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Is just one lens and a flash all you ever need?


exile
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For flash you can substitute any light modifying device.

For lens you can substitute anything that projects an image onto your recording medium.

 

Fundamentally, photography records light reflecting off or passing through your subject. The light is not always perfect and we either plan/wait for it to change for landscape and travel photography, or we move our subject into a location with better light, or we modify the light.

 

So this question relates to non-landscape photography: do you as a photographer value more highly the ability to alter the found light, than to shift to a second focal length?

 

Follow-up question: how many of us actually carry a flash and a single lens on a regular basis?

 

 

I expect this will be "enlightening"....

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Millions of film P&S were made with single glass and build in flash. Followed by millions of users of this and nothing else. Followed by consumer grade small DSLRs with build in flash and kit lens. Fuji X100 series are well known advanced single lens cameras with flash. Leica also made X series single lens, build-in flash cameras.

 

Yes, I see it as normal to have one lens on camera and use flash to have normal exposure for indoor pictures taken at f8. Because it is not normal for me to use f1.4 aperture for group portraits. 

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Matter of tastes and needs i guess. I seldom use flashes with my Ms for instance but always take Nikons with built-in flash for my job. As for lenses i don't count my copies anymore but i were allowed only one, it would be an Elmar-M 50/2.8. FWIW.

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When will Leica add a built in flash to the M body?

No. The body has no room. 

I just use a different system (Fuji) when I'm shooting against the light at luncheons, for example. Sadly Leica has never understood flash. Even now their "modern" cameras still don't work with flash. 

 

...

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They could put a small one where the RF illumination window was. It wouldn't look even the slightest bit out of place. Surely there would be space after taking out that light path..?

 

Possibly, but I doubt it. You'd need a larger battery anyway.

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When will Leica add a built in flash to the M body?

 

As one older DSLR expert to another, they are waiting for Canon and Nikon to add pop-up flash at their single digit D series....

 

Common, M is professional camera, even if purchased mostly by rich tourists.  

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One reason I started this topic is because up until now I have typically only carried a flash either for indoor events (bounced, to compensate for the M9 ISO performance) or as part of a travel kit (3 lenses, tabletop tripod, filters).

However, since my M10 arrived with better ISO performance I started experimenting with usable ISO 10,000 permitting the use of a 10 stop ND filter on a summilux with shutter speeds under 1/180 flash sync. Flush with some early success I decided to push myself in an area that traditionally M cameras are not considered first choice - flash photography. So as the summer weather looks here to stay for a while, I had resolved not to take a second lens in a pocket but instead to take a flash with chord and a polarizing filter (I only have a 10 stop ND). I have long recognized that a 40 or 50mm is really all I need for people photography. Even though I prefer a 90mm for formal portraits, I never used it frequently as a second lens.

My experience so far is that since it became a regular part of my single lens carry, I have started reaching for the flash far more than I would have expected, and further that I'm getting a lot more five star photos than I achieved by reaching for a second lens. Partly this is because I have the ability to alter contrast, darken skies and induce catch-lights in shadowy eye sockets, but I also think it may be a consequence of me thinking about the light even more now that I have become used to having the creative ability to alter it. The flash is a physical reminder in my pocket to really look at the light.

I still prefer the discretion of natural light where possible, and I am aware flash can be intrusive in candid situations, but I have surprisingly found that using a flash in daylight is less intrusive than asking my subjects to move into open shade and destroying the spontaneity of the moment.

Of course, all of this is UTTERLY obvious in hindsight. I was almost ashamed to post on naïveté of this admission after a decade shooting with an M, but it seems I am not alone in neglecting this as a consequence of Ms being thought of as a magnificent available light camera (which they are). I really just wanted to share that pushing myself in this direction has improved my photography to the extent that carrying a flash has become a part of my one lens setup despite, or slightly perversely, because, the M10 has such good high ISO performance.

Strange but true.

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Yes fill flash certainly in my case, though for others it could be flash is used as the dominant light source depending on how powerful their unit is.

 

So who else regularly uses flash with an M in a single lens outfit?

 

I have the feeling that because the M design necessitates the flash unit be separate, not many of us use this combination. The very compact nature of the M body and lenses draws many to the system, so it seems counter-productive to carry around a flash unit almost the same size as the M body. I just wanted to advocate that although this seemingly goes counter to the M ethos, it certainly has its place and I have vowed to do it more often.

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Not sure to see the link between flash and number of lenses but if you like shooting this way it is a matter of tastes of course. Photogs like Bruce Gilden have been doing this for many years already (link). Now considering clean high isos as an argument to use a flash sounds a bit curious. YMMV.

https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjTzvyduJ_UAhWCTBoKHfYeDxEQtwIIPTAD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DkkIWW6vwrvM&usg=AFQjCNFHy5RaMPpWQr3-YtFKe9KVJkdkXw

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As one older DSLR expert to another, they are waiting for Canon and Nikon to add pop-up flash at their single digit D series....

 

Common, M is professional camera, even if purchased mostly by rich tourists.  

 

I would have thought that a prerequisite for a 'pro' camera intended for use with flash would be a voltage protected PC flash socket. Which should tell us something about 'pro' version dSLRs and the M

.
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I think you misunderstood LCT. The high ISO allowed me to start playing out of pure curiosity with a 10 stop ND filter with lenses wide open within flash sync shutter speeds. I only have a 10 stop ND that I bought for long exposure work. My other filter is a polarizer that only gives 2 stops - not sufficient to bring the shutter speed down enough. I was trying to convey the irony of how the greater flexibility of usable ISO range allowed me to explore exposure supplemented with artificial light.

 

The link in my mind between flash and number of lenses is space / weight / volume. You have a spare pocket - who puts a flash in it and who puts a second lens in it? I have decided to put a flash in the spare pocket for at least the course of this summer, whereas in the past it would always have been a second lens. I started this thread to see if anyone else did the same. Dosen't really look like it.

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Small pocketable flash units have small reflectors so usually produce hard light unless bounced (requires more power so bigger unit) or diffused (more bits to carry) or specialist units ('semi-studio-ish' - bigger/heavier). So to answer your question you have to decide whether your portable flash gives a 'quality' enough output light for what you are doing. In many cases I'd guess it won't so another lens is more preferable than a compromised illuminating system like a small portable flash. There will be exceptions, as in my case shooting underwater when I use a portable flash constantly - but it isn't small due to the use of a horseshoe shaped flash bulb, decent reflector and so on. If a small portable flash suits your subject matter then great, but its unlikely to be a mainstream way of doing things.

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