View Full Version : Do you use the camera flash or do you not?

07-20-2005, 10:50 PM
I have experience with both analog and digital films. I noticed that analog cameras depend on the flash most of the time while digital cameras give a better quality shot without the flash. What do you guys think? Do you always use the flash or do you change it for certain cameras? Or do you get rid of the flash entirely?

07-20-2005, 11:24 PM
I'm a digital DSLR user and so far, I do not like using flash. I know I need to learn to use it better but so far, getting consistent and good results has been difficult.

I am still experimenting with flash modifiers to get softer light and definately need to get a flash bracket so the shadows don't go to the right when I turn the camera vertical.

Yusuke Urameshi
07-21-2005, 12:28 AM
I like the coloring on pictures without flash.....But with my digital camera (Cannon Powershot A95) you either have to hold the camera real steady or set it into its fast montion setting, or else the picture will end up blurred. I usually try to take about 2 of each though.

07-21-2005, 01:00 AM
It depends on the situation, the natural lighting, and the effect I'm going for in the picture. For bright outdoor shots or badly lit indoor shots I usually prefer the flash, whereas specially lit outdoor shots (sunset light, that kind of thing) and indoor lighting where I'd like to preserve the colors and shadows it creates, I use the "candle" or no flash setting. The only problem with those is that the photos are easier to blur if you're not careful because of the slower shutter speed.

For example:
Outdoor, no flash: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=373640
Indoor, no flash: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=413730

Outdoor, flash: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=370482
Indoor, flash: http://images.cosplay.com/showphoto.php?photo=329061

07-22-2005, 10:41 AM
How a flash works with a camera depends on many things. I tend to find my little digital camera really needs the flash in pooly lit conditions or else it will take blurry shots. However, my Digital SLR usually gets by alright because I can manually control it.

I normally try to not use a flash if the photo is "important". By important I mean if I'm doing an artistic shot where I want to achieve a particular mood. Flashes tend to make object look flat UNLESS you can control them. However, most flashes on any automatic camera usually cannot be adjusted manually. They're either off or on.

However, if I"m doing a random shot of a bunch of friends or something, I normally kick the camera in to auto mode out of convinience.

07-22-2005, 01:51 PM
I agree, it depends on the situation.
I wish I could figure out how to turn off the flash and not extend the shutter speed, as this usually results in blurry photos because my hand can't stay still worth a shit. I guess I'll need an SLR for that >_<

Ami Yuy
07-22-2005, 04:45 PM
I generally try to avoid it...hence why I generally don't even take pictures indoors if I can avoid it. And if I have the subject captive for a bit (i.e. it's a friend of mine) I usu try one of both, with and without flash - adjusting for exposure). I hate the way flash makes my pictures look and since I have not the money, nor drive to buy and deal with a hotshoe, it's going to be that way for awhile.

It did seem though that when I used the 35mm SLR for class last semester I got away with no flash quite easily with 400 speed film and correct metering. I just wish my current digital camera (Nikon Coolpix 8700) could meter like that (a visual bar on the side of the viewfinder with red, yellow or green dots telling me if there were enough light) and also have as little noise at 400 as that 35mm one did.

07-23-2005, 04:33 AM
As I told Kokuu and a few other people, if you have a SLR, digital or otherwise, buy a cheapie 50/1.8 lens, crank your ASA to 400 or 800 (for film users, Fuji Superia 800 is quite good) and shoot indoor. You will be (hopefully pleasantly) surprised by the results. For the last two conventions I shot in the photographers' area without my own studio light set up (AX and Costume Con), I didn't use any flash at all, and I daresay the photos are pretty nice without the "hey look, flash pics" look.

07-23-2005, 06:35 AM
It depends........ outside with too much shadowing remotely and when it is dark indoors and I don't have a super fast lens........ yea.

07-23-2005, 02:56 PM
I just recently got my 50mm/1.8 lens for my Canon 350D/Rebel XT. I've been taking a lot of practice shots inside in low lighting and wow, it's pretty good brightness wise. This is in comparison to my Minolta DiMAGE A1.

However, it's been said that the 350D is very noiseless up 800 ISO which is totally true. :)

07-23-2005, 04:22 PM
I prefer working with ambient lighting for convention shots. The noise and reduced dynamic range from the upper ISO ranges, especially 1600 and 3200, don't bother me much. I find them quite acceptable if I don't underexpose my shots. I have yet to make any large high ISO prints though. High ISO outdoors look pretty good, too. Here's an outdoor ISO 800 pic (http://www.pbase.com/gmontem/image/46142235) of Ziggy.

07-23-2005, 04:35 PM
Oh hey, I remember when you took that picture too. :) Good god, I'm shiny. LOL. :)

Yah, I've noticed that higher ISO noise doesn't really show up in photos when you scale them down for the web.

But yah, I'm very curious to see how things look printed with my new camera. Of course even at low ISO speeds (100-200) with my Minolta A1, just the jpeg artifacting was showing up when I printed it out 13x19" 8-/

I will have to try higher ISO speeds in daylight now to see how things look. I've always read that you want to use the lowest speed possible, but it doesn't hurt to try things out. :)

Thanks for the picture gmontem! :)

07-23-2005, 06:58 PM
Yeah I think you should use the lowest ISO speed possible, too, if you want to keep the image free of noise. For the pic I took of you the DOF from f/2 was not enough to keep both your eyes and your hands which had to be at least a foot away from you in focus. I had to stop down to f/4.5 because of that. The calculated shutter speed dipped below where I'm comfortable handholding a 135mm lens so I had to bump up the ISO speed to compensate. I could have used a lens with a smaller focal length but I like my cosplay portraits to have compressed backgrounds.

Oh I'm glad you liked the pic. I was a little worried you'd find it creepy looking because it looks like you wanna hug the person looking at it! :)

07-23-2005, 09:23 PM
I have printed a (flashless) picture of Dany's D from Costume Con to 11x14, ASA800, F2.8 to get some depth of field. It looks quite good. Noise Ninja gets rid of the noise artifact. I don't get the details from a 6MP sensor than from scanned slides, but the flexibility with the ASA is quite nice.

07-23-2005, 10:29 PM
I hardly ever use my on camera flash or speed light, coz I can't stand the flat lighting it produces. But then, most of the time my shoots are planned so I have pretty good control over lighting, so its not much of an issue.

07-24-2005, 10:09 AM
The new CMOS2 sensors were built around that concept I think. I have used both the XT and the D20 and as far as noise both are very low. The D20 has amazing noise reduction even at 1600 and the XT is decent up to 800, it can be a little noisy higher.

08-02-2005, 11:28 PM
Yes. I use a flash, outdoors and in good light. Getting even lighting can be tricky, so I will need to use a flash to fill at times. I use filters for colour correction and balance.


08-03-2005, 10:06 AM
Regarding the original post, it is not the first time I hear or read someone say that digital cameras work better without flash and film cameras work better with them, which is absolutely not true. It depends on how fast your lens is and at which ISO you're shooting. Most consummer digicams are worthless at ISO 200 and above IMHO. Then add a lens that only opens up to 5.6 (I've seen this on a few cameras) and you get a very crappy combination for indoor pictures without flash. You'd get much consistent if not better results with a roll of Fuji at 800 ISO in your old film camera if you really want to shoot inside without flash and don't own an SLR or DSLR with a fast lens (carry one or two 1.8 primes in that case, cosplay photography is rarely action photography).

Anyway, back to the topic on hand. Flash is not an absolute evil. The result depends on the ratio of flash to ambient light. If you can control the output of your flash, you should learn to use it. Flash is also needed in sunlight to get rid of harsh shadows. It's called a fill flash but it's just a normal burst of light like... normal flash?

08-03-2005, 11:05 AM
Actually, I tend to prefer using the flash for any shots without plenty of ambient lighting to fill in the subject. Even outdoor shots look a bit better with flash sometimes to avoid shadows. Perhaps this is why the colors look a bit flat, though, if there's too much light coming in from the flash and surrounding.

Shiro MS08th
08-08-2005, 06:34 AM
I will use flash most of the time when shooting cosplayers.
Indoors is almost 100%
Outdoors has to see which lens I'm using and and what kind of scenario.
Shade, bright sunlight, etc...

For digital cameras, I think even using at ISO100 the noise will be seen.
I used to own a Minolta Z3, even at ISO100 the noise can be seen.
I think noise problem will be always there for digital cameras.

And for flash.
Sometimes may need to use bounce card or omnibounce to soften the light.
Flash photography is a hard area to master.

shoot shoot shoot!
More practice = more experience!

08-25-2005, 04:43 AM
Depending where I'm at depends if I have to use a flash or not, if it's bright and sunny outdoors, that's about the only time I don't use a flash sine sometimes gloomy weather may not be bright enough. In doors it's 100% because the F828 has a REAL BIG problem with noise, since it shows up after 100 ISO. I dunno now Maboroshi does it.

If I use a smaller point and shoot cameras and the flash makes the picture TOO bright, I diffuse the flash using a tissue paper. For bouncing light on external flashes, I tend to use a white business card I find in my wallet.

*Wants Canon 20D*

08-25-2005, 02:36 PM
If you want to understand flash and fill flash, the following is a pretty good start.

It refers mostly to the Canon EOS systems (I have a 20D), but it'll give you the basics of understanding flash, fill flash, and the hows and whys of it.

08-25-2005, 03:14 PM
I use both a standard camera and a digital. For the standard camera I use flash especially indoors. I took a bunch of indoor pictures at ACen without using flash and none of them came out so now I use it anyway regardless of the lighting situation. My digital camera is set so that if flash is required it does so automatically.

08-28-2005, 08:18 PM
If I have a choice, I'd avoid a flash. (washed out images, red-eye, etc. they're generally annoying) But at anime conventions, you don't have control over light conditions, and are not wandering around with a tripod for longer exposures, so a flash in inevitable to avoid grainy/blurry pictures.

Red-eye reduction mode helps. And also, standing at further away helps to keep things from getting too washed out. (or using a better fkash, not the kind built into the camera if that's an option) Flashes even help in daylight when the background is considerably brighter that the foreground or there are shadows on the cosplayers face.

Since I recently got a digital camera, and thus effectively unlimited film, at Otakon I usually took two pictures of people when I thought I might need a flash. If the one without the flash worked, great. If not, I have the flash picture as a backup, and I haven't wasted their time checking the picture & trying again.

As for analog-vs-digital, I don't think that makes any appreciable difference. However I can think of a few reasons you'd more more likely to use/need a flash for analog vs digital:
A) The digital camera my be adjusting to lower light by amplyifying the signal (simulating faster film) rather than just adjusting the light collection time, so your images are grainly and not blury
B) if comparing cameras, possibly digital may have seemed better if it has a faster (lower f/ratio) lense.
C) You can see the picture didn't come out well immediately and take another. (as opposed to analog where you won't know, so you'd rather not risk it)

08-31-2005, 03:16 AM
i try to avoid flash as much as possible
1. it makes weird reflections sometimes
2. it makes weird shadows sometimes

i dunno about external flashes, planning to get one though
but when i use flash i make it so it is not powerful (yes i shoot at M)

red-eye isnt much of a problem for me, i dunno why
ive only had it once or twice (out of 4500+ shots i have taken) i think, and the camera was on full auto mode (which is really crappy)

REALLLY BAD FLASH: http://r-pai.com/Japan/DSC_0745.jpg
Bad no flash: http://r-pai.com/Japan/DSC_1002.jpg
Good flash: http://r-pai.com/Japan/DSC_1405.jpg
Good no flash: http://r-pai.com/Japan/DSC_1575.jpg

madame morte
09-23-2005, 11:45 PM
Ew, I hate flash =/ it makes everything look shiny and plastic.

09-24-2005, 12:33 AM
I hate using flash, but sometimes it's better than the alternative. For Otakon, I didn't shoot any flash. You can see over at my gallery( http://www.water7.net/gallery) that some of the results were garbage. Pretty much anything in the dealer's room sucked.

Shooting with a 50mm 1.4 really does allow me to get some incredible low noise, low light shots though.

09-24-2005, 06:30 PM
i found out using slow speed flash really helps improving the picture!
but the thing with flash is you will need the right white balance and exposure for it to look good :)
planning to get a Nikon SB-800 external flash now....

P.S. do not bother with red eye reduction.... gives a huge lag when you are shooting...