After spending hundreds of dollars on a new digital SLR, the last thing most people want to do is lay out more money for accessories.
Unfortunately, your dSLR's pop-up flash isn't good for much beyond lighting (or blinding) nearby subjects with a blast of direct light; little use to those who bought a camera with a kit lens that zooms past 100mm.
The Rogue Safari from ExpoImaging inexpensively addresses that problem by taking the available light from your pop-up flash and throws it beyond its normal range.
Designed for entry-level and midrange Canon APS-C and Nikon DX digital SLR cameras, the Safari slides into your camera's hot shoe. Its polycarbonate body is lightweight -- the whole thing weighs only 2 ounces. However, although ExpoImaging says it's durable, the fit is so tight I felt like I was going to snap the connector whenever I put it on or took it off. To its credit, though, it showed no signs of damage despite my best efforts.
At the front of it is a Fresnel lens that ExpoImaging claims can give you up to eight times more light at 30 feet away than you'd have without it. Because it focuses and throws your pop-up flash's light beyond its normal reach, it's only meant to be used with lens focal lengths longer than 100mm and subjects more than 20 feet away.
The sample image to the right was taken with a Nikon D7100 using its 18-105mm kit lens zoomed all the way in (a 35mm equivalent of 157.5mm). The top picture was taken with the pop-up flash alone, while the bottom was taken with the Safari. So, yes, it works, and works well, too.
It's best suited for strongly backlit subjects or those that are in full shade. Even then, subjects do still look like they're being lit by a direct flash, which is not always the most attractive lighting.
Still, if you've got a 100mm or longer lens for your dSLR, at $34.95 this is a thrifty way to get more out of your pop-up flash, whether you're trying to brighten up a bird cloaked in the darkness of a tree canopy or avoid silhouetting someone in a sunset.