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Speedliter's Handbook: Learning to Craft Light with Canon Speedlites Paperback – 19 Dec 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 168 customer reviews

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  • The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes: Creative Applications of Small Flashes (Voices That Matter)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Peachpit Press; 1 edition (19 Dec. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 032171105X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321711052
  • Product Dimensions: 18.9 x 2.1 x 23 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 316,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

From the Back Cover


About the Author

Syl Arena studied commercial photography at Brooks Institute and fine art photography at the University of Arizona. Over the years, Syl has shot for newspapers, magazines, and catalogs. He has been recognized for his expertise on color-critical workflow and his ability to turn noon to night by firing off a dozen Speedlites simultaneously. Syl covers the world of photography on his blogs, PixSylated.com and Speedliting.com, and he serves as the Director of the Paso Robles Workshops.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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Best book possible if you're new or newish to flash. Every few pages has an aha fact that makes you think differently about flash. 2nd half of the book is really a reference but I read it from cover to cover. I have exceeded my expectations in flash photography in totally manual mode and feel really confident now.

Syl spells out a really simple 4 step process to take any photo using flash and removes the mystery around the aperture, shutter speed, ISO and flash power balancing act that you can get yourself into. Everything is explained in great detail. Then there are sections of which flashes, diffusers, umbrellas, stands, gels etc to match your budget or ambitions and some great tips on getting to results on a smaller budget. Everything he talks about is current and available on Amazon. I ended up buying the much cheaper YONGNUO 600EX-RT Speedlite + YONGNUO YN-E3-RT Flash Speedlite Transmitter for Canon instead of the genuine Canon equivalent. All of the functionality and menus seem identical.

On top of the technical and product information, he is constantly developing your eye for light placement and a better understanding of different lighting situations, including mixed lighting situations. I really see light very differently after reading the book.

Who the books is not for...If you already know that shutter speed controls your ambient light but has almost no effect on flash up to sync speed of the camera then you probably don't need the book. If you already know that the flash duration at 1/1000 shutter speed in HSS mode is LONGER than the duration in regular mode at 1/200 shutter speed than you don't need the chapter on High Speed Sync.
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Better than I expected, has a lot of information and how to do things
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Bought this as a gift for a friend, who is an experienced photographer, for Christmas. He found it useful, a good reference book.
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I have bought several books on using speedlites over the last couple of years. Each time I get one I think this is going to be the one that explains it all to me. Unfortunately, I've generally been left just as confused as when I started.

But this one is different .... Syl Arena's book is a MASTERPIECE! It starts right at the beginning and assumes no knowledge, some of the things in the early chapters I knew, but not everything, so I felt like I was learning straight off. Then as I read on I kept thinking I'd be getting to the complicated bit soon, but the truth is that Syl translates the complicated bit into plain English. It's like waking up and finding you can suddenly speak Spanish! Not only is it clear and simple, but it's a real page turner too, hard to put down.

The book covers everything you could possibly need to know, right down to the types of battery you could use and the pros and cons of each one.

I can't recommend this book highly enough. If you are only going to buy one photography book this year .... make it this one!
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This book is amazing. It is detailed enough on the technical aspects and operation of Canon's Speedlite range to be considered an instruction manual - a much better manual than Canon's own - yet also a wonderful artistic resource for those wishing to improve the creative side of their photography and use of flashes.

The description of how Canon's amazing E-TTL system actually works is handled very well - very easy to understand yet thorough and detailed enough. Manual control of flashes is also covered in detail together with how to use flashes in both modes, or a mixture of the two, using the built in wireless system.

The creative sections are hugely informative. Arena takes you through each shoot, building the shots from one lit just with ambient light; how he then tweaks the ambient light to his desired effect and then supplements it or overpowers it with flash. You see all the shots along the way and he provides a full list of camera and light settings. There's a mix of images created solely with flash together with those where Speedlites have been used to supplement the ambient.

This is by far the best book I've read on lighting techniques. True, if you own Nikon kit or that of any other manufacturer, it will be of little technical help, but there are other book similarly biased towards them available.

For Canon users, this is a no brainer. Buy it.
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Format: Paperback
I'm a Nikon diehard, and bought this book in my local bookshop after browsing it extensively. It is immensely useful for technique and understanding the principles of flash, whether or not you shoot Canon. I was interested in shooting manual flash and in modifying light, and this book has been so helpful. It is like having the expert on hand to talk you through how to do all things Flash.
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Format: Paperback
I have never given a product five stars, thinking there could be something better; but not in this case. If you have a Canon DSLR and a Speedlite 430 or 580 ex or ex II, this is the book you need. The author has not only knowledge and experience, but also something very rare: the ability to explain things clearly. The book starts with general information such as aperture, shutter speed and the histogram, even if you think you know all this it is worth reading. Then you go into the use of the speedlite, accessories that are available and their uses, and most importantly, practical information on how to take flash photos, with clear step by step explanations and diagrams of the positioning of the light(s). Leafing through the book you get the impression that you will need to invest heavily in speedlites and accessories to be able to get decent photos, but the author does give a lot of information for the amateur with basic equipment. I have been using Canon EOS cameras and a 430ex for years, and have been frustrated by my lack of ability to get good results with the flash. This book has been a revelation. The main criteria for this type of book is "how much will I learn?" In my case it was an enormous amount.
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