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a small, built-in flash found in many cameras

The built-in flash, common to many cameras is handy, but generally produces poor results due to the small size of the light source and ensuing harsh shadows. Diffusers and other modifiers may soften the light somewhat, but the best results typically come from either a bounced hotshoe flash, or using off-camera flash.

With some DSLRs the pop-up flash can be used as a "commander" to trigger other off-camera flashes - for example with Nikon's CLS system.