1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Dumb flash question..

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by chrism_scotland, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I've been lookng at possibly picking up a flashgun to use with my EP2, never really used flash but I've been reading some of the stuff on the strobist blog and would like to try something new.

    I've been looking at possibly the Olympus FL36/FL36R or the Nissin Di466 Flashguns as they seem the cheapest, is there any difference in functionality between the two? Totally lost with flash sadly :confused:
     
  2. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    Don't get the FL-36 mate, it's overpriced and underpowered - I've got a Metz 48 AF-1 which does TTL/wireless with the PEN, but also have a cheap Yongnuo which is manual/optical slave only - the Metz hardly ever comes out the bag!

    Seriously, after very little practice you'll be within half a stop of getting your settings right for the manual flash every time - the other thing manual flash will give you is consistency with every press of the shutter button, as it's not capable of deciding how much light it thinks you need.

    If you want to use flash on camera, that's a different story and I'd say go for the Nissin or the Metz.... I'm only hanging onto the Metz for a wedding I've got to take a few photos at next month then it's gone to be replaced with a second Yongnuo!

    It's actually very good fun, and a little can go a long way - I took the image below (not with a PEN) of my daughters kitten using the Yongnuo, one 33" shoot through umbrella and a reflector.

    EDIT: Just remembered your P2 doesn't have pop up flash! You'd need wireless triggers as well....

    2ezqqys.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    As far as the FL-36 being overpriced and underpowered... I agree with you in comparison to the Metz and Nissin flashes. If you're in an area though which only sell OEM flashes however (ie, Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta, Sony) then the FL-36 is actually a fantastic value for your money - best bang for the buck at a retail store. But once you throw a Metz, Nissin, Yongnuo, Sunpak, or Vivitar in the mix... all of a sudden all OEM flash guns become overpriced. xD

    Since the OP mentioned looking at the Nissin, then I would agree with the "overpriced and underpowered" statement. If you have availability or time to wait (for shipping) of those non-OEM flashes, then there is so much better you could buy for your money, like the Metz, Nissin, or Yongnuos.
     
  5. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    142
    Jul 20, 2011
    I have the Nissin bigger brother the Di622. It is an amazing flash for the money. It has some serious power on full, and with the new X-Sync circuitry/firmware you can use it with radio triggers. Well worth the money.
     
  6. JayTee

    JayTee Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    May 24, 2011
    Worcestershire
    I bought an FL-36R last weekend secondhand from a local camera shop (London Camera Exchange in Worcester) for £100 which I thought at that price made it quite an attractive proposition. It works well on my e-p2 and I'm more than happy with it
     
    • Like Like x 1
  7. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    Thanks guys, much to look at and think about, how complex is learning to use manual flash?
     
  8. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    Like Dekhog said, it will take some experimenting - you are essentially learning what manual exposure settings will work - once you learn the combination, it will pretty much always be the same (with small changes for effect). So it is a bit of a curve, but not much - if the photo is dark, open the aperture, slow the shutter, higher iso, add power to the flash (any combination of those four) - if the photo is over exposed, do the opposite!

    In essence you're taking the 3 main parameters of aperture, shutter and ISO and adding an element (fixed light source) that will have a specific, repeatable effect on those three parameters - learn how it affects the parameters and then learn how to manipulate it!
     
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Respectfully going to disagree here. Manual flash in day to day photography is an unnecessary PITA. TTL is sooooo much more convenient in most shooting circumstances. I use manual flash nearly every day in the studio but when I'm on the move why add an extra layer of complexity. Manual flash is like manual focus. You can learn it. Anyone can do it. You may get a bit more control over the output, but it will slow you down and in most circumstances will just make it more difficult to get the shot. Manual flash just isn't going to cut it for any subject that moves, like say, anyone you know, especially kids.

    I have an FL36R and except for the slow recycle times, due to having only two batteries, it's a good little flash that suits the m4/3 system. So i do tend to use it at 200-400 ISO. And if you want to play with manual or auto it has one of the best implementations of those I've ever seen built into a portable gun. Plus it wil do wireless TTL with a Pen camera body if it has a built in flash, it has both tilt and bounce, does high speed sync and fill-in, has an illuminated display and is small enough to always have with you. If you want something bigger then the Metz 58AF1 or 2 or the even cheaper Chinese branded guns are a great alternative and very cheap on eBay.

    For occasional use I think the FL36R is a little ripper.

    Gordon
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Not difficult and IMHO worth the effort even if, as Gordon says, you end up using TTL in most situations.

    Also respectfully disagreeing:
    Only if the flash to subject distance doesn't change. I think this statement is a very misleading oversimplification.
    Shutter speed has no effect on flash exposure as long as the shutter speed is at "X" synch/recommended maximum or slower. The only change from a slower shutter speed would be to include more ambient light in the exposure, which is quite a different thing.

    and agreeing:
    Yes, but for someone new to flash, spending some time understanding and using guide numbers, different levels of outdoor fill, off-camera bounce from a ceiling, etc. would provide a good foundation. Being able to duplicate DekHog's cute kitty photo would be a good self-teaching goal.
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    There's the key, Gordon... You use manual flash in the studio for a reason right? For somebody like me who always uses modifiers on flash and hardly ever uses just one single flash, TTL can be used (especially with the remote commander to control groups), but it's an unnecessary PITA when manual can be setup way easier and faster. ;) TTL doesn't know how many stops your modifiers are losing you, how far your flash is from the subject, what angle your flash is aimed at, etc., etc.

    So, they both serve their purposes...

    As far as learning to use manual flash, the easiest thing to do is learn to think and evaluate what you see in EV values. For instance, when I see a photo, particularly when I'm "chimp" it on the LCD after a shot, I can tell right away that it needs +/- xx EV exposure more or less. From there, it's very easy to adjust your settings to match the proper exposure if you think in EV stops. For instance, going from f/5.6 to f/8 aperture is losing one EV. Going from 1/60s to 1/125s shutter speed is also losing 1 EV. Going from ISO 400 to ISO 800 is gaining 1 EV. Just change the appropriate setting by how ever many EV stops you evaluated the scene to be under or over exposed. Experience will tell you right away after you've done this long enough.
     
  12. kundalini

    kundalini Mu-43 Regular

    84
    Aug 20, 2011
    I think the best advice is to learn how to effectively use both Manual and TTL flash. Each can produce good results. I don't know if it goes on here, but a couple of the other photo fourms I use have these debates (arguments, really) about which shooting mode is best PSAM. I use what I use, but good on you for finding out what works for you.

    If I go to the trouble of setting up the lights, stands, modifiers, etc, I usually shoot in Manual Flash and always Manual shootong mode. I will also use a hand held light meter to set exposure and shoot a grey card. If I'm shooting with the flash hotshoe mounted, I'll usually defer to TTL initially.

    I was happy to confirm what PCB said, that my Cybersync's will be okay with the EP3. Haven't gotten over to try the monolights yet, but I took this self port with Main light Nikon SB800 in a 24x24" soft box and a snooted SB800 as an accent light.


    [​IMG]
     
  13. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    There are no dumb flash questions.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  14. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    Here's the key Ned. I'm not worried about what's best for Ned, or myself, for that matter. All I'm discussing is a direct answer to the original question. What's a good flash for the EP2 for someone who doesn't have a lot of flash experience. That's all. Everything else is best left for another thread. I have a lot of guns that fit on the EP2, which I also own. I've got the FL14, 36R, 50R, three Metz 58af2's and a box full of manual and auto guns collected over the last 20 years. "I" think the best flash for everyday use on the EP2 is the FL36R. Not only is it TTL when needed, but also a great little manual and auto flash should the OP decide to do some strobist stuff later on. So you get the best of both worlds. A manual only flash may be cheaper but in many cases a huge PITA for the OP. It's also a great size match to the EP2. It's not going to overwhelm the balance of the camera in question and with both bounce and tilt allows some really creative use even on camera.

    As for why I use manual flash in studio. That's easy. Because there's no radio based wireless TTL system for micro 4/3. And it'll stay that way until Pocket Wizard realise that they can make the Canon PW hardware work on 4/3 with some new firmware. I didn't use manual flash a single time in about two years when I was heavily invested in Canon. I had 6 Pocket Wizard TTL units, 5 Canon guns and an AC3. What a revalation. It changed the way I work forever and for that time made 20K worth of studio lights instantly redundant. Set-ups that took 30 minutes with manual strobes were done in a few minutes with TTL and pocketwizards. There's no equivalent for m4/3 (no the IR based system for the Pens doesn't count. I work often outside line of sight and range) so I'm back to manual. Or, in time I may switch to an LED based solution, such is the rate of progress in that area. You say that you can set you manual faster than TTL in a studio situation and that's true for 4/3. But trust me. A Canon system with Pocket Wizard TT5's and an AC3 all in TTL is in a different league of speed and control. Your experience is only true with the limitations of the 4/3 flash system and only when using more than one flash at a time. It also fails when you're using an EP2 for general purpose photography, like the OP.

    Outside the studio I'm using one flash, usually on camera or connected by a TTL cord and I never use manual, ever. Different techniques that are appropriate for the conditions. I like the idea posted above about learning both. The FL36R will allow you to do that.

    As for your EV lesson. Thanks. But I think that it's the wrong work flow, for me. I've never set up a light and then adjusted my aperture to suit it. I decide where my framing and DOF will be and then make the lights do that. So I adjust the output on the lights. It takes time. In the studio I have time. I never just change the camera settings after the lights are set up. You are of course free to do whatever works for you.

    Oh, and changing shutter speeds, as you cite, has absolutely no impact on the exposure of a flash. Only aperture and that, of course also affects DOF.

    Gordon
     
  15. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I have to agree with Flash, i think the FL-36R would be the best for someone wanting a rather compact full featured flash that's easy to use.
     
  16. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    218
    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Pavel
    I am using FL-36R on small body Panasonic GF2, it is well balanced and does not seem bulky. When fully discharged it is bit slow on recycle time due to 2AA power, but it is happening rarely as I don't shoot weddings ;) When comparing to other flashes kindly bear in mind that it has FP TTL mode and direct control of flash exposure compensation. FL-36R is great piece of accessory which can be in terms of functionality compared only with highest Metz flashes (50 AF1 for instance). From my point of view it perfectly matches small m4/3 cameras and is great companion for amateur purposes.
     
  17. DekHog

    DekHog Mu-43 Top Veteran

    579
    May 3, 2011
    Scotland
    I don't think the OP wants to use the flash on camera though, and if he doesn't theres no point in paying for TTL as his body doesn't do wireless TTL anyway.....

    He'll learn a lot more not depending on TTL and will also be able to pick up flash, lightstand, triggers and umbrella for the same price as a single FL-36R.
     
  18. chrism_scotland

    chrism_scotland Mu-43 Veteran

    483
    Jun 1, 2011
    Edinburgh, Scotland
    I was more thinking about off camera flash to play with really, I had forgotten about not having a flash on the EP2! and also there not being a PC Sync port... I'll probably give it a go with some cheaper manual stuff first and see how I get on!
     
  19. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Do you use the Electronic Viewfinder attachment? If so, then you'll have to work around it and just use the viewfinder when you're not using flash (which can work out, as you normally need the viewfinder in bright sunlight). I do wish they'd add a simple PC Sync port though... :rolleyes:
     
  20. wirehead

    wirehead Mu-43 Rookie

    10
    Aug 15, 2011
    Horses for courses.

    IMHO, if you want a super-easy, super-friendly environment in dark rooms, you should just crank your ISO up. If you want better quality, get a full frame sensor.

    A few CFL bulbs and light mounts also can work with your ISO at 800 and then you can use light modifiers and pretty much see what you are shooting.

    Another easy option is to get one or more of the Alien Bees units (or other studio-oriented flashes) with a modelling light. Again, you can see what the light is doing with your own eyes, it's just that with an Alien Bees you can go back to ISO 200.

    Do remember that the Vivitar 285HV does have automatic control, just not TTL. So you can put the 285HV on your hotshoe, shoot, and generally get decent results. Just leave it in A or M mode and use the little ring calculator on the side.

    Also remember that good non-TTL flash gear is nearly forever. I don't own any TTL gear and it works equally well on my E-P3 as it does on my old Canon G7, my even older Canon TX film SLR, and my even older Mamiya RB67 medium format SLR. With, of course, the notable exception that it's much easier to work out the exposure settings on my E-P3 or G7 and then transfer them to my film camera than try to manage guide numbers or burn through polaroids.

    I think it's mostly a matter of your disposition. Are you more OK with knowing that you probably will have to take a few test shots before getting the good one or are you more OK with everything working nearly flawlessley until it suddenly doesn't?