Saturday, 14 December 2013

Wide Panel in Camera Flashes, What is it? What does it do?

What is the wide panel for? What does it do? 

flash wide panel
flash wide panel

By default all flashes are capable of covering a range of angles; for most flashes the values are from 24mm to 105mm. But photographers frequently work with lenses of much wider focal lengths for example 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 18mm etc. Standard flashes do not work very well with those lenses as they are only able to illuminate the center portion of the image area.

Wide panel (is a semi-transparent piece of plastic built into the flash head) acts on the same principle as of Fresnel lenses and makes the light beam from the flash spread more and cover a much wider field of view. One thing to be remembered is that when the wide panel is enabled, the flash head automatically zooms to its widest setting.

Here’s a diagram that will help you understand things more clearly. The picture given below shows how the wide panel affects the spread of light.

Camera Flash Wide Panel
Camera Flash Wide Panel

We are attempting to photograph five beautiful ladies standing side by side but our flash could only cover an angle of about 24mm (the area shown in orange) and as a result those who are in the sides will not be exposed properly. They will not be benefitted by the flash light. However we are able to increase the spread of the flash beam and cover a wider angle by using the built in wide panel on the flash. Normally with the wide panel the flash is able to illuminate an angle of about 14mm. Kindly note these values (angle of view covered) could change depending on the make and model of the flash used. But the principle of the wide panel is the same; it increases the spread of the flash light.

Related Reading

  1. What is Fill Flash?
  2. Stroboscopic Flash Photography
  3. 5 Tips For Using your Flash Creatively
  4. How To Get Better Lighting From Your On Camera Flash
  5. Focal Plane Shutter