Flash can exist a difficult topic to figure out for a new lensman. You lot know you need more than light but which one do you get? Practise yous even need but i or should you get several? What blazon of photography flash should you go? How much ability exercise you need? What are modifiers? Which one exercise I need? Do I actually need to spend all that money on one or will the cheap ones do the task? Is in that location not just 1 light out there that I can use for everything? How do I connect everything up so that it all talks to each other?
All of these questions and more can brand it pretty overwhelming if y’all’ve never used flash before. And then, in this guide, nosotros’re going to try to answer some of them and take a look at the variety of different flashes and strobes on the market. We’re going to try to help you figure out what light or lights you might want to go to start your flash journey and how dissimilar types of light might be better suited to different genres of photography.
Why practice we even need flash?
One of the large questions newer users have is “do I even need a flash?” and it’s not e’er an easy question to answer. I’m a big laic that everybody should take at least one flash of some type for those times when they think they might need one – fifty-fifty if they don’t know why that is just yet. If you’re taking a shot and not getting the result y’all expect, if yous already take a flash, yous can at to the lowest degree give information technology a try to run across how it affects your photo and if information technology does and then in a positive or negative fashion.
At its simplest, we use flash in order to add together calorie-free to the scene and to exist able to control how that calorie-free contributes to the shot. We use it to stop shadows from falling to darkness or to create a management of light on a boring clouded mean solar day. That might not make much sense just yet, just the more you lot experiment with flash, the more you lot’ll figure out how to utilise it and where its use is advantageous.
We might also use flash to overpower the ambient calorie-free in the surroundings. If you lot’ve got a backlit subject and you don’t want them to turn into a black silhouette against a brilliant background and then you’re going to need to add together some low-cal from the front. Sure, you
simply turn everything effectually and accept your subject facing into the sunday, but that’s non going to be a very flattering portrait with hard and harsh sunlight and your subject squinting into the photographic camera.
So, where do we begin?
Starting off with Speedlights
If you want to outset experimenting with flash, there’s no better place to brainstorm than with a speedlight. They’re pretty much a standard piece of kit for most wink photographers. Even if they’re not the types of light they utilize most often, they usually own i or a few of them for those times when they need the advantages of a modest speedlight that larger and more powerful lights simply practise not offer.
You lot have two basic options with speedlights and both have their pros and cons. You can buy from the same visitor that made your camera – Sony, Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Olympus, Fuji and Sigma all have their ain branded speedlights – or you tin can buy from a third-party visitor that specialises in wink.
The big advantage of going with an OEM flash (a flash made by the same company as your camera) is that you tin be reasonably sure that it will be 100% compatible with the features of your photographic camera. The main disadvantage of OEM speedlights, notwithstanding, is that you take very little room to grow as your conviction and abilities increase and you decide you want more – they likewise often cost
more than 3rd party equivalents. You can mix and match OEM and third party lights, merely often at the cost of some pretty useful features.
When it comes to third party flashes, most of the popular brands similar Godox****, Profoto, Elinchrom and others are by and large compatible with the features of your camera. Sometimes, a camera visitor can release a firmware update or a new camera that might pause compatibility until the lighting company releases a firmware update for their products, as well. This happens quite rarely, though. The primary advantage of third political party lights is that they typically exercise offering room to abound. Y’all start off with a speedlight or two and eventually take a whole army of minor and large lights that are all fully compatible with each other and your camera.
Many 3rd party lights are much less expensive than their branded OEM counterparts. This makes them amend suited to beginners on a budget who recollect they’ll desire to expand their lighting gear in the future or for those that merely want to dip their toe into the water for as little money as possible. Then we’re only going to list 3rd party flashes here. If you want to go the OEM route, simply go to your camera manufacturer’s website and run into what they have.
Godox TT685 Two – $129 (Amazon / B&H)
The Godox TT685 2 is the visitor’southward closest equivalent to your typical OEM speedlight. It comes in varieties dedicated to on-camera use for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji and Olympus/Panasonic. It offers the full capabilities of TTL (Through-The-Lens wink metering – Basically a really fancy automated exposure system to tell your flash what power level to fire at) and HSS (Loftier Speed Sync – A way to use wink up to the fastest shutter speed of your camera).
If you want to become the flash off your camera and onto a low-cal stand for a bit more than creative command, then pretty much all of the Godox flashes – speedlights, strobes and specialist lights – use the same ii.4Ghz wireless triggering system. So, you tin can add one or ii more than speedlights to your existing i once your needs increase. Or, you can get much more powerful and expensive strobes in the future and yet be able to use them aslope your existing speedlights with the same trigger.
- Guide number*: 197′ at ISO100 and 200mm
- Zoom range: xx-200mm
- Recycle time: 2.6 Sec
- System compatibility**: North, C, S, F, O, P
- Pan: 360°
- Tilt: -7 to 120°
- Connectivity: Type-C USB, PC Sync
- Wireless: Godox two.4Ghz X System
- Provides TTL & HSS support as well every bit TTL to Manual power conversion
- An inexpensive light that offers almost of the features of OEM speedlights at a fraction of the cost
- Includes Godox’south newest quick-release locking pes
- Uses AA batteries (many lights are switching to Lithium-ion batteries now)
- It isn’t as tough and durable as some more expensive lights on the market
- The user interface tin can be a lilliputian disruptive at showtime
If you lot just want to dip your toe in the water to see if you fifty-fifty similar working with flash, this is an ideal light to go for. Information technology offers a range of useful features for you to learn and experiment with while not breaking the banking company. At that place is as well a fully manual version of this wink – the Godox TT600 – that doesn’t offer TTL (only does however give HSS when used off-photographic camera) for an even lower $69 which can be a much better selection if y’all really want to acquire flash without automated assistance.
You tin buy the Godox TT685 for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji and Olympus/Panasonic for $129 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Yongnuo YN560-IV – $85 (Amazon / B&H)
Yongnuo used to be the company to go for when you wanted cheap speedlights until a few years ago. They’ve since been overtaken by Godox as the become-to brand for depression-cost speedlights, only the Yongnuo YN560 IV is still a popular particular when you just need the bare nuts for as low a cost as possible. I nonetheless think the $69 Godox TT600 might be a better option these days, merely in the interests of not having this post look like “The Godox guide to lighting”, I’chiliad including them here because they’re still often recommended.
The Yongnuo YN560 Iv is an every bit-bones-as-information technology-gets no-frills speedlight. It offers no TTL or HSS, just basic transmission control. As a event, though, it’due south uniform with pretty much every camera on the marketplace today and most of those made in the by that supports any kind of flash, including a lot of ancient 35mm and Medium Format cameras. In that location is even some basic wireless command using the Yongnuo YN560-TX trigger.
While you can expand the system past adding pretty much whatever light from whatever company into your collection, information technology requires ownership extra hardware to make them compatible with the Yongnuo trigger and you’ll notwithstanding simply go bones manual control with them – no TTL or HSS.
- Guide number*: 190′ at ISO100 and 105mm
- Zoom range: 24-105mm (18mm Broad)
- Recycle fourth dimension: 3 Sec
- System compatibility**: Universal
- Pan: 270°
- Tilt: -seven to 90°
- Connectivity: PC Sync
- Wireless: Congenital-in ii.4Ghz
- No nonsense inexpensive flash that gives you the blank minimum to become started with flash
- Readily available beyond the world
- Very reliable when used off-photographic camera
- Uses AA batteries
- The build quality leaves a lot to exist desired
- Not keen upgrade path if you want to expand your organisation in the future
If you want to learn the fundamental of wink and are happy with potentially replacing them in a few years once your needs become more advanced, and then the Yongnuo YN560 Four is still a solid contender. I all the same have 4 of these in my own flash collection for emergencies when I really accept to have more lights or potentially risky situations where a flash might get destroyed. But they’re not my daily utilise flashes anymore.
You can buy the Yongnuo YN560-Four for $129 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Godox V1 – $259 (Amazon / B&H)
We’re going back to Godox for this i considering at that place aren’t really many brands worth ownership in the 3rd political party speedlight marketplace anymore. It’south basically down to the three mentioned here. The Godox V1 is essentially the Godox flagship speedlight, yet information technology yet comes in at less than half the price of your typical OEM speedlight. It offers a round head pattern rather than the typical rectangular-shaped head nosotros might be more than familiar with.
This round head helps to provide a more fifty-fifty spread of light (at least, in theory) and when used within modifiers like softboxes (those will be coming in a future guide!) you typically get a much smoother and cleaner overall look on your subject due. It’s too magnetic, allowing yous to quickly and hands attach various gels, diffusers and other items to information technology. The Godox V1 also features a “TCM” TTL-to-Manual flash conversion giving y’all a more efficient workflow over ability output consistency.
- Guide number*: 92′ at ISO100 and 50mm
- Zoom range: 20-200mm
- Recycle time: i.5 Sec
- System compatibility**: N, C, S, F, O, P
- Pan: 330°
- Tilt: -7 to 120°
- Connectivity: Blazon-C USB, PC Sync
- Wireless: Godox ii.4Ghz Ten System
- TTL & HSS support as well as TCM
- A round head with magnetic attachments
- Lithium-ion battery
- A piddling expensive if yous’re not certain if you need flash yet
- The same slightly confusing UI as the TT685 II
- Build quality could still be a little scrap ameliorate
If you just want to dip your toe in the water to see if you lot even like working with wink, this is an ideal lite to go for. It offers a range of useful features for you lot to learn and experiment with while not breaking the bank.
The Godox V1 is the one to become for if yous feel pretty confident that you lot want to learn flash properly. It’s a very capable unit that volition serve you well to learn and provide features into which yous tin grow. And it’ll notwithstanding serve as a very useful function of your kit, fifty-fifty after you lot upgrade to something a bit more beefy and powerful.
You can buy the Godox V1 for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax and Olympus/Panasonic for $259 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Profoto A10 – $ane,095 (Amazon / B&H)
A $1,000+ speedlight might be an odd one to put in a beginner’south guide, but it’south pretty much the only other feasible option besides the three above. And, surprisingly, I’ve really seen quite a few people pick upwardly the Profoto A10 (or one of its similarly-priced predecessors) as their first on-camera flash and fall in love with it. Plus, just considering you’re a beginner doesn’t hateful you’re not willing to splash the cash to go the level of customer support that a visitor like Profoto offers. And then, hither we are.
Like the Godox V1, the Profoto A1 is a circular-headed flash that Profoto actually bills every bit a “studio light” rather than an on-camera speedlight. Some of its features are comparable to the Godox V1, merely you get improve color accuracy, Bluetooth and you can fifty-fifty use it for quick behind the scenes shots with your iPhone! Profoto is 1 of the well-nigh highly regarded names in the flash business these days because they produce slap-up products and offer pinnacle-notch support. Of grade, you are paying for that privilege.
- Guide number*: Non specified
- Zoom range: 32-105mm (14mm wide)
- Recycle time: ~one Sec
- System compatibility**: Northward, C, S, F
- Pan: Not specified
- Tilt: Non specified
- Connectivity: micro USB, PC Sync
- Wireless: Bluetooth AirX, Profoto 2.4Ghz AirTTL
- TTL & HSS support also as TCM
- Tin too human action as a low ability continuous light
- Cracking manufacturer back up
expensive for a beginner
- Not quite equally powerful equally one might await
- Build quality could all the same exist a little bit improve
The Profoto A1 is the creme de la creme of speedlights (even if Profoto won’t actually call it that). If you’re the type of person who’south willing to pay whatever it takes, so this is the ane for yous.
Yous can purchase the Profoto A1 for Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji for $ane,095 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Moving on to strobes
Mayhap you’ve already got a speedlight, peradventure even two, and you lot’re looking at something a little more powerful. Where do you go from here? Well, if yous bought into the Godox or Profoto systems mentioned to a higher place then your options are locked into the make you initially invested with if you desire to retain compatibility with your existing kit. Fortunately, both Godox and Profoto offer a lot of potential options kinds of budgets and demands depending on your needs.
Alternatively, if y’all’ve decided that yous’re never going to use your speedlights again (or desire to jump straight into strobes), or at least not mix them in with your strobes then you tin can first over from scratch with a new company. Likewise, if you lot bought into the Yongnuo organization up above, then you tin go wherever you like, really. While Yongnuo did denote a strobe a little while ago, it seems to accept been out of stock everywhere since its launch in 2019. Then for all intents and purposes, they don’t make one. But permit’south accept a look at the companies that do and where they might fit into your workflow.
As strobes don’t adhere themselves to your photographic camera, you’ll want some form of wireless trigger system. About strobes these days exercise accept some kind of built-in receiver, but y’all will have to buy a transmitter to sit on top of your camera, similar the Godox XPro, Profoto Air Remote, Westcott FJ trigger or Elinchrom Skyport Transmitter. Remember, though, that each brand of trigger is but straight compatible with its own receivers. You tin’t mix and lucifer without extra hardware – which will typically limit the available features vs matching transmitter & receiver systems.
Godox MS300 – $109 (Amazon / B&H)
One of the first decisions you’ll face when information technology comes to strobes, which wasn’t really an option for most of us until fairly recently, is whether yous want to go with AC-powered strobes that plug into the wall or Lithium-ion battery-powered strobes that you can use on location. While Ac-powered strobes are significantly less expensive than their battery-powered counterparts, you are adequately limited in where you can use them because you lot need AC power.
The Godox MS300 is one such AC-Powered wink that offers a decent amount of power for a very depression price point. If you’re only going to be using your strobes in a “habitation studio” type environment and will always have admission to plug sockets, and so these are a proficient choice, peculiarly if you’ve already bought into the Godox system with one or several of their speedlights. It features the same built-in ii.4Ghz Godox Ten flash system, pregnant that it’due south compatible with the entire range of Godox Ten system products, including their speedlights, flash triggers and battery-powered strobes.
There’s no High Speed Sync (HSS) on the Godox MS300, simply that’south not something y’all’ll really need indoors where light levels are fairly low and you don’t need a fast shutter speed. Information technology also doesn’t have TTL for automatic wink metering. This means that you’ll have to suit the power of the light manually to get a good exposure. But this is a good skill to force yourself to learn early on. It’s basically the strobe equivalent of the YN560-Four or TT600 mentioned above. It’s as barebones every bit it gets.
- Ability***: 300Ws
- Power source: 110/240V Air-conditioning
- Modifier Mount: Bowens
- Recycle time: one.8 Sec
- Flash Duration (t0.1): 1/800 – ane/ii,000 Sec
- Colour Temp: 5600K +/-200K
- System compatibility**: Godox X (Due north, C, S, F, P, O)
- Wireless: Godox 2.4Ghz X System
- Very cheap
- A good amount of ability
- Fast recycle times
- Cannot easily apply it on location
- Non as easy to store
- Long flash duration
This is by no means a perfect strobe – and i can’t expect it to be at this cost. But it’due south a not bad general-purpose mains-powered introduction to studio strobe lighting to become yous upwardly and running. And it can forever keep a place in your lighting kit fifty-fifty after you switch to more powerful/avant-garde/expensive strobes in the future. While AC ability does limit where you tin can use the low-cal, it does mean that you lot can shoot pretty much forever without worrying about if your bombardment’s running low. You’ll also become consistent recycle times – the speed at which you tin can continuously shoot – which tin can be a problem with some lithium-ion powered strobes that can get slower every bit the bombardment gets lower.
You lot tin buy the Godox MS300 for $129 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Godox AD200 Pro – $349 (Amazon / B&H)
Stepping away from the plug sockets is the popular Godox AD200 Pro. This is a lithium-ion battery-powered “hybrid” strobe that can deed as both a very powerful sort-of-speedlight besides as a 200Ws strobe. What makes it a hybrid is that information technology has interchangeable heads. And so, if you want the look of a speedlight but with a chip more power, you can pop on the Fresnel head. If you desire to utilise it more than like a studio strobe and employ softboxes, you bandy out for the bare bulb caput. There’s also a round head available to match the look of the Godox V1.
Likewise as the versatility of being able to swap heads to plow it into a different blazon of lite source, the Godox AD200Pro is also very small. It’s not that much bigger than a large OEM speedlight, making information technology piece of cake to slip i or two easily into your camera bag for utilize on location. Despite its minor size, though, you tin’t use one of these in your camera’s hotshoe. These have go a very mutual unit of measurement since their release due to their versatility, portability and ease of use on location.
- Power***: 200Ws
- Ability source: Lithium-ion battery
- Modifier Mount: Bowens (with Godox S2 bracket)
- Recycle time: one.viii Sec
- Wink Duration (t0.1):1/220 – i/13,000 Sec
- Color Temp: 5600K +/-200K
- System compatibility**: Godox 10 (N, C, South, F, P, O)
- Wireless: Godox 2.4Ghz X System
- Interchangeable heads go far versatile
- Offers TTL and HSS back up
- Fast recycle times
- Needs separate subclass to use modifiers
- LCD is easily damaged if you’re not careful outdoors
- Although small-scale, information technology cannot be used on the hotshoe
If y’all started off with Godox speedlights, the AD200 Pro is a cracking next logical step. The Fresnel caput is going to complement your existing speedlights very well and the bare bulb head is going to requite you a truthful studio strobe. You do take to get the Godox S2 subclass in order to be able to mount modifiers to it, though. Or, if you get two AD200 Pro, you can double them upwardly into a single 400Ws lite using the Godox AD-B2 bracket.
You can buy the Godox AD200 Pro for $349 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Westcott FJ400 – $599 (Amazon / B&H)
The Westcott FJ400 is both an AC-powered strobe and a Lithium-ion battery-powered strobe allowing you to go the best of both worlds and use it with Air conditioning ability when you’re well-nigh plug sockets, and so yous don’t have to worry almost ability running out, and you can use information technology with the Lithium-ion battery pack for when you desire to use it out on location. Merely, Westcott doesn’t have a particularly large flash ecosystem, so future expansion is potentially limited.
That existence said, if you just want a basic three-light setup that can work as as well on location every bit it does in a permanent studio setup, then three of these might be all you ever demand. They Westcott FJ400 supports both TTL and HSS and likewise features a built-in Bowens mount, significant that you don’t need a bracket or adapter to attach softboxes. It also includes a range of magnetic gels that attach to the supplied reflector for adjusting your color.
- Power***: 400Ws
- Power source: 110/240V AC or Lithium-ion bombardment
- Modifier Mountain: Bowens
- Recycle fourth dimension: 0.ix Sec
- Flash Duration (t0.1): 1/280 – 1/7,000 Sec
- Colour Temp: 5500K +/-150K
- Organization compatibility**: Westcott FJ (Due north, C, S, F, O)
- Wireless: Westcott FJ 2.4Ghz
- Multiple power source options
- Comes with magnetic gels
- Very fast recycle fourth dimension
- Small ecosystem limits time to come expansion
- Slower fastest flash duration
- Quite big and heavy for location use
The Westcott flash ecosystem – which currently comprises only three lights – is fairly small and will be offputting to some potential customers. Merely if y’all’re not quite set up to buy just all the same and just want to see what’s out there, Westcott might be a company worth keeping an eye on to see how (or if) the system grows in the near future.
You can buy the Westcott FJ400 for $599 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Profoto B10 – $1,795 (Amazon / B&H)
If you decided to go with the Profoto A10 equally your first speedlight, then stepping upwards to something similar the Profoto B10 when you lot need a bit more ability is a logical choice. It’s wireless advice is compatible with the speedlight y’all already ain and you can control both of them off-camera using the same trigger. As mentioned, though, Profoto products and support does come at a premium, so this isn’t an cheap selection.
But y’all do get pretty solid reliability, great build quality, fantastic customer support and a very versatile light that offers TTL and HSS. It’southward worth noting that if you go with Profoto lights, you’re pretty much limited to Profoto modifiers. In that location are adapters out in that location letting you lot use Bowens mountain modifiers, just design differences between Profoto and Bowens mounts mean those Bowens modifiers may not exist very efficient. You lot’ll nearly always get the all-time results with Profoto modifiers – which can become quite expensive.
- Power***: 250Ws
- Power source: Lithium-ion battery
- Modifier Mount: Profoto
- Recycle time: ii.two Sec
- Flash Duration (t0.1): 1/400 – 1/14,000 to Sec
- Colour Temp: 5600K
- System compatibility**: N, C, S, F
- Wireless: Bluetooth, Profoto 2.4Ghz AirTTL
- A solid light with great build quality
- Bright 150W (3000-6500K) LED modelling light
- 10 stops of power adjustment
- Information technology’s an expensive system to purchase into
- Recycle time is a hair slower than others
- That’s information technology, really
While Profoto won’t be the get-to choice for most beginners, I’m including it here considering I know many beginners who’ve gone out and bought Profoto gear and flagship cameras and f/1.2 primes and f/ii.eight zooms. And it’s not unremarkably a instance of “all the gear and no idea”, they just know that when they pay that kind of money for something, they’re going to get the support they demand while they figure everything out. They also know that it’s probably going to terminal quite a while, too. And, ultimately, that can end upwards being less expensive in the long term if information technology’s something you stick with.
You can buy the Profoto B10 for $one,795 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Elinchrom D-Calorie-free One RX – $249 (Amazon / B&H)
Elinchrom used to be the go-to brand aslope Bowens (earlier they went bust) if you wanted to go a flash system. And while Bowens may no longer be around (ok, they sort of are) Elinchrom is yet going stiff and at their entry-level, nosotros have an Ac-powered basic manual strobe, the Elinchrom D-Lite One RX.
Like the Profoto lite above, Elinchrom uses their own proprietary mount, although there is a adequately wide multifariousness of OEM and 3rd party modifiers available to fit it. And like the Godox MS300 further up, there’s no TTL or HSS on this one. Simply you get a solid flash with basic manual control and a built-in EL Skyport receiver for native wireless control from your photographic camera using an EL-Skyport transmitter.
- Power***: 100Ws
- Power source: ninety-260V Air-conditioning
- Modifier Mount: Elinchrom
- Recycle time: 2.one Sec
- Wink Elapsing (t0.five): 1/2200 Sec
- Colour Temp: Not specified
- Organization compatibility**: N, C, South, F, P, O
- Wireless: EL Skyport
- A very small and compact light
- Fast flash duration at full power
- 1/10th cease power adjustment increments
- Lower output than similarly priced competition
- No battery power option
- Only v stops of full power adjustment
While mayhap not be as pop every bit they used to exist, Elinchrom still makes some pretty solid equipment for both beginners every bit well equally more enervating users. And if you lot’re just starting out, need some Air-conditioning-powered strobes and y’all’re limited on space, the Elinchrom D-Lite One RX is a very small and compact light.
Yous can buy the Elinchrom D-Light One RX for $249 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Godox MF12-K2 Macro Flash Kit – $249 (Amazon / B&H)
While the recently released Godox MF12 is more of a speciality light, I’thou including it here because there are a lot of photographers out at that place who shoot macro and it’south all they’re really interested in shooting beyond the usual family snaps. Flash is immensely useful with macro – and often required to freeze a live, moving subject – and these provide a great value.
The design of the Godox MF12 arrangement is very reminiscent of the Nikon R1C1 kit – something that non-Nikon shooters oasis’t actually been able to use. But being role of the Godox X Ecosystem, it’due south compatible with Nikon, Canon, Sony, Fuji, Pentax, Panasonic and Olympus with the advisable trigger on your hotshoe. This means y’all tin can also mix and match it with Godox speedlights or strobes if yous need to. Like, if you want to light from the front with the MF12 but also wish to add together a backlight backside your subject.
The cost listed above is for the basic ii-calorie-free kit (hence the “K2” at the finish of its name), merely you can add upwards to six of the MF12 lights onto the ring that surrounds the end of your lens. These are available separately for $109 each and because they’re all function of the aforementioned Godox Ten flash organisation, y’all don’t have to mountain them to your lens. You lot can use them off-camera, as well if you proceed them close to the field of study. They’re non very powerful for general off-photographic camera apply and yous’re certainly not going to be putting i of these inside a big softbox.
- Guide number*: 16.1′ (ISO not specified)
- Zoom range: Fixed
- Recycle time: one.7 Sec
- Arrangement compatibility**: N, C, S, F, O, P
- Flash Elapsing (t0.5): 1/1200 to ane/34000 Sec
- Flash Modes: TTL, Manual
- Connectivity: Blazon-C USB
- Wireless: Godox ii.4Ghz X System
- Very fast flash durations, especially at lower power
- Expandable mini-ecosystem inside an ecosystem
- Allows for both symmetrical and asymmetrical setups
- It’south a specialist light so limited use outside of macro
- White residuum reported to exist a picayune warm
- No wired sync cable option
While there are other macro flashes on the market, the Godox MF12 offers a lot of versatility due to being able to adjust both the quantity and position of the lights that sit down around your lens, close to your field of study. This allows you to light your field of study in ways simply not possible with generic all-in-one macro ring flashhes. At that place are too a number of continuous macro lights out there which, while great for video, oft tend to lack the power required to low-cal macro scenes or provide a fast plenty shutter speed to freeze something like fast-moving bugs!
You can buy the Godox MF12-K2 Macro Flash Kit for $249 on Amazon, B&H and other retailers.
Things to call up most when buying your first flash
Getting your first wink can definitely be a daunting affair. Unlike cameras, where you’ve at least got the ane built into your smartphone as a baseline, most people actually don’t take any kind of frame of reference for flashes and what they’re looking for when it comes to buying a dedicated unit of measurement. There are some questions that you’ll desire to figure out or find the answers to earlier you put down your money.
Exercise I just demand a unmarried on-camera flash for occasional use?
– This is the first question you should ask yourself. If you but want a flash considering yous experience that having one in your kit is important and information technology’southward merely for occasional utilise on top of the camera, you’re not actually bothered about learning elaborate flash setups and you plan to merely e’er purchase one, so only get with a simple speedlight. You lot might even be all-time served past going with an OEM flash manufactured by the same company as your camera itself for guaranteed maximum compatibility.
Or do I actually desire to learn how low-cal works?
– This is the 2nd one-half of the above question. If you lot think (or know for sure) that you might desire to really get into wink and expand your lighting gear every bit your abilities and confidence increase, then I’d still suggest starting off with a speedlight just expect at one that’s role of a larger overall ecosystem. If you buy into a limited system, you may end upward having to those speedlights when your needs grow and y’all buy into a more powerful system
What kind of modifier back up is available?
– We haven’t spoken much near modifiers in this post, except with regards to compatibility with diverse lights. Modifiers are things that, as the name suggests, modify the light in some fashion. They might make a light source larger, providing a more pleasing and softer low-cal on your subject. Or they may focus the light to provide a more high-intensity beam on your subject (like a spotlight). Others tin can diffuse your light to transport it out flying in all directions to provide an even ambient light level.
Do I really need TTL?
– TTL (Through The Lens), is an automated flash metering system. The camera and flash communicate with each other in order to judge how much light your scene needs in gild to be adequately exposed on the fly. It tin exist very useful in on-photographic camera situations where the flash is perched on summit of your camera’s hotshoe, but you lot might find that it has limited usefulness when used off-camera. For my ain needs, TTL is a prissy feature to have sometimes, just not required. For wedding and upshot photographers, nonetheless, it can exist vital.
What nearly HSS?
– Most cameras are speed limited in some style when it comes to working with flash. To describe it as simply every bit possible, most cameras contain a mechanical shutter. We call information technology a “shutter” but it’s actually a pair of shutters. A front shutter and a rear shutter. When you lot have a shot, the front shutter opens to begin the exposure and the rear shutter closes to cease the exposure. Eventually, you get to a point where your shutter speed is so fast that the rear curtain starts closing before the front curtain has allowed the unabridged sensor to see the scene before you. This is what’south known equally your “Sync Speed” and it sits between around 1/125 to ane/320 of a 2nd depending on brand and camera model. HSS is a technique that gets around this limitation and allows you lot to burn down your flash all the way up to the maximum shutter speed of your camera (unremarkably ane/4,000 or 1/8,000 sec).
Does it accept born wireless support?
– If you’re going to be getting your flash off the camera, does it take a congenital-in wireless receiver? Many lights practice these days, but quite a few even so don’t. And if they don’t, it means you will likely demand to buy actress hardware in guild to have it communicate with a wireless trigger sitting on top of your photographic camera. And fifty-fifty if you practise buy that extra hardware, you probably won’t get the TTL and HSS features described to a higher place. Too every bit the extra expense of wireless receivers, it means more batteries and more potential points of failure. Buying into a organisation with built-in wireless receivers is generally a much improve way of doing things these days.
How low does it get?
– Y’all might wonder why the minimum power output is important for a wink, simply sometimes y’all merely need to add a niggling lite to your scene, peculiarly if yous’re indoors and the light is fairly close to your subject. some lights offering an viii or 10 cease range going down to 1/128, 1/256 or even 1/512 ability. Other lights, however, but offering a 5 stop range, bottoming out at i/32. Sometimes, you might find that minimum ability isn’t quite minimum enough and y’all’re overexposing your shot. You can add Neutral Density (ND) gels over the end of the flash tube, but that’south another actress expense and hassle to fit and remove often.
What do I want to shoot?
– If y’all do plan to get serious about flash, then this may ultimately determine the direction that your flash adventures will ultimately take you. If your focus is macro, yous’re frequently going to want a dissimilar lighting kit compared to something like portraits. Even inside portraits, you might brand different buying decisions depending on whether you wish to shoot on location where battery power tin be vital or if y’all’re e’er in the studio where AC ability is readily available. Even in the studio, though, battery-powered strobes means fewer trailing wires to trip over.
Exercise I need a combination flash & continuous lite?
– If you plan to shoot video as well as flash photography using the aforementioned lights, then having a wink with a powerful modelling light can be an important factor. Of course, you can buy separate lights for stills and video, but if you tin can find a arrangement that offers all that you need. That being said, there is occasionally a compromise. The Profoto B10 mentioned above, for example, is primarily a strobe that merely happens to have a powerful modelling light. Other lights, like the Godox FV200, are primarily continuous lights that have added strobe functionality. So, while a light may offer both features, information technology will usually be better at one than the other. If you can live within whatever potential limitations, though, it’s a viable route to have simply yous volition want to do a lot of research and expect at a lot of reviews to see exactly where they might not be able to keep up.
How much ability practise I need in a strobe?
– This is going to be unique to your own requirements. If y’all plan to try and overpower the lord’s day with a 5ft diameter softbox outdoors, then you’re going to need something much more powerful than if you’re photographing pocket-size products indoors in a controlled low-calorie-free environment. I would suggest starting off with something pocket-size (or at least cheap) to start in the 200-300Ws range. Even if you ultimately need more power, less powerful lights like these tin can still be very benign as fill up lights, rim & hair lights or groundwork lights. So, it’s not money wasted.
Should I look at the used marketplace?
– The used flash market place is a potentially fantastic but also a potentially risky identify. A lot of people sell lights because they bought into the wrong system when they started and now they’re selling up to commencement over with a new one. In this example, you can often discover some great deals on individual flashes or fifty-fifty a small kit, just there are alot
of old flashes on the used market place that seem to have great prices but may not take the back up you need or haven’t been fabricated in a decade or 2 and repair options merely don’t exist anymore. Some unscrupulous people volition too try to offload used wink gear as “untested” that they know doesn’t piece of work but don’t declare it. So, once again, exercise your enquiry, ask the seller if you’re in any doubt most its functionality and as a beginner, it’s probably best to try to go for flash models still a current model. That way, if in that location is an issue with information technology, you probably take some recourse to get it repaired.
Buying into a flash arrangement is ane of the best things you tin can practise for your photography, depending on what you lot shoot. Obviously, it’s not going to be of much utilize for things like landscapes (unless y’all’re into light painting) or astrophotography but they’re extremely useful for things similar portraits, products, macro, pets, weddings, events, lifestyle, fashion, or whatever other genre of photography where using them is practical.
Exactly which path you should accept on your flash journeying really depends on what it is that you like to shoot, or think that you might similar to try at some bespeak. If you’re in any doubt at all as to what to get, but get a cheap elementary speedlight similar the Godox TT685 at the pinnacle of this post. Worst example, you lot’ve spent non a lot of money on something you lot don’t use all that often (or at all). But information technology might merely exist the affair that makes you fall in love with lite and how it can ship your photography in directions yous never previously thought possible.
Have y’all already jumped into the earth of wink? What do you use?
* The Guide Number of a light is a measurement of how much light it puts out in a semi-standardised way. Just these numbers can sometimes be misleading. In that location used to be something of an industry-standard gear up of settings, an unwritten dominion by which all manufacturers abided in club to present potential customers with a reliable low-cal output comparison betwixt unlike models from dissimilar companies. These days, as flashes accept become more than advanced many companies have manipulated the weather condition nether which the reading is taken in lodge to make the number look much higher than information technology would at the previously “standard” settings, making the numbers quite incomparable to each other today. Despite this, these numbers are of import to some customers then we’ve added them where they are available from the manufacturer’due south website, but take them with a big pinch of salt.
** This is with regard to native compatibility offer make-specific features. All speedlights and strobes tin can work with any camera without advanced features like HSS and TTL, just you may need to buy separate hardware to go along with them in guild to brand information technology piece of work. The Westcott FJ system requires an adapter for Sony compatibility.
Abbreviations for organization compatibility:
- N = Nikon
- C = Canon
- S = Sony
- F = Fuji
- P = Pentax
- O = Olympus/Panasonic
*** When it comes to power, Watt-hours is non necessarily an indicator of light output betwixt dissimilar models or brands of flash. Some electronic circuitry is more efficient than others and the design of the flash head also plays a lot into light output efficiency. Modifiers, as well, will impact lights differently depending on their head design. As a result, some lights produce more or less light output for the aforementioned corporeality of electrical energy consumed than others. That beingness said, information technology does serve as a pretty good rough guide.
**** It is worth noting (Cheers, Michael!) that Godox products are sold around the earth under a number of brand names including Flashpoint in the USA and Pixapro in the Uk. These are the same identical Godox products, merely they will often come with better local (to your land) customer back up than buying directly from Godox.