Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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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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10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is sync speed?

When referring to flash exposure, what does "max sync speed" mean?
19
votes
9answers
3k views

Prime lens or flash: which upgrade will most improve baby photos?

I current own a Nikon D5000 with kit lens (18-55mm f/3.5-5.6) and am looking to take better indoor photos of my fast-moving 9-month-old, which sometimes come out blurred or not natural I use the ...
21
votes
4answers
7k views

When should you use a normal flash vs a second-curtain flash?

There have been many questions lately that focus on improving the quality of the image taken, where the answers circle around using a second-curtain flash to reduce blur and freeze motion. Why not ...
34
votes
10answers
1k views

What attributes should I look for when buying batteries for a flash?

I want to buy some more rechargable batteries (AAs) for my flashes. I suppose I mainly care about: - Quick recycling of the flash - Hold their charge when not in use Although bonuses for: - Long ...
20
votes
5answers
1k views

What exactly is flash sync speed, and should it be a factor in a buying decision?

What exactly is flash sync speed and should it be a factor in a buying decision?
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 ...
27
votes
8answers
58k views

Is camera flash actually harmful to infants or newborns?

I just got a new off-camera flash, and the instruction manual says: Never fire the flash unit closer than 1 meter from infants. This was a little startling to me, since one of the main reasons I ...
24
votes
1answer
9k views

What are the differences between E-TTL, i-TTL, and P-TTL?

Canon, Nikon and Pentax each have their own TTL flash metering systems, respectively E-TTL, i-TTL, and P-TTL. They all use a weak preflash that is metered and used to calculate flash power level ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

How to Avoid Red-Eye in Photos?

Although tools exist to remove red-eye in post-production, what's the best way to avoid it while creating the photograph in the field?
12
votes
4answers
418 views

How to keep flash from disrupting the scene?

My friends and I have observed that the act of using a flash in informal settings (for example, pictures of a Christmas party or a busy toddler) tends to draw attention to the photographer and thus ...
13
votes
5answers
7k views

What is the best external flash for Nikon beginner?

I have read a lot about the SB-800/SB-900 but I am on a low budget (around ~120$). Is there an external flash that I can have to start learning to use it? I do not want absolutely TTL compatibility so ...
8
votes
3answers
769 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
594 views

How can I calculate the effect of non-TTL flash on exposure?

I recently got an old Canon AE-1 film camera back in working order. I'd like to use my modern 430EXII Speedlight flash with it, however since there is no TTL metering, I have no idea how much the ...
19
votes
3answers
14k views

What does TTL mean?

I'm new to photography and I see the term TTL all over the place. What does it mean? And how do I use it to make my pictures better?
12
votes
5answers
2k views

What is second-curtain or rear-curtain technique?

I have a Nikon D80 I seem to remember having read somewhere that it should be possible to take photos in it using something called a second curtain technique. My question is does anybody know if this ...
9
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I manually calculate fill flash?

My main flash is a Nikon SB-24, used on a Nikon D200. Hence, iTTL doesn't work. I've had no issues using A-mode (the thyristor in the flash determines flash output) or M-mode (manual on the flash) ...
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 ...
4
votes
3answers
867 views

How do TTL flash metering systems calculate how much power is needed?

Does anyone know how TTL calculates the amount of power to put in after the preflash is done? I understand that the value is somewhat brand specific, but what is the general logic? Because if you ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Are small on-flash softboxes useful, or a gimmick?

There are a number of "mini-softbox" products on the market. These are meant to mount on a hotshoe flash (usually with an elastic band). Lumiquest Softbox III Are these worthwhile portable and ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Which cameras can sync at faster than 1/250?

I am told that certain (mostly older) DSLRs can sync (i.e. successfully work with flash) at shutter speeds faster than 1/250 of a second. Which makes / models can do this? Update Thank you for ...
5
votes
5answers
235 views

What are the most important features to look for in a low budget hotshoe flash and why?

When trying to get started with flash photography, there are a lot of new options, features and techniques that a photographer gets thrown in to. When starting on a budget, what features will give a ...
8
votes
2answers
483 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. ...
5
votes
3answers
345 views

Does the wide-angle diffuser on a flash help reduce hotspots when used in a small softbox?

Many speedlight-style flashes have a pull-out / flip-down wide angle panel built in. This isn't really meant as a light modifier, but is intended to help the flash provide better coverage at wide ...
5
votes
2answers
472 views

Will my SB-600 work off camera with any camera?

I own a Nikon SB-600 flash and no camera. Now, looking for a new camera, I want to know if I could trigger the flash from another non-Nikon camera body. I never use it on camera and therefore I ...
5
votes
3answers
364 views

What are the most important factors that need to be kept in mind while purchasing a manual flash gun?

What are the most important factors that need to be kept in mind while purchasing a manual flash gun?
4
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is there a preflash from a built-in flash when using remote flash only?

When using Nikon D7000 with an off-camera SB600 (which cannot be used as commander) in TTL mode, the built-in flash must be opened to make it work (to serve as a commander), even if this built-in ...
21
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it acceptable in photography to never use flash?

I was hanging out with a friend of mine who is a professional photographer (for 15+ years), and has a solid portfolio, web-presence, and regional and national exposure. He never uses a flash. ...
15
votes
7answers
2k views

What does it mean to “kill the ambient”?

I have heard of a technique called "killing the ambient" in flash photography. What does it mean and how do I do it? This similar existing post I believe is separate enough to warrant this question - ...
11
votes
3answers
12k views

When and how to use a push-on flash diffuser?

I've bought a cheap flash on eBay and got this fancy flash diffuser as a free gift: So, what are the effects of a light diffuser like this one? What difference does it make to the resulting photo? ...
7
votes
6answers
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 ...
30
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do flashes make a whistling sound when recycling?

When recycling, some flashes make a whistling sound, going from low to high frequency for a few seconds. After a more intensive flash, the sound is more intense as well. What is the source of this ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What can I expect in upgrading from built in flash to using a speedlight?

In pursuit of my low light photography passion I an considering purchasing a speed light. because I am so new to photography I am unsure of what the results will be using a speed light flash instead ...
1
vote
3answers
625 views

Would this IR-transparent plastic be useful for blocking unwanted control flash?

Pentax's wireless P-TTL system is optical, and requires a control flash. I'm using the built-in flash on my camera, but one can also use a hotshoe-mounted flash with the right feature set. If you have ...
10
votes
1answer
1k 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
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
651 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
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 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Can i use my old Canon Speedlite 2777T with my new 5D Mark II

Actually it's my dad's lens that he bought many many moons ago to use with his old Canon T70. I dont have a flash but have borrowed his to try out, but he mentioned that some flashes will send too ...
4
votes
1answer
928 views

What third party Speedlites work best with Canon?

I am currently picking out a flash (speedlite) for Canon XSI. There is a number of third party flashes available from manufacturers other than Canon. They all claim to be Canon compatible but I have ...
3
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is manual flash at the lowest power stronger than the TTL result?

I have a 500D with the 430EX II flashgun. I've taken two pictures with the camera in manual mode, one with the flash in ETTL mode and then in manual mode with the power to 1/64 and the flash exposure ...
3
votes
1answer
814 views

How can I tell if the built-in flash on my dSLR is broken beyond self-repair?

My built-in flash D50 is broken. It is popping up, but it isn't flashing. It fell down, so is it broken, or can I still fix it?
2
votes
2answers
152 views

How does high speed sync mode work?

Some flash units have a high speed sync mode, that allow a camera to take a photograph with the flash while using a shutter speed that exceeds the X-sync speed. The photo won't appear with improper ...
2
votes
2answers
770 views

Why don't these external flashes fire when the camera shoots in Live View mode?

I had the opportunity to use some professional flashes yesterday and I found out that they didn't fire when I was trying to shoot with the camera in Live View mode. The flashes were two Elinchrom ...
0
votes
3answers
168 views

Black bar covering my image

I use a Nikon D610 and whenever I take a picture, I get a black bar at the bottom covering half of the photo. How do I fix this? Is my shutter speed off? It isn't very fast, but no matter what I do I ...
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 ...
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
7k views

How to get good results with the built-in popup flash?

How can I take good pictures using the built-in popup flash of my camera? Usually I try to use available light only but sometimes there's just isn't enough light for proper exposure (at a reasonable ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Why don't camera flashes use proprietary batteries?

In trying to explain Why Cameras Use Proprietary Batteries, many have claimed that it is because proprietary lithium rechargeable batteries have better high-current capabilities than any AA (though ...
13
votes
3answers
596 views

What was my flash power?

When I am using a Canon flash in the E-TTL mode, how can I tell which flash power the E-TTL magic chose? For example, if I got a correct exposure in the E-TTL mode, can I easily choose the same flash ...