Flash Advice for OM-D

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by erb3742, Nov 14, 2012.

  1. erb3742

    erb3742 Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2012
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    I purchased the OM-D a couple months ago and have since sold all of my DSLR equipment except for a Canon 430 EX II flash thinking maybe I can use it as a remote flash at some point.

    Given that the holidays are approaching I am looking for flash advice for the OM-D for taking family pictures, etc. I do have fast glass, though I would like to get better with working with a flash as well. What are some of you using for a flash setup, both on camera and off using remote triggers, etc.

  2. tbyork2012

    tbyork2012 Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 14, 2012
    Oxford, UK
    If you have fast glass, then the Olympus FL-300R is excellent (used on camera or as remote - you will need the small flash which comes with the OM-D to be the master). It is small, powerful enough if paired with fast glass, and is very easy to bring along (bear in mind its weight is about 1/3rd of the full size flashes when you add in the 2xAAA batteries). But if you intend using outdoors where you need to use faster shutter speeds and flash, you will need one of the models which can do High speed sync. I myself have only the FL-300R, but am still waiting patiently until I get either the FL-36R or FL-600R.
  3. ccunningham

    ccunningham Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 23, 2010
    For my flash budget, I've had good experiences with both the Neewer tt560 and YongNuo YN560 + the radio triggers that are like $20 US (or sometimes less) for a transmitter and receiver pair. You end up with manual flash which you'll have to get comfortable using, but I think it's surprisingly easy to dial in flash exposure with digital, at least when compared to the days of film.

    If you've got more money to spend, Olympus (and Metz and others) have a number of ttl options, some of them even offer ttl flash metering when used as wireless remotes. I'm hoping next year to get one or two of the Olympus TTL flashes.

    As an alternative, have you considered LED panels? They might or might not be something you would like, I just got a couple of 160 led units yesterday and they're surprisingly bright and cheap. I'm looking forward to trying them out.

    Of course YMMV, I've been liking the stuff I've listed but you might not.
  4. robknight

    robknight Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 15, 2011
    Atlanta, GA
    The Olympus FL-600r is an excellent flash. You can use the pop-up flash that comes with the E-M5 as a remote for off-camera flash, so you won't have to buy separate remotes. The Oly TTL metering works very well in my experience, but of course you can use the Fl-600r in manual mode whether on or off camera.

    There are a couple of posts on my blog about the FL-600r if you are interested.

    • Like Like x 1
  5. rkelac

    rkelac Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2011
    Another option is the Metz 50 AF-1. It's compatible with the OM-D wireless TTL and high-speed sync. It's a bit cheaper than the Olympus.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Brent D. Wilson

    Brent D. Wilson Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 13, 2010
    Although I don't take many flash pictures, my Nissin Di466 works well. It is TTL compatible with 4/3 cameras.
  7. metalmania

    metalmania Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 19, 2012
    Well IMHO the OLD "automatic" flash is more suitable than TTL. The less than $40 Sunpak 422D is perfect for all my cameras.
  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I agree with Metalmania.

    My setup for all my flashing needs (all sorts of brands of cameras)
    * 4x Sunpak 422D. One has a zoom head
    * 2x light stands + umbrellas (one is shoot through capable) (MPEX)
    * 2x Modified TR-PAK with the original cells swapped out for RC Car NiMH battery packs
    * Sunpak 622 (warning use safe-sync with this flash just to be safe. high trigger voltage)
    * Better beamer (used with the 100-300 panny)
    * Sunpak GX8r ring light.
    * Sunpak EXT8 flash cord (warning use safe-sync with this one too)
    * Remote triggers via Cactus (MPEX)

    All that probably costs less than most of the TTL flashes. The 422D has replaceable shoe/modules for when you break the foot... easily found for very cheap these days. The remote cord is unique that it keeps the Auto-Tryster positioned over the camera hotshoe even when the flash is off camera positioned elsewhere. The high voltage TR-PAK is a bit harder to find unfortunately, but is compatible with the 622 and 422 (all sorts of Sunpaks). I modified mine to replace the no longer made niCad cells with the NiMH batteries intended for RC remote control cars (Radio shack). The 422D + TR-PAK fully charged can keep up with the OMD's 9fps.... to the point the flash melts.

    The Better beamer + 100-300 @ 300mm + 422D + TR-PAK is capable of illumination at very long distances:


    I've been using some of this equipment for quite a long time and it has stayed relatively the same even as I change systems. All of it can be had fairly inexpensively on Ebay and such (I get mine at a local camera swap too). For portrait work, I highly recommend not blowing your entire budget on a TTL flash. The added features may not really be that important. I would focus on multiple flashes triggers, and a basic stand/umbrella.

    WIth that said... I am still considering the Metz 50 sometime in the future. For only 1 reason, High sync flash. WIth all third party flashes you are limited to xsync... the OMD is 1/250th. When shooting moving subjects with flash, I will push it between 1/320th or so and crop off the top of the frame in post.

    It is important to note that the Nissin is a good alternative TTL capable flash that is fairly popular. This is a great flash for me to hand to my wife to get her started immediately without much learning curve. Be aware that it doesn't support high sync. As such, it brings very little value to the table (for me). If I were to buy a dedicated flash for micro 4/3 it would need to be an Olympus or Metz flash which supports high sync.

    PS> I wish Metz would return to their older design with flash + modules. I have several camera systems and generally would like the same flash to be compatible with all of them.
  9. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    As for the Canon 430EXII, is it capable of manual? I have 420's EX and 540s EX Canon flashes and only the 540EX was capable of manually setting the flash power output and zoom head. The 420's would only fire full which drastically limited their use with them mounted anything non-Canon.
  10. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    Does anyone know if the Leica SF24D flash can be safely used with the E-M5. I got it for nothing in a purchase of an X1 with a bunch of accessories thrown in, and at this point it is the nicest small flash unit with a bit of power that I have. My other decent flash is for use on a bracket; it bought it to shoot events years ago, but it isn't very user friendly for everyday use.

    I'd hate to fry the electronics of the E-M5, but the SF24D on auto mode seems more accurate than my other small flash units, and I'd love to use it if I can.
  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yes... I use the SF24D with most of my cameras. I have two and they are among the most useful of the small pocketable flashes.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2015
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  12. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name: