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Fuji HS10 External Flash Tips and Advice

Howdy friends! Looking to take your flash photos to the next level? Adding an external flash to your Fuji HS10 can really enhance the look of your indoor and outdoor photos.

Vivitar 285HV Flash - Dog

Best External Flash for the Fuji HS10

The HS10 manual does very little in explaining the options for an external flash. Having used many Fuji cameras in the past, I know that finding a compatible external flash is nearly impossible. The primary reason for this is that Fuji doesn’t make dedicated flash units for their cameras. Fuji recommends that you equip the HS10 with an external flash made by Vivitar or Metz.

In my everyday tests, the best external flash for the HS10 is the Vivitar 285HV. David at the Strobist blog has an excellent review of the Vivitar 285HV.

Vivitar 285HV Flash

For around $90, the Vivitar 285HV will give you the ability to bounce flash off ceilings for that “natural” look or creatively illuminate your subjects from different angles for a more dynamic look.

External flash requirements…

  • The Fuji HS10 requires an external flash with a trigger voltage no higher than 50v. The Vivitar 285HV is listed at 6v which is well below the requirement and safe to use with the HS10. If you have an older external flash laying around and want to give it a go, I suggest you make sure the trigger voltage is less than 50v or you run the risk of permanently damaging your camera.
  • The Vivitar 285HV is a manual flash unit, which basically means you’ll need to set the flash power manually. The reason for this is because the HS10 doesn’t support TTL. TTL capabilities allow the camera to adjust the flash power automatically and properly expose the scene. If this sounds too advanced for you, don’t worry, with a little practice you can easily learn how to manually set an external flash to work with the HS10. Read on for more info…

How to enable the external flash on the HS10

You can enable the external flash by going to the External Flash option in the HS10 menu and selecting ON. Once you’ve enabled the external flash, you’ll need to adjust the flash settings manually. Use the following tutorial as an example starting point…
Vivitar 285HV Flash - Settings

  1. Start by putting the HS10 into Aperture Priority mode
  2. Set your ISO to 100
  3. Locate the dial on the side of the Vivitar 285HV
  4. Rotate the outer ring so that the white arrow lines up with an ISO of 100
  5. Rotate the inner dial to 1/4 flash power
  6. Next judge the distance between you and your subject
  7. If you’re bouncing the flash off the ceiling, then estimate the distance to the ceiling and then to the subject
  8. In the center of the dial you’ll see a distance guide
  9. Match the distance to the Aperture value
  10. If the subject is 7 to 10 feet away then we’ll want to select an Aperture of 5.6 on the HS10
  11. Once you’ve set the Aperture value to 5.6, then take the photo
  12. If the photo is too dark, rotate the inner dial on the Vivitar 285HV to 1/2 power
  13. If the photo is too bright, rotate the inner dial on the Vivitar 285HV to 1/16 power

Again this is just a starting point. You’ll need to do some experimenting to get things just right. If you’re new to the world of external lighting, then I suggest you hop on over to the Strobist blog to start learning all the ins and outs.

When to use an External Flash on the HS10

You can use an external flash in many different shooting situations, here are just a couple ideas…

  • Fill light – Position your friends or family so that their backs are to the sun. Then use the external flash to illuminate their faces. The sun provides a nice rim of light to their hair and shoulders, while the external flash gives off a soft, natural looking light.
  • Bounce light – By rotating the external flash upward, you can illuminate the ceiling which gives a softer and more “natural” look to flash photos. This technique is great for shooting babies or groups of people because it eliminates the bright flash pointing right at their eyes.Vivitar 285HV Flash - Family
  • Creative light – A popular technique is to position the flash off the camera and angled towards the side of your subject. This gives you a more dynamic look to portraits.

In my experience the Vivitar 285HV External Flash is really the best option for the Fuji HS10, but if you’ve got another external flash that works well please let the entire HS10 community know by leaving a comment to this post.

Happy Shooting!