Difference between built in and external flash

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by sincere, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    I didnt have much use for flash in general so i didnt really get into it. Besides an external beins stronger and able to customize the strenght of the flash, what should i know? Am thinking about getting one but at this stage i dont think its even the right thing to do..

    Sorry if this is too vague but i simply dont know what to know.
     
  2. 93rdcurrent

    93rdcurrent TPF Noob!

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    There are several good books on lighting and it looks like you are using digital cameras, right? I recommend that you go to your local bookstore and by a couple of books about the subject and see if it applies to you.
     
  3. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    At some point, you will have to use flash, even if it's just for fill.
    The beautify of a hot shoe flash, is that it sits away from your camera lens, thus reducing read eye and yucky shadows.
    Being adjustable, it's easy to blow away little shadows or little dots of sunlight.
    The best thing is, is that you can "foof" it. (Bounce it).
    Your lighting goal should be a "kiss" of light. You can't do that with a built in flash.
     
  4. DeepSpring

    DeepSpring TPF Noob!

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    The other great thing is that you can set them up off camera and trigger them via cords or wirelessly
     
  5. Jon, The Elder

    Jon, The Elder TPF Noob!

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    If you haven't found a need for it, why buy one? Just owning a piece of gear is meanngless unless you use it.

    Going by this and your prevous thread, I might suggest you really learn the ins-and-outs of of the gear you have.

    The need for an external flash alludes to specific situations....are you really there yet?
     
  6. WDodd

    WDodd TPF Noob!

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    I agree with Jon. This is a good source of lighting information concerned external flash units like you are talking about. http://strobist.blogspot.com
     
  7. elsaspet

    elsaspet TPF Noob!

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    pfft. You won't use it unless you have one. And then you can see how much better the photo can be.
     
  8. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Sincere, I worked without flash for years and made do with the given light as long as there was light. After that, I could no longer take "snaps", only long exposures, and I did also that.

    I hated the shadows given by the on-camera flash. And you get red eyes about EVERY time you use it in a dark room full of people. It will light up the back of the eye, it is so direct and straight. Plus: on-camera flash has a narrow range and the light falls off very fast ... so for the metre to be "meeting" the middle, often things at the front are over-exposed and soon the background will be black - or at least very dark.

    So I saved and saved and saved.
    And last Wednesday I finally went to get myself the first (so far only) external flash.

    I am still learning to use it. And cannot use it well - not yet. It is a whole new area to study and get familiar with. But I have managed to bring it to some good use with both camera and flash in AUTO (well P-mode on the camera, since AUTO does not do RAW) by BOUNCING it off the low, white ceiling of the room where I had to take my photos (dance photography again), and that made me very happy. No shadows, smooth light, but LIGHT (as opposed to the appallingly low light and consequently loooong exposures required on earlier commissions, which ... when dancing is involved ... led to a lot of motion blur, of course). Ahhhh. LIGHT! I could do what the dance instructor had asked of me, i.e. produce some photos that would be bright and clear and sharp and unblurred enough to go into the programme booklet of their upcoming performance.

    The only disappointment upon purchasing that flash was to learn that with the camera I have, I can't use it in slave mode, which is what I was convinced I'd be able to do. But no. I will have to save and save some more, get myself another flash or connection cable (another 50 Euro!) so I can also place the flash at an ANGLE.

    Ah. All those possibilities.
    But first it is back to the manual and the additional book on flash photography that I bought, there is soooooooooooo much to learn now!
     
  9. sincere

    sincere TPF Noob!

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    I see we have split opinions here..portrait/people photography is what i am into so whatever advice you can give me i an thankful.

    The thing is that the 50mm lens is quite good for me and its purposes so maybe i should get me a flash instead of another lense..
     
  10. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well, again, that really DEPENDS.

    We have established by now that it is people photography you are interested in.

    And we know you have a fast lens, the 50mm 1.4 lens even.
    Which gives you a VERY shallow DOF at widest open, but also the possibilities to still photograph with only little ambient light.

    Do those possibliities satisfy you already?

    If so, then stay with ambient light photography. It is beautiful. I have worked with it for years and have always been happy.

    If not, and only you know that, then think about an external flash.
    But by the sound of it, you are happy enough with what you have right now. So ... maybe think about another lens instead.
     

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