Why System Flash Units?
Triumph over integrated flash
Integrated flash may often be regarded as a very practical solution, but it is not always very effective: Most leading camera manufacturers now offer single-lens cameras with a small integrated flash unit. The sales talk emphasizes the “practical” aspect of such a feature, and this is usually greatly appreciated. The integrated flash forms a harmonious entity with the camera, is hardly noticeable in terms of weight, and it eliminates the need to repeatedly mount and dismantle a separate flash unit.
However, such sales talk where the emphasis is placed on the practical side is only credible until the first pictures are developed – Poorly exposed backgrounds and people with red eyes are only the tip of the iceberg. One soon realizes that there can be enormous differences.
Result with a Metz mecablitz, guide number 20
Result with a high-performance Metz mecablitz like mecablitz 58 AF-2 digital
Powerful light output
Flash integrated in a camera usually has a guide number in the order of 12 (ISO 100/21°). In practical terms this means that the light emitted by the flash unit will be sufficient to illuminate a distance of approx. 2 m at an aperture of f/5.6. This compares with the performance of a medium flash system with a guide number of 50 which will achieve outstanding results at a distance of up to 9 m with the same film speed. A powerful flash unit with a guide number of 76 will readily illuminate an object at a distance of 13 m under identical conditions.
A system flash usually offers the added benefit of an adjustable reflector. The relevant system flash unit can also be used detached from the camera, and it is even possible to have several external flash units controlled by the camera. This results in extremely variable and creative light to avoid harsh shadows and red eyes when shooting artistic portraits or interesting fill-in scenes.
Elaborate technology combined with a comprehensive range of accessories
Much better pictures can be shot with an external flash unit because the respective unit is managed by the automatic or manual flash modes for perfect adaptation to each individual shooting situation. And there is the backing of a wide range of useful accessories for maximum creativity!
The use of a flash unit is proving such immense fun that you will more and more resort to flash also in daylight. A conveniently placed flash unit can supplement the sun in a perfect manner. It is therefore hardly surprising that professional photographers are using flash even in brilliant daylight to give them complete control of the lighting in every photographic situation.