Follow-up on portrait photography

Following the excellent talk from David Williams at the last workshop evening, Ross Garner sent through the following:

After the inspiring talk from David Williams last tuesday night I have been doing some research on lenses and remote flash triggers.

I found this site had good information: Strobist: Lighting 101

The following comments are for Canon users, however I think the same price points apply to Nikon and other brand cameras.


Canon make two (affordable) 50mm lenses:

I noticed David was using the Sigma 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM which costs about $650

Seems the Sigma is recognised as the best lens. However the cheaper Canon does get good review for sharpness on non full frame DSLR cameras.

Remote control

Only the Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Transmitter gives TTL contol of the flash. ie the flash intensity controlled by the camera.

Available 3rd party items will trigger the flash, but not control the intensity

There is a limit of about 10m between the camera and the flash

In addition to the Sigma 50mm lens (available for other brands than Nikon, eg Canon), David was also demonstrating using a Nikon D5000 (shows you don’t need the expensive camera to get great results) and was triggering the external flashes with a Nikon SU-800 Wireless Speedlight Commander.

Both the Canon ST-E2 and Nikon SU-800 use infrared light which is what limits their range. Recently E-TTL compatible radio based remote triggers have become available, however they are quite pricey and are a significant investment (as much or more as your camera).

If you were also inspired and want to learn more, then you should be coming along to the Portrait & Flash Photography group at its second meeting next Wednesday. The site Ross found, Strobist, was also mentioned by David Gilliver at the first meeting and I expect it to be an essential resource for the group.