Saturday, June 23, 2012

Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite - No Thanks

Canon has a new top of the line speedlite.  It is slightly more powerful, has built-in radio control and works with on-camera menus if  you have a new Canon camera.  Based on the internet response, these units will be best sellers.

The euphoria is somewhat justified.  Digital Cameras have made multiple flash photography less difficult.  The internet has made it easier to learn how to control them well.

      1  Radio is more reliable.  Previous generations of Canon's top line speedlites used pulses of light to communicate their remotes.  Canon users have been begging for radio control for years. 
      2  The new 600EX-RT is only $100 more than the 580EX II and have radio control built in.  It costs over $200 to add a Pocket Wizard to the 580EX II so if you want radio control you are already saving over $100.

     3  The Pocket Wizard and 580EX II needed to be connected.  This added extra steps and weight and contributed to communication problems.

To sum it up, the 600EX-RT is cheaper, lighter, more powerful and more reliable than the flash it replaces.   

      What isn't there to like? 

             1  I no longer automatically assume that Canon products are developed with the photographer in mind.  It's  obvious that the 600EX-RTwas designed to put Pocket Wizard's share of the market dollars into Canon's wallets.  They are engineered to make every generation of Pocket Wizard obsolete.  Unfortunately, this attack on Pocket Wizard means that the new speedlites will not work as well with any of the older Canon cameras or flashes.  Canon cut off their nose to spite their face.

      2  Canon's previous speedlite - the 580EX II was an engineering disaster.  It leaked so much electromagnetic radiation other nearby devices were not able to use their assigned portion of the spectrum. 

            3  Many of the 580EX II speedlites had a manufacturing defect that caused them break when certain features were used.   Canon never took responsibility for this defect.  Hopefully the 600EX-RT is more reliable.
      4  Canon has a flat rate for may repairs regardless of the difficulty of the repair.  The 600EX-RT has more features to break. If the built-in radio transceiver develops problems, a Pocket Wizard would have been much cheaper.

Earlier this year, I purchased several used 550EX speedlites and Pocket Wizard Flex TT5 units to trigger them.  The 550EX is nearly as powerful as the 600EX-RT.  It doesn't leak electromagnetic radiation and is considerably cheaper.  Unlike the 600EX-RT, the 550EX works with all my Canon cameras.

Pocket Wizard is in serious trouble.  On one side they have big corporations like Canon trying to sabotage their market share.  On the other side, they have Chinese manufacturers making cheap copies of their products.

I hope that the 600EX-RT lives up to the hype.  Canon users have patiently waited for a better flash.  I'll wait a little longer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fontenelle Forest - June 9 2012

I arrived before sunrise today and was rewarded with a glance at a distant deer waling through the foggy forest.

A raccoon was searching for food along the shore. He glowed in the light of the rising sun.

Buffalo-bur doesn't normally bloom until July.

A Killdeer enjoyed the early morning light.

If this is a Swamp Aster, it is blooming early as well.

This Black-capped Chickadee was searching for lunch.

Wild Turkeys have become fairly common but truly wild ones are difficult to photograph in the wild.

This mother Wood Duck was followed by eight ducklings.

Fontenelle Forest Wetlands June 3 2012

This Rose-Breasted Grosbeak stopped for a photo.

A Dickcissel  continues to call for a mate.

A Black-eyed Susan reaches for the sun.

A Kildeer searches for food along the shore.
A Eastern Wood-Pewee sits on a barbed wire fence that is the boundary between the wetlands and Gifford Farm.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Fontenelle Forest Wetlands - June 2 2012

This Gray Catbird was very cooperative today.

Most of the warblers have moved on but this Common Yellowthroat Warbler is nesting in the wetlands

The Belted Kingfisher has returned

This Double-Crested Cormorant is sitting in his favorite spot again today.

A Song Sparrow has captured a bit of lunch.

Lady's Thumb grows wild along the trail