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Basic flash questions

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by fin azvandi, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I know very little about using flash, whether on or off camera, but would like to go beyond just bouncing the pop-up flash off the ceiling. As I think about my limited budget and different options, could someone clarify a few questions?

    1. I am a quick learner and not afraid to mess around with settings - is TTL such a convenience that I should prioritize that feature?

    2. How would I go about connecting an flash to my E-PL1 via a PC Sync cable? I assume it requires a hot-shoe adapter for the camera, which then means I can't use the VF-2? Is the process any different for later Oly bodies?

    3. What options/features are required to go above the max flash sync speed of 1/160s on the E-PL1? Is this something you can only get with a native flash like the FL-36R or the Oly-compatible Metz flashes? From what I understand, if I was using the pop-up flash at 1/64 to optically trigger a non-Oly slave I'd be limited to 1/160s even though the pop-up flash wouldn't be providing the illumination. Does a PC Sync cable get around that limit if the flash supports a faster speed?

    I read elsewhere that some Nikon Speedlights (like the SB-26/28) can be used on the Oly bodies at a higher sync speed, although again I'd be giving up the VF-2 if I had the flash sitting in the hot shoe.
  2. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I'm sure Ned will drop into this thread to give his expert advice. :smile:

    Here's my take, recently diving into flash photography myself.

    1. IMO, both TTL and manual have their uses. If you like shooting in conditions that change often (like say, at a party) then TTL is quite useful. If you're more of studio shooter where you have more control over the lighting in the environment, manual flash will give you more flexibility (a lot of it involves trial and error, dialing in the correct flash strength etc).

    2. On-camera flash will preclude you from using a VF, unfortunately. However since you have a built-in flash, you can use that to trigger off-camera flashes via Olympus "RC" system. You just need a flash that supports that. Olympus flashes with an R in the name (FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-300R, FL-600R) all support that, as well as some third party flashes, notably Metz.

    3. The higher end flashes, such as FL-50R, FL-36R and Metz can support FP or HSSS flash, that is shutter speeds greater than 1/160 (like 1/2000). I'm not sure if it has to be attached to the hotshoe though.
    I've used cheap radio triggers and they can trigger flash albeit only in manual; but I've been able to get as high as 1/250 shutter speed before getting curtain blackout issues. Of course using the radio trigger will also preclude you from using the VF.

    I recommend reading Neil van Niekerk's blog. Very good info on flash photography in general.

    I also recommend watching this video below - it's the best I've seen so far in explaining how shutters and flash work.
    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvZ6VujbhjM]Shutter/Flash Synchronization - YouTube[/ame]
    • Like Like x 1
  3. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    I personally prefer manual controls, BUT, that is due to me using flash off camera 100% of the time. I use RF602 Radio Triggers from Yungnuo and have found them to be great for my needs.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I personally don't know of any RADIO triggers that support mu-43 HSS. But I could easily be wrong. I've only used HSS with the hotshoe.
    • Like Like x 1
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