How to buy a flashgun: the most important features every photographer should have

How to buy a flashgun: the most important features you'll want to have

10 things to look for when buying a flashgun

10 things to look for when buying a flashgun

Not all flashguns are created equal, so make sure you get one with the features that will be most useful to you

01 Be more centred

For off-centre portraits, zoom in and fill as much of the central region of the frame as possible with the subject’s face, then press the Flash value lock button before zooming out and recomposing the shot to avoid flash exposure inaccuracy.

02 Faster recycling

After a flash, most flashguns recycle to a state of readiness more quickly if fitted with NiMH rather than alkaline batteries.

03 Extra power
Some flashguns have a power input socket for connecting an optional external power pack. This lets you shoot for longer before needing to swap batteries.

SEE MORE: Nikon accessories – a complete guide to your DSLR’s sockets, ports and connectors

04 Softer lighting
Some flashguns come with diffusion domes, which soften the light. For other makes and models, domes like the Sto-Fen Omni-Bounce are available separately.

05 High-speed sync

This is a great feature for combining flash with bright sunlight, or wide aperture, where you’ll need a fast shutter speed to avoid overexposure. However, the relatively short duration of flash tends to be much less powerful.

06 Strobe
The repeat, or strobe, feature available in some flashguns enables the flash to fire several times within the same exposure, for example plotting the progress of a bouncing ball.

07 Camera controls
Flash modes like red-eye reduction, slow-sync and rear-curtain, as well as flash exposure compensation, can be adjusted via controls on the camera body.

08 Compensation
Flash exposure compensation only alters the strength of the flash and therefore works independently of the camera’s regular exposure compensation. Use both to fine-tune the balance between flash and ambient lighting.

09 White Balance
Switching from Auto White Balance to the ‘flash’ preset value generally gives a warmer colour rendition and flatters skin tones.

10 Wired for light
If your camera doesn’t feature a Commander option for the pop-up flash, a dedicated off-camera flash cord enables easy remote firing.

PAGE 1: How to buy a flashgun
PAGE 2: Flashgun features every photographer should have
PAGE 3: The benefits of wireless flash
PAGE 4: 10 things to look for when buying a flashgun

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