I was doing macro shots one day using my ringflash taking a bunch of flower shots when a thought crossed my mind. I was thinking, what if I can move my flash around so my macro shots would look more natural than having that really close ringflash type of lighting?
One disadvantage of using a ringflash is that it restricts you from actually moving your flash around the subject. Of course you can adjust the ratio of your ringflash from left to right or the power of the flash but it sometimes still not give you that natural looking light. Sometimes flower macro shots look better with natural lighting...although this is not possible when you're in a dark studio or shooting without a tripod and shooting with a very slow shutter speed. In macro, the faster shutter speed and the narrower aperture is necessary to get that uber sharp close up shot. This is all possible with a flash. Although some photographers like me, still like that natural light look even when using a flash. The solution to this is positioning the flash that it mimics how natural light strikes our subject. One good way of doing this is using a flash cord so your flash isn't attached to your hotshoe, making it movable to wherever you want it to be. And of course, a hotshoe cord costs like hundreds of dollars less than a ringflash.
I then browsed BH photo and video
for a good deal for a flash cord. The Canon one is around $65. I then browsed for the after market ones and I found this
. It's the Vello TTL off camera flash cord. So for $14.95 I dove in.
2 days later I got it in the mail. I opened it and basically there's nothing much to it. Although I will say that I am really impressed at how the cord was built. For $14 I was expecting a cord that looks like it'll break down after a month of use, but I got something better. The cord felt really high quality. The coil looked pretty sturdy, and the mount was metal. Better than the older canon flash mounts from years ago. Here's the best part...the cord actually looks like it is weather sealed. It has that rubber seal that goes between the mount and the hot shoe, reminiscent of the 580ex II mount. The mount is actually better than my 480ex II mount. Now that's high quality right there.
I then mounted it on my camera body. It was kind of tight the first time you put it in. The mount has a lock that is basically the same as the 430ex. It has that push button quick release mount instead of the screw in mount. A couple of times of putting i on and taking it off made the mount feel easier to put on, exactly like a genuine Canon speedlite. The flash mount is the same as the hotshoe mount on the Canon body. The flash mount actually has a thread at the bottom so you can attach it to a tripod or a light stand with a screw in lock. Be careful though if you're mounting it to a stand. If the cord is too short, you might end up pulling the flash with the stand with you. For these instances, I suggest you get the long version of this cord.
The mount seems weather proof. I'm not sure how good the sealing is but it's better than nothing!
The metal mount is the same as what you'll find in a 430ex II or an 580ex II.
The bottom of the flash mount is threaded so you can attach it to a tripod or a light stand.
Electronically, the cord allows you to use the full features of your speedlite. High speed sync (hss), 2nd curtain sync flash, and ttl are all usable with the cord. This is not possible when using a cheap flash mount wireless trigger as it disables these features. These features are also usable with high end wireless flash triggers such as the pocket wizards, and also IR triggers such as the Canon ste-2. The hss feature is very useful when photographing drops of water or when shooting outdoors when you want to use a shallow aperture.
I then spent hours playing with my flash with the cord attached to it. So far it it's performing pretty good.
On a budget? Can't afford a ring flash and want to use your existing flash for macro? If you need a high quality sync cord for your speedlite, this is an awesome deal! This is actually one of my best buys for this year!