What are compact flashguns and when should you use them? We help demystify this useful camera accessory and break it down into layman’s terms.
What are they?
Compact flashguns will usually fit in a spare pocket for carrying around, and they’re very lightweight as well, making them travel-friendly. Even so, they offer considerably more power and versatility than a camera’s built-in pop-up flash.
How do they work?
The vast majority of modern compact flashguns are ‘dedicated’ models, designed to work with specific makes of camera. They enable through-the- lens (TTL) flash metering and flash status display in the viewfinder.
Unlike the pop-up flash built into most camera bodies, most also feature a bounce head, which helps to produce a softer lighting effect.
Who makes them?
The Canon 270Ex ii and Nikon SB-400 are very popular, and other camera manufacturers make their own compact flashguns. independent favourites include the Metz 24-AF1 and Sunpak rD2000. Nissin’s ‘compact’ flashgun is the Di466, but we think it’s a bit on the big side.
When should I use them?
Not only for indoor shots and after dark, compact flashguns are equally useful in bright sunshine. They’re ideal for filling in shadows when taking portraits on sunny days.
How do I attach them to my SlR?
Like any regular flashgun, they attach to an SLR via its hotshoe. However, it’s well worth investing in an off-camera connection cable, to enable more versatile lighting effects.
5 accessories every landscape photographer must own
Free portrait lighting cheat sheet
3 stupidly simple lighting techniques that will transform your family portraits
Fine art nude photography: tips, techniques and free PDF