When we say flash we are referring to flash units that we attach on to the camera’s hot shoe. Perhaps among the various photographic gear, new generation flashes are the devices that saw a quantum leap in technology over the many years of photographic evolution.
They are compact, lightweight, portable and more versatile than any other light source and they are nearly infallible. In modern day photography, compact hot shoe flash units are put to tasks that were never before called for from such tiny sources. There are a range of functions those tiny flash units could perform. Front curtain sync, Rear curtain sync, Stroboscopic effects, Fill flash, High speed flash and much more. They also pack enough punch to even over power the midday sun. Moreover if found necessary more than one flash unit could be combined together to act as one. These flashes could all be controlled from a single central command source and each could be programmed individually to perform a specific function; Giving endless options to the creative photographer.
The two major players in the photography industry namely Canon and Nikon address their flashes as “Speedlite” and “Speedlight” respectively. They use proprietary technology on their flash units and so they are compatible with the same brand of cameras only. Modern day flashes are nothing short of a flash tube attached to a super computer. They are compatible with the TTL (through the lens metering system) and could communicate to the camera; intelligently factor in flash power as per the various modes and settings and determine the exposure accordingly. Nikon calls its technology CLS (Creative Lighting System) and Canon E-TTL.
Disadvantages of Hot Shoe Flashes
However using flashes mounted on the camera has its own downsides, as the angle of light is so near the angle of lens it causes redeye effect. As the flash head is a relatively small light source it produces very harsh light.
We will be discussing more about flashes in a series of articles.
In the next article we will discuss about Photography - Lighting - Flash - Flashbulb