External Camera Flash Buying Guide
For the advanced photographer , an external camera flash may be a necessity. Unlike the internal unit in your digital camera , an external flash allows for greater control of light direction, eliminating red eye and enabling you to capture a range of versatile shots. It's also way more powerful than your average internal flash, allowing you to capture a larger area with greater light at a longer distance. So if you're trying to take professional calibre photos for a start-up business, an art class or a personal portfolio , investing in an external flash unit may be the perfect piece of equipment to get you started in the right direction. Read on for more details--you'll be on your way to becoming the next Ansel Adams in no time.
- Some external flashes can be mounted to the camera, while others are connected with a wire so that they can be used from a separate location. Units that use wire connections are often slave flashes, which fire when the built-in flash goes off.
- Most external flashes offer both automatic and manual flash settings.
- Some units have heads that can be swivelled, tilted and zoomed to match the focal length of the camera lens .
- External flashes often have built-in or attachable diffusers that soften harsh lighting and expand flash coverage for wide angle shots. Units with bounce heads help to eliminate strong light and shadows as well.
- Since external flash units have their own set of batteries, they have great recycling times. This means they are able to recharge and be ready for the next shot faster than internal flash units. You also don't run the risk of draining your camera's batteries .
- Directionality is one the biggest advantages to using an external flash because instead of making your subjects look flat and shiny, you can make them look more life-like. External flashes capture the proper shadows to make subjects look three dimensional, and they often create attractive side-lighting to add to the mix.
These flashes mount on the top of your camera through a hot shoe (a slotted bracket). They are lightweight and compatible with most camera models since they do not require a tripod socket like their handle mounted counterparts.
These flashes screw into your camera's tripod socket with a metal or plastic bar and then connect to the hot shoe with a cable. Unlike top mounts, handle mounts stand to to the side of the camera, offering a brighter light and a faster recycling time. They are, however, larger and heavier than most top mounts.