plenty for me
I have used the 430 EX for a few years now, and have never found myself in a situation where I would need the much more expensive 580 or 600. I only use this indoors when shooting portraits, and even with my 135mm, I get plenty of light from this flash. The recycle rate works just fine, and this unit really stretches battery life. If you cannot justify spending the extra money for the larger flash, then don't. It is likely this will cover most of your wants and needs. In addition, the size makes for stuffing it in your day bag much easier and practical.
January 23, 2014
Good basic flash
Bought this as my first flash unit, not knowing a lot about flashes but knowing I probably wouldn't be happy with a generic off-brand unit.
For a first go-round, I've been pretty happy with this flash.
It does exactly as advertised and while the bigger ones may have more power and more features, I find this one gets everything done that I can reasonably expect.
The controls, like most Canon controls, take a little time to learn. Once there though, it's pretty literal. Pretty much set it to ETTL and your camera will control it just fine.
I've started using it for High School Football games and this is where I immediately found it's shortcomings...
The unit just doesn't have quite enough power to be used at the distances I'm pushing it to. It also uses battery power at an exorbitant rate when pushed to it's maximum. I also found that it does not have provisions to use an external power supply which I find to be very disappointing. I'm forced to use batteries the entire time...
Another piece I find missing for the heavier use is the ability to run a sync cord. All functions must be done either through the hot shoe or wirelessly. If I want to move the flash off camera, even incrementally, it must be done wirelessly.
While the average person taking photos likely would not worry so much about what I cite as shortcomings, I wish I would have known ahead of time. Understandably, there is no list of what it doesn't have or do - one must compare and contrast ad nauseum in order to discover it all.
Again, over-all this is a great little flash. I've just worked into heavier needs and this one is going to demote to a slave function...
November 5, 2013
For the love of light
I discovered years ago that in order to improve my pictures, artificial lighting was essential, Most shots do not turn out as you envision them without the proper lighting. You can achieve excellent lighting in a studio atmosphere but when taking shots on the fly indoors/outdoors the natural light in a scene doesn't always cut it. The 430 EX II is easy to use for a beginner and has the features someone with more experience would like. It has great bounce capabilities at shorter ranges and it is quiet. It doesn't flash multiple times like some units to set the exposure. I find those types extremely annoying. And if you ever want to upgrade your lighting system or use it in a studio it makes a great slave unit. Nice unit for the price.
November 14, 2012
Cant believe I lived without it this long.
This is way past simple in ETTL mode. Makes pictures perfect at even 1/30 sec at ISO 200 hand held to freeze action of water droplets. Rapid fire keeps up also. Have not tried other features yet but WOW.
September 8, 2012