Thursday, September 27, 2012

600EX-RTs (are awesome!)

Arrival of my 600ex-rt's. Clockwise from top-left: (1)Box of all camera gear that arrived from BHPhotoVideo (2)600EX-RT Boxes (3)600EX-RTs Unpacked and Cases included (4) firing manual-wireless twenty minutes later. 
If you saw my post in July, you'll see I was thinking about some Canon 600EX-RTs and weighing the decision. Well, coming back to you a few weeks later, it turns out I bought them, used them, and love them to this day.



FMX'er lit by off-camera 600ex-rt at 1/800th second
Order day was August 3rd, which was the first day of Center of Gravity Festival in Kelowna, which I was chosen as a photographer at the event. Decided that instead of going out and getting in the sun early, I would wait for the flashes to arrive and use them there. 
After breaking them out of the box and getting batteries in them, it took a total of fifteen minutes to get two of them syncing via radio-wireless, in full manual mode. The majority of what I needed to know for that day was learned in fifteen minutes.  I proceeded to the outdoor sport and music festival where I mercilessly fired the flashes off in harsh sunlight for around 500 frames in the next few hours, needing to change the set of four AA's on each strobe only once.
COG 2012 Photographed the same day I got the speed lights!
Working at 1/2 and 1/4 power had enough recharge speed for shooting sports outside, and enough power for me while wrangling the bright daylight down to 1/250th of a second for flash-sync, often around f/9 which can really drop your flash power at a distance.
When I got home I was stoked with the images. They were convenient enough that I could ask my assistant to go stand somewhere, start shooting and then change the exposure on that flash as necessary all from the master 600 on my hotshoe.   So you could very feasibly leave these flashes in remote areas and never need to access them through a shoot until its time to retrieve them or change the batteries.
Within days of finishing the COG 2012 festival, I was off to the Yukon to photograph a wedding, and you guessed it - the flashes were coming along.  I always use flash at a wedding, and especially during formal portraits, I rely upon them. Very happy with their performance at COG, I felt confident bringing them with.
A Wedding Party Portrait

Wedding is a much more high pressure event, where things only happen once, and you better be ready to catch them.  Flashes definitely helped with that. Normally you need all sorts of wires, extra batteries, and triggering systems to make flashes work off-camera, this is not the case with 600RTs.  So for anyone who normally travels with their speedlights, you will instantly be saving space.  I brought everything to capture the scenery of the Yukon for myself, and everything I would need to effectively photograph a wedding in only one small backpack, many thanks to these flashes.

Another test I have put them to, has been lighting up foregrounds in landscape photos.  Sometimes at night where having radio triggering isn't even necessary, but also in daytime using the amazing high speed sync function that works across radio triggering!  Allowing you to go for super shallow focus with wide apertures, in daylight, with a high speed shutter and still light your foreground.
From a quick environmental portrait shoot at sunset. 

Lastly, I did a portrait shoot for a hair and makeup artist's portfolio outdoors, in a single location where I was able to bring some lighting modifiers and really work on my ratios, which I was also extremely pleased with.  Not only that, but due to time-constraints, we only shot for twenty minutes! I walked away with 100 exposures, the flashes fired in all of them, and are exposed the way I intended.

All in all, very much looking forward to working with these 600RTs in the future.
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you end up getting a set!
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