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04-27-2010, 05:01 PM   #1
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Is it worth it to invest in a good flash?

Is it worth it to invest in a good flash? I mean you can use any crappy one, but also the newer ones, may be $200-$100 in difference or even more, but does it make a difference?

04-27-2010, 07:05 PM   #2
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It's as important as investing in good glass. After all, light is the main component of photography and being able to control it is what makes good photography great. A good, mid priced, PTTL bounce/swivel flash with enough power is important to have. And you can have one of those for between 150-300 bucks.
04-27-2010, 07:40 PM   #3
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Flash makes some photos possible that you can't get otherwise, so I think some flash is necessary. The obvious point is, how often do you see yourself taking those photos? Second point is, do you need the process to be fully automated, or do you have enough time and skill to set some or all flash settings manually? Maybe third, do you intend to increase your flash use, like getting a second flash, wireless, etc?

I decided recently to buy the AF540FGZ, top of the line Pentax model, so I thought it was worth it at the time. It might have been too much flash for me. I can't yet get good images without thinking about it. Based on my experiences, consider getting the top of the line models but know you'll have to learn stuff to get your money's worth. By the time I'm competent with the AF540FGZ, I think I'll be a flash genius.
04-27-2010, 10:14 PM   #4
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This may sound obvious, but make sure you plan on using it.

I bought a 540, used it about once in 2 years (I was in an underground bunker...)

It's just a type of photography that I do not seem to do. I'm only recently having to lug a tripod that I rarely use (just got a big long lens.)

04-28-2010, 07:11 AM   #5
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If you ever shoot people indoors, you should have a flash. Sometimes the circumstances call for not using a flash so as to be non-intrusive, but I would much rather have a shot with proper lighting at ISO100 with no chance of motion blur and my choice of aperture, than a "natural light" shot at f/1.4, ISO3200, and 1/30s.
04-28-2010, 08:25 AM   #6
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So far, I have got by without a flash but am considering a purchase in the very near future. I really don't use flash much at all but I have had a couple of instances in the past year or so where having a flash would have been handy. The pop up flash is pretty limited. I'm probably going to buy the AF360 or the Metz 48. Both are around $225 at several vendors. I think this is one area where it will be worthwhile to spend a little more on something a bit better for no other reason than if you decide after that you really don't need one and aren't going to use it, you can sell it and not loose much.
04-28-2010, 08:37 AM   #7
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I find myself not missing it at all, but there may be situations where you just have to have one.
04-28-2010, 10:22 AM - 3 Likes   #8
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the thing to remember is that a good external flash will get you more bang for your buck than getting faster glass. Basically it adds a stop or two to every lens you have. A good bounce is worth an awful lot, at the same time, it does take a lot of practice to get to the place where you can use it and not have bad shadows and people looking like they are fresh in from a mime convention.

04-28-2010, 10:25 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
the thing to remember is that a good external flash will get you more bang for your buck than getting faster glass. Basically it adds a stop or two to every lens you have. A good bounce is worth an awful lot, at the same time, it does take a lot of practice to get to the place where you can use it and not have bad shadows and people looking like they are fresh in from a mime convention.
Well explained, and a reputation click for YOU!!!

(I'm gonna have a ball making jokes about this new feature.)
04-28-2010, 10:32 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Hey! I'm up to 12 points!

And considering that I started with 10 free ones, that stinks.
04-28-2010, 11:09 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Is it worth it to invest in a good flash? I mean you can use any crappy one, but also the newer ones, may be $200-$100 in difference or even more, but does it make a difference?
IMO budget wise & picture wise it is better than investing in a good glass.
That said, as an investment a lens is better. Just like what is happening now.
Lens prices are going up..
04-28-2010, 11:42 AM   #12
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A good flash allows you to get great bounce. Especially with high ceilings (this house has 10' ceilings) This image would have been difficult even with fast glass, The DOF would have been to shallow wide open.

04-28-2010, 12:02 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Is it worth it to invest in a good flash? I mean you can use any crappy one, but also the newer ones, may be $200-$100 in difference or even more, but does it make a difference?
A good flash is definitely helpful. But a good flash does not need to be expensive.

A flash with variable manual power output and with auto (having its own light sensor) satisfies 95% of the needs of an advanced amateur.

I have expensive flashes. But the flashes in my "travel" kits are Nikon SB-25 ($25 from a local Craigslist ad) and Sunpak 36DX ($40 from B&H).

I was having a business dinner the other day, and my boss whispered to me, "Do you have a camera with you?"

Earlier in the day, I just received my Ricoh GX200 back from service. There was no way I could take this photo with the GX200 (notoriously for high noise at ISO 200 and up) without the Sunpak 36DX:


Last edited by SOldBear; 04-28-2010 at 12:12 PM.
04-28-2010, 01:55 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by NecroticSoldier Quote
Is it worth it to invest in a good flash? I mean you can use any crappy one, but also the newer ones, may be $200-$100 in difference or even more, but does it make a difference?
Personally I consider a good flash gun to be much more important than "just another" lens. I use flash mostly during the day as fill-flash. But ofcourse there are occassions, where a or several flashes will be the main light (think weddings). A lens may widen your shooting options, a good flash gun will open up completely new areas of photography.

And there is a marked difference between a very cheap flash and a more expensive one: convenience. You won't use a flash gun, if it is a pita to use it. A good P-TTL modell will see more use. I will not rule out the Strobist approach, but I think, a photog should really competent use of a single, good flash gun before starting into the strobist world.

Ben
04-28-2010, 05:07 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SOldBear Quote

GREAT SHOT! But three questions:

1) What did you guys do--scare everyone out of the restaurant?

2) Is that the boss at the head of the table, looking miserable because he has to pick up the tab?

3) What's the story with the guy in the foreground who only had the back of his head included? Everyone hates his guts, huh?
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