Way back in September, I posted a few shots from a belly dance event that happens regularly at our favorite little coffee shop, Birdies Cafe. In that post, I commented that the Fujifilm X10 struggled a bit in the low light without a flash. By the time we went again, I had purchased Fujifilm's simple and inexpensive EF-20 shoe-mount flash. The lead shot for this post was taken with the X10 and the EF-20 flash. The image is straight from the camera with no editing, except for the usual prep for web.
The rig I used to make the shot is shown to the right -- nothing more than the camera and the flash! I should note here that Liz has extremely large pupils all of the time, and it's nearly impossible to get a flash photograph of her without a lot of red-eye. It even happens on near-profile shots. Since in-camera red-eye reduction is typically rather annoying with its burst of flashes designed to close down subjects pupils prior to the exposure -- and given that it's generally pretty ineffective anyway (at least on other cameras I've used) -- I had that turned off. Imagine my surprise when I glanced at the the LCD screen on the back of the camera and there was no red-eye! The only thing missing is a little catch-light in the near eye.
As you can see, there's not much to the EF-20 flash. It's compact, it bounces, and it has just three buttons. It's TTL-auto flash only, but does allow for really easy flash exposure compensation by pressing the center "EV Adjust" button. Flash power can be adjusted up or down by on stop in half-stop increments. It's hard to see, but there's also a little flip-over diffusion panel that softens the central 75% or so of the flash head. The price is great, too: right around $100.
I've recently added a few "Strobist" items to my little kit. I now carry a small piece of white plastic card; a small piece of diffusion gel; small pieces of 1/4 CTO, 1/2 CTO, 1/4 CTB and 1/2 CTB gel; and three rubber bands, all in a small resealable plastic bag. The plastic card can be used with the flash tilted up to push some of the light forward towards the subject to fill in shadows and add catch-lights in the eyes. The colored gels are great for matching the flash to ambient lighting (although the AWB setting on the camera does a pretty good job of figuring things out, as you can see by the lead image), and the little piece of diffusion is great for softening up the flash a bit.
I haven't had occasion to use the flash since these items went into the bag, but I'll set up some shots with these items and post them soon.