Flash Settings

There are several settings the flash can be set to: Auto, TTL or Manual. Not all flashguns will have all three.

• Auto flashguns have built in meters that meter the light off the subject. The camera often has to be set at ISO 100 and the aperture on the camera matched on the flash. This mode is not particularly useful if you cannot manually set the aperture and ISO on the camera. It also requires you to aim the flash at the subject, which you will learn later is not always the best lighting technique.

FIG. 2.16 Inon fibre optic cable set.

FIG. 2.16 Inon fibre optic cable set.

• TTL mode is how the camera exposes through the lens. The camera calculates the exposure through the lens and the flash essentially copies it. The advantage of TTL is that you can position the flashgun any way you like — the camera will always expose for the subject in front of the lens. You also don't have to have control over the ISO or aperture, only to remember that if the camera chooses a small aperture the working range of the flash will be affected.

There are some instances where TTL will under- or overexpose such as with a bright sandy bottom or a black suited diver. By tweaking the power manually you can get a more pleasing exposure. Some cameras put out a pre flash whilst others do not. Always make sure the flash is synchronising with the camera.

Some flashguns have a built-in modelling light that can be used to practise aiming the flash, create contrast in low lit situations or as a torch, especially on night dives. Since the flash is not always directed straight at the subject, the use for focusing is not always practical and a separate torch is required for use as a focus light.

Travelling with underwater camera equipment has become more and more difficult so careful consideration should be taken regarding the size and weight of the flash. It can also influence the balance of your system underwater. Float arms are available to offset the weight of the flash. Flashguns use either AA disposable batteries, or rechargeable battery packs;a spare is often

recommended. This adds to the bulk and weight as well as cost. Sealed battery packs can also cause issues with flying. Always check with the airline before travelling.

A tray is used to fit on the underside of the housing, which in turn will fit the parts required to attach the flash. Always make sure the tray and housing are compatible. Nowadays some trays are made with more universal fittings so they can be fitted on a wider range of housings. The flash is usually attached via a system of ball adapters, clamps and articulated arms. Whatever your choice, make sure the flash can be adjusted underwater easily with one hand. It should remain fixed in its new position until moved again.

Tray and Arm systems are available from:

• Technical Lighting Control (TLC) and Ultralight.

Popular flashguns for compacts include the Epoque ES-230DS auto (Fig. 2.21), Inon S-2000 and Sea & Sea YS-110 alpha (Fig. 2.22).

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