I just bought a EOS 6D and I want to get a flash. I've been a bit out of touch with photography for many years and I finally decided on a camera. Now I need some help with which flash to get. Any recommendations for my camera? I'm not a professional photographer - I am getting back into doing artwork. So I don't need to buy the best of the best, but I do think I should get a Canon Speedlite. I think I would mainly use the flash for indoor shots, portraits, shots of my friends, maybe some action shots of volleyball in darker gyms. But I'm not a big fan of images made with flash. I do recall bouncing the flash off of the ceiling in the past to get a better light/image quality, so I would probably take the same approach. Which flash would be a decent purchase? Just for reference, my last camera was a Canon A-1, which I bought back in 1984... : )
The new Speedlite 600EX-RT can operate as a "master" (wireless commander) or "slave" (wireless remote) using either it's built-in optical communication or via radio... provided it's talking to other equipment which ALSO can communicate via these methods.
Your 6D does not have a built-in optical commander (that's normally done by adding it to the pop-up flash, but high end cameras don't have pop-up flashes) nor does it have a built-in radio transmitter for the flash.
The IDEAL way to use the 600EX-RT's is via the new radio system (highly reliable, does not require line-of-site, and a joy to use.) To do this, you either need a 2nd 600EX-RT (so you can have one on-camera and one (or more) remote) -or- get the ST-E3-RT on-camera radio commander.
The ST-E3-RT is more compact, but doesn't have all the features of using a full 600EX-RT flash as a commander. The flash can communicate via either optical or radio which means you can use it with any other Canon flash able to function in a multi-light setup... the ST-E3-RT is radio only (you could not use it to control, say, a 580EX II or 430EX II, etc.) Also... the on-camera flash has an AF assist-beam which helps the camera focus in dark situations. The ST-E3-RT does not have an AF assist-beam.
You can also control the 600EX-RT optically using any other flash capable of using optical. e.g. a 580EX II can be a master or slave. A 430EX II can be a slave (it cannot be a master). The ST-E2 speedlite commander can trigger optical slaves (it can not communicate via radio.)
I went with a 2nd 600EX-RT. This lets me bounce my main flash and provide directional light from the side-light flash. I can also disable the "flash" of the main flash but use it's AF-assist beam and use it as a commander to trigger the remote speedlite.
+1 for the 430exII. The only downside I see is that you mention doing indoor sports, and for stuff like that you kinda want all the lumens you can get. But it's a modest admission fee to external flash.
600exRT is overkill in my opinion. If you decide to get into off camera flash you can certainly move to 600s and you wouldn't be out much (relative to the cost of going 600s). Or you could just get some radio triggers and still use your 430 and any other generic or Canon flash.
I see the benefit to 600s for a working professional for doing multiple flash work with live subjects (e.g. a wedding photobooth), as it eases setup and complication, and time is money. But shy of that I think you can do the same things much cheaper with other flashes and radio triggers.
Well if you can scrape up a little more cash I would suggest the 600EX-RT. With a 6D you get all the bells and whistles the RT system has to offer. If you decide to expand and get more flashes the group mode is excellent. The 430 is a fine flash but my guess is a 430 RT is around the corner and RT is the way fo the future. If you are thinking about a 580 II read this.
I think they’ll put it in-camera eventually, but they sure are taking their sweet ass time.
I hope I’m still into off-camera lighting when someone finally ties all the ends together and allows me to control my camera and flashes through a single tablet interface – check focus with live view, adjust flash power (individually, not groups), change camera settings, and trigger the shutter. It’d be a huge hit with the strobists, and sadly the technology is all there, just in pieces.
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