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Canon 600EX


Hello all. I wanted to know if there is a way to turn down the brightness of the flash. Say if I am in a dark setting and I just want a little bit of light to fill in the subject.


Also what  does the setting that change the flashes 50mm to 100mm do?  That's not the power level is it?


Also if you have a diffuser on the flash is it still better to take the diffuser off and bounce the flash instead?



Sorry I have been shoot like crazy the past couple of days.

OK here are 2 pictures. One with the flash. And the second with out. I tink the one with the flash is more in focus.

These are unedited. They both look like they can use some white balance work.







Hard to tell. Image #2 is underexpsoed quite a bit compared to #1. Look a the noise in her arm. Noise will make an image look less sharp. They are pretty close. Also where was the focus point? Did she move her head as you took the shot. As for WB there was a purple light on her so that looks natural from the perspective of the event. However that does not mean you can't correct it if you want to. Not sure what your SS was but If you want flash to be more dominant you can kill some of the ambient with a faster speed. 1/160 or your cameras sync speed. I like the first shot.             

#1 was with flash and #2 was without flash. I think 1 has less noise and a kind of hardness and sharpness do to the flash when compared to 2.


The light on 2 was natural from the concert lights. As you said there was more noise. I just notice that my pictures tend to be more sharp or crisp with a flash. I don't know if that's the lens or what.



@Kolourl3lind wrote:
I just notice that my pictures tend to be more sharp or crisp with a flash. I don't know if that's the lens or what.



Of course, that's why people use flash.  Without it, in a dark situation, your camera is forced to push the limits to try to make exposure.  This will include lengthening the shutter speed, upping the ISO, opening up the aperture.  A slower shutter speed means that anything that moves (including your camera in your hands) will be more prone to movement blur.  Upping the ISO increases noise.  And even opening the aperture can cause the photo to be more blurry because the depth of field is smaller, meaning less in the composition will be in focus.


And equally as important, in a dark situation your camera will hunt for focus, if it gets focus at all, and by the time it does things could have moved, or it might focus on some bright light in the background instead of your subject.  With your flash on your camera it will fire a helper beam to lock focus a moment before taking the shot.

ok. I understand that. But I still confused about  flash photography. When you use a flash  it seems aperture/shutter speed/ and iso almost go out the window.

Almost, maybe, but they’re still very relevant.  ISO and aperture still affect a flashes power.  Shutter speed does not (below max sync speed), which is great because it allows us another method to balance the ratio between flash and ambient lighting.  Adding a forth variable (aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and flash power) gives the camera significantly more flexibility in which settings will produce acceptable exposure.  If the user understands how flash and camera exposure relate it can provide the user significant flexibility as well, and opens up many new options for creativity.


Flash duration is very, very fast, much faster than a camera, which is why shutter speed doesn’t affect its exposure.  So at a given aperture, ISO, and flash power you can move the shutter speed around to control how much ambient light affects the exposure.  At that concert you were shooting: say you just wanted to focus on 1 person but the whole band is behind them, move that shutter speed to 1/200 and watch everything in the background fall into the shadows.  Or, if you like all the colored lights of the stage then set your camera to expose the background a few stops below a “normal exposure” and your flash will just help your subject pop out from the background.  The possibilities are near endless.

Flash is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting genres of photography.  And in this day and age with eTTL and wireless options, only your own creativity limits you.  I could ramble on for pages, but it’d be more effective if you asked a specific question.  In the mean time, there are all kinds of resources online.  I’m a huge fan of David Hobby, and I’d recommend you start here:


There’s an almost endless supply of knowledge in there.  It’s focused on off-camera lighting, but he still does a great job explaining how flash photography works.  Neil Van-whatshisface also has a decent blog here:

Yes I kind of have a grip on the the 3 wisemen but 4th old guy seems to bring all the boos that makes the other 3 act weird. Thanks for the link. I will study up.

One last question. Is there a way to speed up the flash so poeple don't notice you are using a flash? I that would be useful at concerts.

I knew the first image you posted was with flash and the second without. I still prefer the 1st but with more exposure the second would have had much less noise.


Speed up flash? The flash fires at the same power at 1:1 as it does at 1:128. What determines correct flash exposure of your subject is duration of the flash. You can slow it down or make it work less hard. Crank up the ISO, slow the shutter down as much as you can to comfortable level and set the aperture to wide open. The flash will work less hard but you will still see a pulse. You're only other option is do all the same tthings witout fash, got ETTR and fix in PP.  


Here is my 5D2 at 6400 with a flash. I have no issues shooting my 5D3 @ 12,800.






5D2 with flash at ISO 1600. I was just getting used to high IOS and shot to low but they were still OK.






You're only other option is do all the same tthings witout fash, got ETTR and fix in PP. Even a little underexposure can be corrected. If you could post a link to the RAW of that seconf image I'd take a crack at it.  


Look at posts # 47 & 48

@Kolourl3lind wrote:

One last question. Is there a way to speed up the flash so poeple don't notice you are using a flash? I that would be useful at concerts.

No.  Flash is actually quite fast if you're not using it at full power.  But it's extremely bright, and quite noticeable.  However, eTTL uses multiple flash as it fires a test flash so it can assess how much flash is needed to properly expose the picture, and then again for the actual picture.  So it makes the flash seem longer.  I don't use eTTL much as I find it has a tendency to make people blink.  But for a concert situation where people are moving around your keeper rate is going to drop dramatically if you use manual flash.

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