Advice on flash.

reissigree

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You guys on the forum have helped me learn everything I know about photography so far, and I thank you for that. Now I'm looking into buying a flash. I'll be using it for macro photography, water drop photography, and I want to be able to use it for portraits as well. It would be convenient if it was portable I guess. Sorry, I know absolutely nothing about them yet. I have a D3100. What do you guys suggest?
 

tirediron

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Any question regarding gear needs to be accompanied by your budget. Assuming you can afford it, my recommendation would be the Nikon SB-700; a good, all around flash unit which, with a few accessories can be used both on and off camera.
 
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reissigree

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I'll probably have so save up a little for that. I can't believe they're so expensive. Do you think it would be worth me getting one based on what I described?
 

SCraig

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For a general purpose flash I agree with Tirediron. The 700 is an excellent flash and I really like mine.

For macro photography a ring flash works better (note that I did say "Better"). They put the flash on the end of your lens and in so doing avoid a lot of the shadows inherent in using flash with macro shots.
 

cnutco

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How much are you willing to spend for the flash and trigger set up?
 

analog.universe

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If you don't need the automated features of a Nikon flash, you can save a lot of money with something like a LumoPro LP160.

I'd recommend reading around at Strobist (lighting 101, specifically) to get a feel for how off camera light works and how you think you'll be using your gear. I use two LP160's with Cactus V5 triggers, and they've done everything I've wanted them to, including some macro stuff.

You'll probably also want some modifiers (umbrellas are cheapest, but there are many choices), so factor that in to the cost.
 

412 Burgh

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I have the D3100, and just got the SB-700, I love it so far! Only thing I can't figure out which will be an "doh!" moment when I do, is taking vertical pictures with it on the hotshoe.
 
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reissigree

reissigree

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If you don't need the automated features of a Nikon flash, you can save a lot of money with something like a LumoPro LP160.

I'd recommend reading around at Strobist (lighting 101, specifically) to get a feel for how off camera light works and how you think you'll be using your gear. I use two LP160's with Cactus V5 triggers, and they've done everything I've wanted them to, including...........

I'll definitely read up on that! And that Lumopro seems like a much cheaper alternative!
 
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reissigree

reissigree

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I just don't understand the need for another flash. I know that it's needed because any photographer you see taking professional photos has one or more. I just don't understand why. Do they reach farther?
 

bazooka

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I 2nd the LP160/strobist suggestion. I have 4 of them and I prefer using them to the 580EXII, which is Canon's flagship, for 95% of the stuff I do.

The main reason for using a hotshoe flash is it is more powerful, and it is further from the lens which results in more directional lighting. You can also rotate and tilt most models so you can bounce the flash off the ceiling or walls to create a much softer and more directional light, which is typically more pleasing and more.... dare I say it.... professional looking.

And of course, you cannot use your on-board flash off-camera. Getting the flash off the camera literally opens up a whole new field of photography.

I STRONGLY recommend going to strobist.com's Lighting 101 right NOW! :mrgreen:

Strobist: Lighting 101
 
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cgipson1

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The SB-700 with a good diffuser would do very well for someone starting out in macro, as well as other uses. As would the less expensive third party flashes..
 

Derrel

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You need to do your research on flash units. The highest-ranking Nikon speedlight of any era has almost always been their best flash unit, with high capability, and high build quality, PERFECT functioning, and FULL inter-operability with the entire current Nikon system of its era. Oh, and high price. But, we're talking about a flash that will easily last 10 years, or longer, in normal use. I have some older 25 year-old Nikon flashes that still work. Nikon flash units are NOT built like cheapie Chinese flashes...nor are tbhey priced to compete with them either.

When I say do research, I mean to learn exactly what the features are of a potential flash; Sunpak for example, makes a lower-grade of flash unit for Nikon that doesn't have much "control", compared to their higher-end Sunpak flash model. Saving a few dollars, or even a hundred dollars, might not be the best value for you. Metz makes some fine flash units, not inexpensive. There are a number of new, Chinese-made flashes hitting the market. Prices are low. Many are fairly simple technology. The D3100 does not have FP Synch type high-speed flash outdoors, and is a lower-end body without the high-end Nikon wireless flash features found on mid- and high-end cameras. So...research...kind of helpful to know what you're getting...
 

thierry

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Derrel said:
You need to do your research on flash units. The highest-ranking Nikon speedlight of any era has almost always been their best flash unit, with high capability, and high build quality, PERFECT functioning, and FULL inter-operability with the entire current Nikon system of its era. Oh, and high price. But, we're talking about a flash that will easily last 10 years, or longer, in normal use. I have some older 25 year-old Nikon flashes that still work. Nikon flash units are NOT built like cheapie Chinese flashes...nor are tbhey priced to compete with them either.

When I say do research, I mean to learn exactly what the features are of a potential flash; Sunpak for example, makes a lower-grade of flash unit for Nikon that doesn't have much "control", compared to their higher-end Sunpak flash model. Saving a few dollars, or even a hundred dollars, might not be the best value for you. Metz makes some fine flash units, not inexpensive. There are a number of new, Chinese-made flashes hitting the market. Prices are low. Many are fairly simple technology. The D3100 does not have FP Synch type high-speed flash outdoors, and is a lower-end body without the high-end Nikon wireless flash features found on mid- and high-end cameras. So...research...kind of helpful to know what you're getting...

I envy your knowledge ninjaness good sir
 

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