Are there any benifits to using a speedlite vs. a third party flash? I have been thinking of getting a flash and wanted to know what the pros and cons to them are. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
So another words, generic brands are good up to a certain point, but in order to get all the bells and whistles including the correct metering and power I would need to get Canons brand.
In my opinion no. Sorry, but I disagree with Tim’s statement that the generics can’t do everything that the upper end Canon can do. Mine can do pretty much everything listed above. I’m not sure if my Yongnuos can do strobe like my 580ex, but I used that function once and then realized that I’d rather just combine multiple flash exposures in post anyway. It’s funny he mentioned second curtain sync, I thought the Canon 600ex couldn’t do that? I know my Yongnuos can do second-curtain sync wirelessly, and that’s actually a function that I use (though rarely and it’s quite limited on the 622).
I’m not going to dredge this out again unless you’re interested, we’ve beat this horse many times. Generic might not be for you, but just make sure to base that decision on fact, not speculation. I haven’t been shooting as long as Tim, but for the last several years I’d estimate 90% of my work has been with flash. I’m a “Strobist”, I think off-camera flash is a ton of fun, and my Frankenstein kit of Yongnuo and Canon flashes and accessories works just fine for my needs. I have had zero durability or consistency issues with the Yongnuo (and there is not much more than anecdotal evidence otherwise for durability). My 5 light setup cost me a sliver of how much it’d have cost with 600ex-RTs. Though I don’t have full eTTL wirelessly. I prefer manual, so I just have a single set of 622 for off-camera eTTL and I don’t really use it much.
eTTL is a pretty amazing technology, and it allows for types of flash photography that is impossible with manual flash. It also adds convenience and can produce acceptable results quicker, which for certain types of professional photographers affects the bottom line, profit. So I’m not being dismissive of it at all, I just don’t have much of a use for it when doing off-camera lighting – for my work. Furthermore I think there are plenty of people who use it off-camera more out of lack of ability with manual, or just for convenience. Which is fine, I just prefer the fine tune and control of manual over the convenience of eTTL.
Third party options provided a very economical way into lighting for me, and allowed a lot of flexibility in starting small and growing my lighting setup. That may not be as important to you, or you may put more weight than I put in having uniform setup of matching lights and modifiers for consistency. It may also not be worth your time to research dozens of different options; I find the process entertaining. Such things might steer you towards the Canon setup.
I think one thing we can all agree on, is that lighting is one of the most complex elements of photography. So with complexity will come more variation on personal preference. I’m just glad to have options.