I am making my list for Santa... and I want to start learning how to use a speedlite. I have been looking at the 430 EX II for canon but I found this off brand one that gets pretty ok reviews. What do you experienced mamas think? My thought is that I would like to upgrade in a year or two and I don't want to buy an expensive flash that won't fit whatever I upgrade to. KWIM?
Amazon.com: Bower SFD728C TTL Autofocus Flash for Canon E-TTL II: Electronics
Also, my mom is looking for gift ideas for me in the $50-100 range. Any must have accessories in that price range?
I have the 430 EX II myself. I don't have anything to compare it to, but I really like it. I've only ever used it on camera. As far as I know, it's compatible with all Canon EOS cameras. At least that's what the description on Amazon said.
As far as gift ideas, you could ask for a reflector, lens hood, strap buddy (From photojojo. Love mine, but you have to make sure to check it every now and then. Mine actually fell off!), cf/sd cards, tripod...
I've got the 430exii as well. I got mine second hand of ebay for a song.