Features to look for …
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Many flashguns have a wide-angle diffuser panel to spread coverage when using ultra-wide angle lenses, and a reflector card for directing some light forwards in upright bounce mode (see page 52 for more on this).
The flash tube fires a very bright pulse of light for a split second. The maximum available output is quoted as a Guide number (see Jargon Buster, below).
The most common motorised zoom range is 24 to 105mm but some stretch a little further. For example, the Nikon SB-910 has a 17 to 200mm zoom facility.
On the bounce
A bounce range of between 0 and 90 degrees (horizontal to vertical) is usually available, and some flashguns add a -7 or -9 degree downward-slanting option for close-ups.
An illuminated LCD info panel is useful for displaying important flash settings. The Metz flashguns on test go even further, with mono or colour touchscreens.
On-board controls tend to comprise an array of buttons and dials. With the Nikon SB-500, however, adjustments need to be made via the camera.