Flash in standby

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by Joltinjess, Jun 4, 2013.

  1. Joltinjess

    Joltinjess Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 6, 2013
    Port Moody, BC
    I just got a new dedicated flash. I've only played with it for about 30 shots but can tell already that it would be easier to leave the flash turned on as much as possible rather than wait for it to power up. Does the flash drain much power when it's just sitting there but still turned on? How long do you leave yours turned on?
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The only thing that takes time for a flash when powering on is to charge the capacitor. During a shoot (rather than long-term shut down), this empties only when you fire the flash, not when you turn it off. Thus, if you turn your flash off during a shoot then turn it back on again it will power up instantly, faster than recycling after a shot. It really doesn't matter if you leave it on or turn it off, during the time frame of a shoot your flash should not take any extra time to power on. The only time it should take a while to charge up the capacitor, other than recycling after a shot, is when you first power on at the beginning of the shoot.

    And yes, a newer digital flash will drain a lot of power while sitting idle. An older manual flash won't drain anywhere close to as much. Older flashes also tend to time out and go to sleep earlier, while many newer digital flashes like to stay on longer before timing out if not connected directly to the camera or full TTL cable (if using all hotshoe contacts then the flash will sleep with the camera, which is a pretty short time on a Live View body). I turn all my flash guns off every time I leave the room (ie, like during outfit changes or makeup touchup). If I don't, it's a real pain to keep them charged. Every flash does have an auto power-off though, so it makes no difference if you leave it for twenty minutes or 3 hours, it'll lose the same power.

    Also, I always keep enough spare batteries for 2 fresh sets on top of the set that's in the flash guns (ie, 3 sets in total). If I need 18 batteries in the flash guns for instance (pretty usual for me, using a mix of 2-battery and 4-battery flash), then I keep an extra 36 on hand as fully charged spares, as well as enough chargers to charge at least 1 full set at a time. That way I can go through 2 sets of batteries while one set charges.
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