Flash Separated From Camera

A very good option that can be used to determine the lighting effects of flash photography is a separate flash. This entails positioning the flash separately from the camera itself. The problem of flat illumination due to a head on flash can successfully be avoided. Additionally, the red eye effect is reduced to a minimum.

There are several ways of achieving this: 

Servo flash

  • The built-in flash or the flash attachments trigger a further flash over an image sensor. The distance between the triggered flash and the servo flash depends on the brightness of the surroundings and the capacity of the flash. It raises the problem of the flash continuing to radiate light from the direction of the camera and it therefore restricts determining the flash’s source of light. Additionally, the flash triggers the servo flash on other cameras within close proximity.

Sync cable

  • Here a cable is used to connect the camera to the flash unit. Cameras that have a sync socket can be used with the respective adapter in the camera’s hot shoe. 
  • Advantage: Synch cables can be used across different systems and are relatively inexpensive.
  • Disadvantage: No automatic flash compensation as with TTL. All settings must be adjusted by the photographer. In changing lighting conditions, more time consumption is to be expected.

TTL cable

  • Here camera and flash are connected to one another by a cable. The flash is connected to the camera via the hot shoe.
  • Advantage: Easy to use as the TTL flash control can still be used on the camera. 
  • Disadvantage: TTL cables are system bound and can be expensive.

Radio controlled trigger

  • A radio controlled, cordless flash is definitely the most convenient option. Technology may vary from make to make and camera model. While some cameras are able to steer various flashes directly, others require a special attachment (transmitter that can be placed atop the hot shoe) or a master flash that can control the slave flash.

Some manufacturers provide the option of steering more than one flash via radio controlled TTL metering. The flash’s performance can generally easily be regulated using the master flash. Even influencing the lighting (comparable to modelling light in professional studio lighting) can be simulated by using certain flash units. Used in correlation with tripods and light shapers (umbrella, softbox…) very ambitious lighting situations can come to life. Compared to classic studio flash equipment, these devices offer more flexibility as they aren’t as bulky and are not dependent on plug-in power supply. They are powered by rechargeable batteries or batteries.

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