Believe it or not a speed light is essential for bird photography, and if you don’t use one when taking photos of birds you are missing a trick. In bird photography a speed light isn’t used to try and replace the ambient light, i.e. the sun, but to add a burst of extra light to lift the shadows. Adding some fill in flash will reduce the contrast, bring out feather and plumage details and also create a nice catch light in the bird’s eye. I guarantee a speed light will improve your bird photos.
If you shoot caged birds in captivity you still need a speed light to provide the fill flash but you can get away with one of the small and compact speed lights, like the ones that are popular for travel photography.
These small speed lights have all the features of the larger traditional speed lights, but they don’t pack the same punch and are less powerful. This is not really a problem when using them to provide fill flash for birds in captivity since these small speed lights typically have a guide number of 30m (@ ISO 100) and when you dial the power down (as is the case with fill flash) and then use HSS mode (a fast shutter speed is required for bird photography) the reach increases quite a bit. Captive birds are never too far away, even when they are trying to hide away in the corner of a large enclosure, and these small speed lights are plenty powerful enough to provide the fill needed for a good exposure.
These small speed lights are perfect for capturing photos of captive birds as zoos, wildlife parks and bird sanctuaries are busy places and the smaller the photography equipment the better.
There are a few small speed lights that are perfect for capturing photos of birds in captivity and the following are highly recommended:-
NISSIN I40 (full review here)
GUIDE NUMBER (35MM @ ISO 100) – 27M / FOCAL LENGTH COVERAGE – 24MM – 105MM / RECYCLING TIME – 0.1 – 4 SECS/ ETTL - YES / EV COMPENSATION ON FLASH - +/- 2EV / SLAVE - YES / VERTICAL TILT – 0 – 90 DEGREES/ HORIZONTAL TILT – 0 – 180 DEGREES/ DIMENSIONS – 100MM X 50MM X 50MM/ APPROX PRICE $USD/£GBP - $230/£155/ POWER – 4XAA BATTERIES
METZ 26 (full review here)
GUIDE NUMBER (35MM @ ISO 100) – 26M/ FOCAL LENGTH COVERAGE – 24MM – 85MM/ RECYCLING TIME – 0.3 – 8 SECS/ ETTL - YES/ EV COMPENSATION ON FLASH - +/- 3EV/ SLAVE - YES/ VERTICAL TILT – 0 – 890 DEGREES/ HORIZONTAL TILT - NONE/ DIMENSIONS – 63MM X 85MM X 85MM/ APPROX PRICE $USD/£GBP - $140/£75/ POWER – 2XAAA BATTERIES
GODOX TT350 (full review here)
GUIDE NUMBER (35MM @ ISO 100) – 36M/ FOCAL LENGTH COVERAGE – 24MM – 105MM/ RECYCLING TIME – 0.1 – 2.2 SECS/ ETTL - YES/ EV COMPENSATION ON FLASH - +/- 3EV/ SLAVE - YES/ VERTICAL TILT – 0 – 90 DEGREES/ HORIZONTAL TILT – 0 – 90 DEGREES/ DIMENSIONS – 140MM X 62MM X 38MM/ APPROX PRICE $USD/£GBP - $85/£70/ POWER – 2XAA BATTERIES
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