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E-M5 flash modes explanation

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by walter_j, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    The E-M5 SCP has A,B,C, and camera flash modes, with FP TTL, FP M, off, a M value, a Normal flash and Super FP flash settings. Is there a guide for using these settings?

    I also have a Opus Pro H150 light, which flashes sometimes, and other times it doesn't. When it doesn't flash, it seems that the on-camera flash isn't triggering the flash. Any idea whats going on?
     
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    The manual explains these settings somewhat.

    A, B, C are control channels for remote flashes (versus on camera flash), and are only applicable in Olympus RC mode. This only works with compatible flashes, which yours does not sound like.

    FP (Focal Plane) flash is another name for high speed sync, which allows shutter speeds higher than the flash sync speed, with some tradeoffs (no freezing motion, power loss). Normal flash is... normal. Once again, FP only works with a compatible flash.

    FP TTL is FP mode with TTL metering. Only works with a compatible flash. FP M is FP mode with manual exposure setting. Again, only works with a compatible flash.

    That leaves good old M. Manual everything, no pre flashes for metering or FP pulses. You need to be in this mode for your particular slave flash to work properly. Remember to also turn off RC mode as you do not have an Olympus RC system slave flash.

    Edit: Also, the FL-LM2 is pretty weak, and cannot swivel, so isn't necessarily the best optical commander unit. You might have to manually dial up the power and use a reflector/GoBo card to have it still trigger but not affect the exposure.
     
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  3. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    939
    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    There's a video that explains the RC wireless flash mode (as well as the menus) at:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxFFkZot24I

    There are some differences between the Olympus PEN the video is talking about and the E-M5, but it should help you get a grasp on things. The portion discussing wireless flash starts at 1 hour 16 minutes and 45 seconds. I confess it's been years since I've watched the video.

    It sounds like you are trying to use the Olympus popup flash in TTL or RC wireless mode. The RC wireless mode is ONLY for use with OLYMPUS flashes that are wireless compatible (has an "R" in its model number).

    If you are using an optical slave with the Opus (either built-in or an plug in optical slave), you HAVE to use the Olympus flash in MANUAL mode...no TTL and no RC mode (those are reserved only for compatible Oly flashes).

    What's happening is if you don't use manual flash mode your on-camera flash is firing multiple pulses (either a single preflash to measure TTL level before taking the picture, or multiple to send the code to a compatible Olympus flash)...you don't want that for the Opus. Turn OFF RC mode, and set the camera flash mode to lightning bolt/"Fill In" (forced fire)...that will trigger the on camera flash EVERY time (even if the camera thinks there's enough light and wouldn't normally fire the flash), and will fire a SINGLE pulse.

    Instead of the lightning bolt (full power), you could instead set the flash to a lower power level, lighting bolt with the word FULL or a number like 1/4 and press Info to adjust the power level of the popup flash so you can adjust it high enough to trigger the Opus, but not so high as to overpower the scene.

    The better way to trigger off-camera flashes is with a radio trigger so you don't have the issue of the popup flash overpowering the scene, and no one else's flash will trigger your slave (assuming no one else is using the same radio frequency). Optical slaves are great for controlled conditions (like a studio where you are the only one taking pictures), but if others are firing off their flashes they will trigger your Opus as well.

    I do use optical slaves in the studio...I usually have a radio trigger on one flash, and that flash will trigger the other(s) via optical slaves, but again I don't like having a flash on the camera doing this since it flattens the subject.
     
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  4. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    Just one clarification -

    One change - The A, B, and C are groups of flashes. You can have no flashes in a group, one flash in a group, or several flashes in a group. You control each flash group with the flash control mode (TTL, M, FP, etc) just to the right to f the group.

    On the right hand side of the same screen you will see a "CH" with a number from 1-4 just to the right of that. This is the channel and all flash groups that you want to fire at the same time must be on the same channel to function.

    As an example, you might have a flash in Group A for the key, one flash in Group B for fill, and another flash in Group C for a hair light. All of these would need to be on the same Channel, say Channel 1 to fire the same time.

    There are other alternatives for Groups and Channels, but that might be for another post.
     
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  5. walter_j

    walter_j Mu-43 Veteran

    364
    Sep 10, 2013
    Hagwilget, B.C., Canada
    Walter
    I figured out a part of my problem was the small on camera flash must be viewable by the opus. One of the settings for the optical trigger on the camera is low, mid and high intensity.

    Another issue with TTL is that the subject has to work at not blinking at the pre-flash, but this is a moot point given that TTL ddoesn't work with my setup. I guess thats why shots are totally over-exposed: the camera TTL meter can't account for the external flash. I will experiment more in manual mode.

    Is there monoblock lights that work with olympus RC that you'd reccomend?
     
  6. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Clint
    The Olympus Remote Control for flash is propriety and there are very few flash units that are compatible, but no studio type equipment that I know of. While the line of sight remote flash does come with limits, it is much better than most lead us to believe - especially if you spend some time to find the limits and see what you can make work,
     
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