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Flash is a device which provides additional light to a scene. It can be used to help fill in a dark area of a photo, to provide light if there isn't sufficient light to begin with, or it can help to improve the composition of a particular photo, by creating your own source of light.

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11
votes
2answers
12k views

Is it necessary to fully drain Ni-MH batteries before recharging them?

Is it really necessary to fully drain the Ni-MH batteries before recharging them? As a rule, I always want my speedlite batteries to be fully charged. At the end of each day when I use my flashgun, I ...
11
votes
3answers
903 views

Why do hotshoe flashes use fresnel lens, but studio strobes do not?

I notice that hotshoe flashes (e.g. Nikon SB-800) typically have a Fresnel lens system to focus the light, but studio strobes (e.g. Photogenic Powerlight 1250) do not. What's up with that?
11
votes
1answer
6k views

How do I stop my Canon Speedlite (430exii) from going to sleep? (auto power off)

I want to use my Speedlite flash as my main flash off-camera and fire it remotely (with cactus V2 triggers) but I find it really annoying when the camera just goes to sleep and I have to walk over and ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How can I use wide aperture with fill flash?

I was working with an off-camera flash this weekend for some portraits of my son. I was shooting in medium sunlight (early morning, partly cloudy, w/ some shade), and I like the lighting control I ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Low budget entry level Speedlite?

Owning a cheap Canon 20D, I now want to buy an entry level speedlight/external flash but I'm confused with should i go for used or new the one while considering my low budget(150$ max). What things ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What should I consider when choosing continuous lighting vs. strobes for studio photography?

If one were to want to get started with studio photography (I'm thinking things like portraits, headshots, perhaps pets, etc) what would be the considerations in choosing whether to go with continuous ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is sync speed?

When referring to flash exposure, what does "max sync speed" mean?
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Can using an old flash damage a new DSLR?

I have been using my dad's old Metz mecablitz 18 B1 flash for a while with my Canon 7D and had no trouble with it, but just received some advice from a friend that using old flashes can fry the ...
10
votes
3answers
802 views

Does the zoom head position of a flash matter when shooting through an umbrella?

It seems like a hotshoe flash's zoom head position might factor in to the lighting pattern when shooting through an umbrella. In the wide beam position, I expect more even light that one is ...
10
votes
4answers
4k views

Why is the D7000 commander mode flash firing during exposure when the manual says it won't?

I'm wondering if I'm using the D7000's Commander mode incorrectly. Page 225 of the Nikon D7000 manual says The built-in flash does not fire [in "--" Option], although remote flash units do. Yet ...
10
votes
2answers
421 views

Why does exposure compensation have no effect with my hotshoe flash?

Taking photos with my Canon XTi and 550ex. Camera exposure compensation did not seem to effect the exposures. I figured out I needed to use the on-flash exposure comp. But the flash output is ...
10
votes
2answers
686 views

Which flashes are weather-proofed?

With some effort, it's possible to find out which camera models and lens have weather sealing. However, there seems to be little information available on weather-sealed flashes. From another answer ...
9
votes
6answers
10k views

How can I get proper flash exposure in AV mode without using ETTL?

I have a Canon 5D Mark II and normally shoot with natural light (I try to stay away from flash). However, I am taking on more situations where I need to use my hotshoe flash (Canon Speedlite 580 EX ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Group shots on a bright sunny day?

What are some techniques for getting good group pictures (3-8 people, say) on a bright sunny day? I've found shade to be difficult, because someone will invariably have a splash of harsh sun across ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why am I limited to 1/100th of a second or slower with 5D Mark II, 600EX-RT, and ST-E3-RT?

I'm fairly new to using flash in my photography, so I'm a bit of a beginner when it comes to the finer points. I have an ST-E3-RT transmitter on my 5D Mark II, and a 600EX-RT Speedlite set as a ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What will I be missing with Vivitar 285HV vs. LumoPro LP160 or Canon 580EX?

I'm planning to get a hotshoe flash soon (I currently only have the onboard), and I have narrowed my choice down to several options, but I'm having a hard time deciding which way to go. ETTL This is ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Metering - How to account for the light from the flash

I pretty much use Manual mode (in my Nikon D40) and learning quite a lot from it. Though I understand "Metering" for correct exposure, I've trouble understanding it while using Flash (both in-built as ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Using flash with Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority gives me a white image - why?

When using the built in flash with Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority selected, I am getting a completely overexposed (white) image. Now my understanding of AP and SP modes is that the camera ...
9
votes
3answers
7k views

How would one remove yellow eyes instead of red eyes?

On a recent trip to Madagascar, we were able to capture some interesting animals during the night, where of course we used flash. The following photo is not made by me... ...
9
votes
7answers
8k views

Can a Nikon/Canon flash be used on the other brand of camera?

I was just thinking about this problem and was wondering if anyone knew if/how to use a competing flash unit (EX or SB series) on a Nikon or Canon (respectively) camera. I would assume a lot of the ...
9
votes
3answers
259 views

What do you recommend as a first step for hands-on learning about flash?

So far, I am enjoying my new Speedlight (Nikon SB-700), but any good results I have gotten have been mostly luck. I'd really like to understand how to use it so that I can make intentional technical ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

What is flash duration?

When speaking in terms of flash specifications, what is flash duration and how does it impact exposure?
9
votes
2answers
585 views

Inexpensive flash with full ETTL support

I've been planning to get the Canon 430EX, but I'd love to save a little cash, so I started looking at other 3rd party flashes. I've found a few that claim to have ETTL II support, but being so much ...
9
votes
2answers
976 views

What's a good, small, auto/thyristor flash? (non-TTL)

Persistently on my wish list is a small, portable, auto-mode flash. Non-TTL is a must, as I need to use it on a bunch of different equipment. But the vast array of flashes out there is a bit ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is 1/250th second used as shutter speed when using a speedlight with my Nikon D7000?

I've got a Nikon D7000, if I increase the shutter speed it eventually goes to the bulb option and after that to 250, I've been told that 250/second is specifically for when using a speedlight as ...
8
votes
2answers
385 views

Why is there still a flash before my exposure when using second curtain sync?

When I used second curtain sync on my Canon DSLR, I noticed that the camera flashes twice: once when the shutter opens and the other time when the shutter is about to close. (I noticed that because I ...
8
votes
2answers
497 views

Why do I get horizontal grey bar with flash at shutter speeds slower than max sync speed?

I'm a total newbie to flash photography, and I am just trying to do some test shooting with Canon Speedlite 580 EXII using my 7D. I saw on the user manual that the maximum sync speed is 1/250 sec. ...
8
votes
3answers
806 views

What features should one look for when selecting a flash?

I have been thinking of getting a flash to improve my low light photography (particularly indoors). However, there seem to be a number of different models available at similar price points (budget of ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the quantative relation between flash guide number and ISO?

I found that formula on the Internet: Guide Number = (Shooting Distance * Aperture) ÷ ISO Sensitivity Is it correct? If it is could someone please explain why ISO is related to guide number in this ...
8
votes
4answers
5k views

How much better is a macro ring flash than a “normal” external flash, for macro shots?

Canon produces two macro rings, MR-14EX and MT-24EX, and many other manufacturers also produce such rings. I have a Canon Speedlite 440EX II external flash, which I use when I don't use a tripod for ...
8
votes
6answers
968 views

Should I turn off image stabilization on my lens when using flash?

I seem to remember reading that you should turn off lens image stabilization when using on camera flash? Is that right? If so why?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Creating silhouettes in a studio environment

The trick to creating silhouettes in the field, as far as I know, is to use spot-metering and to expose for the background. However, this is a bit more difficult in a studio environment. What is the ...
8
votes
7answers
4k views

Advantages of TTL over manual mode when using speedlites

Yesterday a user on stackexchange asked me why do I prefer manual over TTL when working with speedlites. I use them mostly off-camera and I've developed a kind of a workflow where I do not walk back ...
8
votes
2answers
308 views

What's the relationship between flash power expressed as a fraction and as EV?

I'm looking around for a second flash to play around with for off-camera stuff. Some flash specs I'm reading say that I get an adjustment range of plus or minus 2 EV or similar, while others say I get ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I fire my SB600 without using my D90 on-camera flash as a trigger (with CLS/TTL)?

So as mentioned above, I have a D90 and an SB600. I can set up the SB600 to be used as a flash on-camera and off using TTL w/ the D90 as a commander. What I'm trying to understand is can I fire the ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

What is a good softbox for small hotshoe flash?

What are the good softboxes for a small flash like a Canon Speedlite 430EX, for example?
8
votes
5answers
318 views

How does TTL flash work when there are multiple flashes?

I've been watching a lot of deconstructing videos on how the light is setup. Often times there are 2-3 flashes at the studio. The photographer will say that they are all set to TTL. But how does that ...
8
votes
4answers
497 views

To take my portrait photography to the next level, should I get a second flashgun or a monolight?

I am a hobbyist and using a Canon 600D with 50mm f/1.8 and 18-135mm lenses. I bought 430EX-II flashgun, and it works great as off-camera flash with the 600D's built in transmitter. I also have a ...
8
votes
4answers
8k views

How does TTL flash work in manual exposure mode?

I got the Metz 44 AF-1 flash recently that is TTL capable for my Canon 550D, and have been reading around to get a better understanding of using flash on-camera (Neil Van Niekerk's article on flash ...
8
votes
4answers
469 views

Why do my Cybersyncs fire my Sunpak flashes with the test button, but not the shutter release?

During wedding receptions, my Sunpak 383s fire very inconsistently. Every time I press the test button with the Cybersyncs, they fire every time. When I press the shutter button, they don't fire. ...
7
votes
8answers
2k views

How do I reduce glare on subjects during night flash photography?

I've been taking a lot of photos at night, using an attached flash. The photos are generally pretty good, however I've noticed that there is quite a bit of glare on subjects faces (especially when ...
7
votes
4answers
302 views

How do I start using a hotshoe flash?

I've just been given a Sigma EF-500 DG ST flash unit. I've not really had much experience using flash. How can I get started? Are there any good learning resources?
7
votes
5answers
825 views

Wide-angle flash for outdoor nights, or poorly-lit ballrooms

I am trying to think of good techniques that can capture the full vibrant scene of outdoor night or poorly-lit events at wide angles. In my previous experiences, flash fitted with wide-angle plate or ...
7
votes
3answers
548 views

Why does my external flash use Ni-Cd and Ni-Mh batteries so quickly?

I've recently purchased a Canon 430EX II to use with my 550D and it's great but I'm having battery issues. I've been trying to use 2× 800mAh Ni-Cd and 2× 2500 mAh Ni-Mh (all rechargeables, the 800mAh ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

What does an expensive flash unit buy over a cheap one?

General question: What will I get from an expensive flash unit, that I can't get from a cheap one? Specific example: The $250 Canon Speedlite 430EX II vs. the $50 Neewer TT560. To my naive eye, the ...
7
votes
4answers
709 views

Why does my lens focus better/faster with a speedlight attached to the camera?

I have a Nikon d90 and have often found that the camera reaches focus faster, with less re-adjusting and missing the focus, when I have a speedlight (the Nikon sb-600 in my case) attached. Why is ...
7
votes
6answers
4k views

What kind of lighting equipment should I have as a Strobist beginner?

What kind of lighting equipment should I have as a beginner? Basically I want to take some great portrait pictures with a decent lighting equipment. Any suggestion towards strobist accessories?
7
votes
4answers
871 views

How limiting are the line-of-sight requirements of Canon's optical wireless flash system?

I have a Canon 7D and 580EX II Speedlite, and am trying to make the jump into flash photography, particularly portrait work. I understand that the 7D's wireless trigger works by line-of-sight. Will ...
7
votes
3answers
245 views

Etymology of “flash gun”

I used the term "flash-gun" today in front of some non-photographers, and they looked at me blankly. "Why," they wanted to know "is it called a flash-gun, and not just a flash? How is it anything ...
7
votes
1answer
756 views

Are there any accessories that can protect my camera from high voltage flash guns?

I use some older flashes that have a lot higher trigger voltages and may damage my newer cameras if used in the hot shoe mount. Therefore as a precaution I use the PC sync with them instead and mount ...