No, this article isn’t going to bore you with some boring old picture of an arm camera or a flexible camera clip. We’re going to talk about a novel concept that should make our life easier: detachable camera flash. But first, let’s discuss what is detachable camera flash?
What is Detachable Camera Flash?
Generally, detachable camera flash refers to those flash heads that allow you to connect it to a standard camera flash. For example, in this pic you can see one of those, connecting it to the flash on our MacBook Pro: We can notice that when connecting it, we can still control the camera shutter. No motor control is required – just plug and play.
While the concept of such a flash is nothing new, there are many limitations to its functionality. One of them is that the flash only extends to 80 degrees. The unit will extend to 90 degrees if connected to the camera – but the camera will not actually take pictures until the cord is brought back to the laptop. This is the reason why most photographers prefer to use a reflector and a cable release instead.
The Problem With Detachable Flash Cameras
There are several problems with a traditional detachable camera flashes, including that it requires the user to disconnect the microphone, camera flash and camera itself. In addition, it doesn’t change the angle and produces a composite image instead of a real 3D effect. These problems have been known and solved for quite some time now.
In fact, the DS-30 Pro is one of the first Flash Accessory units that addresses these issues, but it was only released as a proprietary accessory. The typical solution to these issues in the past was to just use a small portable flash or a detachable flash on a professional camera, but these are both expensive, and don’t look like a real professional accessory.
Best Solution of Detachable Camera Flash
The best solution is to use one of the tiny hot-shoe detachable flash cameras that are available. I believe that if you want to make yourself a pro-quality flash with a detachable camera, you should definitely try out one of these hot-shoe cameras. But let’s say that you want to take your camera in an interesting new direction. Let’s say that you want to use one of those small hot-shoe flash cameras that are now affordable.
There are some drawbacks with hot-shoe flash cameras, such as a limited light range of 3-5 meters and a bigger focus range of 35mm (fastest focus range for an expensive flash is about 6 meters). However, if you still want to be able to shoot in the macro range of 0.5m, the hot-shoe flash is still your best bet. The only problem is that a hot-shoe flash does not adjust the light output based on your camera lens’s focal length, but a detachable flash camera can do that, and it will probably cost you less than $500.
Things are quite different if you use a flash that is actually attached to the camera. It is possible to remove the flash from your camera (usually by unscrewing the flash mount), but this is quite cumbersome, especially if you have a hot-shoe flash camera. A better solution is to buy a flash that is detachable from your camera, and that can be easily attached to an accessory hot-shoe flash. That’s what we’ll talk about now.
Why Detachable Camera Flash Not Good For Detaching?
The major problem with a detachable camera flash unit is that it is not compatible with standard camera flash cables, because you have to connect a cable to the hot-shoe flash instead. That means that if you want to have multiple flashes shooting simultaneously, you will need to have a cable with your flash attached, and a cable without your flash attached. If you use one of those connector to attach multiple flashes (such as the SB-900D Wireless Flash System), you will not be able to detach the flash if you have more than one flash firing simultaneously.
If you want to use the flash without the cable attached, you have to buy two separate accessories (such as the SB-900N Wireless Dual Flash), and you’ll need a special cable with your flash attached in order to attach a second flash (the SB-920D Wireless Flash Adapter). This is expensive, and not very easy to use. You can always buy one set with two interchangeable flash units, but the quality of these will be very poor compared to a traditional flash accessory.
It’s easier to use a hot-shoe flash unit with the cable attached and one or two interchangeable modules, because the hot-shoe flash unit has a built-in monitor that shows the parameters of the flash as it is fired. If you use a detachable camera flash with the cable attached, your monitor will show up on the flash’s hot-shoe as well, so you won’t be able to see the flash’s parameters. This is one of the reasons why hot-shoe flash units are expensive (hot-shoe flash units, not the detachable camera flash units, which are not that expensive anyway).
Detachable camera flash units are best suited for novice photographers that want to start out with a serious hobby, or for professionals that want to make the most of their gear. Detachable camera flash units can be a good idea if you already have a good flash that you can attach to your camera, but if you want to try something different, a hot-shoe flash is better suited for you. In order to get the best from your hot-shoe flash unit, it is necessary to use a cable that will allow you to detach the flash. That means that your only option is to use a detachable camera flash unit with a cable that is compatible with your flash unit.
Be sure to buy a cable that is compatible with your flash, and that will allow you to detach your flash from your camera. Buy a flash with an on-camera display that shows the flash’s parameters as it is fired. In fact, you will also need to invest in a new cable that allows you to use the flash’s hot-shoe.