Sunday, June 13, 2010

Canon 430EX vs. 430EX II - Which Is Better?

Story By: Mark Lawson II
Many photographers may think it's obvious that you should always buy the latest model of any photographic equipment. But sometimes an older model has advantages that make it a compelling choice.

For example, consider the Canon Speedlite 430EX flash, versus the newer Speedlite 430EX II.

According to Photographer Phil Steele, in his video tutorial at, there is a good case to be made for considering the older model.

Sure, the newer 430EX II is a better flash in many ways. It has increased power and a 20-percent faster recycle time. Canon has given it a metal mounting foot to replace the older, fragile, plastic version. It has the new, fast lockdown lever. And it has full compatibility with the menu-driven system on the newer cameras.

Overall, the 430EX II is a better flash.

So why do some photographers prefer the older 430EX? Two reasons. First, you can often pick up the older model used on auction sites for half the price of a new one, or less.

But more importantly, some photographers prefer the manual slave switch on the older 430EX. That flash has a physical lever that you simply flick with your thumb to put the flash in slave mode. It takes a fraction of a second and you can do it without looking.

On the newer 430EX II, you have to hold down a button to enter the menu system on the flash, dial in the appropriate settings, and lock them in. This takes precious time and attention which some photographers, such as fast-shooting photojournalists and wedding photographers, prefer not to spend twiddling flash controls.

There is, however, one huge caveat. The older 430EX puts out a lot of noise in the radio spectrum, and the newer 430EX II is much more radio quiet. Why does this matter?

Photographers who use radio triggers for off-camera flash photography find that radio-noisy flashes diminish the range, and sometimes prevent them from working at all.

So if you plan to use your Canon Speedlite with radio triggers, such as PocketWizards or the less expensive Cactus triggers, you should choose the 430EX II. Its relative lack of radio noise makes it the smarter choice for off-camera flash radio triggering.

A video version of this article, along with other tutorials on Canon flash photography, can be found at Canon Speedlite 430EX flash.

About the Author

Copyright 2010. Mark Lawson writes for where photographers can find free photo tutorials and training on a wide variety of photography subjects, from the Canon Speedlite 430EX flash to Photoshop techniques and more.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Canon 550D Review of the New Features

The Canon 550D dSLR was announced by Canon in February 2010 for release in April 2010. The camera boasts several significant improvements over the Canon 500D including better HD video, 18 megapixel images, and a much improved metering system that was previously only available in the much higher priced Canon 7D dSLR.
18 megapixel images
The image quality of the new 550D Canon improves significantly on the previous models in the line jumping from 12MP and 15MP to 18MP. Added to this is the inclusion of the latest DIGIC 4 image processor technology, the 500D used the DIGIC 3 technology, and you'll find that the photographs captured will be of much better quality.
New iFCL Metering System
The Canon 550D includes the new iFCL metering system which includes many advances in image capturing technology. For example the new system uses a 63 zone sensor which analyses focus, color and luminance simultaneously to provide accurate and consistant metering. This was previously only available on the much more expensive semi-pro Canon 7D.
High Definition Video
The HD video introduced to the range with the Canon 500D has grown up and now boasts many improvements shooting at 1080p or 720p. The camera gives you full control over the frame rate so you can even capture fast moving images by manually adjusting the settings.
ISO Improvements for Low Light Conditions
The 550D offers a standard ISO range up to 6400 which can be expanded to 12800 for situations where the use of a flash is either undesirable or not allowed. The increased range allows low-light photography and the DIGIC 4 image processor ensures graininess is kept to a minimum.
Movie Crop - Shoot at standard definition without changing lenses
The new movie crop function allows you to shoot movies at standard definition at up to 7x effective zoom. This is great for situations where you don't have time or don't want to change the lens. The function achieves this result by using only the center area of the sensor.
Improvements in the LCD Screen
Canon have also improved the LCD screen, it's still a great 3" but now improves the resolution and increases clarity for the all important checks on the images as you shoot them.
Improving on a Strong Line
The Canon 550D is fully compatible with EF and EF-S lenses as well as EX-Speedlite accessories so none of your existing lenses will suddenly become unusable. Add to this the improvements in control functions and it all starts to make the idea of upgrading to the Canon 550D an irresistable choice.
The new Canon 550D will be available to buy in April 2010, I know I'm going to be upgrading. Visit our website for more information on the Canon 550D and for the latest Canon 550D Reviews and news.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

12 Common Digital Photography Mistakes.

With digital cameras at their most affordable, anybody can be a photographer these days. Problem is, it takes more than a camera to take good pictures.

It takes a certain eye, a way of seeing things, to take pictures that make people go "Wow!". Fortunately, it can be learned. And the more you practice, the better you'll get.

If you're interested in becoming a good digital photographer, I recommend the "Shoot Digital Pics Like the Pros," a free report.

Start by taking a look at these most common mistakes people make when taking digital pictures:

1. Not knowing your camera

If you never read your digital camera's manual and learn its features and how to use them, you won't be able to make the most of it.

2. Not using a tripod

Tripods allow you to take the sharpest pictures even in low light. Use one as often as possible.

3. Not giving the camera time to focus

Digital cameras need time to properly focus and get the right exposure. It can take a fraction of a second or a couple of seconds. Account for this when taking pictures.

4. Relying too much on zoom

Using the camera's zoom feature makes the picture grainier. Get as close to the subject as possible.

5. Taking pictures against the light

This makes the subject dark and the background too bright.

6. Relying too much on the flash

Natural light gives the best pictures, so use it as much as possible. Flash tends to make images look harsh.

7. Not taking enough pictures

It's almost impossible to take the perfect shot at one try, so take many pictures. With digital photography, this doesn't cost you extra. Try different angles and compositions.

8. Always putting the subject dead center

Learn the rule of thirds in composition, and you'll have more interesting pictures.

9. Forgetting to check the horizon

When taking pictures with the horizon showing, make sure it's level.

10. Selecting a low-resolution setting

Your camera will allow you to select different resolutions. Don't be tempted to choose a low resolution just to save on memory space. Instead, buy additional memory for your camera and always take your pictures in high resolution.

11. Trying to take too much

Don't try to include too many things in one picture, such as people and scenery. A picture is more effective when it's focused on a single subject.

12. Not using the camera

You'll never know when a good photo op will come up, so have your camera with you at all times.

It may seem like a lot to think about, but with practice, these things will become second nature.

For those who want to learn even more digital photography techniques, check out the free report, "Shoot Digital Pics Like the Pros." It's a short but info-filled guide that will have you shooting digital pictures like a pro in no time.

Find out more about "Shoot Digital Pics Like the Pros" here:

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