EM-5 fastest sync speed and the FL50R & FL36R

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by thinkcooper, Apr 25, 2012.

  1. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Oct 29, 2011
    I contacted Olympus' pro tech support earlier this week with a question. (BTW, they are a remarkable support team, very professional indeed)

    My question? With my EM-5 sync speed set to 1/250th, only the new included clip-on flash will sync to that 1/250th speed. Both my FL50R and FL36R sync slower. 1/160 for the FL50R, 1/200 for the FL36R. I initially thought this was a bug and contacted support with the question.

    Today, I got a call back from their team with clarification and confirmation of what I'd observed. Turns out there are indeed different sync speed limits for each flash. Apparently based on the power of the flash, the sync speed is limited to slower numbers than what the camera is ultimately capable of. He suggested using FP mode for faster shutter settings, a feature I love and use a lot. The tech agent also mentioned that Olympus would be updating their website to point out the discrepancy.

    My guess is that any newer OLY flashes will be supporting the faster sync speed.
     
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  2. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    Good to know - I just picked up a 36r and will be getting the 300r as well with the rebate - does the high speed sync/FP mode work wirelessly? I haven't read the manual yet, but will get to it!
     
  3. bitmatt

    bitmatt Mu-43 Veteran

    271
    Apr 7, 2012
    Cleveland
    Matt
    Excellent info- I've been experimenting with the wireless sync- I'll try the FP mode & see if there is a big difference.
     
  4. thinkcooper

    thinkcooper Mu-43 Veteran

    227
    Oct 29, 2011
    Both flashes' max Sync speeds are what you'll be limited to whether mounted or in remotely triggered RC mode. And yes, faster FP shutter speeds do work with the FL36R and FL50R whether mounted or remotely triggered in RC mode. I don't have a 300R so can't comment on it's native max speed.
     
  5. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    Man that took forever to find the manual!

    Not FP compliant, oh well, still nice and compact, between the 36r I just picked up and a color customizable led panel I got last month I think I'll be set
     
  6. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    263
    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    I don't understand this. I don't claim to much expertise, but my understanding has always been that maximum sync speed is a function of the shutter (the max shutter speed at which the second curtain begins closing only after the first curtain is fully open), not flash power. Are they saying that the Olympus flashes have unusually long flash durations? (I guess this could have an effect.) Is it certain that this isn't just a firmware issue? Maybe someone who knows more can explain.

    In any event, it's disappointing. I'd been looking forward to the faster sync speed of the E-M5 with my FL36r.
     
  7. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    Midwest
    Paul
    The FL36r will still have the high speed/FP function when used wirelessly. You'd have to use the on-board flash as master control only though since the new flash that comes with the e-m5 is only upto 1/250th sync speed and doesn't support FP mode. I know with my Pentax flash for high speed sync you sacrifice the usable distance of the flash - essentially from what I understand the flash puts out a stronger, shorter burst to sync with the shutter, which sacrifices flash distance coverage. I would assume the Olympus's FP mode works in a similar manner.

    My guess would be since the 36r is an older design, it is probably a power output safety precaution (for the camera's electronics) that does not allow a faster sync upto 1/250th with the older flashes. Perhaps the new 600r will support the 1/250th sync.
     
  8. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    807
    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    In past experiments, I've been able to use the FL36r with my E-P3 at up to 1/320 - when using the flash as slave. In this configuration, it truly is about the shutter and not the flash. This is the Strobist approach, ie, Manual exposure. In many settings, this gives sufficient, if not better control.

    Update: Tested my E-M5 - shutter behaves differently than the EP3, unfortunately. 1/200 sec remains the max with the Fl36r, even when triggered using wireless RF-602 units. On the E-M5, the shudder shadow comes from the top of frame. If you don't need flash in the top of frame, eg, if it's sky, then you can use 1/250 (85% coverage from the bottom) or even 1/320 (70% coverage from the bottom).
     
  9. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    It's more likely that there is a longer firing delay with the older flashes. Most probably the reset time between the pre flash and the actual firing. So the shutter needs to be open longer because it's waiting for the flash to fire.

    Using auto mode may (or may not ) let you shoot at a slightly higher speed. It's also worth noting that the maximum sync speed will generally be lower with studio strobes and any wireless system as there is a signal transmission time that needs to be taken into account.

    Gordon
     
  10. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Has anyone tried using a third party flash in manual mode, or put tape over the contacts of the dedicated flash? Try it, and select shutter speeds 1/320 and higher. You may be able to shoot at much higher shutter speeds this way. Chances are, the flash communicates info to the camera thru the data pins that tells the camera the max. shutter speed. I would think a firmware update would correct this.
     
  11. ginsbu

    ginsbu New to Mu-43

    7
    May 13, 2011
    I posted about this issue in another forum:
    http://forums.dpreview.com/...ms/readflat.asp?forum=1041&message=41488150

    Here's a summary of my results:
    • E-M5 limits shutter to only 1/160 with Metz 48. (E-620 allowed 1/180)
    • Metz 48 & YN-560 II sync cleanly at 1/200 at full power. 1/250 exhibits slight darkening at the top of the frame but no actual black band -- totally usable with minimal PP correction IMO, but not completely clean. 1/320 shows enough shutter intrusion to be problematic.
    • Metz 48 & YN-560 II sync cleanly at 1/250 at 1/4 power. 1/320 is almost clean: there's just the slighest black band at the top -- no more than 5% of the frame at most.

    I find this situation quite disappointing. I was expecting better sync performance than my E-620, but I've actually got slightly worse (except with the underpowered clip-on)! Moreover, it seems quite unnecessary since my testing shows 1/200 is clean at full power and 1/250 is usable; at lower power 1/250 syncs clean. I can work around this for manual flash, but I don't need high sync speeds when I typically use manual flash. The situation when I need faster sync most -- fill flash on bright days -- is just the situation when I'd also prefer to use TTL!
     
  12. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    You may need an Olympus flash to use FP TTL AUTO, I just now tried 1/3200 on my M5 with the FL-36R set at FP TTL AUTO with perfect results. Perhaps your 3 party flashes do not offer high speed TTL AUTO.
     
  13. ginsbu

    ginsbu New to Mu-43

    7
    May 13, 2011
    This thread is about flash sync speeds, which only applies to normal flash firing, not FP mode. (Metz flashes fully support FP flash, in any case.)

    My main concern is being able to use flash to balance exposure with bright sun, for which FP flash is useless. See here: http://neilvn.com/tangents/2010/08/02/high-speed-flash-sync/
     
  14. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    This is what you wrote.
     
  15. ginsbu

    ginsbu New to Mu-43

    7
    May 13, 2011
    Yes, and that's precisely the situation where FP flash is useless.

    TTL is distinct from FP flash. TTL and manual are different ways of metering flash output. Normal and FP flash are different ways the flash fires: one powerful burst vs many short, less powerful bursts. These distinctions are orthogonal to one another.
     
  16. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Like I stated I my previous post, fill flash using FP TTL at 1/3200 sec. resulted in perfect exposure. If you have an Olympus FL-36R, refer to page 18 and pages 44 and for 45 of the owners manual. You will see it works outdoors at higher shutter speeds for fill flash. You have the option of FP AUTO as well as FP MANUAL. Try it, works perfect.
     
  17. ginsbu

    ginsbu New to Mu-43

    7
    May 13, 2011
    As I stated in my previous post, I am not (nor was anyone in the thread previously) discussing FP flash. I am talking about the flash sync speed, a concept that is inapplicable to FP flash.

    I suggest you read the post I linked to above from Neil van Niekirk's blog to understand why FP flash is not useful for when you are trying to use flash to compete with bright sun. Here's a brief quote with the essential point:
    In other words, once you are using FP (HSS) flash, increasing shutter speed decreases flash exposure simultaneously with ambient exposure, so it gains you no increase in flash output relative to ambient exposure.
     
  18. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    484
    May 2, 2012
    I must read the manual more carefully but I've read a description on B&H that the E-M5 will support super FP mode.

    Sorry I'm not familiar with Oly products but will the FL-36R support high speed sync? FL50R?? From what I gather it will.

    I tend to bounce flash and use TTL and adjust flash power compensation. Is the FL-36R a decent product?

    Max flash sync (manual mode) isn't a major concern to me since when I use my Einstein strobes I'm relying on flash exposure and a shutter speed of 1/125 or 1/160 is fine. I'm just wanting high speed sync (super fp??) for fill when I shoot wideopen apertures.
     
  19. ginsbu

    ginsbu New to Mu-43

    7
    May 13, 2011
    Yes, the E-M5 supports HSS, as do the Olympus flashes (except for the FL-300R, I believe).

    Many people like the FL-36R, but it suffers from slower recycle times due to using only two AAs. My understanding is that it has been discontinued and effectively replaced by the FL-600R, which is also very compact but takes four AAs. I'd say that's your better bet. Alternatively, the Metz 50 (update to the 48 I have) is a very good value.
     
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