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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Accessories For Max Color

Take full advantage of the vivid hues of autumn with our selection of gear for getting your best colors

Labels: GearBuyer's Guide

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Olympus FL-50R

Canon Speedlite 270EX

Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-1

Pentax AF540FGZ
Another key item to have in your bag when you’re looking to get the best fall color is an accessory flash. Let’s say you’re setting up a wide-angle shot with some red and yellow leaves in shadow in the foreground and distant trees aglow with color in the background. The scene is going to make a great photograph when you can help those foreground leaves pop with a little extra light. Your D-SLR’s pop-up flash can help, but sometimes these flashes don’t have the coverage or the power to get the job done. Having a unit that you can remove from the camera and hold in a position to get the best effect can positively make the shot.

When it comes to power output, manufacturers use the guide number (GN) as a measure. The guide number is a specification that relies on several variables, including focal length and ISO. Because there’s not a firm standardization among manufacturers as to which ISO and focal length should be used, it can be challenging to make direct comparisons. We’ve included the manufacturers’ guide numbers in the list of flashes below. You should be prepared to do your own checking to confirm the ISO and focal length that the guide number is based upon.

Nikon Speedlight SB-900
The newest Canon flash is the compact Speedlite 270EX, which has an ISO 100 guide number of 87 (feet), 27 (meters), and features quick, quiet recycling and runs on only two AA batteries. Estimated Street Price: $159. (www.usa.canon.com)

The Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-1 is available for all popular D-SLR cameras, and its firmware can be updated via the Internet. The unit features a GN of 190 (feet), 58 (meters) at its 105mm zoom setting, and offers high-speed sync and wireless operation with many camera models. Estimated Street Price: $399. (www.bogenimaging.us)

Nikon offers a good selection of flash units for its cameras. The top-of-the-line SB-900 has a GN of 111.5 (feet), 34 (meters) at ISO 100. It’s powerful and versatile, with three light-distribution patterns and the ability to fire wirelessly or serve as the trigger for off-camera wireless units. Estimated Street Price: $499. (www.nikonusa.com)

Olympus FL-50R has a GN of 164 (feet), 50 (meters) and provides wireless TTL operation with compatible Olympus cameras (manual wireless operation with others). Estimated Street Price: $400. (www.olympusamerica.com)

The Pentax AF540FGZ has a GN of 178 (feet), 54 (meters) and offers wireless operation with compatible Pentax camera models. A modeling light feature lets you check shadows and highlights. Estimated Street Price: $479. (www.pentaximaging.com)

Quantum’s Qflash TRIO QF8 for Canon and Nikon D-SLRs combines a Qflash TRIO Q8F flash unit with a PILOT QF9 commander unit that can fire off-camera units wirelessly. The unit features unlimited rapid-fire full-power flashes at a GN of 111 (feet), 34 (meters). Estimated Street Price: $875. (www.qtm.com)

Quantu Qflash TRIO QF8

Sigma EF-530 DG

Sony HVL-F58AM

Sunpak PZ42X

The Sigma EF-530 DG SUPER is designed to work with both AF 35mm SLR and digital cameras of all the popular manufacturers. DG is Sigma’s designed-for-digital moniker. The flash features a GN of 174 (feet), 53 (meters) at ISO 100. Estimated Street Price: $219. (www.sigmaphoto.com)

Sony’s HVL-F58AM has a GN of 190 (feet), 58 (meters), recycles quickly and offers wireless control of up to three groups of flashes. It’s compatible with Sony D-SLRs. Estimated Street Price: $499. (www.sonystyle.com)

The affordable Sunpak PZ42X was designed for Canon and Nikon D-SLRs, and has a GN of 138 (feet), 42 (meters). Recycle time is a quick 3.5 seconds at full power with AA alkaline batteries. Estimated Street Price: $149. (www.sunpak.com)


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