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Committing to M4/3...But what flash?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by SeveNx7, May 22, 2012.

  1. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    So I decided to invest in Micro 4/3's so i ordered more lenses for my GH2 but the question just popped up, Hey what kind of flash was made for the GH2?
    I don't think panasonic makes one, But is there a flash made for this camera?
    Thanks :)
     
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Panasonic overcharges for rebranded Olympus flashes with the remote functionality removed. The current flashes on the Oly side have remote but the GH2 doesn't support it. You can find an FL-36 or FL-50 (older models) for very cheap as a result, and it's no different than the new ones on a Panasonic. I got my FL-36 for $120.

    Alternately you can look at aftermarket stuff, mainly by Metz but there's others. Anything that advertises compatibility with Olympus EVOLT DSLRs should work fine.
     
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  3. Adrian Q

    Adrian Q New to Mu-43

    3
    May 15, 2012
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Any flash which is made for "Four-Thirds" format is made to work 100% with any camera body in the Four-Thirds or Micro Four-Thirds systems. It's all part of the standard.

    The most notable flash manufacturers who make Four-Thirds dedicated flash units are Olympus, Panasonic, Metz, and Nissin.
     
  5. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes it is... and it is the #1 flash that holds my interest these days, lol. :cool:

    The FL-36R is basically a half-sized version of the FL-50R. Half the power, half the size... but the problem is it also uses half the batteries and therefore has a really slow recycle time. This was always the one crutch of the FL-36R, which made it a little less than ideal for a "compact" travel flash (I say only a little less ideal, as it was still the best option around for many years!).

    The FL-600R solves this problem by using the same number of batteries as the FL-50R. Since it only outputs half the power of the FL-50R (just like the FL-36R does), it basically has the recycle time of shooting the FL-50R at 1/2 power! In other words, half the recycle time with half the power.

    It's now the perfect compact travel flash in my books. :wink:

    If you're looking at Panasonic flashes, their DMW-FL360 is the equivalent to the Olympus FL-36 (non-R version), and their DMW-FL500 is their equivalent of the Olympus FL-50 (again, non-R version). The non-R versions of these flashes have been long discontinued for many many years. The only difference is that the R versions have an optical sensor for using the Remote Commander of Olympus bodies for full TTL triggering, or to use the flash as a dumb slave. The optical sensors on these flashes are quite sensitive and therefore make them excellent dumb slaves which will trigger easier than using 3rd part optical eyes.

    Of course, the RC control is moot on a Panasonic body, but the optical slave capabilities of the R-series units are an advantage with any camera, even non-4/3. That makes these units something you can use externally no matter what the future holds for your system.

    HOWEVER, the advantage of a Panasonic-built flash is its ability to use Panasonic's FP High Speed Sync mode. So if you want to sync your flash faster than 1/160s or 1/250s (depending on your body), you'll need a Panasonic made flash. High Speed sync is just a "trick mode", though. It's not a big loss if you don't have it. ;)
     
  6. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    No flash in my m4/3 kit. Don't like the look they create and have never needed one for personal use. I prefer to work with available light and modifiers, only if necessary, to keep the look beautifully natural. With the excellent high ISO performance of the G3 and E-M5, the excellent 5-axis IBIS on the E-M5, and the available fast primes... you can create gorgeous images in very low light situations with available light only.

    If you're buying a flash just because you think that's the "thing to do", you may find you'll never use it. Most of the images I've seen from the average photographer who uses flash look terrible, in my view. Certainly flash can be helpful in certain cases, if used judiciously (just a 'squeek' for fill) and with great skill, but I've never encountered that need in a heck of a lot of years of personal shooting. My advice is don't buy one until you encounter a situation where you really MUST have one and then re-evaluate.
     
  7. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    Honestly I've never used a flash in my 17 years But its why I am forcing myself to buy one and learn how to use it. I'd like to open up and warm up to the idea of using a flash, for the sake of learning and proficiency. Will i use it all the time? Probably not, but i want to learn. Might come in handy in some situations! Thanks for all the suggestions guys! It seems like the R-Series units might be what i am looking at for its expandability. But the High speed mode is attractive just for the Sync...so i have to think about what to do!
    It really looks like i should be looking at the Oly flashes either way!
     
  8. StefanB

    StefanB Mu-43 Regular

    26
    May 16, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    Stefan
    I was using the Metz AF 48 for the past 3 years with my G1 and I am very happy with it. Most of the time I'm using it off camera for personal/family photos with a Cactus V2 remote trigger and full manual control. But there're times when I just put it on directly and let TTL do its thing. I will continue using it with the E-M5 as soon as it arrives (I'm looking at you ***********).
     
  9. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Yes, get the Olympus "R" version, that way you will set for any future body purchases that may be capable of the "remote" function. Also, if you are considering using the flash off-camera in the TTL mode, the Olympus TTL cords works perfect, unlike 3rd party cords that may or may not work. I went through 3 off brand cords before I got one to work, and still it was very unreliable.
     
  10. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    I was thinking the non r versions and spend more money on glass!
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The non-R Oly versions? Sure, if you can find them cheap enough then why not? They are a discontinued item so you will have to find them used.

    If you mean the Panasonics though, then you will probably pay more instead of saving money. ;)

    If you're gonna get a non-R then you may as well look for a used FL-50, unless you think the size of it will make it less useful to you. If you need an optical slave you can add a sensor down the road for $30-$60. However, that will only operate with Manual flash power, not Auto TTL.

    I do think it's worth the money to buy a new R version though. Even if not for the RC capabilities, you will be able to buy a new unit and not have to wonder how often it's been fired. Flash bulbs do have a finite lifespan.

    If you're willing to learn manual power though, then your options are truly limitless. With a standard single-contact hotshoe adapter, hotshoe-to-PC adapter, or radio trigger, you can use just about any flash made for a digital system except Sony/Minolta Alpha (which have a non-standard foot size), which triggers with less than 6V. Even older flash units can be used though, by using a Safe Sync adapter which will step down the voltage to 6V.

    You said your purpose in getting a flash is to expand your knowledge and learn how to use it, right? If you're in for the learning experience then you should do it right with manual control. May as well save yourself a ton of money while you're at it. ;)
     
  12. mnhoj

    mnhoj There and back again

    Dec 3, 2011
    Los Angeles
    John M
    I tried a FL36R briefly. It was a nice size but power and recycling reflected that. I use a Yongnuo 460 and for off camera a 560 with triggers. Full manual but powerful and affordable.
     
  13. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    found a fl36 for 100.00 so i might take that plunge...it'll be a blend between learning and some ttl:)
     
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Good deal. :) The FL-36R is about $300 retail, so an FL-36 for $100 is easily on the money. xD

    I've had many FL-36Rs, at least 5 or 6 of them. They're a little slower, but obviously not enough to bother me that much. Their balance of power, size, and price just makes them a nice overall package nonetheless. I've only had about half as many FL-50s and FL-50Rs.

    When it comes to flash I'm totally not brand-specific. I use Vivitars, Canons, whatever I can get my hands on. I don't show up at a serious shoot without a half-dozen of them. However, the Olympus units are the ones that I always seem to stockpile the most because they simply last me and offer me a good, affordable package. Even though I complain about the plastic lock ring and loose battery doors... ;) In the end, even though they contain some cheap parts the flash itself outlasts the competitors.

    Oh, but I sure do love my old Vivitar... it has no swivel and no digital display, but it NEVER runs out of batteries! lol... I spend half my day changing and charging batteries for all my other units, but never the old Vivitar.
     
  15. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I guess I'm too lazy to learn to use flash properly. I also far, far, far prefer natural light photography. I like the look of studio lit stuff, or off-camera flash, but my 'shooting style' is more documentary in nature (i.e. travel photography, candids, natural light at events - rather go ISO 6400 and black and white than flash). The only time I'll spend setting up shots is for landscape, stitching or long exposure photography, i.e. things that do not require lighting, but then I'm not a pro.

    I actually got a Canon 580EX II for my EOS system with the full intention of using it more often. And I quite enjoyed bounce flash, and it does look pretty damn good, but I increasingly found that a) none of my favorite shots were flash lit, because it made people too aware of me as a photographer and b) it's big and annoying and I don't take it places. So It's now for sale, cash to be reinvested in glass.
     
  16. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    I picked up a fl36 for 80.00. Just a FYI. I'm waiting for it to get delivered!
     
  17. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    In a strange turn of events I now find myself with 3 flashes!
    I'm going to play with the Panasonic one and the oly one. I'm sure they are identical since the oly is not the r version. But hey I have 3 now. I'll probably sell 1 and keep 2 but now have a lot to play with! Including my new 40-200 Panasonic lens! Fun time!
     

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  18. Hacker

    Hacker Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    May 25, 2012
    Cyberspace
    Anyone with experience with the Metz 58AF 2? Thinking of either this or the 600R.
     
  19. SeveNx7

    SeveNx7 Mu-43 Regular

    44
    May 20, 2012
    SeveN
    Was curious about them as well.
     
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I would not sell any of them. 3 flash units is a minimum for any kind of "full even coverage" type shot, where you want all shadows minimized and a consistent exposure throughout the entire frame.

    Try shooting one unit at 45 degrees from your target and one from the camera front (like on a flash bracket) for a "starter" 3-light setup.

    What you get back selling them used won't make up for what you lose in lighting. 3 lights is already a small setup as it is, I wouldn't try to trim it down to less. You should be looking for more lights if anything. ;)
     
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