An Intro to Flash Sorts in Images, from 70W to 4800W


There are actually a whole lot of various flashes in the marketplace. With manufacturers competing for consideration and providing some very distinctive options, it’s typically exhausting to resolve which flash to choose. What’s extra, shopping for a flash is usually like shopping for a complete lighting system. If somebody buys Profoto they’re prone to keep it up for a very long time as a result of it’s a part of a lighting system, not only one flash.

On this introductory article, I’ll break down some frequent flashes and dive into their execs and cons.

There are three foremost sorts of flashes in the marketplace: speedlights (AKA battery-powered transportable flashes), monolights, and pack-and-head techniques. They might be battery-powered or not, and naturally, all of them settle for a variety of specialised modifiers. Some are higher on location, whereas others are a king within the studio.

Let’s undergo these sorts one after the other:


The primary flash most photographers purchase is a speedlight. It’s a no brainer for learners: with its compact dimension and significantly bigger gentle output than built-in flashes, it looks like the following step in being extra “professional.”

A speedlight is all the time battery-powered, small, transportable. Because of the dimension and battery energy, it produces a reasonably low gentle output when in comparison with studio strobes. Don’t count on to have the ability to gentle up a big scene utilizing one speedlight. A mean speedlight might need 70W of energy, whereas a studio strobe can have 500W or extra.

Speedlights (and a few studio strobes) have TTL, which is By means of The Lens metering. It permits setting gentle energy routinely, which saves time in some circumstances. One other characteristic is zoom — nearly all speedlights have a zoomable head. This may be helpful whenever you’re utilizing a telephoto lens and have to cowl a small space at 180mm slightly than large at 18mm

An important area of interest characteristic of the speedlight is its extraordinarily quick flash length at low (1/4 or much less) output. Nonetheless-life photographers might tape 4 and even six of them collectively to have the ability to freeze movement. What’s much less welcome is wild output and colour inconsistency shot to shot. Interfaces could be complicated too.

On account of its small dimension and low output, it typically doesn’t make sense to make use of speedlights with gentle shaping instruments. Small softboxes, bounce playing cards, or gels are among the many solely choices you will have. Extra generally photographers will bounce their speedlights in opposition to a wall, ceiling, or different massive surfaces.


  • Small dimension
  • Low value
  • TTL mode
  • Much more highly effective than the built-in flash


  • Low gentle output
  • Coloration inaccuracies shot to shot
  • Little to none modifier choices
  • Gradual recycle instances


A step up from speedlights are monolights. Because the identify suggests: every little thing is in a single unit. Battery-powered and mains-powered monolights are fairly totally different, so we’ll take into account them individually. Monolights are fairly heavy, and booming them on a light-weight stand requires fairly a couple of sandbags.

Battery-Powered Monolights

These are improbable on location. They’ve massive output, wherever from 300 to 500W, which is a lot to overpower the solar. Battery capability is sufficient for 200-300 full-power flashes. Broncolor’s Siros 800 can do 800W As a result of they’re larger lights with greater output, they are going to be significantly massive and require a separate gentle stand.

However, battery-powered monolights will be capable to settle for all modifiers natively (given mounts are applicable). Recycle time at full energy could be fairly quick. For instance, Godox AD600 will recycle in 0.9 sec and full energy. Coloration consistency can also be a lot improved — the Profoto B1x has a negligible colour shift throughout the entire vary.

In comparison with speedlights and mains-powered monolights, these can run fairly costly.


  • Quite a lot of energy on-location
  • Modelling lamp usable for video
  • Moveable
  • A whole lot of modifiers can be found
  • TTL in most new lights
  • Can be utilized over lengthy distances


  • Want stands and remotes to work
  • Take up extra space in a digicam bag
  • Battery life could be quick
  • Recycle instances at excessive energy could be above 1s.
  • Spare batteries required
  • Stands are top-heavy

Mains-Powered Monolights

Take the battery away, and also you get a mains-powered gentle. These are the primary selections for photographers working in studios. In comparison with battery-powered lights, these can have quicker recycle instances, shorter flash length, and be lighter. The scale can be just about the identical — a variety of battery-power monolights have mains siblings.

Some mains-powered monolights can go all the best way to 1200W of energy, which is a welcomed addition when utilizing massive modifiers or needing to cowl large units. With the advantages of mains energy comes the largest drawback: portability. You possibly can’t seize and go.


  • Quicker recycle instances than battery-powered monoligjts
  • Modifiers obtainable
  • Highly effective modelling lamps
  • Every little thing in a single package deal


  • Want mains energy to work
  • Stands are top-heavy
  • Arduous to manage as dials are on the sunshine itself – have to climb up if the distant doesn’t supply an influence adjustment possibility

Pack and Head

A basic amongst many seasoned execs. The facility output is usually 1000W to 4800W. These packs are the costliest possibility, however once more there are two selections: mains or battery powered. A pack-and-head system is the bulkiest one you possibly can have, however with massive dimension come massive advantages (should you don’t thoughts the scale after all).

Battery-Powered Pack-and-Head

A battery-powered pack-and-head system is likely one of the greatest on-location selections if you wish to have respectable energy and no heavy lights up within the air. Some nice choices are Broncolor’s Transfer pack that has 1200W of energy.

As a result of the pinnacle is lighter than a speedlight, it isn’t an issue to carry for lengthy durations of time. Furthermore, in comparison with an identical monolight system, the pack-and-head will recycle lots quicker.

A disadvantage could be an absence of vary. In case you’re utilizing a number of lights from one pack, the cable size will prohibit how far you possibly can have them. Batteries are usually very heavy for these too, however in case you are taking pictures at half the ability (600W), you get a powerful quantity of flashes in comparison with a comparable monolight system.

One other disadvantage is that including lights eats up energy. For instance, if a pack is rated at 1200W and has two sockets, it can distribute that energy over the variety of lights linked. One gentle at full energy can output 1200W, however add a second one, and that 1200W is reduce right into a ratio you choose. Immediately most energy from every socket is decreased.


  • Lengthy-lasting battery
  • No pointless weight on stands
  • Controls on floor
  • Quick recycling instances in comparison with monolights
  • Most have the choice to trickle cost in from mains whereas in use.
  • Work with all modifiers and have sufficient umph for large modifiers.


  • Cumbersome and heavy
  • Lack of vary as a result of cable size
  • Extension cables eat up energy
  • Costly
  • Batteries are large and take a very long time to cost
  • Every head eats up energy

Mains-Powered Pack-and-Head

Whereas I can’t say that that is essentially the most skilled of all of them, it’s the mostly discovered lighting answer for giant productions, rental studios, and something of scale. Mains-powered pack-and-head techniques have unimaginable recycle speeds, the shortest flash length in the marketplace, and colour consistency like no different. Some manufacturers supply options to program them into lighting patterns.

Most pack-and-head techniques supply two or three sockets. It has grow to be trade normal to have wherever between 1200W to 3200W of energy in whole with the complete uneven distribution. So far as reliability goes, they’re the perfect. Photographers can purchase a pack-and-head system from a long time in the past and use it day in time out with out main worries.

Pack-and-head lighting techniques are very costly and weigh a ton. For some, two or three sockets will not be sufficient. From expertise, I are inclined to have two packs on set. That will not be sufficient, units can get loopy with 4 or extra packs. Because of the excessive value, only a few photographers personal pack-and-head techniques — they’re rented from rental homes.


  • Extraordinarily dependable
  • Constant
  • Quick recycling instances
  • Controls on the bottom
  • Heads are gentle – no pointless top-heavy stands
  • Work with each modifier
  • Nice for large modifiers
  • Highest energy obtainable


  • Cumbersome and heavy
  • Lack of vary as a result of cable size
  • Extension cables eat up energy
  • Costly
  • Every added gentle cuts energy

So there you have got it, a information to flashes from 70W to 4800W. Now go forth and light-weight!


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