Do i need an extra flash ; is it important....

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by PantelisMor, Oct 5, 2013.

  1. PantelisMor

    PantelisMor Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2013
    I am owner of an om-d. i can say that i am very happy with my new camera after i left Nikon D5100.
    I have a question about the extra flash do you believe it's a necessary ; in which cases will replace the simple flash which has my Om-d ;
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Well okay, it depends on one simple question - Do you use flash? If you answer yes, then you need a different flash. If you answer no, then another flash is not "a necessity"... though it's still a good idea to have. You talk about "replacing" the flash that came with your OM-D, so I will assume that your answer to the question of whether you use flash or not is "yes". In which case the answer to your question of whether you need a different flash is also "yes".

    I'm sure you've heard people say before that they don't like flash because it's "too harsh". That harshness is not a quality of flash in itself, it is the improper use of flash, or inadequate flash units (such as a pop-up flash) which does not physically sustain the control you need to use it properly. Flash is simply a form of controlled lighting. How you control or fail to control that lighting is up to you. It can be used to create shadows as well as remove or soften shadows. Proper flash usage allows you to mold and control lighting to the effect desired by you the photographer. If you want to talk about "harsh light", there is none harsher than the midday sun. Now flash can be used to diffuse that light and remove the harsh shadows caused by it.... so can you still say that it's the flash that is harsh? No, the flash is not harsh... the photographer's use of flash may be harsh.

    There are certainly situations which don't require the introduction of artificial lighting, or situations where you simply can't reasonably control the lighting... or situations where you can introduce lighting but only have limited control (ie, like event photography with a single bracket-mounted flash), where you can soften your light only to an extent and have to live with a bit of unwanted harshness. However, in those situations where you can and want to introduce controlled lighting, then the key word is control. In order to control the light, you need light that can be controlled. The built-in or clip-on flash which comes with your camera is one which offers very little control. It offers little space for modifiers, control of direction, control of placement/location, or control of power (a lot of those things are tied into each other, for instance the use of stronger modifiers for softer spread require the use of greater power to produce enough light to be spread out - more power than the dinky clip-on flash can throw. Meaning to get softer light you need stronger light, which may sound backwards at first). That is why I say that IF your answer to "do you use flash" is yes, then you need a different flash. If you don't use flash, then you can carry on without.

    That clip-on flash is not useless though, and serves a very important purpose. It's main reason for being is to operate as a Remote Commander, for wirelessly triggering remote flashes which are positioned off the camera. Basically, just think of that clip-on unit as a Remote Commander, and not as a flash.
    • Like Like x 3
  4. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    what he said^^^^^


    p.s. of course the real answer from both of us is, it depends.There are books on this subject. Big fat ones. A forum answer can't possibly hope to answer your question unless it gets a whole lot more specific.
  5. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    I'm just starting to learn off camera flash, and was working with a couple of optical slave flashes tonight.

    Is there a way to turn off the pre-flash on the little E-M5 flash? My slaves are firing off the first light. I switched to an FL-36 and that and the two slaves were doing great together.
  6. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Seoul, South Korea
    Some off-camera flash units can be set to ignore the pre-flashes associated with TTL from your on-camera flash, so check the manual that came with those flashes. If not, the only option is to set your on-camera flash to manual/non-TTL so that there is no pre flash. Both of those should let you use non Oly/Pany compatible flashes for off-camera use.

    Another option would be to buy a set of inexpensive radio triggers, or even cheeper use sync cords if you don't mind the wires running around. Several companies are coming out with new units that let you do wireless adjustments from the transceiver unit. Very cool if you like manual control, and for use M43 since there is a lack of TTL flash support out there.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Yes. If you are using dumb slaves you don't use TTL, you use manual power. ie, traditional power ratios like 1/1, 1/2, 1/4 etc. or Guide Number (GN). There will be no pre-flash then. You can do this with the regular Olympus flash menu (the lightning symbol in your Super Control Panel, not the RC menu) for the built-in flash, or you can set it in the flash itself when using any other hotshoe mounted flash as your trigger. Do not use RC or TTL when using dumb slaves. If you don't want to use your hotshoe flash as fill (I would never suggest using the clip-on for actual light) and want to use it only for triggering, then use a low power like 1/64th. You should still diffuse your trigger light to keep its light soft.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. PatrickVA

    PatrickVA Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 31, 2012
    Central Virginia
    Thanks Repp & Ned, I was hoping it'd be that simple.
  9. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    It depends very much on the sort of photography you do! If you use flash at all then an off camera flash greatly improves the flexibility of your lighting.
  10. F/Stop

    F/Stop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 9, 2013
    West Virginia
    Brian Y.
    Just started using off camera flash with fl600r , phottix radio triggers and occasionally using the clip on flash to fire the fl600r in RC mode. Although in bright daylight the little clip on flash is not strong enough to trigger the 600r even when set to "hi". Therefore that's when radio triggers come in handy, but unlike RC mode. You cannot adjust the flash output from the camera menu! Which sucks entirely when you have to keep going back to the flash to adjust power on its menu.

    All In all there has been a few times where a second flash would have been great for rim lighting or another key light at another angle to fill any unwanted shadows.

    So what would be fantastic is if someone made a radio trigger that could change the flash output by adjusting it through the camera. Or am I just dreaming and no radio trigger for any brand camera will do that?
  11. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Having a flash (or multiple flashes) that you can take off camera will open a whole new world for your photography.
  12. arch stanton

    arch stanton Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2012
    I started using flash this year with an FL300r - it's a simple, small and fairly cheap place to start - set the camera to ISO800, bounce the flash upwards (if you're inside!) and enjoy great evening/event photos. I was amazed at the difference this made at a friends wedding :) 

    It's not an advanced flash - but it's the size of a pack of cards and fits fairly easily in a pocket. Great to have with you. Add a TTL cord and you can swivel as well as tilt the flash. It's probably too weedy to do some of the techniques Ned mentions, but it's nice and small - and will work as a more powerful RC commander.
  13. PantelisMor

    PantelisMor Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2013
    Hi again, thx a lot for your help.

    I use flash only for night portraits, i haven't use for another reason, maybe i don't have the experience to use for other occasions. I am thinking to buy one for experiment. I was thinking for fl-600r. I don't know if it's diverse all these money ;. A second solution is fl-300 r, although this seem like a toy.

    Sorry for my bad english..
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