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Zooming the On-Camera Flash when Bouncing

dbrunodbruno Member
edited May 2015 in flash & lighting
I replied to a comment that was posted for the latest of Neil's videos about on-camera flash modifiers. When it didn't appear (I guess I did something incorrect when posting), I realized it may have been too off topic.

I was looking for a couple of loose rules-of-thumb about zooming the flash head while bouncing. What would help is an example with a fairly normal sized room or function hall, and another example with a cavernous venue. I'm pretty sure leaving it on auto isn't going to help when bouncing behind and away.



  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    I don't see your comment in a queue, so I checked the spam folder and found it there - I've enabled it now. 

    I zoom the flash-head as a matter of course ... otherwise too much light gets eaten up by the BFT.

  • dbrunodbruno Member
    Thanks, Neil. So, if it were not for the BFT, would the size of the room/distance to the walls and ceiling have any bearing on zooming the flash head in or out when bouncing?
  • What you want to do is a test with your own equipment. First manually unzoom the flash take a picture and zoom in increments. Compare the pictures.

    The unzoomed flash-head is going to project a wider beam whereas the zoomed flashhead will be more narrow. The unzoomed flash head is going to have less range, but there will be more dispersal on the ceiling.

    Neil is an event photographer and few venues have low ceilings so he opts for the longer range zoomed flashhead most if not all the time. When the beam hits the ceiling it will be spread out enough to produce the desired effect as the event venues usually have that high ceiling.

    So its best to experiment yourself using different height ceilings.
  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
    Yup, this really falls into the "just do it!" category. 
  • dbrunodbruno Member
    OK, so I'm going with this for now, unless someone tells me it's backward: conference room-sized halls/function rooms - zoom wide (24mm); huge places - zoom tight (105 mm). And then adjust judging by how the light falls on the subject using a quick LCD check.
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