External Flash question!

This is a discussion on External Flash question! within the Casual Chat forums, part of the OTHER FORUMS category; So i am thinking of purchasing an external flash or my Canon, but before i go buying something that i have no idea how it ...


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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Los ALamaitos,CA
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    37
    So i am thinking of purchasing an external flash or my Canon, but before i go buying something that i have no idea how it helps my picture, can some one please enlighten me on how it helps shots better than the flash i have on my camera already??
    Thanks!
    Tread Lightly, Take only pictures, Leave only footprints, and Kill only time


  • #2
    Nikon Shooter
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Eatontown, NJ
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    1,006
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    You mean the little tiny pop-up thingy?

    First, power. Any external unit will give you several stops more light than the built-in unit. Or you can look at it as flash "range" - the light will travel considerably further. This is expressed as the guide number of the flash- which I won't explain here. Do a quick Google search on "flash guide number explanation" and I'm sure you'll get plenty of great tutorials.

    Second, control. Your built-in flash is "on-axis" with your lens. This often gives you a very flat light- and you have no control over it since it moves with your camera and lens. An external unit is at least a little bit higher if you mount it on-camera which can start to create some nice shadows on a person's face (under the nose, especially). You can also use a bracket to mount it higher.

    Third, electrical power. The built-in flash is running off your camera's internal battery. More flash pictures, less pictures overall before you have to change batteries. With an external flash, you are adding, usually, 4 AA batteries. This will give you many more pictures. You still may have to change your flash batteries, but your camera will most likely keep shooting.

    Fourth, control of flash output- tough to control the output of the internal unit. If you have control, its buried deep inside a menu system, usually. An external flash will have its own buttons menu and can be controlled to many more levels. You can also zoom the flash head to match the dispersion angle of your lens, on many units anyway.

    And fifth, but certainly not last, the ability to remotely mount and fire an external unit. Remote mounting will allow you to employ light control devices such as soft boxes and umbrellas. Light stands will allow you to position your light exactly where you need it to get much more interesting effects. You can also add as many flash units as you like- hair lights, rim lights, background lights, etc. The imagination is the limit.

    My standard recommendations:
    The Strobist Blog: http://strobist.blogspot.com - click on the Lighting 101 and On Assignment links. You'll learn TONS about using external flash units.

    The Photoflex Lighting School: http://www.photoflexlightingschool.com - great tutorials in easy to understand format. Applies to their equipment, but equally to any manufacturer.

    Great subject... enjoy the journey. You'll really open up your photography once you learn this stuff.

    Regards,
    Marlo

    Check out my blog! --- http://marlomontanaro.wordpress.com

  • #3

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Los ALamaitos,CA
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    37
    Thank you very much!!! this really helped me!
    Tread Lightly, Take only pictures, Leave only footprints, and Kill only time

  • #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    55
    I bought a diffuser for my pop up flash and it made a big difference. I'm saving for a flash now.

  • #5
    Nikon Shooter
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Eatontown, NJ
    Posts
    1,006
    PHOTO EDITING OK
    Glad I could help!

    Your photography will "open up" with the addition of external lighting.

    Hey, I just added an SB-900 to my SB-600 for xmas! Yay me! (My wife took that hint, I was subtle as a brick.)

    Regards,
    Marlo

    Check out my blog! --- http://marlomontanaro.wordpress.com


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