Types of Digital Camera External Flash Units

You can find many different electronic flash units for your digital camera. Before buying flash equipment, though, be sure it works with your digital camera. Choose from several types of digital camera external flash units:

  • Small, light slaves: These units are electronic flash devices with built-in remote triggering and are designed to help augment the camera’s built-in flash unit. These units are slaved to fire when another flash unit goes off. Such photographic slaves are photoelectric sensors designed to trigger a flash unit when another flash is fired within the sensor’s field of view.

    Remotely trigger a slave flash unit.
    Remotely trigger a slave flash unit.
  • Hot shoe mount flashes: Some camera systems (usually higher-end digital cameras) offer a cable that hooks up to the camera’s hot shoe and allows the flash to communicate with the camera’s electronics from positions that the hot shoe mount doesn’t permit.

    Use a camera’s hot shoe to attach a flash by cable.
    Use a camera’s hot shoe to attach a flash by cable.
  • Professional models: These units tend to be the manufacturer’s most powerful and most advanced flash units, and they have a lot of features.

    Professional flashes give you a lot of features.
    Professional flashes give you a lot of features.
  • Portable studio lighting: You can get a portable studio lighting kit that lets you carry a complete set of lights with lighting stands and reflectors or umbrellas.

    Bring the studio with you by getting a studio lighting kit.
    Bring the studio with you by getting a studio lighting kit.

    The flash units in these kits often have built-in slaves, as well, which are triggered either via a connection to the camera or via a flash unit on or in the camera.

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