Silly question, what's a strobe?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JClishe, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. JClishe

    JClishe No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been assuming that a strobe is simply a flash or other lighting device that's mounted somewhere other than on the camera and automatically fires when the camera snaps. Is this accurate?

    So could I take the flash off my camera, put it on a flash stand, and call it a strobe?
     
  2. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    :facepalm: Google is your friend.
     
  3. PhotoXopher

    PhotoXopher TPF Noob!

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    Strobe = flash = speedlight

    Different names for the same thing.
     
  4. JClishe

    JClishe No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Actually that's not true. Bing is my friend. But point taken. :)
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Strobed light is light that is on for only short periods of time.

    There are different kinds of lights that can be strobed.

    Many dSLR cameras have a low power strobe light built-in, that the user can 'pop up' to add light to a scene.

    Camera makers and 3rd party vendors sell battery operated strobe lights (speedlight, flash, flash gun) that mount on the hot shoe on the top of the camera.

    For studio work are more powerful strobe lights, known as monolights, that plug into a wall outlet.

    Strobed light has a very short duration, and both the time span of the duration and the amount of light produced is a function of how much of the stored energy is used. Once a strobe fires, the electronic device that stores the energy for the flash of light has to recharge again to full power. The more power used in the flash of light, the longer the energy storage device takes to recharge, which is called the 'cycle time'.

    Speedlights set to low power have flash durations as quick as 1/40,000 of a second and at full power have a duration of about 1/1000 of a second.
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Correct, if you're discussing common jargon usage and you replace "flash" with "electronic flash". "Flash" in the form of flash bulbs and flash powder are/were different beasts.

    "Strobe" derives from "stroboscope", a repeating short duration flashing light developed for various scientific and engineering uses. The key inventor was Harold Egerton (Harold Eugene Edgerton - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia). His invention of the xenon flash tube was the key to high brightness and effective stroboscopes and, later, the single pulse electronic flash used today. "Strobe" began to be used with both the repeating flash equipment and with the single flash photographic lights.

    "Speedlight" came into use as jargon and advertising nomenclature. It alludes to the very short duration of electronic flash compared to that of flash bulbs. Stopping action with flash bulbs is a difficult thing. Getting enough light required using modest shutter speeds to capture a large portion of their burn time. Also, bulbs take a long time to reach a decent brightness (15-25ms compared to electronic flashes 0.05-0.5ms) making the camera slightly less responsive. Today, this term is somewhat archaic.

    In common usage, "flash" and "electronic flash" are most offen used when discussing small battery operated units. "Strobe" is most often used in reference to larger studio units, either the "mono-light" versions or those with separate heads and power packs.
     
  7. manicmike

    manicmike No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    my apologies for being a smartass. Glad you got it though. :sexywink:
     

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