SX50:On-Board Flash "Bounce"

Started Jun 19, 2013 | Discussions thread
Mark B.
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Re: SX50:On-Board Flash "Bounce"
In reply to Monicakm, Jun 21, 2013

Monicakm wrote:

Jim N'AZ wrote:

Monicakm wrote:

Mark, what are you comparing SX50's flash to to say that it's not good for much more than outdoor fill flash? I'm quite pleased with the flash.

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Monica/SX50

Monica, In time you will come to see that on camera flash is not the most flattering to the patient, err, subject Yes, a pop-up flash will light the subject and you will get the image, but when compared to a larger light source (clip on flash w/diffuser) such as bouncing light off walls or ceiling, even a tee-shirt will do, anything to increase the relative size and direction of the light source. You will then begin to notice the softening of the transition from light to shadow and a "modeling" begins to come to the forefront to help make your subject become more 3D.

The flatness of on camera flash does just the opposite by providing no modeling and sharp/harsh edges wherever the light meets shadow and that usually awful black background that on-camera flash leaves for you. A little secret here, when we shoot our own kids, in my case my grand kids, we tend not to see the lighting imperfections and only see the cute smile or beautiful eyes and the perfection that our kids all clearly have, especially our own! This "modeling" application of your lighting is part of growing as a photographer. Learning how to best portray our subjects, rather than just making sure we got the "money" shot because we were fortunate to have a pop-up flash available and we flooded the subject and got some semblance of a shot.

Mark is quite correct with what he told you. And so are you in declaring how pleased you are w/your pop-up flash. The pop-up has saved the bacon for lots of shooters if they care to admit it, but it should not be relied upon as your only light source simply because it is handy and puts light on a subject.The difference here is to be answered by asking yourself what do you ultimately want to do with/in your photography? You own one of the most feature rich cameras available today, but the pop-up flash (on nearly all cameras) is really only a stopgap bandaid kind of fix to be used in an emergency or to be part of a more efficient plan of lighting with one or more flash units along with the pop-up flash.

I use the pop-up on several different brand cameras and as such it is a tool I couldn't do without. But, I use the pop-up not to so much light the subject, but to act as a trigger to trip other flash units that will light the subject.

Okay, I'm done, but I wanted to step into this thread as I felt you were just a little defensive over Mark's comment to you. Hopefully, you will continue to explore lighting because if you, me, he, she, or they do not continue, we all really will dry up as photographers, sooner or later. Why? Because it is all about the light!

Regards, Jim

Jim, wow, thank you for your detailed "enLIGHTenment" (pun intended) of an external flash.  I always appreciate the time anyone takes to share their knowledge with me (and others).  But, in this case, I DO know that an external flash is sooo much better than any on-board flash.  I've had them on two of my last 4 cameras.  I was blown away the first time I used one.  In time, I'll more than likely purchase one for my SX50.  I was just curious in Mark's opinion that the flash on the SX50 wasn't good for much more than outdoor fill flash (which I use quite often).  I didn't know if he was comparing it to another p&s' on board flash or a dSLR with an external flash.

As for the original inquiry, I tried Hossam's idea of holding a small mirror in front of the flash to see if the snap on flash bounce would work.  It failed! As Mark suggested, the flash wasn't strong enough.

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Monica/SX50

Flash always looks stronger than it is   Unfortunately light falls off with the square of the distance traveled.  So when you bounce it, it is traveling to the surface it's bouncing off of, and then to the subject - not to mention it is diffused & scattered by the surface.  To do all that the initial flash power has to be quite high, which is where an external unit comes in.

Mark

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