Yes. Two reasons:.
1. Power. On my pentax K100D the guide number of the built-in flash is 15.6 (meters) at ISO200. That means at ISO200 and f/5.6 the range is about 2.5 meters..
With my external Sigma EF-500 (110 UK), the guide number is 70 (metres) at ISO200... giving a maximum range of about 12 metres under the same conditions..
So as soon as you want to take flash photos of anything more challenging than a couple of people grinning at you from a few feet away, you need something bigger than the built-in flash..
2. Bounce / swivel. Any reasonable external flash will have a head that tilts up (so you can bounce flash off the ceiling) or swivel sideways (so you can bounce it off a side wall), giving a much better even and diffuse light that you get with direct flash, which gives that startled-rabbit-in-the-headlights look. Bouncing flash increases a lot the distance the light has to travel, and spreads it out more, so you need more power for it to work well, see (1). Don't get an external flash that doesn't tilt and swivel..
Flash is the first thing you should buy after you get a body and a lens..
Bouncing flash off the ceiling eliminates that unnatural look you get with direct flashes..
Also you have a lot more power to work with for using it as a fill flash for outdoors when your subject is backlight..
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I suggest you buy a flash for your camera. I do not own that model however I have taken the time to read the review. Nice camera! The reason I am making this suggestion is that your built in flash only has limited lighting power. The measurement is Guide no. 12. Guide Number is a measurement of flash power, twelve is not very strong.
I hate to say this but in your manual is a table of distances versus ISO setings that your built in flash provides. Remember the higher the ISO the more noise so providing enough light with a optional flash will provide more light and help keep the ISO down..
If you have a large group of family or want to do shots at a greater distance then you will need more flash power. Optional flash also work better for fill flash, that is when the subject is backlit and the face is in shadow. I purchased an E10 many years ago and purchased an Oly flash' it made all tte difference. I use a optional sb800 and sb28 for all my nikon photographs for paper I work for. I use a quantum light system for all my medium format photography..
I hope I did not get too complicated but you can ask away. Don't go out without your flash, VBG..
Let the light in!.
Oy! So which flash should I buy for the E-510?..
Ask in the Olympus SLR forum. They will give very good advice on this...
Ask in the Olympus SLR forum. They will give very good advice on this..
Totally agree - ask on the Olympus forum - they are EXTREMELY helpful..
FWIW, I just purchased the E510 and went with the Metz 48 AF-1. I received the camera last Friday from B&H but the flash is still on backorder...
If you can swing the bucks, the Oly FL-56 is the way to go..
Crime Scene PhotographyA small gallery of personal work: http://picasaweb.google.com/PID885..