 90°
Swivel 0 – 270°
Power Source 4 * AA batteries
Recycle Time 0.5 – 5s
Output Full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32, 1/64, 1/128
Colour Temperature 5600K +/-200K
Flash Duration 1/800 ~ 1/2000s
Dimensions 190 * 75 * 55mm
Net Weight 286g

There’s nothing automatic about this unit, and that makes you learn!

And a pricing re-cap?

  • GoDox ThinkLite TT560PB £79.20
  • GoDox REEMIX II £47.99
  • GoDox ProPac £129.99

The kit has performed without fault since I picked it up a couple of months ago, it has really showed me that you don’t always need to get ‘amazing’ to teach yourself how to do something properly! Manual mode isn’t as scary as I thought, folks!

  • Out of ten, I give the thinkLite TT560PB an eleven (this was a nine, but earlier today my two year old pushed over a chair and knocked the flash unit and my reemix flying – baby proof.
  • The reemix is a straight eight out of ten, with a couple points taken off for the slightly fiddly channel switching, though for a remote to allow you to use 16 channels and to reverse control your camera, for under fifty quid is pretty darn good.
  • The ProPac, whilst being the most expensive item in this test, is something I never want to be without again. Get one.

I hope this has been helpful to some of you! I hope to come back at some point when I’m more practised in my flashing and give you an update on how the gear’s doing – I’m about to order a couple more of the TT560 units myself.

–Sime

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
GoDox Lighting Kit
Author Rating
4

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Sime (aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

  • justin

    but you can power the flash just off batteries right? Don’t absolutely need the battery pack?

  • Hey Justin,

    Sorry! Yes, just like a normal flash, you can use 4AA batteries.

    –S

  • bryan

    yeah you can use batteries but in the long run this is alot better… keep batteries for emergencies and save you moeny on buying batteries every month…

  • One other thing is, whilst you do need to have batteries in the flash unit for it to work with the ProPac, they can be pretty much dead flat and the ProPac will take over and flash the hell out of your shoot…. good times

  • Zaman

    I dont really understand what the benefit of this is over an sb-600 or 700? You have full wireless ttl with either of those. The only thing missing is the external battery pack, i use rechargeable anyways so this is not really a concern.
    The advantages i see are:
    -(perhaps) better wireless ability outside, indoors cls works very very well even outdoors it works great aslong as ur not shooting directly in the sun
    -higher GN,
    -better refresh rate, great… but if you have technical ability you dont need to fire of 8 diffrent quick shots especially for realstate, all you would need is one or 2 shots in one place, not a HUGE deal
    Cons: build quality, although it is baby proof i am willing to bet its not up to the same standard as a nikon speed light,
    -no ttl, this is pretty major if your ever shooting people and changing settings on the fly its much easier to have ttl than rely completely on manual flash
    -does not work with cls, yor stuck using these if u have other nikon flashes as well. Look at all that extra stuff. Battery pack and trigger, going on even with a better refresh rate i wouldnt want a battery pack, pack light you’ll have more fun.

    i think the cons outweigh the pros, if 3rd parties can relase a unit that does cls for a similar price that would persuade me to purchase a non nikon unit but not as is.

  • Hey Zaman, how much is an SB700?… At Jessops in the UK, it’s £233.00 (On Sale)

    I guess you missed the entire point of my article????

    Cost.

    –Sime

  • Zaman

    i understand what your saying, but you can be smart and frugal. I picked up 2 used sb600’s together for $300, thats $150 a piece.

    I completely understand what your saying, in fact i once went the same route. I have 2 yongnuo flashes to show for it and some cheap triggers, it worked great at first then i started seeing the limits of it. The worse of which was trying to figure out the output for moving subjects and before i knew it the light would change. This setup works great in studios and for subjects that don’t change light but forget it for people. Even if you have the skill and knowledge to change the values, it just takes too long to change each flash. I later changed it to just 1 sb-600 and was much happier with it.
    In the end the ONE sb-600 ended up costing as much as the whole frugal (or so i thought) kit i had purchased. The sad part was that it was extremely difficult to sell off the kit (at a decent price) if i wanted something else, and used prices for sb-600’s now are about $200 a little bit more than what i paid for it.

    So i get the point of your article 100% but what i am trying to say is, its just not efficient, its not as cost effective as you think, and used gear will be alot more cost effective than a cheap Chinese off brand kit that has a higher potential to die on you.

  • ….and my other point – get some cheap gear and learn with it?

    I get the buy well, buy once thing… But sometimes people are not in a position to do that, or they shoot Canon and not Nikon and don’t use CLS…. either way, I reviewed something that worked for me that I wanted to share with others… I hope that’s OK?

    Simon

  • Ricardo Sampra

    Hi Sine,
    So we can evaluate your recommendations, can you tell us if you have any association/sponsorship with the manufacturer or retailer or do you or this site make any money at all from us buying the products by clicking on the links provided?

  • No and unless you click the amazon link for the Canon flash in the middle no… What an odd question?….

  • Hans

    I generally use a Yungnuo flash with a cactus trigger.
    € 75.00 per set, including a sender/receiver.
    Never thought about uising them this way, though. I usually use them for portraits.

  • Cool, Hans – what are they like?

  • Peter

    What is CLS

  • The guide number for the 580EX II is 58, not 39, so it’s a lot more powerful than the TT560. Also the TT560 lacks a zoom head and a whole heap of functions that the 580EX II offers – high speed sync, master control, strobe mode etc. I think it’s fairer to compare it to the 430EX II, which is still considerably more expensive.

    What’s the build quality like? I started using Metz a couple of years ago after becoming frustrated with Canon charging studio light prices for speedlites and, while fine, I’ve found the build quality to be below par in comparison to Canon. I’ve seen the Yongnuo flashes before and have to say the build quality is pretty poor side by side with Canon.

    Also how quick was the recycling in real life tests? And did it fall off at all with use? I remember using NiZN batteries and they were amazing for the first 50 or flashes but then the performance started to trail off as they lost their charge.

  • Even if it was just to tell us about nastyclamps, I am thankful for the effiort you put in.

    I have not really delved into flash photography yet, I got a second hand canon ex430 as I entered photography – wish I had this article back then!

  • Peter – basically, wireless control of your flash units, built in to some Nikon cameras / flash units (Someone that uses Nikon can explain much better, I’m sure)

  • Haha Rich… I love those things now! (No, I’m not being paid to say that!!)

  • My bad – you know, I actually own one, but have been (as I mentioned) pretty rubbish with it, and so I guess I stuffed up – thanks for your help. (Stuffed if I know where I got that from, but there’s a Google Fail – > Should have gone here. http://www.canon.com.au/For-You/Speedlites/580EXII )

    Yeah, the 430 is still more expensive, and after I dropped mine the red cover over the IR / sensor on the front smashed off… c’est la vie!

    The build, so far, has been pretty good – it’s hit the floor twice (I wasn’t using my Frio, I was using a dodgy old hotshoe mount and it snapped) and is still in one piece – I’ve not had it a year yet, but it gets thrown in my bag and is still going strong. I’d say it’s not quite the tank that is my 580EXII, but then again, that unit was 4x (or so) the price.

    Recycle wise – I’ve used it for a couple of portraits etc and have had no noticeable drop off, though I guess on longer shoots I may notice it (I’ve not, yet) ….it’s been pretty darn good for a cheap unit, so far.

    Simon

  • I have the very same set up and love it !

    Very good

  • Kim

    If I buy the think lite for a canon 7d, would I buy the propac for a canon also?
    Thanks

  • Zaman

    @peter
    cls stands for creative lighting system. IT IS AWESOME, if you have a camera in the d90 range or further you can use this feature. D5000 and lower do not have it BUT u can use a sb-700or 900 as a master flash on top of your d5000. The awesome thing about cls is that it uses ttl so you can have as many diffrent flashes around the room and fire them off without any other equipment. You can either manually control 2 or more channels or you can fire them off ttl and set seperate flash compensations for each. It works FLAWLESSLY indoors not so great in direct sunlight but t work, its a GREAT system.

    the reason i think cls is a better option, if your camera supports is, is because you dont have to change positions to change light values on each flash, no additional hardware is needed.
    If you have a nikon system i recommend saving up for a used sb-600 rather than going for cheaper units. The 600 is built like a tank, mine took a tumble down a side of a rock hill and then in a shallow river, removed the batteries and fired it up after a few hours, still flashes well 😀

    The only thing better is possibly having pocket wizards but i dont see an advantage to them either IF you are indoor.

  • Thanks for being brave enough to do a review on some “budget friendly gear”, Sime. There are tons of reviews for truly professional equipment that costs thousands of dollars. It’s nice to come across a review for something that is great for starters.
    One quick question. Is there a US distributor for the GoDox set-up for those of us who live on the other side of the pond? Thanks, and keep the product reviews coming. Even the discussions that follow articles like this really help people like me make more informed purchases.

  • Dave – Yes, you can order right from their website, linked in the article above, or…

    http://www.studio-flash.com/

    If you can’t be bothered scrolling up 😀

    Sime

  • Traian

    If the point of the article is low cost, then you should know that the shipping price is totally destroying the deal. I’ve got a 49.86£ quote for shipping to continental Europe. If I fly over there and pick it up myself I’d probably get a better deal from RyanAir…

  • Hi Traian,

    You’re right – that is something I didn’t account for.. What are you having shipped that is costing £48?! A baby dolphin?!! 😉

    S

  • Traian

    I only added the external battery pack and a Canon flash cable to the cart. Then I went to checkout and I asked for a shipping quote to Sweden. You can try it yourself and blame the postal services.
    Obviously, I did not place the order. But I might change my mind if they throw in a baby dolphin as a gift.

  • Hi Traian,

    The shipping options are set up for the current UPS package that we use. If you can email us an address, we will happily get you the most competitive quote for the products to ship to Sweden. European delivery is usually £16.99, with a few exceptions.

    Danny

  • Eric

    I found this on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004LEAYXY/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=9608935597&ref=pd_sl_2kdo20eljv_b I think it’s the same flash just branded different.

  • Mark

    Do you mind explaining how the remix remote works, ie the actual setting for the receiver and transmitter. I have the exact same set and can’t get it to fire my canon flash from my 60d. I’m trying to find a cheap RF to improve on the INfra Red range and direction sensitivity. I can’t find a manual or any help anywhere on the Internet.

  • Can’t wait to test my PB-820Propac, should arrive tomorrow or next monday.
    For flashes, I use the YongNuo brand. I bought the YN-565EX and I’m really satisfied. YN-565EX + PB-820 = An amazing combo 🙂

  • @mark:
    I use the RF-602 system from YongNuo. Very reliable and affordable.

  • Chuck

    Good article 🙂

    I also have a TT560 I recently picked up off fleaBay for $55 shipped (USD). Nice flash. I like it specifically because it is all manual, AND it will work with most any camera platform except Sony and Minolta. So I can switch it between my Canon, Nikon and Olympus bodies as needed. The Canon and Nikon series flashes are way way out of my price range, so this is a nice place to get started.

  • Tony Flounders

    First off, thanks for spending time wrighting this review.
    I know almost nothing about using external flashes, so when you talk about the S1 mode getting activated does that mean the GoDox senses the flash from another camera and activates? Or do you have to have a hot shoe to work an IR signal?
    Sorry if this does not make sense, basically I have a panasonic Lumix FZ28 (no hot shoe) can I use these flashes?

    Thanks

    Tony

  • Hi…

    i think the cons outweigh the pros, if 3rd parties can relase a unit that does cls for a similar price that would persuade me to purchase a non nikon unit but not as is.Thanks for being brave enough to do a review on some “budget friendly gear”, Sime. There are tons of reviews for truly professional equipment that costs thousands of dollars. It’s nice to come across a review for something that is great for starters.I get the buy well, buy once thing… But sometimes people are not in a position to do that, or they shoot Canon and not Nikon and don’t use CLS…. either way, I reviewed something that worked for me that I wanted to share with others… I hope that’s OK?

  • ccting

    OMG, 16 Channel, my RF603 has no option for channel!!!! 80% of YN560 get handicaped after 1 month usage.. without dropping them..

  • @ccting:
    No channels on the RF-603 ?
    Remove the batteries and have a look … tadaa, dip switch for 16 channels.
    Why they put the dip switch in the batteries compartiment I don’t know …

    HTH

    Francois.

  • Joe

    I was pretty happy with my SB-600, but I was very happy with the YongNuo I bought off of EBay for a fraction of the cost.

  • Nice article! I’m a wreck with off camera lighting. This perfect!

Some Older Comments

  • Christine Durst March 3, 2012 12:43 pm

    Nice article! I'm a wreck with off camera lighting. This perfect!

  • Joe February 15, 2012 12:25 pm

    I was pretty happy with my SB-600, but I was very happy with the YongNuo I bought off of EBay for a fraction of the cost.

  • FrancoisM February 1, 2012 12:23 am

    @ccting:
    No channels on the RF-603 ?
    Remove the batteries and have a look ... tadaa, dip switch for 16 channels.
    Why they put the dip switch in the batteries compartiment I don't know ...

    HTH

    Francois.

  • ccting January 31, 2012 10:12 pm

    OMG, 16 Channel, my RF603 has no option for channel!!!! 80% of YN560 get handicaped after 1 month usage.. without dropping them..

  • Helios Monocular January 21, 2012 07:36 pm

    Hi...

    i think the cons outweigh the pros, if 3rd parties can relase a unit that does cls for a similar price that would persuade me to purchase a non nikon unit but not as is.Thanks for being brave enough to do a review on some “budget friendly gear”, Sime. There are tons of reviews for truly professional equipment that costs thousands of dollars. It’s nice to come across a review for something that is great for starters.I get the buy well, buy once thing… But sometimes people are not in a position to do that, or they shoot Canon and not Nikon and don’t use CLS…. either way, I reviewed something that worked for me that I wanted to share with others… I hope that’s OK?

  • Tony Flounders January 21, 2012 01:04 pm

    First off, thanks for spending time wrighting this review.
    I know almost nothing about using external flashes, so when you talk about the S1 mode getting activated does that mean the GoDox senses the flash from another camera and activates? Or do you have to have a hot shoe to work an IR signal?
    Sorry if this does not make sense, basically I have a panasonic Lumix FZ28 (no hot shoe) can I use these flashes?

    Thanks

    Tony

  • Chuck January 20, 2012 04:48 am

    Good article :)

    I also have a TT560 I recently picked up off fleaBay for $55 shipped (USD). Nice flash. I like it specifically because it is all manual, AND it will work with most any camera platform except Sony and Minolta. So I can switch it between my Canon, Nikon and Olympus bodies as needed. The Canon and Nikon series flashes are way way out of my price range, so this is a nice place to get started.

  • FrancoisM January 20, 2012 04:09 am

    @mark:
    I use the RF-602 system from YongNuo. Very reliable and affordable.

  • FrancoisM January 20, 2012 04:06 am

    Can't wait to test my PB-820Propac, should arrive tomorrow or next monday.
    For flashes, I use the YongNuo brand. I bought the YN-565EX and I'm really satisfied. YN-565EX + PB-820 = An amazing combo :)

  • Mark January 19, 2012 04:34 pm

    Do you mind explaining how the remix remote works, ie the actual setting for the receiver and transmitter. I have the exact same set and can't get it to fire my canon flash from my 60d. I'm trying to find a cheap RF to improve on the INfra Red range and direction sensitivity. I can't find a manual or any help anywhere on the Internet.

  • Eric January 19, 2012 03:33 pm

    I found this on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004LEAYXY/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=9608935597&ref=pd_sl_2kdo20eljv_b I think it's the same flash just branded different.

  • Danny Lenihan January 19, 2012 01:53 am

    Hi Traian,

    The shipping options are set up for the current UPS package that we use. If you can email us an address, we will happily get you the most competitive quote for the products to ship to Sweden. European delivery is usually £16.99, with a few exceptions.

    Danny

  • Traian January 19, 2012 12:06 am

    I only added the external battery pack and a Canon flash cable to the cart. Then I went to checkout and I asked for a shipping quote to Sweden. You can try it yourself and blame the postal services.
    Obviously, I did not place the order. But I might change my mind if they throw in a baby dolphin as a gift.

  • Sime January 18, 2012 11:46 pm

    Hi Traian,

    You're right - that is something I didn't account for.. What are you having shipped that is costing £48?! A baby dolphin?!! ;-)

    S

  • Traian January 18, 2012 10:20 pm

    If the point of the article is low cost, then you should know that the shipping price is totally destroying the deal. I've got a 49.86£ quote for shipping to continental Europe. If I fly over there and pick it up myself I'd probably get a better deal from RyanAir...

  • Sime January 18, 2012 03:32 pm

    Dave - Yes, you can order right from their website, linked in the article above, or...

    http://www.studio-flash.com/

    If you can't be bothered scrolling up :D

    Sime

  • davesworld January 18, 2012 12:22 pm

    Thanks for being brave enough to do a review on some "budget friendly gear", Sime. There are tons of reviews for truly professional equipment that costs thousands of dollars. It's nice to come across a review for something that is great for starters.
    One quick question. Is there a US distributor for the GoDox set-up for those of us who live on the other side of the pond? Thanks, and keep the product reviews coming. Even the discussions that follow articles like this really help people like me make more informed purchases.

  • Zaman January 18, 2012 11:56 am

    @peter
    cls stands for creative lighting system. IT IS AWESOME, if you have a camera in the d90 range or further you can use this feature. D5000 and lower do not have it BUT u can use a sb-700or 900 as a master flash on top of your d5000. The awesome thing about cls is that it uses ttl so you can have as many diffrent flashes around the room and fire them off without any other equipment. You can either manually control 2 or more channels or you can fire them off ttl and set seperate flash compensations for each. It works FLAWLESSLY indoors not so great in direct sunlight but t work, its a GREAT system.

    the reason i think cls is a better option, if your camera supports is, is because you dont have to change positions to change light values on each flash, no additional hardware is needed.
    If you have a nikon system i recommend saving up for a used sb-600 rather than going for cheaper units. The 600 is built like a tank, mine took a tumble down a side of a rock hill and then in a shallow river, removed the batteries and fired it up after a few hours, still flashes well :D

    The only thing better is possibly having pocket wizards but i dont see an advantage to them either IF you are indoor.

  • Kim January 18, 2012 05:46 am

    If I buy the think lite for a canon 7d, would I buy the propac for a canon also?
    Thanks

  • dave@davepiper.org.uk January 18, 2012 03:29 am

    I have the very same set up and love it !

    Very good

  • Sime January 18, 2012 01:09 am

    My bad - you know, I actually own one, but have been (as I mentioned) pretty rubbish with it, and so I guess I stuffed up - thanks for your help. (Stuffed if I know where I got that from, but there's a Google Fail - > Should have gone here. http://www.canon.com.au/For-You/Speedlites/580EXII )

    Yeah, the 430 is still more expensive, and after I dropped mine the red cover over the IR / sensor on the front smashed off... c'est la vie!

    The build, so far, has been pretty good - it's hit the floor twice (I wasn't using my Frio, I was using a dodgy old hotshoe mount and it snapped) and is still in one piece - I've not had it a year yet, but it gets thrown in my bag and is still going strong. I'd say it's not quite the tank that is my 580EXII, but then again, that unit was 4x (or so) the price.

    Recycle wise - I've used it for a couple of portraits etc and have had no noticeable drop off, though I guess on longer shoots I may notice it (I've not, yet) ....it's been pretty darn good for a cheap unit, so far.

    Simon

  • Sime January 18, 2012 01:03 am

    Haha Rich... I love those things now! (No, I'm not being paid to say that!!)

  • Sime January 18, 2012 01:02 am

    Peter - basically, wireless control of your flash units, built in to some Nikon cameras / flash units (Someone that uses Nikon can explain much better, I'm sure)

  • Rich January 17, 2012 11:17 pm

    Even if it was just to tell us about nastyclamps, I am thankful for the effiort you put in.

    I have not really delved into flash photography yet, I got a second hand canon ex430 as I entered photography - wish I had this article back then!

  • Adam Gasson January 17, 2012 10:12 pm

    The guide number for the 580EX II is 58, not 39, so it's a lot more powerful than the TT560. Also the TT560 lacks a zoom head and a whole heap of functions that the 580EX II offers - high speed sync, master control, strobe mode etc. I think it's fairer to compare it to the 430EX II, which is still considerably more expensive.

    What's the build quality like? I started using Metz a couple of years ago after becoming frustrated with Canon charging studio light prices for speedlites and, while fine, I've found the build quality to be below par in comparison to Canon. I've seen the Yongnuo flashes before and have to say the build quality is pretty poor side by side with Canon.

    Also how quick was the recycling in real life tests? And did it fall off at all with use? I remember using NiZN batteries and they were amazing for the first 50 or flashes but then the performance started to trail off as they lost their charge.

  • Peter January 17, 2012 09:36 pm

    What is CLS

  • Sime January 17, 2012 08:23 pm

    Cool, Hans - what are they like?

  • Hans January 17, 2012 08:17 pm

    I generally use a Yungnuo flash with a cactus trigger.
    € 75.00 per set, including a sender/receiver.
    Never thought about uising them this way, though. I usually use them for portraits.

  • Sime January 17, 2012 08:09 pm

    No and unless you click the amazon link for the Canon flash in the middle no... What an odd question?....

  • Ricardo Sampra January 17, 2012 08:04 pm

    Hi Sine,
    So we can evaluate your recommendations, can you tell us if you have any association/sponsorship with the manufacturer or retailer or do you or this site make any money at all from us buying the products by clicking on the links provided?

  • Sime January 17, 2012 03:14 pm

    ....and my other point - get some cheap gear and learn with it?

    I get the buy well, buy once thing... But sometimes people are not in a position to do that, or they shoot Canon and not Nikon and don't use CLS.... either way, I reviewed something that worked for me that I wanted to share with others... I hope that's OK?

    Simon

  • Zaman January 17, 2012 03:05 pm

    i understand what your saying, but you can be smart and frugal. I picked up 2 used sb600's together for $300, thats $150 a piece.

    I completely understand what your saying, in fact i once went the same route. I have 2 yongnuo flashes to show for it and some cheap triggers, it worked great at first then i started seeing the limits of it. The worse of which was trying to figure out the output for moving subjects and before i knew it the light would change. This setup works great in studios and for subjects that don't change light but forget it for people. Even if you have the skill and knowledge to change the values, it just takes too long to change each flash. I later changed it to just 1 sb-600 and was much happier with it.
    In the end the ONE sb-600 ended up costing as much as the whole frugal (or so i thought) kit i had purchased. The sad part was that it was extremely difficult to sell off the kit (at a decent price) if i wanted something else, and used prices for sb-600's now are about $200 a little bit more than what i paid for it.

    So i get the point of your article 100% but what i am trying to say is, its just not efficient, its not as cost effective as you think, and used gear will be alot more cost effective than a cheap Chinese off brand kit that has a higher potential to die on you.

  • Sime January 17, 2012 12:11 pm

    Hey Zaman, how much is an SB700?... At Jessops in the UK, it's £233.00 (On Sale)

    I guess you missed the entire point of my article????

    Cost.

    --Sime

  • Zaman January 17, 2012 12:04 pm

    I dont really understand what the benefit of this is over an sb-600 or 700? You have full wireless ttl with either of those. The only thing missing is the external battery pack, i use rechargeable anyways so this is not really a concern.
    The advantages i see are:
    -(perhaps) better wireless ability outside, indoors cls works very very well even outdoors it works great aslong as ur not shooting directly in the sun
    -higher GN,
    -better refresh rate, great... but if you have technical ability you dont need to fire of 8 diffrent quick shots especially for realstate, all you would need is one or 2 shots in one place, not a HUGE deal
    Cons: build quality, although it is baby proof i am willing to bet its not up to the same standard as a nikon speed light,
    -no ttl, this is pretty major if your ever shooting people and changing settings on the fly its much easier to have ttl than rely completely on manual flash
    -does not work with cls, yor stuck using these if u have other nikon flashes as well. Look at all that extra stuff. Battery pack and trigger, going on even with a better refresh rate i wouldnt want a battery pack, pack light you'll have more fun.

    i think the cons outweigh the pros, if 3rd parties can relase a unit that does cls for a similar price that would persuade me to purchase a non nikon unit but not as is.

  • Sime January 17, 2012 11:30 am

    One other thing is, whilst you do need to have batteries in the flash unit for it to work with the ProPac, they can be pretty much dead flat and the ProPac will take over and flash the hell out of your shoot.... good times

  • bryan January 17, 2012 11:08 am

    yeah you can use batteries but in the long run this is alot better... keep batteries for emergencies and save you moeny on buying batteries every month...

  • Sime January 17, 2012 09:24 am

    Hey Justin,

    Sorry! Yes, just like a normal flash, you can use 4AA batteries.

    --S

  • justin January 17, 2012 09:19 am

    but you can power the flash just off batteries right? Don't absolutely need the battery pack?

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