The problem most photographers have when using their digital camera’s built-in flash is that the unit has a limited range of up to about 30 feet maximum. This means anything out of range won’t be lit up enough to photograph and the images are often underexposed.
An ideal solution to this is to use a slave flash which adds more power to the flash and can illuminate objects at a further distance. An external slave flash will automatically fire when the camera’s built-in flash goes off as sensors can detect when it’s fired. These flashes are ideal for large rooms and rooms with high ceilings.
The strength of a flash is usually represented by its guide number. You should be able to find this in the camera’s owner manual. For example, the higher the number is the stronger the flash will be. The numbers are typically expressed in how many feet or meters a flash’s range is good for.
You can always increase the range of your flash by increasing the ISO setting in the camera. For instance, ISO 200 gives you a better range than 100 and 800 gives you better exposure than ISO 400 etc.
There are several options on the market when it comes to slave flashes. The one that suits you the best will depend on how much of a range you’re looking for.
It’s a good idea to compare the prices at a few stores to make sure you get the best deal possible.
A slave flash can be used in combination with just about any type of digital camera. The camera doesn’t necessarily have to have a built-in flash. The slave flash is pretty easy to attach with a hot shoe, which is basically a permanent mounting device.
However, some digital cameras won’t have a hot shoe attached to them, especially those that have a built-in flash.
If your camera has a built-in flash, there will be a bracket with the slave flash which you can screw into the tripod socket which is on the camera’s base. The slave flash then simply slides into the bracket’s slot.
Modern slave flashes will fire as soon as the camera’s built-in flash does. You can also mount slave flashes onto light stands and tripods and several of the flashes can be used at once if you like.
You need to be careful if you use a slave flash that was originally designed for a film camera. This is because they were made to be used with higher voltages. However, digital cameras only need about six volts or less to operate and a high-voltage flash could end up overheating the circuits inside of a digital camera.
Make sure you read the owner’s manual of the camera to see what the voltage is and to check with the flash as well. If you can’t find out, you can use a device called a safe syn, which will automatically lower the voltage in the flash.
In addition, many of today’s digital cameras will actually use two flashes of light not one. The first burst of light is called a pre-flash and it gathers information needed to take the photo, such as distance and white balance. The second flash will light the scene when the photo is taken. It’s a good idea to make sure you know if your camera uses a pre-flash or not.