Flair with Hot Shoe Flash Lighting Solutions


A flash is most often used indoors

Typically as a main source of light when not as much ambient light exists for a preferred shutter speed. Also fill flash or filled-in flash uses low power to augment ambient light to brighten a subject near the camera while at the same time using a long enough exposure to capture detail in the background. Another method is pointing a flash up onto a surface that reflects, which could be a flash umbrella or even a white ceiling, which reflects light back to your subject, also called bounce flash. Bouncing results in a more sincere light result than direct flash with no ever present glare within the highlights and impenetrable shadows, although requires increased flash power over direct flash.

I am not much of a fan for camera flash, although there times when there's no other choice. Sometimes you must be portable and still gain those few extra stops which a flash provides. In that circumstance it is best if you acquire a flash unit that may be mounted to your camera's hot-shoe. and if you're really in a bind, your last option is your built-in-flash, however, once you do this you're are treading into the realm of flat pictures, red-eye, and burnt out subjects.

The absolute best way for using an external flash unit is triggering it using a remote. (take a look at the strobist to see some terrific techniques for using off camera flash), however even if you end up as innovative as the strobster, there may be times you must just use the on camera flash. For instance: You're photographing a wedding and have only two flash unit with you. Or as you're moving along side your subject, and there's no time for setting up. So here's four basic ways of bouncing flash: The way many photographers go is never bounce at all. They use a Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce over their flash, set the flash head to a 45 degree angle and shoot as if there's no tomorrow. Now, the way a Sto-Fen works is by spreading a dome of light in front and bouncing part of the light to the ceiling. although it will only work if there's a nice, somewhat low, white ceiling. This is thought to be satisfactory solution by most photographers.

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Why bounce?

By bouncing your flash lighting, the light shines upon your subject using a diffused fashon. there will be less hot-spots (shiny lights at the very tip of your subject's nose and just yells out for attention). Red eye is never an issue as the light comes far off the lens-to-subject-axis. Additionally there will be no harsh shadows. Most of the newer DSLR and flash units have the ability to calculate the power of the light needed in order to bounce, so there's no need to make recurring measurements to correct for bounce.

To those just getting started in the world of DSLR photography, extended learning about photographing with flash can be overwhelming. And for good cause: Making use of an external flash will open doors to creative photographic opportunities when there were none before, however it requires technical know how that the week-end photographer just doesn’t have the time to learn. And as every professional photographer already knows, those anemic on-camera flashes are totally worthless for any sort of serious shooting (the high-end DSLR cameras don’t even include them for good reason).

Never use a flash while you're attending a sports event or photographing far-off subjects, such as a performer at a concert on staget. Built-in flashes most often only deliver light to six feet at best. By using the flash on subjects more distant than six feet, the end result will be overexposed or brightly lit objects close in while your target subject will be totally in the dark. So, turn that flash off and--if you know how to use your camera's ISO settings, choose ISO 400 for the best outcome.

Nikon changed it all when they added this SB-400 speedlight to their existing Speedlight lineup, there is no excuses for being introverted over employing an external flash unit. The SB-400 speedlight is the smallest flash unit ever for any DSLR, weighing only 1/4 as much as the SB-900, while it's harmonious with every Nikon DSLR manufactured since 2004. Its small, lightweight layout makes travel while making usie of an external flash simple. The SB-400, merely locks onto the hot shoe of your Nikon DSLR and just switch the power button. What could be any easier?

The primary benefit of employing an external flash unit is having the capacity of bouncing the flash. Most amateurs capture flash images by clobbering their subject head-on using direct on-camera flash. The consequence is harsh lighting with overblown highlights about their subject, while the backdrop becomes almost totally black. Making use of an external flash which includes the SB-400, the flash can be bounced off of a ceiling to provide even, natural, lighting over the entire scene.

One more advantage to the SB-400 unit is it's quick recycle time in between flashes (no longer wasting valuable time to photograph that next decisive moment). The SB-400 also provides enhanced flash coverage when used with a wide-angle lens, so the corners don't come out darker than the other portions of your composition. Plus, using just two AA batteries, the Nikon SB-400 will prolong the battery life of your DSLR when using flash. The Nikon SB-400 proves one more time that they're the leader for flash photography. The tiny size along with ease of use makes this flash unit a must have for every beginning Nikon DSLR photographer’s camera bag. No excuses!

updated article Nov 2, 2011

Bower Flash

Bower, has their SFD926C ($93) while Metz, has the Mecablitz 64 AF 1 ($479.99) are at this thime the only two indie flash manufactures to offer alternative models, and they run from simple manual devices to powerful high-end models featuring TTL and touchscreen operations
Bower SFD728 Autofocus TTL Flash
Bower SFD728 Autofocus TTL Flash

Versions for Canon Nikon OLympus Panasonic Sony
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Bower SFD35 Digital Flash
Bower SFD35 Digital Flash

Versions for Canon Nikon Sony
Guide Number: 112' at ISO 100 and 50mm
Zoom Range: 28-85mm
review

Canon Speedlight Flash

There's more than 80 compatible flashes to choose from, Canon DSLR owners and owners of compacts with hot-shoes have find the widest variety of flashes. Canon’s one selection includes the basic Canon Speedlite 270EX II ($139), mid-range 430 EX III, and the professional-level Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT ($499). Every Canon-brand flash can be used wirelessly, and the more advanced models offer a selection of infrared or more dependable radio transmission for off-camera and multi-flash settings.

Around 20 independent flash makers also build flashes that work with the Canon system, while many of them, including Nissin's Di466 Phoenix Digital SmartFlash work with the Canon’s eTTL and eTTL II automatic flash exposure units.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II
Canon Speedlite 580EX II

 Canon's flagship Speedlite has led to the production of the 580 EX IIh
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Canon Speedlite 430EX II Canon Speedlite 480EX II
Bringing a new level of versatility and capability to flash photography
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Canon Speedlite 430EX
Canon Speedlite 430EX

replaces the popular Speedlite 420EX.
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Fujifilm Flash

Fujifilm has a pair of flashes that are compatible with the X-line of mirrorless interchangeable-lens and compact digital cameras which include hot-shoes, with the EF-42 ($159.95) providing the most options. Fujifilm has just announced the EF-X500 with full wireless master and slave TTL functionality. 
Fujifilm EF-42 Flash
Fujifilm EF-42 Flash

Compatible with Fujifilm TTL Guide Number: 138' at ISO 100 and 105mm Zoom Range: 24-105mm (20mm with Panel)
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Fujifilm EF-X500 Flash
Fujifilm EF-X500 Flash

Compatible with Fujifilm TTL Guide Number: 164' at ISO 100 and 105mm Zoom Range: 24-105mm
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Leica Flash

Leica is reknown for their unique, premium digital rangefinder cameras. Although, they have manufactured a pair of basic flash units, like the small Leica SF 26 ($343.50), which was created for their Micro Four Thirds compact digital camera line.

If you need a full-featured flash to use yourLeica M-series, consider a manual version designed for all digital cameras, such as the Cactus RF60, Flashpoint Streaklight 180, or Metz MZ53622 36.

Leica SF 40 Flash
Leica SF 40 Flash

Compatible with Leica TTL
Guide Number: 131' at ISO 100 and 105mm
Zoom Range: 24-105mm (16mm with Panel)
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Leica SF 64 Flash
Leica SF 64 Flash

Compatible with Leica TTL
Guide Number: 210' at ISO 100 and 200mm
Zoom Range: 24-200mm (12mm with Panel)
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Nikon Speedlight Flash

With over 70 flashes available for Nikon users, which includes their own and those manufactured by independent companies, Nikon users enjoy one of the largest selections and and most pro-oriented array of compatible flashes. The most favored is the Nikon SB700 flash ($326.95), an i-TTL Speedlight that, similar to the power house SB-910 ($546.95) and most basic SB-500 ($246.95), utilizes the Nikon Creative Lighting System and can be as operated as stand-alone wireless flash or in multi-flash groups.

Nikon-compatible flashes from independent flash manufactures include the budget Flashpoint ZoomLioN ($179.95) featuring a 150-foot wireless range and 112 Guide number, the Strobist-receptive Phottix Scott Kelby Mitros + TTL flash kit featuring high-speed sync with a bag full of accessories, r, and the low-cost, TTL-compatible Bower SFD35N ($52.95).

Nikon R1 wireless close-up speedlight system enables superb, close-up lighting control with exceptional flexibility and innovative options.
Nikon SB-R200 i-TTL Wireless Remote Speedlight
Nikon SB-R200 i-TTL Wireless Remote Speedlight
Flash Head (Guide No. 33'/10 m at 24mm)
$170
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Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight

Guide Number: 59' at ISO 100
$147
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Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight

Approximate guide number of 98.4 feet at ISO 200 (at 18mm zoom head setting)
review
Nikon SB 500 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB 500 AF Speedlight

Guide Number: 79' at ISO 100
$197
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Nikon SB-600 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB 600 AF Speedlight

Guide Number of 30/98 [ISO100,m/ft], 42/138 [ISO200,m/ft] (at 35mm
Replaced by SB 700
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Nikon SB-900 AF Speedlight
Nikon SB 900 AF Speedlight

Guide number: 34 meters/111.5 feet (ISO 100)
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Nikon SB-910 Professional Speedlight
Nikon SB-910 Professional Speedlight

Guide No. 111.5' (34 m) at 35mm
$547
review

Olympus Flash Units

As the first company with a mirrorless compact interchangeable-lens digital cameras, it's no surprise that Olympus users have a large array of more than 20 flashes to select from. Olympus is offering four models, ranginf from the minuscule Olympus FL-LM2, to the small, wireless Olympus FL300R, enthusiast-oriented, wireless Olympus FL-600R and powerful Olympus FL-50R. A multi-flash wireless kit utilizing the 50R and 600R can produce professional-level results from the majority of Olympus MILCs.

There’s a small yet growing selection of independent-manufacturer flashes for the Olympus system, including the low-cost, dedicated TTL Bower SFD720O ($45), the manual YoNgnuo YN560X, along with the advanced, touchscreen-controlled Metz 52 AF1 TTL flash

Olympus Flash Speedlight
Olympus FL-50R
is an external flash unit that allows wireless flash settings to be controlled from the camera body
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Olympus weather-sealed FL-900R flash
 features a guide number of 58m, a refined user interface, and a splash and dustproof body

Panasonic Flash

Panasonic’s on-camera flash units range from the basic FL-220 to the highly-rated, wireless mid-range FL360L and the high-end DMW-FL580L, with its powerful 190 feet guide number at ISO 100. The two more adavnced versions offer both flash along with a built-in LED video light and can function wirelessly for off-camera and multi- flash operation.

Panasonic FL360L wireless flash for use with GH3 - Announced - Oct 26, 2012

Panasonic LUMIX DMW-FL360L External Flash
Panasonic LUMIX DMW-FL360L External Flash

Compatible with Panasonic TTL
Guide Number: 118' at ISO 100 and 42mm
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Panasonic Lumix DMW-FL200L External Flash
Panasonic Lumix DMW-FL200L External Flash

Compatible with Panasonic TTL
Guide Number: 66' at ISO 100
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Pentax Flash Units

 Pentax offers four levels of shoe-mounted flash units, and all provide TTL operation along with manual control. The AF-200FG is compact and sells for only around $62, providing enough power for fill lighting, while the top-end Af-360FGZ II delivers both flash and continuous LED light for video, while the high-powered AF-540FGZ (Guide Number: 177 at ISO 100) ($439) is one of very few shoe-mount flash models to feature weather-resistant construction, letting you out in the rain with a Pentax’s water-resistant DSLR.

There are over two dozen independent company flashes designed for Pentax, including the P-TTL compatible Metz 36 AF-5 ($129.99), the digital version of the classic Vivitar DF-283 ($69.95), plus the super-powerful Sigma EF-610 ($225).

Pentax Flash Speedlight
PENTAX AF360FGZ auto flash

 features a large guide number of 30 (at ISO100/m),
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Rokinon Flash Units

Rokinon Flash

Samsung Flash

Samsung MILC and DSLR owners have a limited selection of just three compatible flashes, the Samsung ED-SEF580A ($499), which provides TTL and manual shooting options, a flash head that rotates, plus a powerful 190 ft. guide-number at ISO 100.
Samsung ED-SEF580A/US SEF580 Flash Samsung ED-SEF580A/US SEF580 Flash
2.9 x 5.3 x 3.5 inches
Item Weight 1 pounds
4 AA batteries required.

Sigma Flash Units

The move from film photography to digital photography is astounding. As a way to create appearance or capture colors and textures in their natural surroundings, a flashgun is an indispensible digital camera accessory. The lighting proficiency with flashguns are difficult with film cameras, however now LCD monitors included on digital cameras allow you to check the lighting of your images after letting go of the shutter button. New Sigma flashguns are magnificent accessories for creating flash photography and broadening creative possibilities for the photographer
For Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung, Sony, Sigma, EF-530 DG ST, EF-530 DG Super,  EF-530 DG Super EO ETTl II,
Sigma EF-610 DG SUPER Flash
Sigma EF-610 DG SUPER

features a powerful Guide Number of 61
review
Sigma EF-610 DG ST Flash
Sigma EF-610 DG ST
flashgun features a powerful Guide Number of 61
review

Sony Flash Units

Sony has departed from the proprietary flash shoe system it acquired when it took over the Minolta camera division to the standard mount found on all modern cameras. This allows for the mounting of manual along with compatible third-party flashes. However, Sony’s own models are superior to those of its long established competitors. There are four Sony flashes range from the HVL-F20M, designed for TTL exposure control mounted on a Sony DSLR, to the newest Sony HVL-F32M, with its high-speed flash sync, 32 guide number, and wireless TTL control, primarily created for the Alpha A7 full-frame DSLR series. Additionally, there's the high-output HVL-F60M with its (90 foot flash range at ISO 100), which has auto white balance, a built-in LED light for video, wireless multi-flash operation and weatherproof build.

There are more than 35 models for Sony camera owners to choose from

Sony HVL-F43M External Flash
Sony HVL-F43M External Flash

Compatible with Sony ADI / P-TTL
Guide Number: 141' at ISO 100 and 105mm
Zoom Range: 24-105mm (15mm with Panel)
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Sony HVL-F32M External Flash
Sony HVL-F32M External Flash

Compatible with Sony ADI / P-TTL
Guide Number: 105' at ISO 100 and 105mm
Zoom Range: 24-105mm (15mm with Panel)
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Vivitar Flash

Many old flashes (such as the Vivitar 283) have high trigger voltages, and if you connect them to your camera, may damage the camera electronics. For off-camera flash where the flash is not physically connected to the camera, this isn't a problem.
Vivitar DF-372 Dedicated TTL Flash
Vivitar DF-372 Dedicated TTL Flash

Versions for Nikon i-TTL / Canon E-TTL / E-TTL II
Guide Number: 177' at ISO 100 and 180mm
Zoom Range: 18-180mm
Tilts Upward 90°
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Professor Kobre's Lightscoop

Professor Kobre's Lightscoop

a bounce device for the pop-up flash on most 35mm DSLRs with interchangable lenses, slips over your camera's pop-up flash and allows you to bounce the flash like professionals bounce an expensive external flash. The Lightscoop is the inexpensive answer to natural-looking bounce flash and digital photography lighting.

 

Sto Fen Omni Bounce Lighting Accessories: Diffusers & Reflecters, Booms & Stands, Flash Brackets, Flashlights, Monolights, Mounting Hardware, Slaves & Umbrellas

See my article on lighting

Flair with Hot Shoe Flash Lighting Solutions Reviewed by Gene Wright on . Rating: 5