Best Flash for OMD?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Heavy Doody, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    I'm trying to decide which flash to buy to use off-camera with an OMD.

    I've glanced through materials on the Olympus FL-600R and FL-50R, as well as the 50, 52 and 58 from Metz. I'm not really sure what I'm looking for when I look at the specs.

    What's Important:

    • Flash power
    • Fast recycle times

    On the power side of things, I'm mostly interested in how they compare to my Canon 430-EXii, as that's the only one I've used (so it's my baseline for comparison).

    What's Not Important

    • TTL. I couldn't care less.
    • Price. Not that money isn't an object, but I'd rather spend $500 than $300, even if the gains are marginal.

    What I'm Flexible On

    Native off-camera use. I'd really like the ability to use it off-camera w/o any additional hardware other than the plug-in flash that comes with the camera. However, I'm probably going to end up with a triggering system (Pocket Wizard, Radio Popper, etc.) in my bag anyway, so I'm willing to overlook this one if I need to in order to meet my other criteria.

    And I'm plenty willing to consider brands other than Olympus and Metz. I mention those only because they're the ones I've glanced at so far, based on discussions I've seen here.

    Any recommendations for me?
     
  2. savvy

    savvy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    714
    Sep 28, 2012
    SE Essex, UK
    Les
    A bit confused by your post.

    If you really couldn't care less about TTL, and are flexible on using wireless remotes eventually, why don't you use your Canon speedlight as an off-camera strobe?
     
  3. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim
    It is going to depend on what you want to do with the flash. Are you looking to light up a gym for sporting events photos or take one light portraits of a single person?

    For my Nikon system I have 4 speedlights that are triggered by PW Flex system which allows for iTTL control from the camera. Good feature, but not (yet) available for Olympus, Metz or other than Canon. This is a reliable system that works everywhere I have tried it. I have it set up so I can intermix the OMD with the D800 and have the OMD fire the triggers by changing the channel on the flex (but without any on camera adjustment of the remote flash).

    The whole idea with M43, for me, is to reduce bulk and weight. I could use the Nikons but instead, my thought was to buy at least two smaller flashes that worked with the Olympus infrared trigger system. So I ended up with the 2 FL600R and they are a very good flash. They are powerful, run on 4 AA batteries, include a stand and case, and the video led light is a nice touch. Plus they are compact at about 75% the size of my SB800's. Most times with the Nikon system I shoot at 1/2 power or less. So far it has been the same (for portraits) with the FL600R flash.

    Only used the Oly TTL system once and it worked OK, but that was in a studio. Any infrared system will have problems outdoors and therefore I suggest you buy radio triggers if you want to fire multiple flashes outdoors or at distances greater than 30' or so. My older PWII's work just fine, but since the FL600R do not have a pc connection you need to buy a hot shoe pc sync adapter to trigger each flash.
     
  4. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    Good question.

    1. I didn't realize this is an option. Thanks!

    2. For the stuff I'm flexible on. If there's a flash that allows for on-camera control (with line-of-site from the OMD), it would be nice to have that option... Just to have another option. The fun factor goes up a great deal when I can do it in-camera. :)

    3. I'm in the market for a second one anyway.
     
  5. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    Most common use will be setting 2 (occasionally 3) of them up outdoors (in the shade) in parks, the mountain, etc., for portraits (singles to families). They'll be on stands, usually in umbrellas.
     
  6. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim
    You should start our from the get go with radio triggers. The sun, coupled with the flash being inside an umbrella, means the Oly infrared trigger will not work very well, if at all.
     
  7. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    I agree completely, and I will. And I'll be starting another thread looking for the best triggers. For this thread, I'm looking specifically for flash unit advise.
     
  8. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    784
    Jan 10, 2013
    Definitely triggers. The line of sight on the FL-600R triggered remotely by the OM-D's little shoe mount flash needs to be clear and direct. The FL-600R failed to fire when blocked by a lightbox with the slightest amount of concealment

    I was surprised to the extent of it after being used to Canon's whereby flash units successfully fired indoors while they were concealed behind umbrellas and located behind me.
     
  9. SpecFoto

    SpecFoto Mu-43 Veteran

    315
    Aug 28, 2012
    So Cal
    Jim

    OK, and I suggested the FL600R. It was specifically designed for the OMD. Don't see a reason to spend an extra $250 for the 50R, it doesn't seem to add any features.
     
  10. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    I missed that. Thank you.
     
  11. sabesh

    sabesh Mu-43 Veteran

    FL-36R is an option. Compared to FL-600R, you save some weight, as the 36R takes only 2 batteries. It's also a tiny bit smaller.
     
  12. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    Now that I know it's an option, the more I think about, the more I'm inclined to do what savvy suggested and keep the Canon. Maybe get two more. The models I mentioned in my first post don't appear to keep up on the recycle times.
     
  13. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Andrew
    I have 2 metz 50's, latest firmware made wireless work 100% TTL or manual. More power than the 600r and can be found for $150 used. Downsides compared to 600r would be head doesn't rotate 180 in both directions(only 90 to the right) , no video light, and cannot act as a master flash. I haven't used the 600 but based on the metz menu system the 600 is likely more user friendly as well.
     
  14. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    How's the recycle time, heli-mech?
     
  15. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    Not sure about the best one, but I have the FL600R and like it a lot. IT also triggers my vivitars.
     
  16. Heavy Doody

    Heavy Doody Mu-43 Regular

    91
    Sep 17, 2012
    The Metz 50 shows up as discontinued on most of the online stores I've looked at, but it's still on the Metz site. Is there a successor, or am I searching for the wrong model #?

    50 AF-1
     
  17. heli-mech

    heli-mech Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Mar 9, 2012
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Andrew
    I can't say I've stress tested the metz but its never help me up in usual shooting even bouncing. If I remember I'll test full power cycle time tomorrow, I believe I read somewhere its 3sec.

    I think there is a model 52 now, but new the 50 was basically the same price as the 600. Buying new I would steer more towards the 600. Like I said though, used 50's sell for $150 with a little patience.
     
  18. fsuscotphoto

    fsuscotphoto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    819
    Feb 15, 2013
    St. Cloud, FL
    Ron
    I'm very new to my OMD. This may sound silly but how do I know x model flash will work with my camera ETTL unless it specifically says "for Olympus"?

    Also how much flash can I get? I would like to have something that gives me a pretty good output as I use it outdoors a lot.
     
  19. MrPhotoBob

    MrPhotoBob Mu-43 Veteran

    261
    Jun 16, 2012
    At the present time, Olympus is running a $50 rebate on the fl-600 flash bringing the price down to $250, and that is a really nice price for a flash. If you decide on a after market flash, I would first look on the internet at the specs on the flash to make sure that it says that it is Olympus EM-5 compatible. I do a lot of shooting outdoors, and the fl-600 has yet to let me down even with a diffuser in front of the flash.
     
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