I own a Canon Speedlite 580EX and a 380EX. I would like to have morecreative options for lighting people - mostly portraits but also social and artistic events that fit within range of small scale lighting. Let's say my budget is around 1000 Euros +/- 300 Euros. For that price I can get cheap kits with 350/350/250Ws or 600/600/420/260Ws both with umbrellas, softboxes, gels, snoot, wireless sync and tripods. Or I can get a couple of 430EX or 580EX with a ST-E2 that I could maybe later replace with a few Pocket Wizards although I dread that expense. I know that the lighting kits I am talking about are not from one the well-known brands. They are from a brand named Walimex made in China by Yinyan. They get surprisingly good reaction in various forums. It seems that they are good value for money. The Aurora brand is also sometimes mentioned as another cheap chinese brand with slightly better quality. A few DPReview threads about them : Thread 1 Thread 2 Thread 3 Users of the better brands recommend the better brands but those cost three times the price of the cheap ones. They may or may not be better or more reliable, but for an amateur that is a moot point if the price is three times as high. The cheap lights provide more power than the Canon portable strobes will ever put out. But I can carry the portable strobes anywhere in my bag. As Strobist says : "larger strobes have their place, but they tend to spend a lot of time in trunks and stuffed under beds. But the small, everyday strobe is always in the waistpack ready to go". So I'm a bit torn over this issue. For now, since the main application will be indoor portraiture, the couple of 430EX with a STE-2 to complement my 580EX have my favor : sufficient power, portability and low cost look like a winning combination to me and I do not think I need more power. But what do you think ?