Benefits of a good flash?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Simons, Dec 30, 2009.

  1. Simons

    Simons TPF Noob!

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    Hey,

    What are the benefits of having an upgraded flash for a Digital SLR.

    Do the more expensive ones look more natural or?

    A lot of my indoor photos that i take at parties or whatever, when i use the flash it makes the pictures look very tacky.

    So will an upgraded flash help?

    Thanks,

    Nic
     
  2. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    For around the house shots I love both of these options:

    1. SB-400 $170 or so (Nikon).
    2. Gary Fong Puffer ($20) used with the popup flash.

    Not sure what camera you have but there are some alternatives to the expensive flash units if you're not doing large venues, etc.

    Bounce flash will help a LOT, and even the small SB-400 does a nice job of this.
     
  3. Simons

    Simons TPF Noob!

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    Thanks,

    The Puffer diffuser looks very interesting, for the price i might just try that out!
     
  4. pony

    pony TPF Noob!

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    I was just coming on top ask this same question! I have a Lumix L1 and one feature I DID like about it was the built in bounce flash. I just got a D90 today and it performs much better in low light but I know I will miss my bounce...

    I'll have to look up the Puffer...do you think it works decently well???
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I assume you are currently using the built-in flash?

    The problem with the built-in flash, is that it can only point forward. Thus it gives you very 'flat' lighting on your subjects. It's also rather close to the lens, which contributes to the flat lighting.
    A good hotshoe flash can tilt and swivel, allowing you to bounce the light off of surfaces like walls & ceilings. This can make a massive improvement to your photos. The light can become soft and directional, which is everything the built-in flash can't do.

    Also, there is flash power. For example, the flash on most Canon DSLR cameras is rated at 12 or 13 meters. The 430EX is rated at 43m and the 580EX is 58m....that's a big difference. You may not be shooting at those distances, but there are certainly some situations where you may need that kind of power. Using flash as fill light when shooting outdoors in bright light, for example. Or trying to bounce the flash in a room with a high ceiling.

    Another advantage of an accessory flash, is that you can take it off the camera. Then with a cord or a wireless trigger, you can have OCF (off camera flash)....which opens up so many possibilities, I can't even begin to list them here.
     
  6. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I really do... I take tons of photos if my kids and other family and usually have the Puffer on. It does a great job of softening the light and getting rid of the harsh shadows.

    At times I have needed to adjust the flash output a little higher to compensate but for the most part it's fine as-is.

    For what it's worth, most my shots using it have been with the D90.
     
  7. mtfd635

    mtfd635 TPF Noob!

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    A good flash was low on my accessory priority list.
    Finally got a canon 430EX II and added it to my camera bag for regular use!
    Major difference from shooting available light only and adds to many shots.
    For people, parties etc it has made a very big difference
    I got a diffuser and a bounce kit (interfit)
    the bounce is a perfect accessory in addition to the angle n rotate on the 430.
    I wish I'd bought it much sooner!
     
  8. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Big Mike, for another helpful, patient and factual answer. I can't tell you how much I have learned in a month of reading this forum because of people like you.
     
  9. BAmereihn

    BAmereihn TPF Noob!

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  10. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For examply, this is a Canon 580EX II bounced off the ceiling. It's fired from a light stand on the right, but you'd get a very similar result with it on the camera and pointed up.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    With a external flash, even if it is mount on the camera, it sit up higher than the on-camera flash. So it is less likely to have the Red-Eye type photos or shadow casted by a longer lens.

    The flash I have can emit a red light instead of regular flash light for focus assist when the environment is dark. (I think it is better than flash your subject so many times at once)

    And you can really get a better result if you can bounce the light.

    i.e. I bounce the light off the ceiling and the walls with this camera and flash shown in the photo below.



    [​IMG]



    And the result is

    [​IMG]
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I've read that some pros, like Joe McNally, have goods things to say about the Lumiquest 80-20. It sends 80% of the flash to bounce and 20% goes forward to your subject, but I've never used it. I use the David Honl stuff.

    A good flash will allow you to rotate and tilt the flash head. You don't always have to bounce off the ceiling, it may be too high or off color. I got this idea from HelenB (anyone know where she went?).......

    [​IMG]



    You can also hand hold a flash to get it off the lens axis......​

    [​IMG]



    An external/off camera flash will open up a whole new dimension to your photography.​
     

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use flash if the ceiling is high