Understanding camera flashguns

During my beginning days of using a camera, I’ve never bothered much about flashguns – Until it hit me one day that I need to light my subject up properly. In my mind, a DSLR is just another powerful manual way to get around that “Green God”, Auto mode compact camera that doesn’t give me the ability to shoot at 1/400 @ f/2.8 when I needed to.

And when you talk about EV (exposure values)? Heh. I’ll probably stick to adjustments of shutter speeds and aperture values mounted on a tripod as compared to using a flash. Because to me, flashgun effects are ALL THE SAME! Who needs a damned RM1,000 flashgun anyway? Can’t I just get that cheap flashlight and do light painting or make sure I have enough lights everywhere I go?

Then a few weeks ago, that changed.

What the heck is a flashgun?

Yongnuo 560 Flashgun

Yongnuo 560 Flashgun

Flashguns are external flash units that connects to your camera’s hotshoe. Unlike the traditional pop-up camera flash which you get on your camera and can only be shot frontwards, the external flash unit gives you rotation – Up, down, left right, from 90 degrees to 180 degrees.

Your regular DSLR pop-up flash

Your regular DSLR pop-up flash on a Nikon D3000

This flash is particularly healthy to use – And you can take great shots with them. But to a certain extent, you’re limited to its power, distance, flexibility and control of the exposure you get out of a picture.

Flashgun attached to a G1 Lumix

Flashgun attached to a G1 Lumix

When you get external flashes, it gives you the ability to twist and rotate your flashgun head so that you can achieve light from the direction you want – Not just straight ahead like what the pop-up flash does.

Nissin flash depicts tilting - Left to right and right to left, up and down from 90° to 180°

Nissin flash depicts tilting - Left to right and right to left, up and down from 90° to 180°

Tilting allows a photographer to direct a flasgun to whichever direction he/she needs for light bounce. In order to give a softer, more spread-out effect on your photograph, bouncing your light off your surface also lights up your subject in a nice, diffused manner..

Next in Understanding Camera Flashguns: Flashgun for Beginners »

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