FL-36 Flash Cycle Time

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Boatman, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. I've joined in on a couple of threads regarding the FL-36 and the Panasonic equivalent; and the slow cycle time of these two flashes compared their FL-50/FL500 brothers.

    I ordered a set of Maha Energy Immedion AA batteries thinking that these may have faster cycle time than standard AA batteries - they do. But what really makes a difference is the lens you use. Up until now I had been using the f4.0-5.8, 14-140 zoom. With this I typically experienced 3 to 7 second cycle times. I recently purchased a Panasonic f1.7/20 lens, which of course, is much faster. With this lens the flash cycles in about 1 to 3 seconds depending upon subject distance. I tried a Takumar f1.4/50 and got similar results.

    Moral of the story: FL-50/FL500 faster cycle times? Yes. Better batteries faster cycle times? Yes. But faster LENS makes all the difference. The flash does not discharge as much and is much quicker to cycle. Try it out. You will be impressed.

    The attached shot was from our belated Halloween (delayed due to the freak snow storm here). I used the 1.7/20 with the camera set in iA mode, RAW plus small JPG file. The image is the JPG down res'd for 72dpi viewing.
     
  2. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yeah, but ...

    TTL with faster lenses and flash only for fill light will result in low power flashing and faster cycle times.

    Manual flash depends on the power level setting and lens don't matter.

    Aperture and ISO control flash power required (mostly). Bigger Ap and/or higher ISO gives even low power and faster cycle times! True whether TTL or manual.
     
  3. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 16, 2011
    The FL-36R doesn't have much horsepower to charge its capacitors, as it has only 3V (at best) from its two AA batteries. On the other hand it's much smaller and lighter than the FL-50R or other large flashes. I used my Canon 580EX on my EP1 for a while as a trigger flash for studio shooting and it made an awful camera to handle as it was hugely top-heavy.

    Anyway, the best thing you can do with the FL-36R is shoot wide open and bump the ISO up as high as you can stand. All M43 cameras show little noise at ISO1600 if the image is exposed properly; as long as you're exposing properly, high ISO makes the FL-36R a much more responsive flash. You just have to pay close attention to your exposures. Underexpose and shadow noise will creep in and wreck your IQ.

    Or just buy and FL-50R. But with a big, heavy flash like that you might as well shoot a DSLR.
     
  4. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    As with everything else in life, it's a compromise. Small flashes have less space for batteries, and recharge slower. They also have smaller capacitors, so each flash depletes a greater percentage of the charge. You can't have everything. (Where would you put it?)
     
  5. flash

    flash Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 29, 2010
    1 hour from Sydney Australia.
    Gordon
    This is very true, however, Olympus would do themselves a big favour if the introduced an intmediate model, like Canon have done with the 430 series.

    Gordon
     
  6. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 16, 2011
    I don't think we need an intermediate model so much as new versions of these flashes designed for Micro Four Thirds. We could use much smaller flashes with bounce/swivel, in both two and four cell designs. The existing flashes are fairly compact, but even the FL-36R is borderline awkward on M43 bodies. Something smaller is needed. Not so much lighter, just smaller.
     
  7. robzr

    robzr Mu-43 Regular

    25
    May 28, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Theres a couple other (possible) options for upping the recycle times on the FL-36R as well.

    AA rechargeable Nickel Zinc batteries are 1.65v per cell as opposed to the 1.2v for NiMH cells or 1.5v for Alkalines, and I believe, although I'm no electrical engineer, they have a lower internal resistance which translates into a higher amount of current, i.e.: more amperage, faster charging of the capacitor(s).

    Also, the FL-36R can take a CR-V3 Lithium 3V cell. I'm not sure how these compare to NIMH or Alkaline AA's as far as flash recycle time. There is a rechargeable version, the RCR-V3 which is a 3.7v Lithium Ion cell, which may or may not fit as I believe it has a slightly modified form factor from the CR-V3. It also may or may not damage the flash, again, I'm no electrical engineer, but I wouldn't think a mere 23% higher voltage than alkalines would be an issue.

    You can also try Lithium AA batteries, a bit pricey, but they are higher voltage and they have a high energy density, but I'm not sure about recycle times.

    If anyone has any of these and cares to do a controlled comparison I'd be really interested in hearing the results.

    Rob
     
  8. robzr

    robzr Mu-43 Regular

    25
    May 28, 2010
    Portland, OR
  9. robertro

    robertro Mu-43 Veteran

    223
    Apr 22, 2010
    I have found that Sanyo Eneloops not only don't discharge over time, but provide faster recharge times on my FL-36R.
     
  10. robzr

    robzr Mu-43 Regular

    25
    May 28, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Whoah, I'm pretty impressed. I got the Nickel Zinc batteries today and did a comparison with NiMH (two types; PowerEX 2700 may and Sanyo/Apple 2100 mah LSD).

    With the NIMH, at GN 46 (100%) in manual mode, it was 8 seconds to recharge between flashes, with both types of NiMH, tested about 4 to 5 times with each brand.

    With the NiZN, it was 4 seconds! Consistently, tested about 10 times. Recycle time was cut in half! Impressive.

    At GN 23 (50% power), with NiMH, it was about 2 seconds between flash recharges. With the NiZn batteries, the first couple shots were instant, after that about half a second between recharges. That's an even more dramatic difference, and might be closer to real world use for many of us.

    Not bad for $13 shipped for 4 batteries + a charger!!! Given that they are 1.6v each and Alkalines are 1.5v each, I'd imagine they are safe to use from a voltage standpoint (7% voltage is nothing, the components in the circuit probably have a tolerance for at least 50% higher than spec'd voltage. I say that as a hobbyist but NOT a trained EE, so take that with a grain of salt). Personally, I'm totally comfortable with the voltage.

    However with heavy use it might be an issue from a heat standpoint, if you are firing the flash twice as often as it was designed to be fired, that can't be sustainable for long.

    I haven't (and don't plan on) testing the duration of the battery life, with my style shooting I'm sure it won't an issue, I don't do too much flash at one time.

    Sweet!

    Rob
     
  11. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The RCR-V3 batteries (rechargeable version of the CR-V3) will not work on the FL-36R, but the CR-V3 will.

    I haven't tried the rechargeable Nickel Zinc batteries, but now I'm really interested!
     
  12. robzr

    robzr Mu-43 Regular

    25
    May 28, 2010
    Portland, OR
    Hows the performance (cycle time & duration) of the CR-V3's? If they aren't rechargeable thats pretty much a deal breaker for me but I'm curious how well they work.

    Rob
     
  13. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    NiZn no bueno

    So I got the powergenix batteries and while they do result in a modest boost in cycle times for my flash (due to the lower internal resistance and not due to the higher voltage) they do not hold a charge for more than a day. Charge them and use them or you will be sorry. Self discharge is the effect and it seems not so good on these batteries.

    2.5W-Hr capacity is pretty good but I have not yet measured it to verify the accuracy under flash operation. Typically higher drain currents also result in lower capacity.
     
  14. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    304
    Jul 16, 2011
    Wow, that's a really poor showing! Could it be bad cells? That's by far the fastest self-discharge I've ever heard of in a cell, and I haven't heard anyone else mention anything like that with those cells.

    Bummer. :(
     
  15. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Glitch!

    So I played with the powergenix batteries some more and no problems now. Must have been the kids ... they always get into my stuff - drives me nuts. The charge held for a few weeks.

    However, I did get some very high temperatures. Many full (65+) power flashes from the Yongnuo560 and then it stopped working so I figured the batteries drained. I took them out and they were quite hot (~65 centigrade). I've heard of flashes melting themselves (at the flash tube mountings) but the flash head was just warm. The batteries and battery compartment were very hot.

    For the price and performance these batteries are quite nice and I think I'll be getting some more.