Beginning real estate photographer Sarah asks:
I own the Canon Rebel T5i and I use it in my real estate business. Since purchasing the camera (and the 10-22 mm lens that you recommended and ranked #2 on your list) and playing around with it extensively it has become apparent to me that I need to purchase an external flash. As a novice I could really use your advice. I am only interested in purchasing one (I'm looking at the speedlite 600ex-RT, speedlite 580EX II or the speedlite 430EX II). For wide-angle photography and bouncing it off the ceiling, is there a clear winner in your opinion? I find it interesting that the newest 600 model is less expensive than the 580 but if I can get away with the 430 obviously from a budget standpoint that would be ideal. Any help you could provide would be much appreciated!
For real estate photography, I don't recommend the 600ex, the 430ex or the 580EX. These flashes are OK for other uses where automatic flash makes sense, but for real estate all you need is an inexpensive manual flash.
The YN-560-III is a great all around manually triggered flash that you can use to get started or if you are using Scott Hargis's Lighting Interiors manual flash technique. For details see Lighting Interiors e-book or Scott's Lighting Video series.
When you are using Scott's manual flash system you need to trigger at least one flash wirelessly if you are going to get the flash off your camera and have one flash fire other flashes optically. What I like about the YN-560-III is it eliminates parts and batteries because it has a RF602/603 receiver built-in to it.
So the complete setup would be:
For those just starting out with Scott's manual flash system the YN-560-III and an RF603/603 make a great first flash. It gets your flash off the camera, it triggers wirelessly without spending a fortune on triggers, and it minimizes parts and batteries. Then as you learn Scott's system and need to acquire more flashes you can acquire, SB-80dxs, or YN-560-IIs or YN-560-IIIs any of which can be optically triggered by the first YN-560-III. If you have multiple YN-560-IIIs you can trigger them all with the RF602/603 trigger in your hot shoe.
It's worth pointing out that at 2014 prices you can get 2 YN-560-IIIs and a set of RF602/603 triggers for the same price as 1 used SB-80Dx. Scott and David Hobby have been promoting the SB-80Dx for years and the price keeps going up and up. when they are available from KEH or Ebay they are about $190.
I can attest to the build quality and reliability of the YN-560-IIIs because I have 4 of them. I never have any reliability issues with mine. The touch and feel of the Yongnuo's is very similar to my obscenely expensive Canon 580EX which I haven't used since I met Scott.