Nikon Coolpix 995 has an internal flash, Speedlight in Nikon's terminology, on the lens unit (left image below). This flash unit is folded down as shown. To use it, one must slide the release lever in the direction as shown to raise the flash unit (right image below).

Slide the release lever to raise the flash Flash in position

Coolpix 995 does not have the TTL (through-the-lens) flash metering capability. Instead, flash illumination is measured by a sensor below the flash tube as shown in the image below.

Flash sensor

Note that the flash does not pop up automatically even in low light condition. Thus, you have to raise it when you want to use it; otherwise, the flash is disabled.

Guide Number a.k.a. GN

The power of a flash is given by a guide number which is defined as follows:

where f-number is the x.y in an aperture value Fx.y. A GN has a unit in meter m or in feet ft, and is in general calibrated at ISO 100. The Coolpix 995 internal flash has a GN of 10/32 (at ISO 100, m/ft). This means Coolpix 995's internal flash has a GN of 10 (resp., 32) if m (resp., ft) is used for measuring subject to flash distance.

Guide number is a given number. Thus, if you know the subject to flash distance, you can calculate the aperture to be used for a correct exposure. For example, suppose 995 is used to take a photo of a subject that is 10 ft away from the camera (and hence the flash), the f-number is (32 ft)/(10ft) = 3.2. That is, F3.2 should be used for a correct exposure. This is a problem of Coolpix 995, because F3.2 is almost the largest aperture. Moreover, F3.2 cannot be achieved if the lens is zoomed all the way in, since the maximum aperture in this case is F5.1! In fact, since the maximum aperture of the on-camera lens is F2.6, the maximum distance within which you can get a correctly exposed image using the internal flash is 32/2.6 = 12.3 ft. If you use the tele end of the on-camera lens, this distance reduces to 32/5.1=6.3 ft. Note that the relation of GN shown above does not hold for close-up work.

Fortunately, with the help of the built-in flash meter, we do not have to worry about the calculation of the aperture. If this calculation is required, you have to enter the M-REC mode, use the Aperture-Priority Mode, determine the flash to subject distance (e.g., use Manual Focus), and use this distance to set an appropriate aperture.

Flash Settings

There are five different flash settings available. They can be used in both A-REC and M-REC. Each flash setting is indicated by a special icon which is shown on the control panel and on the LCD monitor. The meaning of each flash setting is shown in the table below:

Icon Meaning
Ctrl Panel LCD
none The Auto mode. When lighting is poor, the internal flash fires automatically if it is raised.
The Flash Cancel mode. When the internal flash is folded down or turned off, it is in the Flash Cancel mode. This mode is frequently used when the use of flash may cause un-natural lighting.
The Auto with Red-Eye Reduction mode. Activate the Red-Eye Reduction mode. The internal flash must be raised.
The Anytime Flash or Fill Flash mode. Force the internal flash to fire if it is raised. This is useful for fill flash.
The Slow Synchronization mode. Activates the Slow Synchronization capability of the internal flash. The internal flash must be raised.

In the next few pages, General Use discusses the general use of the internal flash; Red-Eye Reduction presents the cause and use of the Red-Eye Reduction mode; Slow Synchronization covers the concept and use of the Slow Synchronization mode; Variable Power (M-REC only) discusses the way of increasing and reducing the output of the internal flash; and Turning the Internal Flash On and Off (M-REC only) tells you how to turn on or off the internal flash. Finally, Does Shutter Speed Really Matter? (M-REC only) demonstrates that you can use virtually all possible shutter speeds with the internal flash.

A Few Important Notes

Here are a few important notes: