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Flash Zoom Setting

msojkamsojka Member
edited May 2013 in flash & lighting
When you bounce flash indoors and use 50mm prime lens do you set the flash zoom to 50 as well?


  • JerryJerry Member
    Normally if you bounce the flash you set the flash to the furthest zoom level on it. (200mm with nikon sb910 for example).

    This is because you loose a lot if power when you bounce the flash...
  • I've never zoomed the flash when bouncing flash, ettl takes care of it, my images turn out fine.
  • That's unless your bouncing off a wall that's quite some distance away

  • JerryJerry Member
    The zooming in this case is when you bounce while using the BFT. I must admit I usually forget to change the zoom level and have so far been fibe as well ;)
  • I manually set my flash's zoom to 200mm on my 600EX-RT, it helps a lot when your using the BFT.
  • How I zoom the flash depends on how far away the bounce surface is from the subject. If the subject is close to the bounce surface, then I prefer to zoom wide, thereby making the "light source" larger (which usually leads to softer light). If the subject is far away from the bounce surface, then I often zoom tight to focus the light and get a little more distance out of the flash.

  • jcgoodson,
    I will have to test that myself too! Does it still work well though with the BFT attached or does it block the spread of light too much?
  • jhilgers -- That's with the BFT. My thoughts on zooming wide are based on experience in my own house, where many of the rooms about 12'x12'. I get noticeably better results when I (1) zoom wide, (2) bounce off the wall furthest from my subject, and (3) place the flash far away from the bounce surface. These three guidelines work together to give larger/softer light with less dramatic fall-off on the subject.

  • jcgoodson,
    Alright so this sounds like it works well when your in a smaller area that you are particularly close to a wall and your subject together. More less a studio, small room area?
  • Yes, small rooms. I should point out there may be equipment better-suited for this type of situation. All I have to use in this scenario is a speedlite, so this is how I make do. For a studio setting I imagine a soft box or other lighting would offer more flexibility. I'm just a hobbyist with a camera (and a flash) who's photography has benefited tremendously from Neil's blogs and books ...

  • I should also point out that zooming your flash gives a more narrow light source
  • ZenonZenon Member
    When you raise or rotate your flash head it defaults to 50. Well my Canon does anyway. Funny you should mention that. The reason it defaults to 50 is because in the day when you purchased a 35mm SLR it usually came with a 50mm lens. At time when you purchased a quality body it last for 25 years. I find I get pretty good success leaving it at 50 although I probably should adjusting it. Like jcgoodson stated it does create a larger light source. If the bounce is really far I adjust if the flash cannot illuminate correctly, however these days shooting at higher ISO makes it less of an issue.

    The reason I like to leave it is if I need to go to a bracket and the flash head is placed back to it's home position then the auto zoom is activated. One less thing to think about. If the bracket comes out I shoot direct.
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