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By "independent flash" I mean a flash which is not attached with the camera by default. What is the technical name for it?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

It depends on the actual type of flash unit. If it's the kind of flash that fits on the hot-shoe on top of the camera, then it's usually called a flash-gun or a speedlight.

If it's a 'professional' flash of the type used for studio modelling shoots, it's usually called a studio flash.

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The catch-all term for any flash not on the camera is off-camera flash.

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+1, add "strobe" for completeness. "Electronic flash" is a term I see frequently for describing those speedlights. However, I think this becomes anachronism. – ysap Sep 13 '11 at 11:48
Note that Nikon's term "Speedlight" is called "Speedlite" at Canon's. – ysap Sep 13 '11 at 11:49
I hate it when people use the word "strobe" to describe a flash -- a strobe is something that fires repeatedly on a timed cycle. Some flashes can strobe, but most of them just flash -- and when you want to find a strobe, you have to plow through a million search results that are nothing more than flashes. – user2719 Sep 13 '11 at 14:10
+1 @Stan Rogers - I agree, but still people do use this term, so it is a valid answer to the OP's question... – ysap Sep 13 '11 at 17:33
@Stan people calling them 'strobes' confused the hell out of me to start with, I thought I was fundamentally misunderstanding something lol – rfusca Sep 13 '11 at 19:40

If you look online at places like B&H and Adorama, you will find that lighting that is not attached to a camera is referred to as Strobes. On camera lighting is often referred to simply as a 'flash'.

Monolights are all-in-one strobes, combining the power, control and flashing bits in one unit. When separated, they are called 'heads' and 'power packs'.

Flashes are often referred to as 'speedlights' though this is simply what Canon and Nikon use in there product names.

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