Comparison of current strobist flashes

Comparison of current strobist flashes – I

Comparativa de FlashesThrough this article in the blog I want to address a comparison of flashes of current strobist because some of you have asked me via e-mail previously.

The main problem when choosing a strobist flash is not the price, nor the availability, nor is usually a determining reason the number of functions available. The problems that some amateur and / or amateur photographers encounter when choosing a strobist flash is usually disinformation or ignorance.

For this reason I show collaborator when you ask me via email about which flash to buy. If we think about it coldly, to argue the purchase of a flash is a relatively complex subject while entertaining. In short, time that rest to other tasks.

With this comparison of cobra-type flashes I intend to clarify concepts to keep in mind so that you can match your compulsive buyer’s sense of smell. Let’s see if I get it.

However, before starting, I would like to tell you that it is not so much the flash but the strobist accessories that will help you create creative illuminated photographs, or not. Do not worry, we take this bull by the horns another day.

What do you want to achieve with your flash?

It is important to reflect on what you want to achieve with the flash in question. A manual flash can never work in automatic or TTL mode.

A strobist flash with a minimum zoom above 18mm will not expose the edges of a photo taken with a wide-angle lens, a Tamron 10-24mm for example.

Are you interested in exposure mode with Multi flash or strobe mode?

What power or guide number do you need? At what distance from the object will you find yourself?

Do you find it interesting to have a flash that covers 180 or 200 mm? Seriously? Personally, I have never exhibited a flash photograph at that focal length. I love triggers .

Do you have to use it in sessions where you make so many shots that it would be advisable to use external power? You could also use this connection plug for external power to reduce flash recycling time.

If you are looking for a flash with master flash function that allows you to synchronize wirelessly other delegated units in wireless slave mode, you will be an advanced user and you will need a flash with advanced functions.

The Metz 52 AF-1 flash covers this and other advanced features, is also controlled by a touch screen and has a size similar to the Canon 430EX-II surpassing this in functions and power.

To make matters worse you can buy the Metz 52 AF-1 and go for a pizza for the price of the Canon 430 EX-II. Tempting, right?

Based on all the above and taking into account that you can be even more confused that before starting to read we will simplify things a bit, or at least try.

For this I will try to simplify strobist flashes in three groups , in this article I will do it this way, while in those that are to come we will expand the groups based on the functions.

Flashes with basic functions:

In this group we will type all the economic flashes or not whose functions are basic. So it will be the group of basic strobist flashes . The objective of this article is not to review all the options available in the market but to compare some of them.

The functions and characteristics may vary depending on the manufacturer of the flash, however we could say that this will be the low range of the flashes manufactured by each brand. Let’s see some of them:

Basic flashes from Japanese or European manufacturers:

Nissin Di 466 The Nissin Di 466 flash includes 4 flash modes. TTL flash, manual flash and optical slave in S1 and S2 modes. Despite being a basic flash Nissin already incorporates the functions of optical slave. It does not work at high speed HSS. Canon Speedlite 270 EX-II This basic Canon flash can work in ETTL and ETTL-II mode. You can also do it in slave mode. The advantage over the previous one is that it works in HSS mode. Nikon SB N-7: The Nikon SB N-7 is similar to the previous Canon flash. It allows to be used in i-TTL mode and in manual mode. The manufacturer does not specify if it can be synchronized in HSS mode. Metz 24 AF-1 Digital: The Metz 24 AF-1 is the most basic flash of Mecablitz. The advantage over the previous 3 is Metz’s own continuous flashing system that acts as modeling light.

Basic flashes from Chinese manufacturers:

Yongnuo YN 460 II: The YN 460 II flash works only in manual mode. The advantage offered against the previous flash is the price. However, it does not allow working in TTL mode. Yongnuo YN 468 II: This Yongnuo flash is the most economical of this manufacturer that incorporates TTL mode . The advantage over Japanese flashes is the price. But it also includes a feature of mid-range / advanced flashes. It is the strobe flash function . It also has synchronization in optical slave mode S1 and S2. Yongnuo 560EX: The Yongnuo YN 560EX is above all the previous ones considering that it is a flash developed to be used in a different way to the previous ones. On the one hand, the contact of the shoe based on a single pin makes this flash compatible with all brands. On the other hand, in wireless slave mode it can be used in ETTL, ETTL-II and i-TTL mode . It can also be synchronized in optical modes S1 and S2. Includes advanced flash multi function or strobe.


Flashes of mid-range strobist:

The group of flashes of mid-range strobist is much more complicated as some manufacturers differ sharply in the functions offered by their flashes. We have a European and Japanese manufacturer that includes features of advanced flashes in this range and not to mention the Chinese manufacturers. The manufacturers of Chinese flashes are willing to break the market especially in this range of flashes .

So remarkable is this fact that Nikon has released the SB-700, a flash that incorporates the master flash function. Metz already did it some time ago, improving the interface with the Metz 52 AF-1, which greatly simplifies the use.

Between this range and the previous one we find other flashes whose public is not so defined. We will be guided by the Japanese flashes.

Comparison of flashes – Metz 52 AF-1

Comparison of strobist flashes, in the image a photo of the Metz 52 AF-1 for Nikon made for a review published on this photo website © Sebastián Cueva.

Mid-range Japanese and European Flashes:

Flash Metz 52 AF-1 The Metz 52 AF-1 flash completely stands out from the competition in this sector. Not only offers all the functions of other manufacturers (except the Chinese) but also does it with a very advanced flash in TTL master mode. On the other hand it also offers Metz’s own function, the modeling light. Flash Canon 430 EX-II The Canon 430 EX-II flash includes all the functions of the average flash range. However, I find missing the strobe mode and the bracketing of the flash exposure. Some functions that I understand necessary in this range of flashes. On the other hand, a flash mounted on the camera’s shoe allows you to shoot slave flashes in Canon wireless mode or compatible with Canon, although it does not serve as master flash. Nikon SB-700: The Nikon SB-700 is a state-of-the-art flash. It already includes the master flash function and a few more mm than normal as far as zoom is concerned. All good in this flash except the maximum power. A guide number of basic flashes. Sigma EF 610 DG SUPER flash The sigma EF 610 DG Super has a higher power than previous flashes. Very superior to the SB-700, moderately superior to the 430 EX-II and not so superior to the Metz 52 AF-1 in this regard. On the other hand, it can not be used as a master flash, something that 2 of the previous flashes can. Nissin Di 700, Nissin Di 866 MK-II and Nissin Di622 MK-II: Nissin is the manufacturer of Japanese flashes that introduces more products in this range. On the one hand the Di 866 Mk-II that includes all the functions of the advanced flashes. On the other hand the Di 700 that is one step below his brother in some functions and one step above in others. Serious conflict when deciding on one or the other.

And something smaller in functions the Di622 MK-II, a flash that has been part of my backpack for quite some time, the best secondary flash to synchronize as a slave (wireless or optical) , 0 failures, always works, an SUV to which only The HSS is missing.

Mid-range flashes from Chinese manufacturers:

The market of Chinese flashes keeps growing. They seem to have the “how to”. Listing all the mid-range Chinese flashes becomes complicated as even mythical manufacturers such as Vivitar have gone “sell” flash units almost identical to some Chinese ones. The same thing has been done by other brands that do not sell reflex cameras. A good margin for companies with a certain prestige?

Do you sound the phrase all these products do the same Chinese? Well, it’s a personal opinion. There are dozens of models of mid-range flashes that seem to have come from the same belly. I change the keypad to this model, I include flash master to this other, and the latter I put a motorized zoom up to 180mm range.

Again, Yongnuo’s policy seems much more accurate, maybe because I’ve already tried a few flashes from this manufacturer. Although personally I think they are implementing improvements in each new model. This is the quality policy that I like. Especially the EX ranges up as they exceed the functions of mid-range flashes.

Yongnuo mid-range flashes:

Yongnuo YN 500EX: The YN 500 EX can operate in TTL slave mode, in manual mode, strobe mode, synchronizes to the 1st and 2nd curtain and has a GN 53 guide number, exactly like the Metz 52 AF-1. It is also possible to shoot it in optical slave (this is possible in all tested Yoginus). The only downside of this flash is the sensitivity of the buttons. Yongnuo YN 565 EX: The YN 565 EX is very similar to the previous one, just that it is a flash with a polygamous TTL. It is possible to trigger it in slave ETTL-II and i-TTL independently of the model that you have bought (Canon or Nikon). It also improves the amount of customizable functions and has a maximum guide number of 58. Yongnuo YN 568 EX and YN 568 EX-II: This flash is the flagship of Yongnuo. The EX version does not incorporate the Master flash mode but the EX-II version does incorporate it. The YN 568 EX-II has all the functions of Japanese flashes including the duality of Nikon’s own TTL slave mode and Canon’s own. A duality that seems fantastic to me.

High-end strobist flashes:

In subsequent articles we will see other flashes of strobist, not only talk about flashes of high-end strobist or very advanced functions but also try to provide more details about what are the functions and how they are used, or what they serve. It is understood that they are products intended for expert photographers so it is interesting to unmark them from the flashes mentioned in this blog article.

The purpose of this article and the following is to put a bit of order to this whole collection of flashes with fantastic and innumerable functions that sound like Chinese, especially if you are an inexperienced user in this type of product. On the other hand, if you have any questions about any of the topics mentioned in this article, please do not write me an email, I understand that it is much better to share those doubts and answers openly so that other people with the same doubts as yours can benefit.

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Into the Night – A timelapse of Jordi de Temple – Photography blog

Into the Night – A timelapse of Jordi de Temple

Into the Night

Related imageInto the light is a video made with the technique of the timelapse by Jordi de Temple in different places in Catalonia, most of the scenes were made by long exposure photos

Reviewing publications I have found this fantastic video made by Jordi de Temple . “Into the Night” stands out as a long exposure timelapse of different places in Catalonia.

The artist tells us on his Vimeo channel that Into the light is a 4-minute light exercise shot in different places in Catalonia and also in the city of Barcelona.

Most of the photographs correspond to sunsets or sunrises, Jordi explains in broad strokes the advantages of photography during these periods of the day . Take a look at the video on Vimeo .

Related imageThe video is available in “Digital Cinema 4K” for those interested, contact the photographer through the channels that you can find at the foot of the video or at the foot of the channel.

Checking the video thoroughly and knowing the location of the scenes I decided to share with you due to the quality of the timelapse made by Jordi.

I have not found similar work from the same photographer previously done, however, seeing the level of this video it occurs to me that we are going to see new videos soon with the same quality as “Into the Night”, we will be attentive.

It stands out in the handling of the light and a level of acutancia in the images over the “normal”, I have loved it.

The video has already been shared on a few channels and it seems to me that it will be shared by many others. At the moment I make a hole in my blog because I think it’s a fantastic job.

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Dominate the strobist with several economic accessories

Master the strobist with various inexpensive accessories

Iluminación mediante strobist en SkateboardIn previous articles we had talked in depth of strobist technique to illuminate especially in sports photos and also in portraits. In this publication today the topic to be discussed will be “dominates the strobist with several economic accessories” .

In case you have not yet been able to imagine it with the title and the entry paragraph, today’s objective is not to delve into all previously written topics but to improve lighting techniques using portable flashes in combination with various accessories for strobist economic

Improvements in lighting:

Maybe you’re wondering what the improvements are in terms of lighting . So I’m going to explain them in detail and then we see how we can get them and what accessories for portable flashes we need.

With the use of some inexpensive accessories for portable flashes you will get the following improvements:


The possibility of combining two color temperatures of the flashes:

With the use of a simple diffuser for any of the flashes you will already get two different color temperatures . In the example photo, a simple orange diffuser was used for the flash that served as the main light.

The flash that serves as the back light used in this skateboard photo has a color temperature of 5400 degrees Kelvin but by balancing the color temperature of the main light this rear light is below 5400 degrees Kelvin

The possibility of improving the quality of light:

Using a simple single diffuser for Sto-Fen type flashes you can significantly improve the quality of the light. Getting this light from the flashes is less hard and therefore, shadows in more detail.

In the example photo, a diffuser of this type of orange color was used for the main flash.

The possibility of controlling the path of light:

The use of a bell, a softbox or a snoot will allow us to direct the flash light to the desired area of ​​our photo. In combination with other accessories such as bee panels and / or diffuser fabrics we can also control the hardness of this stochastic light.

To make the photo of Skateboard that illustrates this writing of my blog of photography I used a bell of 18 cm of diameter along with a simple diffuser of white type Sto-Fen.

The possibility of placing the flashes strategically:

By using a few triggers or remote triggers you can place the flashes strategically. Or what is the same, you can separate the lighting of the camera’s shoe to the range of your synchronization equipment.

For the example photo, a team of remote triggers for flashes was used, consisting of an emitter, mounted on the camera’s shoe, together with two receivers that served as a hot shoe for both flashes.

Keep in mind that some triggers will allow you to control spatial placement and distance.

The possibility of giving a height to the flashes:

By using tripods and / or study feet you can place the flashes at a considerable height from the ground. This will allow you to direct the light from an optimal and personalized height.

It is important that you choose the tripods well based on their height, stability and weight. It is recommended that at least one of the tripods allow you to illuminate from above. It is also important that they do not weigh excessively since you will have to transport them. As for stability, it is a factor to be taken into account when mounting accessories such as umbrellas, kneecaps, etc …

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The Strobist technique and accessories for flashes

The Strobist technique and accessories for flashes

In previous articles published in this blog we had talked about how to use the reportage flashes to illuminate any type of photography . Today we are going to dig a little deeper and we will talk in depth about the technique of the strobist and the accessories for the flashes .


When did the flashes begin to be used?

Strobist en una foto de MotocrossThe first use of a flash as a source of lighting to make a photograph of which we have record was in 1864. It seems that the price at that time was prohibitive, (for some current flashes still is), so it began to use on a regular basis a few years later.


The first flashes of the story:

The first flashes of the story worked with a mixture of chemicals that when fired produced a small explosion. This explosion illuminated photography with artificial light.

It was not until 1930 when the first flashes of light bulb appeared, it was a revolutionary invention since the previous flashes were dangerous because they were based on an explosion.

The first bulb flashes used single-use bulbs that were operated by the shutter of the cameras of the time. They were special bulbs since they had to be specially manufactured to avoid their explosion.


The current flashes:

The current flashes that are used to illuminate photos outside the studio are made up of xenon lamps.

The operation of the current flashes is based on a high voltage electrical discharge that causes an emitting arc of a powerful luminous flash with a duration of thousandths of a second.

Even economical compact cameras now include electronic flashes.


The term strobist and its meaning:

The father of strobist David Hobby coined this term in reference to the use of portable flashes. The term was not sought based on the meaning since a stroboscopic or stroboscopic flash is not exactly a flash of which the SLR cameras mount as standard, nor do some of the flashes on the market have the built-in strobe effect.

The stroboscopic flashes allow to emit a series of flashes with a duration and repetition determined in a specific time. So, Canon speedlite flashes and Nikon speedlight flashes are not necessarily stroboscopic flashes, although mid-range / high-end models do incorporate this extra.

It is interpreted that the strobist is a creative use of portable flashes, a word coined to define a use of these flashes charges in a different way to the traditional use of lighting with three lights. At the same time avoiding falling into the conflict of using trademarks and / or registered patents to refer to this type of creative artificial lighting.


What kind of photography can we use strobist for?

The strobist technique can be used practically in any type of photography. Sports photography , portraits, interiors, product photography, still life … The list is endless, we could say, for almost all the photography you can think of, the fact is that there are also studio flashes, but we talked about being on the street or anywhere else outside the studio, right?

That is the main advantage of strobist flashes , portability. The ability to move a whole team of professional photographic lighting anywhere. The added comfort of size (since they are small flashes). The non-dependence of the studio flashes to make any photo shoot that comes to mind.

Disadvantages of the use of portable flashes:

Not everything is jauja, portable flashes have some drawbacks.

The most notable is always the flash recycling time , this fact is remarkable if you are used to making sports photography, while for another type of photography it is not so important and it might not be an inconvenience.

It must be said that the more modern and sophisticated the flash is, the shorter its recycling time , and that there are accessories for these flashes that reduce recycling time significantly.

The accessories that reduce recycling time are based on extra energy to the flash, in the form of autonomous battery or in the form of more batteries for the flash, although in the case of increasing the number of batteries for the flash is not always reduces recycling time

Another drawback is the energy dependency for each portable flash that is used. Which will lead you to load with at least 2 spare batteries per flash for each short duration session. If the photo session is extended , you will have to expand the quantity of spare parts.


Portable flashes emit hard light:

Portable flashes or flashes of strobist emit hard light. This does not have to be an inconvenience since you could want to personalize the photo with some hard shadows. However, if what you want is a soft or diffuse light you will have to use accessories that modify the light of these flashes.


The strobist accessories:

There are many accessories for when you are ready to perform strobist. Not all the accessories are to modify the light but they also exist of another type. Detail each and every one of them exceeds the objective of this article, with what we are going to mention and summarize the use of some of the most used strobist accessories .


The triggers or remote triggers:

The first thing we need to perform strobist are the familiar triggers or triggering equipment that synchronize the flashes with the camera shutter remotely . There are all prices (since China was introduced in the photograph) and also with different characteristics. The basic thing is that they allow you to shoot flashes out of the camera’s shoe.


Accessories for fastening the flashes:

Another group of accessories for flashes are those used for fastening these. They can be tweezers with or without pin to fix the flashes to any surface, the same tripods to mount the flashes on them or even some of manual manufacture, like a comrade that allows us to fix a flash to a round bar.


Accessories to modify the light of the flashes:

To modify the light strobist flashes at your whim, there are many accessories that will allow you to carry it out. We have umbrellas that allow you to spread or bounce the light. We have the rebounds, which allow us to illuminate with bounced light. The softbox in different ways that will allow a specific directionality and diffusion of flash light, the beauty dish (ideal for portraits). The snoots, which will allow you to focus the light at a specific point. The parables and / or bells that focus the light in a certain way, etc …


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