External Flashes for Digital SLR
About This Page: This is a discussion on External Flashes for Digital SLR within the The Darkroom: Photography and Videotaping, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; I'm interested in who has one, how do you like it, how often do you use it, does it save ...
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I'm interested in who has one, how do you like it, how often do you use it, does it save battery power and decrease lag time between shots, what types of settings are you most likely to use it in etc. etc. I have a Canon Digital Rebel and keep having this debate, external flash or another lens. I have 3 lenses already and rely on the built in flash. Thanks.
I have multiple external flashes for my DSLR, all made by the manufactorer, in this case Olympus. There are lesser expensive external flashes out there that will do just as well, I just prefer the brand... And I got them on E-Bay much cheaper than MSRP...
I mine, I get much better coverage and range out of the external flashes, they recycle faster, and my camera battery lasts much, much longer...
I tend to leave the flash in auto mode, unless I'm shooting close up shots or need to manually set it to get distance out of it...
The built in flash is okay for most "normal" shots, however I tend to not set it for red eye reduction and get red eyes on living creatures... I don't get it as often using the external flash, and I can bounce it where I want...
All in all, I tend to rely on the external flash a lot, and always have. Probably goes back to my 35mm days, when there were no flashes on cameras.
Another nice thing about the external, I can set the flash power to lower settings when needed so I don't wash out the subject...
words can't even begin to describe what a difference external flashes make. and they're not all made the same either. i've had both a 420 and a 580 with my Canon and the 580 is just a godsend.
aside from using its own battery source (the 580 also has an optional battery pack which allows it to extend its life and reduce cycle time, to virtually none), an internal flash eats up camera battery and slows down shooting because of slower cycle time, the external flash is a much better source of lightning, significantly reduces red eye to virtually nothing and can act as a fill flash even during the day, eliminating shadows on someone's face even when it's sunny out and you wouldn't normally use a flash.
a good external flash will also let you bounce the flash such as off a ceiling so you can get an even light and reduce harsh shadows or direct the flash so that you don't see a reflection in your subject.
I have 3. 1 a dedicated flash that will do iTTL, zoom and all the fancy stuff automatically. I also just got 2 totally manual Vivitars with wireless triggers that I haven't played with much yet. You can be so much more creative with an external flash, specially if you can get it off the camera. The biggest benifit for me is using on for fill at races where I can't choose my location or even the direction I shoot. I dial the power down to 1/32 or 1/64 and no more ugly shadows.
There's a trade-off for everything, of course. In almost every case, an external flash that is suitable for the camera you're using is going to be a big improvement, as everyone has noted. Faster shooting and less battery drain on your camera, more power, etc. Also, more stuff to carry, more equipment to charge, more stuff to go wrong, more stuff to buy.... So, like carrying a tripod and remote shutter release around the parks (which I do), you just have to figure out whether the added hassle is worth the results.
Oddly, as much as I shoot, and as used to using external flashes as I used to be, an external flash is not one of the things I've been itching to have when shooting at Disney (your mileage, of course, may vary). I can't recall the last time I had a, "Wow, I could have had a V-8" moment regarding an external flash. Now, a slave flash is another matter, but even then, I can only recall a couple of times I felt the need for it.
In general, at Disney I'm only using flash for fill-in, whether at night or during the day. At those times I'm rarely clicking in rapid succession, or need much power/coverage. ::: shrug :::
Co-Author, PassPorter's Walt Disney World, PassPorter's Disney Cruise Line, and PassPorter's Disneyland and Southern California Attractions