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Flash power and recharging times


From:

Foundations of Photography: Flash

with Ben Long

Video: Flash power and recharging times

It takes a good amount of power for your flash to fire off a burst of light, and as you know, after you fire your flash, it has to recharge before it can fire again. And you'll hear that whiny sound. After it fires you'll hear it go wreea and start to charge up again. How long it takes to charge varies depending on a, a number of different factors. First of all, how strong your battery is. If your batteries are dying its going to take longer to charge. But the kind of more critical thing to remember is that if you are using your flash on a lower power setting, if you have dialed in some negative flash exposure compensation.
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  1. 1m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 35s
  2. 33m 1s
    1. Exposure revisited
      2m 22s
    2. How flash works
      2m 12s
    3. Balancing ambient light and flash
      3m 54s
    4. Shutter speed, aperture, and flash
      4m 11s
    5. Fill and key light with flash
      4m 13s
    6. Understanding flash range
      2m 47s
    7. Understanding flash modes
      5m 16s
    8. Flash sync options
      3m 2s
    9. Some notes about your camera's built-in flash
      5m 4s
  3. 32m 50s
    1. When to use fill flash
      1m 39s
    2. Using fill flash in auto and program modes
      2m 44s
    3. Fill flash in priority or manual modes
      2m 38s
    4. Using flash exposure compensation
      9m 14s
    5. Using fill flash to eliminate unwanted shadows
      5m 46s
    6. Using fill flash to darken a background
      5m 1s
    7. Using flash to supplement ambient light
      3m 48s
    8. Filling in for a bright sunset
      2m 0s
  4. 33m 53s
    1. Shooting a portrait with flash as the key light
      4m 27s
    2. Why use an external flash?
      3m 34s
    3. Flash power and recharging times
      4m 21s
    4. Flash zoom
      1m 45s
    5. Taking the flash off camera
      5m 35s
    6. Using a softbox
      5m 3s
    7. Balancing flash and window light
      4m 22s
    8. Paying attention to the light in the room
      3m 39s
    9. Flash and white balance
      1m 7s
  5. 54m 20s
    1. Bouncing flash to improve lighting
      13m 8s
    2. Alternative options for bouncing flash
      5m 12s
    3. Using slow sync with flash
      8m 50s
    4. Rear-curtain sync
      11m 54s
    5. Using radio controls to fire a flash
      4m 32s
    6. Working with manual flash
      10m 44s
  6. 25m 16s
    1. Building up to multiple flash units
      13m 3s
    2. Adding the second flash for fill
      5m 19s
    3. The third flash as a backlight
      6m 54s
  7. 7m 50s
    1. Which brand of flash should you buy?
      1m 27s
    2. Guide number considerations
      3m 13s
    3. Shopping recommendations
      3m 10s
  8. 42s
    1. Next steps
      42s

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Watch the Online Video Course Foundations of Photography: Flash
3h 9m Appropriate for all Dec 13, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Harsh, unflattering lighting can ruin a photo—and with flash, it's easy to get harsh, unflattering lighting. But flash is a necessary part of a photographer's toolset—after all, the world doesn't always provide you with the best natural light.

Fortunately, it isn't difficult to get great results from flash, and in this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long details the concepts and techniques behind effective lighting with flash. Ben starts with fundamentals that build on exposure principles taught in other installments of Foundations of Photography—simple techniques that improve the results from a camera's built-in flash. He then focuses on fill flash techniques and on using flash as a key light. The course also explores topics ranging from bouncing and syncing flash to shooting with one or more off-camera flash units.

Topics include:
  • How flash works
  • Balancing ambient light and flash
  • Understanding flash ranges and modes
  • When to use fill flash
  • Using an external flash
  • Bouncing flash to improve light
  • Building up multiple flash images
  • Purchasing a flash
Subject:
Photography
Author:
Ben Long

Flash power and recharging times

It takes a good amount of power for your flash to fire off a burst of light, and as you know, after you fire your flash, it has to recharge before it can fire again. And you'll hear that whiny sound. After it fires you'll hear it go wreea and start to charge up again. How long it takes to charge varies depending on a, a number of different factors. First of all, how strong your battery is. If your batteries are dying its going to take longer to charge. But the kind of more critical thing to remember is that if you are using your flash on a lower power setting, if you have dialed in some negative flash exposure compensation.

Or if you are running in manual mode and running at lower power, your flash is going to recharge faster. In other words, it charges all the way up to full, but you may not always be using a full amount of charge. If you are only using a quarter power, you are going to be able to recycle much faster than if you had drained the flash completely. So if you are in a situation where you want to make your flash recycle more quickly, you want to see if you can get away with using less flash, maybe you're in a rapidly changing situation and you want to be able to knock off flash pictures very quickly.

If you can get away with dialing the flash down and still get the exposure you want, that's a good idea because you're going to get faster recharge times. Some flashes can be set to beep when they charge, this Yougnuo Flash. That long beep there means that it has recharged. And I think if I fire off enough here, we can get it to take a while, but I've got new batteries in here, so that's not going to work. That can be a really handy feature, particularly if you're working on multiple flashes and you've got them setup on stands around the room, and you're not sure when they're ready. Having them beep is a really nice feature.

As for powering your flash, it probably runs on double-A batteries usually 4. And you have a number of options for double-A batteries you can of course use alkalines. I prefer to use rechargeables just because it's a more environmentally sound thing to do, and over the long run it ends up being much cheaper. Nickle metal hydride batteries are a good option. They last a long time, they deliver a good amount of power. But these days I'm using these Eneloop batteries. That's the brand name. What I like about them is they hold a charge for years.

I can charge them up, put them on a shelf, come back ten months later, and they'll still have a charge. As someone who's not very good at planning, it's really nice for me to be able to know that I've just always got some charged batteries, if in a pinch I find myself needing to do some flash work. The downside to them is they do not deliver quite as much power as regular nickel metal hydride batteries. So the charge that they have won't last as long, but still much better than alkalines. If you are in a situation where you really need fast recycle times and you need to shoot a lot, then you might want to go for a larger battery pack of some kind.

You can get belt packs that give you a big mess of rechargeable batteries, and your recycle times will go very, very quickly. This Cannon flash here, has an option for something called quick flash. It's a custom function that I can turn on. I think it's on by default, and quick flash says that the flash is allowed to fire before it has recharged enough to deliver the amount of power that it thinks it needs. In other words, it will fire. It may not fire as well as you wanted it to or as the meter said it should, but there will at least be some light out there. And again, in a rapidly changing situation, that at least lets you get the shot off.

It may not be as well illuminated as you want, but it's better than nothing. If you want to be sure that you can only fire the flash when it's fully charged, you can turn that feature off. So, if you are finding that you're shooting with your flash and the flash is not firing. Maybe you've taken a picture and you like it, and you want to take another one and the flash doesn't go off and you expected it to, that's probably a sign that your batteries are dying. Once the flash starts taking a lot longer to recycle, then you want to think about putting in some new batteries. Flash power management is not something that you need to worry about that much.

Battery technology is very good these days. The main thing to remember is just if you're running your flash at full power, it is going to take longer to recharge. You will start to get a sense as you shoot for recognizing, this is taking a little bit longer. So you'll probably want to swap batteries if you're in a situation that's really time sensitive. Always carry extra batteries with you. I guarantee you, they're going to die when you least expect it. But overall, you should find that if you prepare ahead of time, keep some charged batteries around, have a few extra sets, you ought to do fine when it comes to flash power.

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