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Buying a flash... Should I buy used?

JSeawrightJSeawright Member
edited April 2011 in flash & lighting
So, I'm looking at buying a flash... I know that I want the top of the line flash (either new or a generation old), and I found a great deal on a 550ex. It's used on adorama. The thing is, if it's used, I'm not sure how much life it will have left. How much does it cost to replace a speedlite filament?

If I don't do that, then I'm not opposed to saving up a bit more and buying the 580exii. But I'd really rather not spend as much if I can - I just bought a 70-200 f2.8...
I figured I would one day buy the 580 and use this one as a really powerful slave.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should end up going with?

Thanks for any input you might have,



  • You could always buy refurbished, where the company has inspected a returned or broken item and restored it to operating condition. It usually sells for less than new.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    edited April 2011
    between the 550 and 580, the clear winner is the 580 in how it can rotate 180 to either side.

    Also, the 550 gets annoying since it locks into position at certain angles, making it difficult to bounce your flash on the fly. Needs a two-handed approach really. Or an awkward one hand maneuver.
  • Well cool!

    I ended up going with the 580 (version 1).
    I got it for a pretty good price - so I bought some of the sanyo eneloops with a charger, and invested in the two CTS gels you suggested.

    Given that I'm an Electrical Engineering major... Fixing electronics doesn't scare me at all (and capacitors too for that matter). So, I looked up some instructions on replacing the bulb in the 580 and it doesn't really look too hard at all. < Worst case scenario.

    I'm really excited to start using flash!! I've gotten pretty good at working with ambient light, but this will really open up new avenues for creativity.

    Would you guys be interested in the link for fixing the flash?

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator

    And it might even better serve its purpose as a Tangents blog post, especially if you have images showing the steps.
  • Neil,

    The author of the instructions has already taken the liberty of taking photos and documenting the process. Take a look!


    I do think it's very very important to make sure they leave the flash alone for a week or two with the batteries out like he suggested... And if you post it, make sure you say something like "I'm not liable if you hurt yourself or damage your equipment".

    Based on what I've researched thus far... Discharging the capacitors if you don't know what you're doing could very well be rather dangerous. So I think the 'leaving your flash alone for a while' option would work better for many people :P

    Go figure!


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