A flash decision - do I need TTL?

Started Jan 13, 2013 | Discussions thread
Dave Oddie Veteran Member • Posts: 4,088
How about an automatic flash?

Tckay wrote:

Hi,

Im just beginning to use flash. I have an A57 and currently use the onboard flash with a self made bounce card. I would like an external flash and can't decide between the Yongnuo 560ii or the Metz 50 Af-1, the difference between them is that the Yongnuo is half the price (£55 vs £129) but does not have TTL capability.

As a beginner i'm interested to know how necessary others find this function. I genreally photograph my chiidren/pets, indoors with large aperture.

Thanks for any advice.

Another alternative if cost is an issue is the Metz 36 C-2 which is an automatic flash and about £70 (here maybe other automatic models out there even cheaper). This flash has a "magic eye" on the front which allows you to simply set the ISO and aperture (to one of there values, f2, f4 and f8 for ISO 100) and the magic eye monitors the light reflected back of the subject and turns the flash off when it has received enough light.

Back in the day before TTL flash was invented this was state of the art stuff and miles better than manual flash.

It also has another advantage. It doesn't need a pre-flash to judge the exposure. Most if not all TTL flash systems fire twice in rapid succession when you take a photo. The first flash is so the camera can work out how much light is needed for the real exposure and it communicates this to the flash for the second main flash.

In the days of film TTL flash systems didn't need to do this because they measured the light reflected off the film and shut the flash off in real time. Digital cameras can't do that so have to resort to the pre-flash strategy (so much for progress eh?).

The potential problem with this is some people react to the pre-flash and when the photo is actually taken the result is a picture with eyes half closed. Strangely enough some people seem affected by this more than others and I speak from experience with my two sons one of whom with which it was virtually impossible to avoid this effect with my old A100.

I should say though this seems much less of a problem these days and isn't reported very often maybe because the time between the pre-flash and the main flash is much reduced on more modern cameras (???).

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