Getting into flash photography.

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by robert_brown|30, Sep 11, 2015.

  1. Hi,
    I have been wanting to experiment with flash photography lately. Thing is, I have no experience using a flash whatsoever (except for the built in flash on my gr1s.) I'm using an M6 classic. I'd want to be using off camera flash, primarily for street. Generally shooting at 800 or 1600 ISO. What would you all recommend?
  2. See Lighting 101 at
    Everything you need to know.
  3. See Lighting 101 at
    Everything you need to know.
  4. As your camera does not have fancy TTL flash metering, almost any flash with an auto mode and a guide number of 28 to 36 or so will do (more does no harm but the flashes are much more costly). Almost all flashes today have a hot shoe connection and would fit straight onto the camera. If you want off-camera flash, you simply need a hot shoe to PC flash adapter like this:
    You could hold the flash in your hand - you could also get an extension cable so that the flash could be a metre or so from the camera. Or you could get some gadget, such as an L-handle:
    to hold the camera. Then all you need to do is set the flash to the right ISO, read off the aperture and set it on the lens. set the shutter to the right synchronisation speed (traditionally 1/50 with Leicas) and you're good to go. Don't know why you want ISO 800 or 1600 film - this is good for available light work, unnecessary with flash.
  5. The M6 has a socket for flash. If your flash-gun has a PC cable you won't need the adapter of which David speaks.
  6. After clicking on the links David provided I tried my Leica SF20 flash with my M6TTL using a Nikon SC-17 coiled flash cord and it works perfectly. The advantages of this cord are that it locks into the cameras hot shoe on one end and locks into the hot shoe of the flash at the other end for a sturdy and more flexible usage with your Leica, as the cord is over 3' long. The flash connection of the cord also has a provision for tripod mounting. As a side note - I even stuck the flash on the flash shoe of my Nikon D200 and it worked perfectly - perfect exposures.
  7. @robert milloy: Yes indeed, TTL flash is very clever stuff. Of course, if you have a TTL-capable flash and camera, you also need a TTL extension lead to get full functionality. As you say, there is the incidental benefit that one end of the lead locks into the camera shoe. On the other hand, Robert Brown does not have a TTL camera and so can use a generic flash and extension. It's surprising but useful that a TTL Nikon cord works with a TTL Leica flash and camera.
  8. When I shot with manual film cameras I used a Vivitar 285 HV and bought a cord on line that came in different coiiled lengths. The brand that seems to be a current reliable one is made by Vello. Cords are just hunks of wire so buy two and keep one as backup. And think of a flash bracket. There are many out there and I am loath to recommend any one to match your camera... PC to hot shoe is no problem, simple connection if that is what you need as well... And lastly, a readable book. I like one which goes into the Vivitars extensively is Mastering Flash Photography by Susan McCartney. No doubt other auto thyrister flashes are now out that equal the adjustability and simplicity and AA cel power sources of the old Vivitare line. Talk to sales at B and H if you wish...they have answered this product question a zillion times...easy one...Oh yes the book:

    I have no quarrel with strobist, but it is nice to get a simple book that covers simple flash for simple cameras.. Your.Leica is basic simple RF of the old school. Flash is a world one needs to open up and explore with a good guide book..
  9. IMHO, you won't be a very successful street photographer using flash. At the ISO levels you're proposing you should have no issue with available lighting under most circumstances. An M camera (without flash) is an ideal street camera, being reasonably compact and quiet. A flash will substantially limit your stealth, which is often important in that style of photography.
  10. I am surprised at the last comment somewhat. I have seen street shots with flash and without flash. Haven't you all? In most cases you do not need supplement the natural light. Fair enough, But sometimes it not only works but works well. Adds power and definition and most of all 'light." To say you are destined to fail by trying some add on flash for night shots or fill or just to give more contrast in a scene or portrait seems well kind of dogmatic in a learning context..

    As to stealth,well,sure, I am trustig that robert brown knows when flash is appropriate and when not. I see street shots that would look better with a touch of artificial light. Lot of interiors are out of reach without some added light...just the way things are. Flash has gotten a bad rap. But that will change for the informed I suggest... So Robert, get one and try it for those special occasions..

    I will look in my trunk and bet I can find a shot or two that was enhanced with artificial light and did not destroy the so called natural quality or scare off the subject. I just disagree with the certainty of the concept of avoiding flash for a whole category of subjects.. Laws permitting of course.. -gs-

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