What do I need to know about flashes?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by TiCoyote, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. TiCoyote

    TiCoyote TPF Noob!

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    Can someone please point me to an article about flashes? I know basically zip about external flashes (speedlites? speed lights?). What features are available? What makes one better than another? How do I compare them? Which one is right for me?
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Speedlights have a power rating called a guide number (GN). GN's are generally described at settings of ISO 100.

    Good speedlights can also zoom to match the focal length of the lens being used. Speedlight zoom is also a function of GN because light falls of as an inverse square function. If you double the distance the speedlight (any light actually) only delivers 1/4 as much light. A more powerfull speedlight (higher GN) has more reach and can accommodate a longer focal length lens.

    Some speedlights can be used to control the settings of other speedlights. Nikon calls it Commander mode. The Nikon SB-800/SB-900 has it but the SB-600 doesn't.

    You won't find all the information for all speedlights in one place.

    www.nikonusa.com
    www.canonusa.com
    www.wikipedia.org
    www.strobist.com
    www.planetneil.com
     
  3. BKMOOD

    BKMOOD TPF Noob!

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    Why stop with an article...

    Mastering Digital Flash Photography: The Complete Reference Guide (A Lark Photography Book)
    by Chris George

    Mastering Flash Photography: A Course in Basic to Advanced Lighting Techniques
    by Susan McCartney

    The Hot Shoe Diaries: Big Light from Small Flashes
    by Joe McNally

    Speedlights & Speedlites: Creative Flash Photography at the Speed of Light
    by Lou Jones

    Electronic Flash (Kodak Workshop Series)
    by Jack Neubart

    If you MUST have an article, going to Google and typing in "Flash Photography" should bring you plenty of articles.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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  5. bhphotography

    bhphotography TPF Noob!

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    a good book to read is the "hot shoe diaries" by joe mcnally. He has also written a great book called "the moment it clicks"

    Both should give you a good start!
     
  6. chip

    chip TPF Noob!

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    I would buy only the flash made by the same company as the camera to avoid compatibility problems. I only use Nikon flashes on Nikon cameras and Canon flashes on Canon cameras.
     
  7. artsprague

    artsprague TPF Noob!

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    I typically shoot the same brand of flashes as my cameras. Many other professionals love the quantum brand. QTM.com They are very pricey but well loved.

    I shoot a lot of events and have recently found that several other professionals are buying older non-dedicated flashes and getting great results. They are setting their cameras manual and matching the flash settings to the camera. Their results are good to. This is cheaper. If you are just starting out, I would say buy the nicest flash offered by the manufacturer, read the manual, and test test test. No one product will work in every situation without some human interaction. Good luck..
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Why? If you're using remote manual speed lights, then what's the point of paying $270 for a flash when you can get similar features for less than half the price.

    And if you start using something like a monolight, then you're SOL because camera manufactures don't make large studio lighting.
     
  9. zerofourtwo

    zerofourtwo TPF Noob!

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    I would agree with this statement, only if you're referring to attaching it to the hot shoe only. Mix matching flash units and camera brands will not only force you to use manual mode, but you can also damage the camera depending on the trigger voltage.

    +100.

    Also, www.strobist.blogspot.com/ another good spot for info.
     

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