Posted by: David Vernon | April 9, 2010

Small Small Flash Help

Look at ’em – uneasy allies.

The Canon 430EX II and Nikon SB-600 Speedlites (I like the Canon spelling – what can I say?) are the under-achievers in their respective flash lines. Unlike their big sisters (the 580EX II and the SB-900), these guys are a little less powerful, a little less bells-and-whistlely, and well – a little less flashy. There’s some things they won’t do that you start to take for granted in Canon and Nikon’s flagship speedlite products.

But they have another thing going for ’em – a virtual two-for-one sale. Give or take you can get two of these flashes for one of the bigger brethren – and that can come in handy. Checking out prices on B&H, the SB-600 rings in at $219 , while the SB-900 causes heart palpitations at $450 . The 430EX II is a relatively cool $280 , while the mighty 580EX II is a staggering $445 .

Both the 430 and the 600 work fine as remote flashes within the respective Canon and Nikon wireless systems. You can slave them as long as you have the right set-up and they’ll fire nicely. But what you can do is conveniently hook up wireless radio or optical triggers. Neither of these flashes has a PC-sync connector or a built-in optical trigger (which fires the flash when it sees another flash go – like at the speed of light dude!) so you have to think outside of the traditional box if you want to use these creatively (and a little dig at Canon since the 580 doesn’t have the optical trigger either – but at least it has PC-sync).

So – how do you draw that box so that these lights can play well with others. You sneak over to the ever clever endeavor FlashZebra.com. And while you’re there you consider spending the wisest $18 you’ve ever spent and you buy the handy Item #0154 Screwlock PC & Miniphone Jack to Flash Hotshoe Adapter. This little adapter truly does it all. Mounting on your flashes hotshoe, it has a screwlock PC sync port (we love screwlocks – the awful PC connectors can’t fall out). It also has a 1/8″ miniphone jack so if you’re using wireless radio you can plug right into that. It has a locking ring so your flash won’t fall out of its mount. It’s a little slice of heaven and will work with just about any hotshoe-mountable flash.  For $18! In fact, this page has all of the hotshoe adapters – you can find something for just about any situation (but Item #0154 already delivers).

But wait – you’re not done yet. Head over to their Optical Slaves page and get yourself a sweet optical trigger. Average price for an optical trigger? About $15. $15!!!! That’s like stealing (light). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on my Nikon SB-800’s built-in optical trigger to fire that flash. An optical trigger can really solve a bugger of a sync problem when it arises.

FlashZebra has been a reliable vendor for me. They’ve never sent me anything for free and somehow I don’t think any additional love in the form of merchandise will find its way to Delavan for this write-up. Like all things I recommend – I use them and find they exceed my expectations so I happily recommend them to you.

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Responses

  1. Hands-down – Nikon whips Canon in the flash system dept. I don’t understand why Canon doesn’t step up. How freakin’ hard can it be??!!!


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