What is it about flashes and digital cameras? It's a combo that gives poor results.
On the Canon S1iS discussion group hosted by Yahoo, Peshewa asks:
I recently got a Vivitar DF200 to help with improving my flash photography, as I don't like the red eye problem as well as the "flat" look I get from a straight-on flash. I'm having quite a bit of trouble getting a proper exposure using the slave. Has anyone tried this, and are you getting any consistent results? And if so, HOW??
I echo those comments. A couple years ago, I got a Canon-ized Vivitar bounce flash for my Canon G1 (it has a hotshoe). I was never satisfied with the results, even though I spent hours trying different settings. Pictures were too bright, too dim, too harsh, too washed-out.
(After my G1 was ruined by a dunking in the Pacific Ocean, I sold the flash to my dad, because the S1iS doesn't have a hot shoe to mounting external flashes. Instead, you need to use a slave flash arrangement, where a light sensor triggers the external flash.)
Here's why I was frustrated: bounce flash photos turned out beautiful with my 1976-era Minolta XE-7 film camera and Vivitar 283 flash unit. Especially indoors, where the flash can bounce off the white ceiling found in most homes. The resulting photographs had a soft, gentle lighting.
So, I don't know: is it the camera-flash link or something else that causes external flash photos to be less than satisfactory with digital cameras. Digital cameras don't do as well with overexposure as do film cameras. Digital cameras operate with much lower flash-trigger voltages. Digital cameras and today's flash units have much more smarts than 30 years ago. Maybe one of those differences is the reason for poorer photos.