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The question of whether one should use TTL vs manual flash output is one that many photographers will experience at one point or another in their careers. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The majority of flashes can shoot in manual mode (thought there are some that indeed can’t and there are also flashes that can do both). But not every flash can fire in TTL mode.

TTL communication requires specific pins on the camera hot shoe and flash to communicate and relay information about the exposure to make the two work together.

In general, TTL has been the king when it comes to photojournalism, weddings, events, and sports. But in situations where you are trying to mix ambient lighting with natural lighting, TTL can be a godsend and eliminate the need for specific metering that will need to be done. In my apartment, I sometimes like shooting a subject in front of a window. Evenly illuminating the subject while properly exposing the outside can be tough, but it is a challenge very easily done by using TTL metering.

Manual light output is typically used on editorial, portrait, headshot, commercial, and fine art photo situations where someone can take their time and set a scene up. It gives the photographer specific control over the light to make it look brighter or darker or exactly the way that they want it. In contrast, a TTL system will read your camera meter and adapt itself to deliver a result that you may not necessarily want.

Manual lighting also works best when working with large light modifiers as a TTL light can sometimes not work so effectively based on various parameters like how large a light modifier is and how far it is positioned from a subject.

Keep this in mind when you’re shooting, and be sure to also check out our massive lighting tutorial roundup.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Metz flash product photos (1 of 10)ISO 6401-50 sec at f - 4.0

Editor’s Correction: In an earlier version of this article, we called the flash the 54 AF-1. It is indeed the 64 AF-1. We apologize for this mistake.

Metz believes that the future of the flash is very…touchy. To be specific, we’re talking about a touch screen. So when the 64 AF-1 was shown to us around Photokina 2014, we were quite intrigued. The flashes are available for Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Sony and the Micro Four Thirds world. It tries to be futuristic with its massive touch LCD screen. Metz has been long known in the industry for having a more affordable alternative to the camera manufacturers, but in recent years they’ve stepped back to Phottix, Lumopro and Yongnuo.

The Metz 64 AF-1 otherwise is like many flashes on the market: it can rotate around and tilt its head. Unlike Sony’s flashes, the 64 AF-1 isn’t a cobra head design. But like many of Sony’s flashes, some of the settings can be controlled via the camera thanks to its interactions from the multi-interface shoe. This means that it will work with the NEX 6, A7, A7s, A7r, A7 Mk II, A99, A77, A77 Mk II and a couple of others.

The flash is also one of the first designed for the new Sony shoe since the company introduced it a couple of years ago. While it’s a good first attempt, it fails in certain aspects.

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Video thumbnail for youtube video Win the Chance to Test and Keep Profoto’s Wireless Radio Triggered Flash for Nikon Cameras - The Phoblographer

The Profoto B1 500 TTL already thoroughly impressed us with its 500 watt seconds of power (enough to even overpower the sun) and Profoto is making it even better with a new firmware update unlocking high-speed sync. With the HSS upgrade installed, Profoto claims you’ll be able to shoot with shutter speeds as fast as 1/8000 of a second to really capture freeze frames of action shots.

The advantage of high-speed sync is it gives you more control over the exposure, effectively allowing you to freeze action or completely remove ambient light. However, HSS also introduces a host of problems as lighting manufacturers made sacrifices in quality while only focusing in power and speed.

Profoto claims it’s managed to avoid all the pitfalls of HSS thanks to its B1 system, which provides the more and better-balanced lighting than ten speedlights. Now paired with the fast, powerful, and consistent capabilities of Profoto HSS, B1 user will be able to capture sharp action stills even in mixed lighting conditions without picking up any motion blur from the ambient lighting.

The Profoto HSS firmware update is available on this website for both Canon and Nikon B1 users. Once installed, B1 users will be able to activate HSS mode through a simple button-press without needing to change out the blub or making any other changes to the off-camera flash.

Model: Asta Peredes

Model: Asta Peredes

When it comes to lighting, you should absolutely never skimp on it when it comes to your photos. Photography is all about the act of capturing light and recording it. But knowing how to work with both natural light and artificial light is a skill.

Lucky for you, we’ve got over 53 solid lighting tutorials for you right here.

This post builds on our original lighting index.

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1909_Victor_Flash_Lamp

Image from Wikipedia

When photography was still in its very early days, adding extra light to the images literally meant creating an explosion. These early flashes involved lots of chemistry and measurement. But eventually, photographers and chemists found out that a magnesium flash mixture would be most effective. So the photographers would have a torch type structure in one hand and their camera in the other. Then an electronic current would ignite the flash powder and the extra light would be added to the image.

A while ago, the Tech Photo Blog posted a video on Youtube demonstrating how flash powder is used vs modern day flashes. The show viewers just how explosive the mixture is and encourage them to not try it at home. What you can also see is just how much smoke comes from the magnesium flash powder–which doesn’t make it so ideal to use indoors.

This method isn’t used anymore though. The process of adding a flash to a photo eventually evolved into using flash tubes, then the electronic strobe. The big problem with magnesium powder wasn’t only the danger, but also measuring the right amount for the image you needed to take.

Hit the jump to check out the video.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Adorama Flashpoint Streaklight 180 WS product images (1 of 8)ISO 4001-80 sec at f - 4.0

This weekend, we want you to let out your inner strobist. Use a flash for your photography–in fact, use several if you can. You’ll have an amazing time seeing just how creative you can get.

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