why aren't built-in flash place farther away from the lens?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by peter, May 26, 2004.

  1. peter

    peter Guest

    Small cameras tend to produce red-eyes. Tha's why many Kodak and Sony
    cameras distance the flashes from the lenses. But many camera makers seem to
    like to put the flash near the lense (e.g. canon elph series, the flash
    could be placed on the other corner). Why?

    Take the HP photosmart R707. It has a feature to digitally remove red-eye
    after the shot is taken. Yet the flash is placed very close to the lense, as
    if red-eye is not a concern.
    peter, May 26, 2004
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  2. peter

    Lionel Guest

    Because people like small cameras. If the camera is tiny, how can the
    flash *not* be close to the lens? An inch or two isn't going to make
    much difference.
    Lionel, May 26, 2004
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  3. peter

    Ken Burns Guest

    In many situations, to effectively remove the redeye problem, the flash
    needs to be arm's length or more from the lens. It just isn't practical to
    build a long extension arm into pocket-sized cameras.
    Ken Burns, May 26, 2004
  4. peter

    Ian Stirling Guest

    If you can focus on something closer to you than the camera, so that
    the lens and the flash blur into one, then the red-eye gets MUCH
    Ian Stirling, May 26, 2004
  5. Lionel, it would be funny to see people walking around with little digital
    elphs with giant flash brackets on them! Actually, it wouldn't surprise me
    one bit. ;-)
    Richard Cockburn, May 26, 2004
  6. Moreover - a small flash that far away from the lens will
    cast horrible shadows. Red eyes you can remove, shadows
    you can't.

    Roland Karlsson, May 26, 2004
  7. peter

    Ron Andrews Guest

    3 to 4 inches between the lens axis and the flash is good enough to
    prevent red-eye in most cases. A telephoto shot requires more, but how often
    do you have someone looking straight at the camera in a telephoto shot?
    Ron Andrews, May 26, 2004
  8. peter

    Ron Andrews Guest

    Cameras designed for the Asian market are less likely to have good
    red-eye reduction. (I agree with Peter that "good" red-eye reduction as
    adequate distance between the lens and flash.) Asians have different
    coloring in their retinas that make red-eye less objectionable. Kodak got
    burned in 1972 with the Pocket Instamatic camera that had terrible red-eye.
    Since then, many (but not all) of their cameras have had decent lens-flash
    separation. Sony has been a little more attentive to non-Asian markets.
    Ron Andrews, May 26, 2004
  9. peter

    Bob Salomon Guest

    Why not be attentive to what causes red eye and try to eliminate or
    reduce the causes? You don't have to have people look directly into the
    lens. They could be looking at your shoulder and then would still be
    appearing to be looking directly into the lens. You could turn on a
    light in the room so the pupil isn't so dilated. You could tape a small
    reflector - like a bent business card, beneath the flash so the light
    bounces off the ceiling (you would lose a couple of stops of light doing
    this but the indirect light would look like available light).

    Or you could turn the flash off and shoot by available light and use a
    monopod or tripod or just a wall or table to steady the camera.

    And, if all fails, just retouch the eyes with the controls now available
    in most programs.

    Or read today's article in the Wall Street Journal on the new camera
    from Hewlitt Packard that corrects red eye in the camera.
    Bob Salomon, May 26, 2004
  10. peter

    Ron Baird Guest

    Hi Peter,

    The "red-eye" phenomenon has been familiar to photographers since the
    introduction of synchronized flash picture taking. It is caused by the
    reflection of light off the blood vessels of the retina of the subject's
    eyes. It occurs most often when the flash is located close to the
    picture-taking lens of the camera. It was not as well known until smaller
    cameras were introduced in the early 70's however, and some fixes were tried
    to overcome the issue, i.e. Flashcube extenders for pocket cameras. Also,
    red-eye wasn't so common with older, bulkier cameras that had separate flash
    units. These units were attached to a handle or flash bracket several
    inches away from the lens, or the Flash could be detached and held away from
    the camera. With today's smaller cameras with built-in flash, the flash is
    closer to the lens.

    The red-eye effect tends to be more evident when the subject is young and
    has blue or gray eyes, which reflect more light than darker eyes. Children
    have larger pupils and less pigmentation than adults and they transmit more
    light back to the camera lens. In fact, however, it is the reflection of
    the blood rich pupil that is reflected back due to the close angle of the
    light source to the lens.

    The following techniques can help reduce red-eye:

    * If the camera has the red-eye feature, set the Flash Mode to red-eye.
    * Increase the level of light in the room by turning on all the room
    lights. The added light will cause the subject's pupils to contract,
    reducing the reflective surface that causes red reflections.
    * Have the subject look at a bright light (for example, a room lamp or a
    ceiling light) just before you take the flash picture. The bright light will
    reduce the size of the subject's pupils
    * Red-eye is the worst when the subject's eyes are off-center in the
    picture so if possible, center your subject and have them look directly at
    the camera.
    * If your camera has detachable flash capabilities, move the flash away
    from the camera lens. If the camera has these capabilities, you can also
    attach the flash to the camera with a flash cord and handhold it or clamp it
    to a nearby object.

    Note: The following techniques may not eliminate red-eye completely. If
    you have a digital camera, you can easily remove red eye by use of software
    to remove the red-eye that may be present.

    Talk to you soon,

    Ron Baird
    Eastman Kodak Company
    Ron Baird, May 26, 2004
  11. Nope - you will still get red eyes.

    Sometimes I think it is even worse when someone looks "away".

    Roland Karlsson, May 26, 2004
  12. Take a closer look at the Elph series. The right-hand end of the camera
    is pretty much completely filled by the battery and the CF card lying
    side by side. There isn't much room for anything else on that end of
    the camera except some controls on the top and rear of the case -
    certainly not enough room for either electronic flash circuitry
    (reflector and capacitor are the large bits) or for the zoom lens plus
    CCD. So those get placed over towards the left side.

    In addition, you have to hold the camera somewhere, and both flash and
    lens have to be placed where your hand won't cover them. There just
    isn't much choice of locations that satisfy all these constraints on a
    small camera.

    Most tiny cameras from all manufacturers have this problem, except the
    ones with no flash at all.

    Dave Martindale, May 27, 2004
  13. peter

    Lionel Guest

    <grin> Believe it or not, I was actually thinking about this particular
    problem just the other day. I came to the conclusion that the solution
    would be an extendable bracket for the inbuilt flash, kind of like a car
    radio aerial. The problem would be that it'd look so silly that I don't
    think anybody would want to buy one.
    Lionel, May 27, 2004
  14. peter

    Tom Monego Guest

    Hey I use a Metz 45CT with my Nikon 995, no red eye.

    Tom Monego, May 27, 2004
  15. peter

    Dave Cohen Guest

    I often wonder why they don't supply a mini plug for an external flash which
    could utilize a bracket attachable to tripod socket. Film cameras have such
    a connection. Smaller cameras probably don't have room for a normal flash
    bracket. Another advantage of external flash is it can contain it's own
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, May 27, 2004
  16. More $$$. They need to differentiate between different classes of cameras.
    Someone might own both a Canon G5 and an S500. If the S500 offered external
    flash capability it might have deterred that person from buying the G5 too.
    Richard Cockburn, May 27, 2004
  17. peter

    Ken Burns Guest

    My 25 years of experience has shown me otherwise. If what you say was true,
    then I would not have redeye problems using by SB16 mounted in the camera's
    hotshoe. However, I do have the problem quite often with that flash mounted
    on camera even though the flash is a good 6 inches above the lens. Mounting
    the flash on a Stroboframe that positions the flash a foot or so above the
    lens does reduce the problem noticeably, but does not totally solve the
    issue. I have the redeye problem all the time with telephoto shots because
    that is what I use for portrait work. The lens focal length is irrelevant.

    Ken Burns, May 27, 2004
  18. peter

    Bill Funk Guest

    If the camera has a tripod mount, it's got room for a flash bracket.
    Bill Funk, May 27, 2004
  19. peter

    Ron Andrews Guest

    I agree the lens focal length is not the determining factor, but it is
    often related to red eye. The primary factor is the minimum angular
    separation between the lens and the flash. In telephoto shots, the subject
    is often farther from the camera. This reduces the angular separation. The
    aperture of the eye and the aperture of the camera lens are also important.
    Ron Andrews, May 28, 2004
  20. Just think of it as a flash with an accessory bracket for the camera.

    Dave Martindale, May 29, 2004
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