10 December 2008

Back to basics, flash off mode

In the first article of this series the full auto or green square mode was covered, so to keep it light here's the next simplest one - flash off mode. The flash off mode icon is the square with the lightning bolt in it that's crossed through. On most cameras is the last one of the basic zone modes.

Flash off mode can be simply thought of as green square but the built-in or pop-up flash won't be activated. If you happen to be a guest at a wedding then often the officials state that no flash photography is allowed during the wedding ceremony; now you know to move the dial to flash off mode.

If you're new to this photography thing, then select flash off and the camera will not switch on or use the flash. The only downside is that if it's dark then the camera will need to increase the ISO to make it more sensitive to light and most likely also lower the shutter speed.

Increasing the ISO will give you pictures that have more visible noise on them. Though usually noise is not noticeable in prints up to A4 or letter sizes. (All the purists will complain about this statement I'm sure). However you only have a limited range of ISO speeds depending on your camera model.

Slower shutter speeds is the next thing that will happen. This is not helpful as you will shake during the exposure and more than likely your subjects will move too. Camera shake and subject movement in the same picture makes for some pretty terrible images, thoug hit appeals as art to some. If the shutter speed shown in the viewfinder of the camera is less than one over the focal length of the lens you may get shake. So if you've zoomed in with your EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens to 55mm then you need to be looking for 1/60 as the shutter speed. Sure Image Stabilizer (IS) will help a lot; maybe down to 1/8 but you're pushing your luck. Best is to brace you and the camera steady against the wall or put it on a solid surface.

The big thing with all these basic zone modes is that all the camera autofocus points are active, so you can't really control which subject the camera thinks is the right one. Its programming says that the closest thing to the camera is the subject! The lady in two rows in front of you is the subject not the couple getting married four rows in front of her.

Not sure - find a dark room or wait for nightfall and then shoot a picture of someone or something in both green square and flash off mode. This will help commit this one to memory.

Seems strange that the post following the one about the visit of the Strobist is all about stopping the flash firing.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Best regards,
Bob Basler