Want to step up your photography lighting game? External flashes are your best bet. They're powerful gadgets that snap onto your camera and give you the kind of bright, even lighting that can make your photos look professional.
Why Go External with Your Flash
Unlike the little flash that's built into your camera, external flashes (or speedlights) give you more light and let you point it exactly where you need. They're super handy for indoor shots, portraits, or any situation where the lighting's not great.
Hooking Up an External Flash
These flashes connect to the hot shoe on top of your camera. It's like a little square you'll find right on top of most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, ready for you to slide the flash on. And many flashes can even be used wirelessly, so you can light up your subject from different angles without any cables getting in the way.
Picking the Right Flash
There are lots of different flashes to choose from, whether you're shooting with Canon, Nikon, or Sony. You'll find simple ones that are perfect for beginners, and more advanced ones with extra features like wireless control and fast recycling times, which means they're ready to flash again quicker.
Top 5 Canon External Flashes:
- Canon Speedlite 600EX II-RT
- Canon Speedlite 430EX III-RT
- Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI
- Canon Speedlite EL-100
- Canon Speedlite 270EX II
Top 5 Nikon External Flashes:
- Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight
- Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight
- Nikon SB-500 AF Speedlight
- Nikon SB-300 AF Speedlight
- Nikon SB-R200 Wireless Speedlight
Top 5 Sony External Flashes:
- Sony HVL-F60RM
- Sony HVL-F45RM
- Sony HVL-F32M
- Sony HVL-F20M
- Sony HVL-F43M
Top 5 Fujifilm External Flashes:
- Fujifilm EF-X500
- Fujifilm EF-42
- Fujifilm EF-20
- Fujifilm EF-X20
- Fujifilm EF-60
Powering Your External Flash
Most of these flashes run on AA batteries, but some of the beefier ones have their own battery packs. How long the batteries last depends on how much you're using the flash and how high you've cranked up the power.
External vs. Built-in Flashes: What's the Difference?
Why External Flashes Rock:
- More Power: They light up a room way better than your camera's built-in flash.
- Flexibility: You can bounce light off walls and ceilings for a softer look with no harsh shadows.
- Better Light Quality: The light from these flashes just makes everything look nicer and more natural.
- Bigger and Heavier: They add a bit of bulk to your camera setup.
- More Expensive: They can be pricier, but they're definitely worth the investment.
- A Bit Tricky: There's a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, you'll never look back.
Using an external flash can seem a bit daunting at first, but it's a game-changer for lighting. It's something that I've found indispensable in my photography, especially when shooting events or portraits. Canon, Nikon, Sony—they all offer great options to help you light your subjects like a pro.