Speedlights – Advantages/Disadvantages

Speedlights…Canon, Nikon, SB-900, 580EX….Greek to you? Was to me for the longest time…I was looking into Alien Bees, Profoto, Bowens, and all other manner of stuff. But wanted to be portable and able to go anywhere, anytime. I talked to a couple of photographers I knew who were using the Speedlights for everything, and thought that I could use something like that to improve my images.
Some advantages of Speedlights are:

  1. They’re completely portable. (The average speedlight weighs a shade over 1lb)
  2. Most can do both Manual and TTL Modes (check the manufacturers site)
  3. They’re Zoomable (24mm-200mm for a more tightly focused beam)
  4. Use Every popular Modifier (soft box, strip box, Octa Box, Beauty Dish, etc)
  5. Use rechargable AA batteries (can be used over and over again)
  6. Can be placed and hidden almost anywhere in the frame.

Some Disadvantages of Speedlights are:

  1. Less power than studio strobes
  2. Takes multiple lights to do what one Studio Strobe can do
  3. Need Multiple lights through a large modifier
  4. Can use lots of batteries.
  5. Less Spread of the light even when zoomed out.
Nothing is perfect. Never will be. But for what I’m doing on a daily basis, running and gunning with a bunch of 580EX’s works, despite the drawbacks.
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