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First "real" flash recommendations?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by flamingfish, Apr 3, 2016.

  1. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    I took an intro workshop on using flash today and realized that my FL-300r wasn't going to cut it, more because of its limited mobility than for lack of power. My instructor recommended getting something with 180 degree swivel in both directions, and a lot of what he showed us involved turning the flash backwards and bouncing off the wall behind.

    What would you recommend for a relatively compact, relatively inexpensive flash that has swivel? I'm not looking for a lot of power at this point. Ease of use is a plus, obviously, since I'm a novice at flash.

    Do I need TTL? The Yongnuo III and IV seem popular, but how much of a hassle is it not to have TTL?

    Any recommendations for a good book on using flash (at more of a "for dummies" level than a "Light and Science" level) would also be welcome. (Yes, I've been looking at the materials on The Strobist site, but wouldn't mind other recommendations for learning material.)

    I'm using an E-M5 Mark I.

    Thanks.
     
  2. NoTan2

    NoTan2 Mu-43 Regular

    114
    Mar 16, 2014
    Newcastle NSW Australia
    Paul
    Hi,

    Do you intend to use the flash on or off camera?

    I just fitted one of my Yongnuo 560 IIIs onto my E-M5/12-40 (something I wouldn't normally do - but only since you might be thinking along those lines) and it feels a bit unwieldy to me. I almost never use on-camera flash and instead mount them on stands with umbrellas and radio triggers. So no TTL for me.

    I also have a Yongnuo 568ex which offers TTL on my Nikons and almost never use it on-camera. Mostly because the combination is too heavy for my liking but also because TTL doesn't always work as well or seamlessly as you think it might (at least in my experience). I can never seem to get it to expose correctly when bouncing off walls or the ceiling and just set the power manually. (That's probably because I haven't bothered to spend the time to get the camera set up correctly, however.)

    The 560 will swivel 180 degrees to the left but only 90 to the right, by the way.

    A 560 is certainly a cheap enough way to see if you like flash but others on here prefer some of the other brands.
     
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  3. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Very few flashes go 180 in both directions, but honestly it's not needed. Just flip the camera and it's the same thing.

    Anyway, I think Olympus mid-range FL-600R (Panasonic clone is FL360L) is a very solid flash and should be the first option anyone with an m4/3 camera considers.
     
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  4. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
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  5. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    IMO anything bigger than the FL-600R/FL360L is too big to sit on the hot-shoe directly. I've got YN560s but only ever use them off camera with the YN560-TX controller, even on an E-M1 with an L-bracket. You could try and find a used older FL-36R which is a little smaller and lighter but has a longer recycle time. I personally also have a Nissin i40 which has more physical controls rather than the LCD and buttons like the OEM ones. It's quite beginner friendly, but is also pretty fully featured when you need it to be.

    Those are the smaller of the TTL units with tilt and swivel. TBH with enough practice or in controlled settings manual flash is fine (and often even desirable), but if you're just starting out or in variable lighting conditions bounce TTL is your friend. That's why I have both the manual powerful YN560s for remote off camera and the dinky i40 for bounce TTL.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
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  6. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Lorenzo
    The Meike MK-320 tilts and swivels too.
     
  7. mannukiddo

    mannukiddo Mu-43 Veteran

    217
    Jul 28, 2013
    India
    Another vote for YN560 IIIs controlled by YN560 TX. I still struggle with placement and avoiding shadows as its still early days with a flash for me. But the entire kit is still cheaper than my dedicated Nikon TTL flash.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk
     
  8. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Didn't know about this. It has some pretty major limitations though with only 60/90 degree swivel (no 180 degree in any direction), and no zoom head.
     
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  9. John M Flores

    John M Flores Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 7, 2011
    Somerville, NJ
    A manual flash like a Yongnuo is a great way to learn about flash power.
     
  10. NY Gadget Guy

    NY Gadget Guy Mu-43 Regular

    48
    Mar 17, 2016
    The FL-300R is very lightweight. If all you want to do is point the light in an arbitrary direction, first try firing it in RC mode using the FL-LM2. To make the sensor on the FL-300R pick up the triggering flashes over a more forgiving range of angles, try using clear double-sided tape to attach a clear Lego brick over the IR sensor.

    If the IR sensor angles don't work for you, buy an off-camera shoe cord before investing in a bracket.
     
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  11. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I use flash a fair bit indoors to take pictures of my kids. These are not studio shots and I cant set up my softbox, umbrellas and beauty dishes all over the house and hope they go to these areas. Therefore I generally bounce flash (and flag) with my on camera fl600r and occasionally use 2 flashes (fl600r and yn560), one for bounce (on camera) and one in hand for more direction.

    I usually recommend the following video to start learning about using light and how to add direction to it.

    Edit: I rarely use ttl anymore, its just too inconsistent to me but might be the way I'm metering.

    Example 1, single on camera bounce flash.

    25329469840_1c110bc1f7_h. Hair Chalk by Siftu, on Flickr

    Example 2, dual flash, one bounce off the ceiling and the other in hand with a beauty dish attached.

    25280704120_e1f4dd5c36_h. Haircut by Siftu, on Flickr
     
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  12. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    771
    Nov 16, 2012
    Emily
    Thanks! The comments on size are particularly relevant to me -- keeping size and weight down is a priority for me. I haven't seen a Nissin i40 in person. It looks like it's smaller than the FL-600r. Is that right? Between the i40 and the FL-600r, which would you choose?

    NY Gadget Guy, I've experimented with handholding the FL-300r so I can point it in different directions, but haven't been happy with the results. (Hmm -- where can I get a single clear Lego brick?) It's probably user error, so I suppose I should practice more before I decide I need more equipment.

    Siftu, beautiful images of a beautiful subject! I'm a big fan of the pink highlights.
     
  13. siftu

    siftu Mu-43 Top Veteran

    633
    Mar 26, 2015
    Bay Area, CA
    siftu
    I guess my point was, yes studio type shots have their place but if you are on the move I still think you can get decent results with on camera flash. People seem to discount it way to easily.
     
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  14. kidrussell

    kidrussell Mu-43 Regular

    53
    Oct 14, 2013
    Chagrin Falls, OH
    Chris
    I have purchased 2 pre-owned FL600Rs and I think for simplicity of use, especially for Olympus cameras, this is the best value option. Assuming you purchase from a trusted seller. I haven't spent more than $175, and both flashes work flawlessly. Using it off camera is a breeze, and the TTL performance, even in my still-learning hands, is really remarkable. I have never owned another brand, and I read some are excellent, but for someone new to speedlights, like I was, I'd go with the FL600r. My 2 cents.
     
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  15. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Ext Flash for OMD 5 Mk 2

    Have the i40 and fl600r and don't rate the i40 at all. If you want something that sits in the hot shoe only and you only use one focal length with it - it will do. But it's pretty regularly within about $10-20 or so of the fl600r when both are on sale here and at that price it's ridiculous.
     
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  16. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    764
    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    [paraphrased from an earlier post of mine here] Understanding Flash Photography: How to Shoot Great Photographs Using Electronic Flash: Bryan Peterson: 9780817439569: Amazon.com: Books for the simple fact that it is a great book for those who use ONE hotshoe flash and want to really understand how to work an external flash and know exactly what they are likely to get when they set it up. With a lot of books that deal with flash photography, they immediately jump into the assumption that you are using 3 monolights, 60" umbrellas, softboxes you can live inside, a white reflective movable wall, and 12-foot backdrops, etc. I really just want to be able to get out of TTL mode if needed and feel comfortable doing it. I think towards the end of the book he throws in a second flash but over all a very nice pretty basic primer for someone with a single flash unit.
     
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  17. BSH

    BSH Mu-43 Veteran

    207
    Jan 18, 2012
    WI
    All this, times two. FL600R tilts, rotates, can be hot-shoe or remote wireless, does wireless TTL, is engineered to go with all the exposure & flash stuff on the Oly cameras. Yes, there are other options, and you could save a few bucks. For my money, the FL600R is a reliable, quality, good solution. I'm completely happy with mine. They pop up in the member marketplace here sometimes, and they're on Ebay.
     
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