Why get an external flash?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by robertnzana, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. robertnzana

    robertnzana TPF Noob!

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    I know, "for more light"! LOL

    Seriously, I just purchased the Canon Rebel T1i. I was looking at the "Canon Speedlite 270EX". My question is: Why would I need to get an external flash? How can it help me in various situations? What would be the driving force for me to purchase it?

    Thanks! I'm new to the forum. :)
     
  2. ssnxp

    ssnxp TPF Noob!

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    For me, my main advantage is to be able to take it off camera and position it where I need it.. still saving up for my first speedlite though.
     
  3. robertnzana

    robertnzana TPF Noob!

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    In your case is this mostly for studio lighting/portraits?
     
  4. Plato

    Plato TPF Noob!

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    I haven't used a flash directly on the camera for thirty years and I take snapshots.
     
  5. rocdoc

    rocdoc TPF Noob!

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    Possible reasons: bounce the light by using the tilt and swivel head - the difference this alone makes in your photographs will make you never go back to the on-camera flash ever; Much higher power; ability to diffuse the light - again, huge difference in your pictures; ability to use it as a "slave" off camera, where your creativity can again really take off.
    In general, it's like the transition from point and shoot to SLR, when it comes to lighting. Instead of pointing your camera to things and having no control, you get to engage with the whole process and have a blast. Oh, and on occasion create good images...
     
  6. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On camera external flash are usually positioned higher. That has few advantages such as reduce red eye effect, less likely to have shadow casted by the long lens. Some external flashes have a faster recycle time and more powerful (longer reach). Some offer high speed sync so that you can take a flash photo with a higher shutter speed.

    For those external that the head can tilt up/down and swivel left/right, it allow you to bounce the flash off the wall or ceiling to create a better looking result.
     
  7. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  8. iflynething

    iflynething TPF Noob!

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    Village idiot, you have a creative Signature for your equipment list

    ~Michael~
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The 270 does have manual controls, but only with certain camera bodies since they have tobe set in camera as opposed to being set on the flash. Sadly I can;t recall which camera bodies have this feature, but I think I am right that it would only be teh newest bodies out.

    I would also say go for the 430 though as its just more versatil but your first question of why get one at all might be hinting that its not yet time to get the flash. As yet you don't have a driving need to get a flash whilst the rest of use have been there, done that and got the flash - so we will happily spend your money for you ;)

    I think though the best thing for you is to get some shooting experience in - start to shoot and see how things are going. You might only like landscape work and so a flash is not top priority, but a good rock solid tirpod would be. An example, but I find that the stuff I use most is stuff that I have a clear idea of where and why I will use it in the real world - other stuff tht is nice to have I tend to use a few times and then never again.

    I'm pretty sure you will end up using flash and a 430 is a good choice and will serve you very well, but get that camera of the box first ;)
     
  10. RyanLilly

    RyanLilly No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, but I don't think there is a way to control it off camera.

    Edit: referring to the 270EX
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ahh good point I recall now why I discounted the flash - it has no slave feature at all - not even a cable based one I belive. So yeah it would be a single oncamera flash only.

    edit for clarity - its the 270EX I am refering to here
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  12. Pugs

    Pugs TPF Noob!

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    As has been alluded to, a speedlite is not just to have "more" light, but also to give you better control over the light.

    - Bright light (Sun) behind your subject rendering your subject too dark and silhouetted? Use a speedlite to fill in the shadows and lighten up the subject.

    - Want the light to be coming from a particular direction to create a more dramatic effect with shadows or intentionally blowing out a highlight? Use a speedlite as your off-camera light source to do it.

    - Want a warmer quality to the light? Use a speedlight with a gel to modify the light.

    Basically, a lot of photographic creativity comes down to controlling the variables. One of the greatest and most important variables is light and how you use it.
     

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