It is a very good day for a good blog post. Yeah. Last time I mumble about being a tripod hugger and how exciting it is to get one and hug one. This time, my mumbling will be about flash unit. Flash unit is basically an accessories used together with a DSLR to provide that extra lighting required to get extra sharp or extra creative shots.
Flash unit is basically mounted on the top side of the DSLR and there are also some which can be mounted to the front of the lens like a macro flash unit. Some mid-range flashes will be able to tilt and swivel while some low-end one are just going to shoot straight. High-end flashes will be able to provide wireless as well as high-speed synchronization (HSS).
Then name of this thing already provide you with understandable meaning of its function. Flash means it will flash a high amount of light in just a fraction of time. It will not provide long continuous amount of light like a flashlight does. There’s also some cheap flash unit using LED as its source of light and able to provide long continuous lighting but it’s not powerful compared to normal flashes. It’s because normal flashes uses xenon gas rather than LED to distribute its light and the light is more reflected and powerful. LED is just some light used in electrical appliances.
For portraiture or macro photography, lighting using flashes is vital. For example while doing macro photography, photographers uses a very low aperture up to f/22 and such small apertures couldn’t have enough light from normal lighting. That’s where you need a flash. It’s the same concept as some wedding photographers where they need their client to be present while having their background together. Also in some cases, lowlight situation such as shot during convocation events or any indoor shooting, it’s proves to be quite important. People can just use high ISO while shooting indoors but it will affect the quality of the shots. Of course you wouldn’t want your shots from a DSLR to look like shots from a mobile phone, won’t you?
Normal flashes have an ability called TTL or foremerly known as Through The Lens. TTL is actually an automatic feature which let it set out automatic exposure and power of your flash based on the lens. It means, everything is automatic for you. I’m using Yongnuo YN560EX which is a manual flash so I have to set the power level accordingly before shooting. All those Nikon, Canon and other manufacturers have such unique name such as i-TTL, e-TTL and much more. As long as it has TTL, it means automatic, that’s all.
Mid-range to high-end flashes uses normal AA batteries/cells. So, before you start getting it, you might want to consider getting a rechargeable one so it will save you money from getting a lot of normal alkaline batteries. I used Eneloop XXX 2500mAh cells and they worked great. I’ve been to nearly 500 shots on a single charge. You should also prepare normal cells just in case your juices run out dry in the middle of your shooting. I’ve experienced such situations while carrying out my macro shots. It’s just so suddenly that my flash stops flashing and there’s no recharging sound.
Stop worrying about not having wireless capabilities in your flash. It’s not vital for everyday or casual shootout. Shooting wireless flash is usually for pros and masters where they go around doing crazy shit such as strobist where multiple flashes are required. The last time I use wireless flash is like last year during my sister’s wedding. That’s it. As of today, most of the time that I use flash is during my macro shootout.
If you’re really getting one, make sure you know what you’ll going to use it for or you will end up keeping it in your drawer. Mind you that it’s going to add more weight to your gear and it might tire you out. If you ever get one, enjoy using it.