How to choose a Flash for your DSLR

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I am writing this guide for anyone searching for a flash for a DSLR.
After spending a lot of money on such a camera, its easy to look to try to save money on accessories, such as a flash, you probably spent all your hard earned on a DSLR and maybe a lens too, to replace your kit lens, or so you should...
Its then hard to justify spending hundreds again on a decent flash.
I was in this situation and having bought my D60 and a lens, I wanted a flash and if possible I was interested in the wireless feature.
I looked at the Gloxy flash from digital toy shop, they seem to be a reputable dealer.
There are other flash units which copy the canon flash and they all claim to be equivalent to the canon 580, which currently is around £265.
None of these flashes are over £100, the gloxy is £80 and makes the same claims.
I bought one and it soon arrived.
I experimented with the flash as you do. Now I have to say when I got the flash out and got some batteries in it, I was impressed, it appears to be very good quality, a good display, nice operation of the zoom and swivel etc. You get a stand and a diffuser and a bag.
I tried it on the camera straight ahead and got good exposures.
Thats about all I can say this flash would be useful for. Moving the head about to bounce flash, always very underexposed, infact pretty useless. The flash obviously does not work in E-TTL, I did try the flash in manual in some of these situations and it had more than enough power to light the subject in bounce but the output was too low in auto.
Used in wireless mode, even worse. E-TTL sends out a pre flash burst which actually contains information transmitted to the flash, the flash reads this and any settings are changed and the output of the flash is set for when 20ms later the shot is taken, humans cannot actually see the pre flash, its so quick, but the flash can.
I took some shots in wireless mode, all I ever got was ambient light, even though the flash is going off? very confusing, what I found is that the flash was being triggered by the wireless flash control, pre flash of ETTL and this was before the shutter actually opens, the only way to get an exposure, is to disable the wireless control and ETTL on the camera and set eveything up in manual to get a shot. But this defeated the whole object of buying a wireless ETTL flash, I might as well have bought a cheap flash with a wireless trigger.
I ended up sending the flash back and re read the add.
Equivalent to the 580? well its the same size and looks similar from a distance.
ETTL? no, maybe just, on camera and straight ahead.
Wireless control? yes but only in total manual control.
So, £85 worth? probably yes, but not equivalent to any canon flash for the money, if you want a canon flash, dont buy a chinese one, buy a canon.
There are some other chinese flash units which are a better copy, but I wouldnt go near this one.
 
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