A great feature of the LX3, and one which certainly differentiates it from a ‘normal’ compact camera, is the provision of a flash ‘hotshoe’. This connection is the portal to truly exciting and dramatic lighting effects, the likes of which have often been reserved for DSLRs …to the extent that so little of its use is ever discussed as being the norm on a compact camera.

This is where it changes. I’m not going into huge technical detail on this occasion, rather just piquing your interest with an image made in this way. I mounted a radio flash trigger on the LX3’s hotshoe, connected the receiver to the base of one of my Nikon SB-800s, and that was the complete rig. Exit SB-800 stage left a couple of feet, some careful positioning, and one slightly used (!) Omega Seamaster captured with its reflection on glass, with a black card beneath it – that simple.

Bear in mind a couple of points in such a set-up :

1/ There’s no TTL metering …it’s Manual mode on the camera, and some trial-and-error – but it doesn’t take long to get the look you’re after

2/ This is a brilliant, highly portable, reliable, high-quality set-up that can be used for on-location shoots – portraits etc –  just as well as indoors for say product/macro photography.

When the light isn’t as you’d like, either in darkness when you need some (!), or in bright sunlight where some fill-flash would make all the difference … or when you really want to tap your creativity, in exciting, unknown territory –  the off-camera flash added to your LX3 will transform your photography.

Once you have a single flash off-camera, things can get even more interesting with slaved multiple strobes …and this doesn’t have to be that expensive. A little research will detail lists of models that can be ‘slaved’ in such a way, and includes several older Nikon models, Metz, Sigma, etc – they’re out there if you hunt for them.

As usual, there’s a selection of LX3 off-camera flash images at, and for the technical side of things – with also a huge amount of help in getting started, and evolving your use of ‘strobes’ – check out David Hobby’s site at

Of course, many would say that the absolute master of this style of lighting is the infamous Joe McNally, hero of many a challenging shoot for National Geographic, Time, Sports Illustrated and countless other titles … check out for some stunning images, and tips on technique.

I’d suggest essential reading material as both of Joe’s books on the subject : The Moment It Clicks, and The Hotshoe Diaries. Both are highly informative, full of absolute gems, and delivered with Joe’s trademark humour that will have you laughing aloud  ! He also features on a Nikon ‘Speedlight’ DVD, and of course there’s plenty of content on Joe & many other ‘strobists’ at