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Thread: Speed Light vs Flash

  1. #1

    Speed Light vs Flash

    Ok, first off, is there a difference between a flash and speed light, or are the terms now interchangeable?

    Second, I need some advice on a speed light or whatever they are called. I am looking probably for one that is detachable, so that I can place it somewhere, the first thing that comes to mind is for water drops....

    I do this strictly for fun, but I would rather spend a little extra money for some features that I could use as my skills become better. Maybe I am way off base here, but I am looking at Nikon flashes, and they all seem pretty much the same.

    What should I be looking for? Or better yet, what questions should I ask myself to determine which flash would be for me?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren View Post
    ... is there a difference between a flash and speed light, or are the terms now interchangeable?

    Second, I need some advice on a speed light or whatever they are called. I am looking probably for one that is detachable, so that I can place it somewhere, the first thing that comes to mind is for water drops....
    'Flash' refers to a type of artificial electronic light as opposed to natural (ambient) light, So, it could be a 'studio flash' which normally refers to studio flash heads on stands, in a studio. Or it could be flash-guns, or speed-lights as they are sometimes called, which sit on a camera hot-shoe.

    You can remove a speedlight, or flash-gun, and use it 'off-camera' provided you have a means of synchronizing and triggering it from the camera. That capability varies greatly, depending upon the camera/flash configuration.

  3. #3
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Hi Warren,

    They are the same

    Here's where you got the term from
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedlight

    Cheers,

  4. #4

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    So I see that there are flashes and the device that makes it wireless....what flash do you guys think would be best for my d5000 and have the ability to be removed and fired remotely??

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    SB-900, SB-700, or SB-600, depending on your budget, and if this is your first flash and you plan to use it both on and off camera. If you only plan to use it off camera with cheap radio triggers, then a cheaper manual-only flash like a used SB-24, or a LumoPro LP160, or Yongnuo YN-560. You probably want a Nikon speedlight with iTTL if you plan to use the flash on-camera.

    i-TTL is like the P/A/S modes on your camera: it automatically sets the power output of the flash via through-the-lens (TTL) metering. The camera tells the flash to send out a "preflash" of a known brightness, meters it, then adjust the power output to get it where the AE system thinks is the right level. It's usually close enough for jazz (although not always, which is why you also have exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation), but can be less consistent and less precise than full Manual. But if you're in a run'n'gun situation (say a wedding), with no chance of adjusting for a reshoot, it's also a lot faster and less error-prone.

    Along with i-TTL, a Nikon SB will also net you CLS (the proprietary light-based remote commanding system--not very useful with your body and a lone speedlight, but if you ever upgrade to a D90 or above, it suddenly will be), and high-speed sync (the ability to use flash with a shutter speed above 1/200s).

    There are third-party flashes (Nissin, Yongnuo, Sigma) that do this more cheaply, but if Nikon adds features to their flash system, future compatibility is always a possible issue, just as with third-party lenses. Reverse engineering only gets you so far compatibility-wise. With a lot of third-party flashes, while they might do iTTL ok, CLS is another matter, as is high-speed sync.

    For remote triggering, you've got a bunch of options, not only radio triggers. Radio triggers just happen to be the most convenient and lowest-cost for folks, because with the cheap ones like Cactus V4s and Yongnuo RF-602s, you don't need sync ports on your camera or your flash (your D5000 doesn't have one, and the SB-600 and SB-700 don't either). But you could also get hotshoe-to-sync adapters and use a sync cord (no radio interference or dead battery issues) or an optical slave (even cheaper than radio triggers) instead.

    And the cheaper radio triggers can also be unreliable. In addition, they do not let you do anything but sync the fire signal between the camera and the flash. No i-TTL, high-speed sync, or CLS--even if the flash is capable of it. Which is why some folks either get cheaper manual-only flashes to play with radio triggers, or pay extra for CLS capability. With the D5000, however, CLS is an expensive proposition: you'd have to get an SB-800 or SB-900 or SU-800 for the hotshoe of your flash to command another SB unit off-camera. In addition, CLS is light-signal based at near-infrared frequencies, so it's like a TV remote: you need line-of-sight between the sensor and the signal source, and it's range-limited, particularly outdoors in bright sunlight. Which is why folks like radio triggers.

    Yeah. Lot of information to absorb when you go into off-camera flash.
    Last edited by inkista; 14th December 2010 at 08:20 PM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Speedlite (different spelling) is what the Canon brand is called:

    http://camerabox.ca/EN/Accessories/F...Flash-Gun.html

    It's getting to be a bit like the name kleenex.

    Glenn

  7. #7

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Thanks everyone

  8. #8

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    So if I were to go with the SB-600, is there anything in addition that I would need for the flash to work off camera as well, or does it come with everything that I need? What would be the major difference between the 600 and 900 for the big difference in money?

  9. #9
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    The head of my local camera club is a techie and very knowledgeable and recently recommended this Vivitar flash to me -- $130 at Amazon. He says it doesn't have the reach that the much more expensive Canon has, but in other respects is just as good.

    Don't know if others would agree, but the Vivitar is on my wish list at Amazon (in case anyone wants to play Santa )

  10. #10
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Warren View Post
    So if I were to go with the SB-600, is there anything in addition that I would need for the flash to work off camera as well, or does it come with everything that I need?
    You need some form of triggering system. I listed pretty much all of them in my post above. The only way you could fire the SB-600 off-camera without any additional equipment would be with a D90 or above body that has a wireless commander in the pop-up flash.

    You'd need (in order of expense) a "dumb" optical trigger, a synch cord, a set of radio triggers, a CLS master unit (SU-800, SB-800, or SB-900), or a CLS master with radio bridge triggers.

    The first three will not give you iTTL, remote commanding, or high-speed flash, unless you get an iTTL-capable synch cord that connects hotshoe-to-hotshoe. The last three will give you iTTL and the goodies, but can be prohibitously expensive. Any of the manual methods may also require hotshoe-to-PC adapters for either (or both) the flash and the camera, as neither the SB-600 nor the D5000 have a PC port. It depends on the connectors used. Your best cheap bet is probably to use either Cactus V4, Cybersync, or Yongnuo RF-602 radio triggers. PocketWizards would be more reliable, but are far more expensive and are mostly for pro use, not hobbyist.

    What would be the major difference between the 600 and 900 for the big difference in money?
    I'm a Canon shooter, and this is just off the top of my head, but:
    • SB-900 is more powerful (power with a flash is like max. aperture on lens, or high iso on a camera body: more light, more versatility).
    • SB-900's head rotates 360, while the SB-600's only rotates 270;
    • SU-4 (dumb optical slave mode) is built into the SB-900; SB-600 doesn't have it.
    • SB-900 has a PC synch port; SB-600 does not.
    • SB-900 can be a CLS commander; SB-600 can only do CLS slave.


    Quote Originally Posted by mythlady View Post
    The head of my local camera club is a techie and very knowledgeable and recently recommended this Vivitar flash to me -- $130 at Amazon. He says it doesn't have the reach that the much more expensive Canon has, but in other respects is just as good.
    No sync port. No power levels below 1/16. Vivitar used to make good flashes. Then they went bankrupt and got bought by Sakar. Quality's not as good as the oldtimey Vivitars. Would recommend looking at Metz, Nissin, Sigma, and Yongnuo instead.
    Last edited by inkista; 14th December 2010 at 08:18 PM. Reason: HTML entities for degree symbol corrected

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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    I have an extendable cable that takes my SB900 off camera D90. Stretches about 4m at full extension. The head end has a threaded hole for tripod too. Had it for years so no idea where I got it but Google search might help.

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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    i have a couple of Yongnuo RF-602 radio triggers, they are quite versatile, cheers martyn

  13. #13

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Hi there guys
    I have a 600d and i want to buy a 6d actually im gona run a studio and i don't know that if this camra is good for me or not and i want some lights too but i don't know which should i buy
    Can you help me ?

  14. #14
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    This thread is nearly six years old so I'd suggest starting a new one with specific questions - however - if you don't know which camera you need nor the type of lighting required how are you going to run a studio?

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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn NK View Post
    Speedlite (different spelling) is what the Canon brand is called:

    http://camerabox.ca/EN/Accessories/F...Flash-Gun.html

    It's getting to be a bit like the name kleenex.

    Glenn
    Good analogy! Although, I cringe when I hear people talk about Nikon Speedlites!

  16. #16

    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    I know which camra i need but i wanted to know for sure (i wanted others opinion)
    About light i know i want them to be portable but i don't know which brand is better
    Anyway I'm new in this "Cambridge in color" community

  17. #17
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Might be an old thread but Kathy summed it up well what ever brand of camera makers flash it is. The ones that cost more offer more and may be more powerful. I would also throw in that a high speed sync mod can be useful. It allows shots to be taken over the cameras max sync speed. Also that sometimes a flash other than one provided by the camera manufacturer may not be capable of being run at even the cameras max flash sync speed. The camera might choose to use something lower.

    John
    -

  18. #18
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    I would not purchase a hotshoe flash that did not have HSS capability since I regularly use flash as fill outdoors... I like the Canon speedlite setup since if I have HSS selected and my shutter speed becomes slower than 1/250 second (for my 7D and 7DII cameras), the camera will automatically revert to standard sync and then change to back to HSS if the shutter speed becomes faster that the maximum sync speed of the camera. That to me is quite handy since I have problems walking and chewing gum at the same time

  19. #19
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by Sinasnappies View Post
    I know which camra i need but i wanted to know for sure (i wanted others opinion)
    About light i know i want them to be portable but i don't know which brand is better
    Anyway I'm new in this "Cambridge in color" community
    Yes it's understood that you are new here. Welcome.

    But, take a moment to look at this conversation from others' point of view.

    You were already given very good advice to your maiden post and you did not act upon that advice:

    "I'd suggest starting a new [thread] with specific questions."
    e.g. - by specific questions you might like to outline

    What is the purpose of the studio?
    What lenses do you have?
    What does it mean to "run a studio" - are you the Sales Manager - the Photographer . . . etc?
    What oes "portable" mean? - My Elinchrom Lighting Kit is "portable" - I have a special bag for all the Flash Heads and the Stands fold up . . . and my Metz Hammer Heads are "portable" too, but are bigger than my Canon Speedlites - but both the Metz and the Canon Flash Units attach to my cameras, but only the Canon Speedlites attach directly to the Hot-shoe . . . so you see defining what "portable" means to you, is important.
    You can't "know what camera you need" and still "want to know for sure" . . . if you don't know that's fine - so describe in what aspects you think that the 600D is lacking ...

    A well endorsed and well detailed specific question or two, will reap better results for you.

    So maybe you could start off by answering a seven simple and direct questions:

    1. What type(s) of Photography is this studio going to do and is this a Business venture or just for fun?
    2. Are you the Photographer?
    3. How much and what specific experience have you behind a camera?
    4. Have you any credentials (i.e. completed academic/practical study) in Photography and/or Business?
    5. What gear (all of it) do you have now?
    6. What is your budget?
    7. What is your timeline to get this Studio started?

    Thanks,

    WW
    Last edited by William W; 13th September 2016 at 05:05 AM.

  20. #20
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Speed Light vs Flash

    Quote Originally Posted by ajohnw View Post
    . . . sometimes a flash other than one provided by the camera manufacturer may not be capable of being run at even the cameras max flash sync speed. The camera might choose to use something lower.
    That last statement is potentially confusing.

    I don't know of any camera that "chooses" to use a slower shutter speed when a Flash is attached to it and that Flash does not sync at the camera's specified Max Sync Speed.

    What happens is if (an off brand) Flash Unit cannot perform at a Shutter Speed which is chosen, then a black bar will appear in the shot.

    The User has to 'choose' another Shutter Speed to accommodate the Flash not being able to perform at the Camera's Maximum Technical Specifications.

    Most camera manufacturers specify that the Technical Specifications apropos "Max Sync Speed" is with specific ON BRAND Flash units and give no guarantee when using off brand flash units.

    WW

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