My Canon DSLR Journey Part 4 – Flash Gun

Overview

After buying the camera, SD card and a bag it is ready to use on the go. In this post I will go through the accessories I got next.

Equipment

The next item on my list was a hood and flash gun. I had a wedding to go to (as a guest) few months after I had purchased the camera so it was enough timing for me to purchase one higher priced item. A hood screws onto the front of a lens and extends and covers the glass to stop glare from bright sources of light. Hoods again add length to the lens but its fairly cheap and also adds protection again.

Flash guns are external flash which usually sits on the mount at the top of the camera (the mount is known as a horse shoe). The built in flash is rarely used by professionals because they are limited and fixed to the camera. Light is usually bounced or diffused before hitting the subject otherwise the picture will be over exposed with harsh reflection making it obvious that a flash is used rather than looking more natural.

The main features to look for in a flash gun are:

be able to angle the flash to bounce off of a wall or ceiling by rotating the flash gun horizontally and vertically. A decent flash gun requires additional batteries and can communicate with the camera via the connectors built into the horse shoe. The current latest technology to look out for are E-TTL and Hyper Sonic Sync (HSS) in Canon. E-TTL allows the camera to get metering information the flash by pre flashing and HSS allows better synchronisation between the camera and the flash.

Setting up Camera

Setting up Canon SpeedLite 430 EX II

Flash Effect

Below are how the different setup changes the picture. All pictures were shot approximately 3 minutes away where the subject (rice bag) was in the kitchen where there were no lights. All images have not been touched up or processed and came directly from the camera.

No flash dark but lit by the light from the room I was shooting from.
No Flash

Camera flash added some light but it was very orangy (might be able to cancel out by setting white balance) butstill very dark.
Built In Flash

With Canon Speedlite 430EX II pointed directly at the subject. The shiny surface of the plastic bin bounces the light back making it blow out.
Canon Speedlite 430 EX II

Camera mounted Speedlite with the “Wide Panel” (retractable diffuser). It’s suppose to spread the light out more evenly and you can see the difference between the above picture with the one below in the wooden cupboard the rice bag is resting on.
Canon Speedlite 430 EX II Built In Diffuser

Flash gun with an after maket (JC brand) diffuser. The diffuser covers the whole lens and it’s a white plastic box which bits over the flash. Pointed directly it spreads more evenly as you can see on the wood but again the bin reflects a lot of light back.
Canon Speedlite 430 EX II JC Diffuser

Canon Speedlite 430EX II pointed up at the ceiling. This has the most even brightness in the picture.
Canon Speedlite 430 EX II Ceiling Bounce

Wireless trigger using the built in camera flash to remotely trigger the Speedlite which was located to the left side of the picture.
Canon Speedlite 430 EX II Wireless Trigger

Summary

The build in pop up flash is pretty useless because it lacks the power and distance for use. As a wireless trigger it works great and even works around corners sometimes.

For a better flash whether it is for fill light or low light situations an external flash is necessary!

About Danny

I.T software professional always studying and applying the knowledge gained and one way of doing this is to blog. Danny also has participates in a part time project called Energy@Home [http://code.google.com/p/energyathome/] for monitoring energy usage on a premise. Dedicated to I.T since studying pure Information Technology since the age of 16, Danny Tsang working in the field that he has aimed for since leaving school. View all posts by Danny → This entry was posted in Camera, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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