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Confused about AF Assist when buying flash for G5

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by lollavid, Mar 2, 2013.

  1. lollavid

    lollavid New to Mu-43

    Feb 28, 2013
    So I recently switched from my t3i to a G5 with 20mm and 45mm lenses. I need to pick up a flash. I should mention flash photography is something I don't fully appreciate or grasp. I did however like the richness of color, low light magnificence, and bouncing capabilities to throw light around from the 430 ex ii on my last camera.
    I keep reading that the G5 doesn't support Af assist on external flashes. Is this correct? Does the camera's built in AF assist perform the function instead? I can't imagine how much the usefulness of an external flash would be diminished without some sort of AF assist.
    I appreciate any input as I am looking into an appropriate flash (small enough for body, swivel/tilt, etc.).
    • Like Like x 1
  2. lollavid

    lollavid New to Mu-43

    Feb 28, 2013

    A Metz 44 af-1 and Nisdin di466 are ending soon on eBay. Trying to figure out if I should place a bid on either, or if there's a better alternative.
  3. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I have a Chinese Tumax made flash and while shooting in total darkness it pre flashed. The model is the same as the DPT386AFZ and it is sold by Vivital, Bower, Cactus. all these flashes are the same with minor difference in the front plastic.
  4. griswoldo

    griswoldo Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 27, 2011
    I don't claim to be an expert at flash photography either, but I own the G5 and a Metz 50, and indeed the AF assist light on the flash does not function with this camera. However the AF assist light on the camera itself seems to do a perfectly adequate job as I've taken many photos of my fast moving 1-year old with decent results using this combo. Here's the only example I have on-hand at the moment, taken with the kit 14-42 lens:

    View attachment 262305

    One genius design move on the G5 that I've seen nobody mention was to move the AF assist light to the opposite side of the camera. Now it's on the same side as the shutter release, and I rarely cover it up accidentally with my hands (which happened ALL the time on my G3).
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Balinus

    Balinus New to Mu-43

    Jan 15, 2013
    Looks like a superstar griswoldo :)  Remind me of my kid when he run with his "Flash McQueen" glasses...

    On the subject: I use an Olympus Fl-36 on my GH2 and indeed, the external AF assist light on the flash doesn't work. I wish it could because the AF assist light on the GH2 is always covered by my hands. So, indeed a nice move if this light is on the shutter release side on the G5.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Chas

    Chas Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2011
    Short answer is the AF assist light on most flashes do not work, and depend on the camera AF assist light, if the camera has one. No flash AF assist light will work on the G5, but there may be one exception to check out, the Olympus FL600R or its clone the Panasonic FL360L, which is really marketed as a GH3 accessory and not a G5 accessory. Not sure if the flash white LED can be activated from the G5 as an AF assist light as it can be with the GH3.

    Micro Four Thirds (MFT) flash seems to have it roots in the older Olympus Four Thirds (FT) DSLR systems. Olympus and Panasonic have shared the flash circuity with their FT and MFT systems, although until the GH3, the Panasonic flash circuitry always seemed to be a subset, and not a full copy of the Olympus flash circuitry.

    So remember that the FT system uses PDAF technology while the newer MFT mirrorless systems use CDAF technology. It seems that most flashes are designed with DSLR PDAF technology in mind (that is where the market is). Flashes can be adapted to work with different makers (e.g., Canon, Nikon) but all those cameras are PDAF. Enter the MFT cams from Olympus and Panasonic. The PDAF optimized AF Assist light on the flashes don't seem to work with CDAF, so the Oly and Panasonic cams do not activate the flash AF Assist light. This is true of OEM flashes from Oly and Panasonic, as well as third party flashes such Metz, Nissin, the iCorp clones (Vivitar, Bower, Tumax, Polaroid, Cactus, Rokinon, etc. and even I hear, the low end Metz)

    Now I said most....I understand that the newest higher end (AF assist lights on flash units tend to only be the higher end models) Oly FL600R (Panasonic FL360L) do not even include an AF Assist light. Instead, they have a white light LED, which can be used for video, but also as a CDAF AF assist light. This is the only model that I know of that does not have the typical red or green AF assist light built into the flash.
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