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Adding detached flash units to Rebel xsi


I am doing some very closeup photography [jewelry] where I need to use at least 2 detached flash units. I am using the Canon Rebel xsi.

Can someone guide this photo newbee to how to use multiple flash units, and what I must look for such that the flash will work with my camera? The Canon flash units appear to be quite expensive, I am hoping I can use less expensive units.

I am not sure if this arrangement requires a wire connection, or if the camera can "talk" to the flash. Any guidance will be most appreciated.



There are three ways to control off-camera flash.  Some flashes/strobes allow for all three, but others may only allow for one or two. 

  1. Wired via sync cable.
  2. Optical line of sight - controlled by seeing the preflash of a control/master flash.
  3. Radio - controlled by a trigger

It's indeed pricey, but if you're doing closeup work, Canon's MT-26EX-RT may be a very good option for you.  There are non-Canon brands, but you may end up with compability issues.

When I've needed to capture small things in the past (though not as small as jewelry), I set up two softboxes each with a 600 EX-RT in them.  Though a 430 EX-RT III and other radio-capable flashes would work a-ok*.  I then triggered them via an ST-E3-RT.

Having said that, I added an asterisk next to "a-ok" in that in the past year or two, many of us have had issues with Canon's radio control.  Lots of dropped communication which makes it very frustrating.

I've since moved on to Profoto gear, but there are definitely less expensive studio strobes out there.  I have two 1.3 x 1.3 foot softboxes with grids that I'll use for any tabletop photography where I need to evenly light the entire scene.

What is your budget for lighting?


Camera: EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L
Lighting: Profoto Lights & Modifiers