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What Flash Should I buy

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by testingtimes, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. testingtimes

    testingtimes
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    Hello!

    After some disastrous internal shots I did for work recently, I decided I need to get more flash power from my camera to avoid all this blurring I'm getting in low light conditions (or I could just be a rubbish photographer - I've not ruled that out yet)

    I want to buy an additional flash for my camera (Kodak DX6490).

    I've seen a few in Digital Camera shops on line, but don't know what I'm looking for.

    What's the difference between the cheapest and the most expensive (apart from price obviously)?

    Can anyone recommend one?

    Is it safe to buy one second hand from eBay or should I get one brand new?

    Your help would be very much appreciated.
     
  2. ancientgeek

    ancientgeek
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    It depends on the camera as to what works. I don't know anything about your particular camera.

    You want to have a bounce flash capability (where you point the flash elsewhere, typically at the ceiling), to get a much more natural light. Bounce whenever you can.

    It would be nice if the flash were regulated through the lens (TTL) and flashes just enough to give the correct exposure, but otherwise, the flash will have its own sensor pointing towards the subject which can regulate the flash. Otherwise you are reduced to manual, using "guide numbers" to calculate the correct settings.

    Apparently you are wanting to avoid camera shake producing blurring. The internal flash should deal with this up to about ten feet from the subject, but using flash in a large place is going to need a bigger flash.

    Are you sure that flash is the answer to your problem? Another reason for unsharpness might be: the camera's autofocus doesn't work properly in low light levels, or the flash is set for fill flash rather than primary light source (so the main light source is not the flash).

    Another cure for camera shake is a tripod.

    There's no special reason to avoid an eBay purchase provided it works, but be aware that you might be getting a thirty year old flash; they haven't changed that much. The main thing to worry about is corroded battery contacts or flash sync contacts, and absence of an instruction book.

    The first thing to do is to read the camera's instruction book section on using external flash. It should tell you what the options are.

    If you are serious about flash, it may be that you should switch to a DSLR with flexible flash control, rather than building up kit based on your current camera. I just don't know. For example my D70 has an extremely flexible flash setup, including controlling multiple flashes from the camera.
     
  3. testingtimes

    testingtimes
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    Hi thanks for the advice.

    The camera's only 4 months old so I'm not keen to be buying a new camera to deal with the problem. From what I've seen it's possible to pick up an external flash for £30+, so that seams a more sensible idea than buying a new camera.

    Although I've not done much experiments with the camera and different light conditions I think the problem is what I suggested. The camera dose have adjustable flash settings including immediate flash and then delayed for objects further away. I was using this latter setting in the environment I referred to at the start of this thread when the problems occurred (inside, large 'village hall' type room 40 m long packed with people, light source from one end about 5pm winter light and an array of 60w light bulbs in the roof 6 m up).

    Close up photography (less than 7 m away) using the regular flash was fine, anything further than that I was forced to use the delayed flash which caused blurring if the subjects didn't remain absolutely still.

    I reasoned with a brighter flash the subjects wouldn't be blurred - don't know how true this is?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Going back to my initial point, the camera has a plug socket for connecting an additional flash to it (although from what I can see no mounting area on the top). Is there a make/model/brand/link that someone can suggest for a reasonably priced flash?

    Many thanks again.
     
  4. Iain Shields

    Iain Shields
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    What camera do you have? (edit, sorry, just noticed)

    Any camera's flash will struggle in a big hall so an external flash would be helpfull in some cases, I'm sorry though. I don't know much about the smaller models you mentioned.

    I think the idea given earlier of a tripod (or even a monopod to be a bit more mobile) is a good one, especially since you camera has 10x optical zoom, if you are using most of this zoom when taking picture it could be part of the reason why your getting blurred results... I got the same results sometimes with my 10x zoom Olympus.

    Try expirmenting by setting the camera on something solid in the hall and using the timer to fire off some shots and see what the results are, this should give you an idea if a tripod/monopod would be helpfull.
     
  5. ancientgeek

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    For something like a village hall, you'd need multiple flashes, just as there are probably multiple light fittings in the hall, unless your subject is only a small part of the hall, in which case a zoom flash would be good (which concentrates the light in a smaller area when set to telephoto). But with telephoto camera shake will be worse, and your camera lens probably becomes smaller aperture, requiring longer exposure and making camera shake worse again.

    The basic flash rule is the inverse square law. (x times as far away is x squared times as dim: 2 times is one quarter as bright, 3 times is one ninth) So flash on the camera is going to be less than one tenth as bright ten metres away as it is 3 meters away. If both distances feature in the same picture, there's no chance of getting even illumination.

    I think steadying the camera with a stand or holding it against something firm (pillar, wall, chair), turning up the sensitivity, moving closer and using a wider angle setting and not using flash are the best you can hope for without a more powerful, or multiple flash setup.
     

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