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Friday, November 22, 2013

Top 5 Inexpensive Flash Accessories

By Daniel S


1. Gary Fong Puffer Pop-up Flash Diffuser
This small diffuser is an impressive piece of equipment, designed to diffuse the standard hot shoe flash that you will find on most DSLR and mirrorless cameras. It greatly improves the quality of the light. Traditionally, on board flash is harsh and too direct. Whilst the Puffer is not quite as good as a full size diffuser and flash, it definitely is the more compact option and a good addition to any camera bag.

The regular Puffer is designed to suit Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus Four Thirds and Panasonic Lumix (hot shoe) cameras. We also sell a Konica Minolta/legacy Sony diffuser and a Micro Four Thirds diffuser.

A hot shoe is a requirement for this accessory. Feel free to contact us  to discuss compatibility with your camera.


2. Hähnel Combi TF Remote Control & Flash Trigger
This compact flash trigger allows you to get your flash off the camera. Each package consists of a transmitter and a receiver; one for the camera, the other for your flash unit. The Hahnel Combi TF allows for manual flash photography off camera, up to an impressive 100 metre range. Flash power is set on the flash unit while the camera settings determine the brightness of the light.

Off camera flash gives you more control over the look and style of your images, from soft flattering portrait set-ups to dramatic high contrast scenes. Off camera flash can give much more dynamic results.

The triggers come in a range of fittings for the main brands – Nikon; Canon, Pentax and Samsung; Olympus; Sony; and Panasonic.

Feel free to contact us to check on compatibility with your camera. Those wanting a more automated product may consider the Hahnel Viper (Canon only) or the Pocket Wizards.


3. Strobist Single Kit with 2m Light Stand & 100cm Umbrella
The Strobist Kit is an inexpensive lighting kit for use with an external flash; it can be used with a wireless flash or with triggers such as the Hahnel Combi units above.

The flash attaches to the top of the hot shoe umbrella mount allowing you to shoot through the umbrella, softening the light. This provides a portable flash solution that won’t break the bank.

The kit consists of:
• 1 x 3-section 200cm Mircopro LS-8003 Light Stand
• 1 x Flash Hot Shoe Umbrella Bracket
• 1 x 40" Two Layer Umbrella
• 1 x Soft Padded Carry Case

Those interested in more powerful options for the studio should check out some of our other studio lighting kits.


4. Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Basic Kit
The Gary Fong Lightsphere kit is an impressive accessory that allows for diffusion of an external flash. The diffuser can be used on camera or off camera and softens the light dramatically - great for flattering portraits, lighting up backgrounds, shooting interior shots and filling light for landscapes.

The light diffusion is so good that it is not necessary to remove the flash from the camera. A must have for shooting enthusiasts and professionals who are on the move; a very popular choice for wedding photographers. The basic kit includes accessories to colourise the light and warm/balance the colour of the flash. As the diffuser is a big sphere there is the potential for light to dissipate out the back so the included chrome dome (silver piece) directs more of the light forward; this allows for more power which is great for large group portraits.

Here is a video from Gary Fong that goes into a little more detail about the Lightsphere.



There is also a Gary Fong Lightsphere Collapsible Pro Kit available if you would like a few more options to shape the light.


5. Sekonic Flashmate L-308S Light Meter
A light meter, whilst not a necessity in the digital world, is a very good accessory to have for flash photography. As many flash units and add-ons allow for automatic lighting, and digital images can be viewed instantly, many people have stopped using flash meters in their studio practice. Flash meters are a good idea though if you want to ensure you get the settings perfect and if you would prefer not to have to keep shooting test shots and checking the back of the camera. A light meter is indispensable for calculating ratios for multiple lights. Some of the more advanced meters can meter different lights individually and provide the ratios in the meter so you do not have to crunch the numbers yourself.

The Sekonic L-308S (pictured) is a great starting point that will accurately meter the power of your flash and provide the appropriate camera settings. There are many options with light meters and the rest of our range can be viewed in our light meters and add-ons section on our website.

If you need a hand with any of these flash accessories please call us on 1300 365 220 or email info@digitalcamerawarehouse.com.au.

What are your favourite flash accessories or techniques? Let us know in the comments below.

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