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Canon Speedlite System Digital Field Guide Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Shine a new light on your photography

Learning to properly use the revolutionary Canon Speedlite System is only the first step in creating great flash photographs. This colorful, portable guide teaches you not only about Speedlites but also about the subtleties of lighting and light modifiers and when, why, and how to use them. You'll explore light placement and styles of lighting for different and creative effects. This book will take you beyond routine use of flash equipment and start you on the path to creating truly dazzling images.

  • Learn the features of each component and how to set up Speedlites

  • Understand lighting patterns, bounce flash, color temperature, and white balance

  • Discover how you can create a wireless studio that goes where your subjects are

  • Explore creative suggestions from a working photographer on shooting sports, landscapes, weddings, products, portraits, and more

About the Author

Brian McLernon is a commercial studio and location photographer and the author of Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Field Guide. His photography involves primarily editorial, commercial, corporate, and lifestyle clients. Brian also conducts workshops in photography and lighting and teaches a digital photography class for the Portland (OR) Community College adult education series.


Product Details

  • File Size: 4255 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 2 edition (December 17, 2009)
  • Publication Date: December 17, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0031LJ4FM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,295 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
I originally borrowed this book from a friend, before purchasing it, and found it incredibly useful in learning about the Canon Speedlite. It's a great read, and a great reference book, going over how to use the flash in real world situations, and the results from using it. It goes over all the Canon Speedlite systems, so you won't be left out. Even if you use one particular flash, you should know your options, this book goes over those options.
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The book is very well written, and it includes a lot of information that is useful even if you're not using Speedlites. There is a lot of information about lighting in general, including using sunlight for your pictures, or using light modifiers to reflect or change light from any source you might have. There is also some advice about posing for pictures and framing, about the kind of gear you need for various kinds of photography (action, scenery etc.), as well as some info about white balance. The book includes a white balance card and a color-test card. You can obviously use essentially all the suggestions in the book with any comparable quality flashes, not only Canon Speedlites (like Nikons, for example, though of course you get most features only if you use a Canon flash on a Canon camera, and a Nikon one on a Nikon). The main drawback is that you find out how many expensive things you might still want to buy in order to obtain great lighting for your pictures (like a couple more flashes, or flash gels, or remote flash triggers, to name a few).
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I wished the book had been more technical and went through the functions of the Speedlites in depth, but it doesn't do that anymore than the manual does. Instead, the book's content is mostly on general flash photography. I guess it wasn't the content I was expecting, but a lot of it is also really common sense. It also repeats the same content a lot in the beginning of the book. E-TTL must have been explained at least 3 times in the first 10 pages. If I'd bought this book in a store instead of on Amazon, I would most likely return it.
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First of all, this is a solid reference to the current Speedlite product lineup (primarily the 580EXII, 430EXII and accessories). If you want to know how to light a subject with one or more of these flash units, alone or in groups, this book explains how.

The flaws are more annoying because they are so easily avoided:

* Redundant redundancy. An editor should have noticed that the PocketWizard MiniTT1 and FlexTT5 were mentioned no less than three times on pages 104-106. All three times the author says the units came out as the book was being written, but too late for him to try them out. Once would have been enough regarding a product the author has not used.

* Similarly, E-TTL is defined or explained three times in the book's early pages.

* Unlike the quibbles above, fixing my biggest gripe would have made this a five star book for the ages. Pages 182-216 consist of three appendices on Posing Basics, Rules of Composition, and Resources. Useful enough, but I didn't buy this book for that content. These full-color pages could have been used to illustrate some of the flash setups used for the flash photos in the book.

Here's what I mean: Throughout the book are many photos taken with single and multiple flash units, used alone and in groups. The captions and text explain how the photos were taken, which is good. But if the author could have replaced those 34 pages of generic appendices with diagrams of the flash setups, including how the flash units were aimed, set, gelled and grouped, it would have been utterly fantastic.

For example, here is the caption to photo 6.
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I am an intermediate level amateur photographer who has been using a 480EX II for about a year. I hadn't ventured much beyond the Speedlight's default flash mode, and bouncing the flash off a wall or ceiling while on-camera. But when I began exploring off-camera flash use and read about the the problems of using optical slaves with Canon flashes in E-TTL mode (and having no real comprehension of why they wouldn't work), I realized I needed a deeper understanding of my strobe's functionality. Despite reading the manual numerous times, I still did not have a complete grasp of things like why use E-TTL vs. manual flash mode, hi-speed sync versus low speed sync, use of front versus rear curtains, or when to use the flash's wide panel.

This book did a pretty good job of explaining most of these functions. The first 4 chapters addressed most of what I was looking for in a clear, organized, technical way.

My main criticism of the book, ironically, involve the photos included to support the text. For example, in the chapter "Everyday Applications of Your Speedlights," I felt that most of the photos were just ordinary. Other photos in the book were not helpful in clarifying a concept. For example, the explanation of rear curtain would have been much more effective if the author had included 2 examples of the same long exposure shot--one with front curtain and one with rear curtain, so you easily understand the issue. And the chapter "Setting up a Wireless Studio" could have been strengthened by not only including photos of the light modifiers (eg, silver umbrella), but also photo examples of the effects (eg, should have taken two photos of a scene--one with the flash bounced off a silver umbrella, the other off a white umbrella).
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