orthopedic pain management

71 — Portable flash

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #71 dis­cusses the prin­ci­ples of using a portable, exter­nal flash. We talk about how flash works, the dif­fer­ent types of portable flash, on cam­era and off cam­era flash, using a portable flash as a main light source ver­sus a fill light, bounc­ing the flash, sync speeds and more.

Depth of field guide

Depth of field guide

Links /resources men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Pod­cast #33 — Stu­dio light­ing for begin­ners
Pod­cast #47 — Flash sync speeds
Pock­etWiz­ard from B&H
Peanut slaves from B&H

August’s‚ “Water”‚ assign­ment on the Photography.ca forum

If you are still lurk­ing on our forum,
feel free to join our friendly :) Pho­tog­ra­phy forum

Thanks as always to every­one that sent com­ments by email about our last pod­cast. Although ALL com­ments are appre­ci­ated, com­ment­ing directly in this blog is pre­ferred. Thanks as well to all the new mem­bers of the bul­letin board.

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Comments

  1. admin says:

    The flash and the cam­era are two sep­a­rate beasts that work together.
    The fact that the flash can fire fast has noth­ing to do with the flash sync speed. The sync speed has to do with the cam­era and the mechan­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions of keep­ing the CAMERA’s shut­ter open long enough for the flash to fire and reg­is­ter. You can defeat or cheat this max sync speed by using ded­i­cated higher end flashes that have a “hi sync speed” feature.

  2. Tom Restis says:

    In your pod­cast on Portable Flashes you had men­tioned in the begin­ing that the rea­son that the shut­ter speed does not con­trol expo­sure is that the flash is sooooo fast ~ 1/5000 to 1/10000. My con­fu­sion is then with flash sync max of ~ 1/200. If the flash is 1/5000 why the max flash sync of 1/200???

  3. admin says:

    You are cor­rect jab­ber. In man­ual mode, ignore the camera’s under­ex­posed read­ing. In the other modes (Aperture/shutter)the meter should work fine.

    BTW, is there any gen­eral rule-of-thumb about how low you can go with shut­ter speed when using flash (handheld)?”

    It’s a good ques­tion that requires some play and will depend on what the sub­ject mat­ter is AND how far it is from the flash. I usu­ally will shoot peo­ple with on cam­era flash at no slower than 1/15 and I still pre­fer 1/60 or faster when pos­si­ble. It all depends on the level of ambi­ent light that I’m also try­ing to cap­ture. But again that 1/15 is for the back­ground so it’s unlikely to be tack sharp at 1/15. My flash light­ing the per­son is much faster than that so it still freezes the sub­ject. But do your own tests — it’s the BEST way to learn. Hope that helps — Marko

  4. jabber says:

    Thanks, Marko. FYI, one thing that took me a lit­tle while to get my head around–and that I only noticed because I was shoot­ing in Man­ual mode in the camera–is that with the flash I can get nice hand­held shots even when the on-camera expo­sure level indi­ca­tor sug­gests the expo­sure is going to be way under. It seems with flash I really have to look at that indi­ca­tor dif­fer­ently, right? BTW, is there any gen­eral rule-of-thumb about how low you can go with shut­ter speed when using flash (handheld)?

  5. admin says:

    Two ques­tions: 1) Can I assume from your ref­er­ences to chang­ing the shut­ter speed that I want to be shoot­ing in Man­ual mode any­time I need to blend flash and ambi­ent light cre­atively? 2) How do you feel about the var­i­ous dif­fusers on the market‚¦Sto-fen, Light­sphere, Lumiquest 80–20‚“do you typ­i­cally use one? Do you have a favorite? Cheers, j

    Hey jab­ber! My plea­sure and thanks so much for that com­pli­ment!
    Here goes the answers:
    1– Depends :) Just kid­ding. I HATE that answer. The answer is no, you’ll use dif­fer­ent modes. For me it’s more about time though. If I’m set­ting any­thing up (products/studio portrait/ off-camera flash light­ing etc), yes for sure I’m on man­ual mode in the cam­era. Also for learn­ing, this is the best mode to start with. But If I’m shoot­ing an event with peo­ple and it’s day­time, I’m likely on Aper­ture Pri­or­ity. To bal­ance the light this way again is easy. Use the plus minus fea­ture on the back on the flash in “TTL Mode (ETTL, ITTL etc.)on the flash”. Plus should add more light than the ambi­ent light read­ing your cam­era gives. Minus should add less light than the ambi­ent light read­ing your cam­era gives. This offers some good fast control.

    2 — I have to do some test­ing on these, I don’t have much expe­ri­ence with them. I mostly bounce the flash and use the white-card method, though I’ve seen nice results from oth­ers. Likely make a fun review pod­cast at some point :)

    Thanks again for sug­gest­ing the topic Jabber!

  6. jabber says:

    Thanks for help­ing to unravel the mys­ter­ies of the exter­nal flash, Marko. I just lis­tened to the pod­cast for a sec­ond time. You’re an excel­lent teacher (and I should know–that’s my pro­fes­sion). Two ques­tions: 1) Can I assume from your ref­er­ences to chang­ing the shut­ter speed that I want to be shoot­ing in Man­ual mode any­time I need to blend flash and ambi­ent light cre­atively? 2) How do you feel about the var­i­ous dif­fusers on the market…Sto-fen, Light­sphere, Lumiquest 80–20–do you typ­i­cally use one? Do you have a favorite? Cheers, j

  7. admin says:

    Great tip Jack­la­bel!!
    I specif­i­cally stayed away from talk­ing much about using the FLASH on man­ual mode as I thought it might be too much for 1 pod­cast. But I do know that there are many advanced ama­teurs that lis­ten so thanks! I expect to do a pod­cast only on using flash in man­ual mode at some point in the future. Thx again!

  8. jacklabel says:

    Great pod­cast Marko, just want to add since peo­ple will be try­ing to take pic­tures of water and flash (=splash), when you use flash there is some­thing called flash dura­tion, flash dura­tion may vary depend­ing on the power used, if you use full power you will notice that you cant get tack sharp frozen in time water, and you will get some blurry small drops, now if you lower the flash power, the flash dura­tion may speed up to 1/2000s whish can per­fectly freeze water drops.

  9. admin says:

    Hey Nijip — Thanks for join­ing!
    This is per­sonal stuff. I like the pocket wiz­ard because it is 100% reli­able and it works with var­i­ous dif­fer­ent brands of cam­era. The canon trans­mit­ter will likely only work with canons…so if you ever buy a new brand of camera.…you may also have to buy a new trans­mit­ter. There are other 3rd party trans­mit­ters but the PW is the only one i have expe­ri­ence with.

  10. Nijip says:

    Hi. Finaly stopped lurk­ing and signed up to the web site. Have been pro­gres­sively lis­ten­ing to old pod casts and this one is very well timed as i just got a 430EX flash yesterday.

    My ques­tion is if the Canon ST-E2 Speedlite Trans­mit­ter is worth get­ting or if a pocket wiz­ard is the only way to go for off cam­era flash?

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