The are different degrees of flash automation.ONly Canon and a few other expensive or almost-expensive flash units provide the full range of automation, including through the lens falsh exposure measurement and wireless flash, so that you can use several flash units at the same time, fully automatically, with no wires connecting them to each other..
The tilting head, or tilting and swiveling head, means that you can bounce the light off the ceiling or the wall or an umbrella or other reflector, making the light look better, usually by reducing or moving the shadows..
Before you buy that flash, check out the strobist blog and flickr group if you haven't already done so. If the off-camera flash techniques and images there appeal to you, note that they only require a manual flash (i.e. a generic flash can suffice)...
The shadows are much less harsh and the light softer with a a tilt and swivel bounce head. You also elimate redeye..
*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.
I'm just about to buy an external flash but I need some advice. Ihave a Canon Rebel 350D and I see that Speedlites are costly comparedto "generic" brands. Is there a performance/quality differencebetween Canon flashes and generic brands?.
You might be able to save some money by going for a Sigma EF-500 DG ST flash over the Canon models. This is compatible with E-TTL. There's also a Metz flash that's compatible, but that's almost as expensive as a Speedlight..
What you'll get is possibly a slightly weaker flash output in some cases. Bigger issue is the lack of E-TTL, which affords you far more reliable exposures. This also makes fill flash extremely easy, and easy to adjust... if you try to balance ambient and flash like this quickly and manually, you'll give up, burst into tears, throw the flash against something hard and spiky or all of the above (strobist will help, though)..
One thing you also need to note is older flash designs can have a higher voltage across the flash terminals than your Canon is expecting. This is because they had to deal with the hot shoes of fully manual, battery-free cameras with passive flash circuits - some of the old Vivitar flash are particularly DSLR-unfriendly, although they are great for off-camera flash..
If in doubt, stick to Canon and hang the expense..
And the other thing is:some flashes have the capability to adjust the angle where the flashwill shoot. What is the advantage of that compared to a flash that isnot adjustable?.
If you are indoors, look up at the ceiling. Now, imagine all of that as the light source for your flash pictures. Think how soft the light would be, compared to the hard little point source of your flashgun. With a flash head that tilts and swivels, you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls to make the light appear a lot softer and thereby stop those hard shadows seen in direct flash pictures..
You name it, I've broken it...
580ex II is the only way to go, or even better two ex580's. There is a lot to say about this subject but you don't want to spend money on cheaper flash and than have to upgrade in few months...
I think it depends on why you are buying the flash and what your budget really is. I recently bought the 430ex to go with my 400D, and I too thought long and hard about saving some money and going for a non-Canon brand, in the end I decided to go Canon. There was no way I could afford / justify the expense of a 580 or a pair of them ( ! ), especially as I won't be using it that often. If you are just starting your own studio or just become a professional wedding photographer then your needs are going to be different to someone who wants to take the odd family photo using flash...