Best Advanced Flashguns

A flashgun is a staple item in most photographers’ kit bags so we’ve rounded up the best ones for you...

Best Advanced Flashguns

by Kirk Schwarz |
Updated on

Many DSLR and CSC cameras have a built-in flash but these don’t offer the power or scope for creativity of an off-camera flash. If you want to try your hand at lighting using off-camera flash and you’re thinking of buying or upgrading your flashgun, it can be a puzzling task with such a range of flashes on offer at every price range.

This guide offers a complete roundup of the flashguns currently available on the market for every brand of DSLR and CSC between £150 and £550. You can quickly see the flashguns available for your camera and the ‘need to know’ specifications.

This flashgun has an extensive feature-set including a max Guide Number of 54 and intuitive and easy handling. It covers a large range and it's fully adjustable. This flashgun is only available for a limited selection of brands but otherwise this model from Nissin can't be faulted.

This flashgun boasts the incredibly high Guide Number of 64 at 200mm, so if you're looking for power look no further. The display on the back of the flash is a touchscreen that works just like a smartphone, as you simply tap to navigate through menus. Metz has also incorporated a temperature sensor to let you know if the flash is getting too warm. It's available for a range of fits including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus and Panasonic. The unit features a USB port so firmware can be updated when needed.

This is one of the less expensive models from Nikon, however, the price doesn't mean any sacrifices on performance or features. The SB-500 offers an intuitive design and only a few simple controls for ease of use. For video shooting, it has a built-in high-intensity LED (approx. 100lux), making this flash not only useful for photographers but videographers too. Nikon produces more powerful options, such as the SB-700, but these are also more expensive. For day-to-day use, this flash is a great option.

As Canon's flagship flashgun, this model is very powerful and feature-rich. The Guide Number is 60 at 200mm, which is the most powerful of Canon's models. It also has an impressive recycle time of just 0.1sec, meaning you barely have to wait for the next shot and you're less likely to miss a shot due to waiting for your flash to recycle. The rear of the unit features a control dial and secondary buttons to navigate the menu and adjust settings. It also offers the option to lock the buttons so they can't be pressed accidentally. This unit is capable of firing up to 15 other compatible flashguns whether the unit is on- or off-camera, as well as using TTL technology to ensure the correct exposure for each shot.

The F60M from Sony is built to be the ultimate accessory. It switches from landscape to portrait mode swiftly and adjusts the flash position in a single, smooth action. The controls are simple and intuitive, with a clear dot matrix display and control wheel. The LCD screen illuminates in the dark to increase ease of use in poorly lit situations. With the high Guide Number of 60 at 105mm, this flash performs well in terms of power too. For Sony users, this flash is certainly worthy of consideration.

Olympus FL-60R
Price: $497.64

With the main feature of this flashgun being versatility, this flash offers a plethora of options for both photographers and videographers. It boasts a built-in LED for challenging illumination with stills or video, while the wireless functions have up to four channels and groups at long range in Commander Mode. The adjustable bounce angle adjusts upwards to 90 degrees and side-to-side up to 180 degrees, plus a diffuser plate. This flash is a real all-round player offering a range of uses.

Sony F20M
Price: $178.00

The F20M is often paired with Sony's CSC units, as it's small and compact. Its size makes it a perfect choice for travelling, or for leaving on your camera throughout the day and not having to take it on and off. To switch it on and off, simply flip the unit up and down. This reduces the number of button controls, but restricts the amount of bounce enabled by positioning the unit, as it restricts the movement possible. This unit is available for a variety of cameras and isn't limited to just a Sony fit.

This model from Leica boasts a competitive Guide Number of 64 from an impressive 24-200mm. But while very powerful it's also notably more expensive than other units with the same Guide Number. It has a touchscreen LCD on the back of the flash to navigate settings. It also boasts a modelling flash to allow you to preview the look of shadows before taking the shot. There are options for high-speed, first and second curtain sync options, as well as fill-in flash, rapid, strobe and servo modes.

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