10 Things to Consider Buying A Hot Shoe Flash (Which Speedlight You Should Buy)

I will share with you 10 points that you should keep in mind while buying your hot shoe flash. They are not very complicated, just wanna make you aware of the various features of a hot shoe flash, so that you can buy the best one. So let’s begin.

1. TTL

Some hot shoe flashes are entirely manually controlled, while others have both manual and an automatic mode called TTL, or Through The Lens. When you are a beginner, it’s better to have a flash with a TTL ie auto mode, coz it can take you time to get used to the flash settings. But if you are a pro, you may go for the manual ones; also the manual flashes will be cheaper than TTL flashes.

2. Tilting

My flash can tilt all the way around. So I can bounce it, place it directly on my subject, or set it in any direction. Look for the tilt range in the flashes description before you buy. The more a flash head rotates, the more options you’ll have for bouncing. Make sure the flash tilts up to bounce it off the ceiling, as well as to both sides, as these are the angles you’ll likely use the most.

3. High Sync Speed

Every camera has a flash sync speed, my camera Nikon D5300 has a flash sync speed of 1/200. Meaning when I use a flash, my shutter speed cannot be faster than 1/200. But if your flash is equipped with high speed sync, the camera will allow you to do that. So if you are shooting outdoors in bright sunlight, this feature can be damn useful, as with a 1/200 shutter speed I may get a blown-out image.  Sadly for me, my flash has high speed sync but my camera does not allow high speed sync.

4. Compatibility

There are separate flashes available for separate brands. Like my Godox flash is only meant for Nikon cameras, I cannot use it for Sony, Canon, or any other cameras. Also if your camera is new, it may not be compatible with an old flash. Make sure the camera is fully compatible with your flash.

5. Flash Zoom

To avoid throwing light out to parts of the scene that aren’t being photographed, hot shoe flashes have a zoom setting as well. On auto or TTL mode, the flash zoom is selected automatically. When used with manual mode, you set the zoom setting. So check the flash zoom range of your flash which allows you to light only a part of the image, and avoid illuminating the whole scene.

6. Recycling Speed

The flash recycling speed indicates just how quickly the flash is ready to shoot again. If you shoot a lot of action, the flash recycling speed is an essential factor to consider. If you’re a portrait photographer, this isn’t quite as important.

7. Guide Number

A flash guide number simply states how far the light will reach on optimal camera settings. The flash with the higher guide number will be able to light subjects that are farther away from the flash. While it is possible to reduce the output of your flash, you cannot raise the output beyond what your flash can produce.

8. External Power Feature

Some flash models allow bigger capacity external batteries to be used. There are several benefits of using external batteries. For one, they can dramatically enhance the recycling time and help maximise your flash usage. Also, external batteries can increase the period the flash will be used on a single charge.

9. Longevity

Remember that a flash is just like any other light bulb. It will not flash forever and will eventually break down. That is why you should do some research to find out how long certain models are going to last before you need to do a replacement.

10. Temperature Control

Most flashes usually get hot, especially when under heavy use. On certain flashes, this means operating at lower power or shutting down completely. Thus, you must know how your flash handles temperature before putting it through a rigorous shooting session.

It’s okay if your flash does not have all these features, but you must know which features are available in your flash and where it lacks. Don’t blindly buy gadgets just because your friends have them or they are in the trend or for the sake of buying new gear. Shortlist a few flashes as per your budget and compare them as per these features and buy the best one.

I hope you liked my blog. Do let me know your suggestions and thoughts in the comments section. Thank you!

Also Read – Leading Lines in Photography


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