Flash Advice & Recomendations

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by retiredfromlife, Aug 17, 2016.

  1. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    370
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    I am looking to purchase a flash in the next few weeks and am looking at my options, preferably below $300.00 AUD. I want to buy locally for warranty purposes. So probably something with TTL and manual controls and is fully compatible with Olympus systems. A flash that also had a cable attachment would also be good.


    The three flashes in that price bracket that local stores near me stock are, Olympus FL-600R, Nissin i40 and Metz 44AF-2.


    Not really sure which one would be the best for macro with modern cameras. I have only used flashes for semi close up with film cameras for cave formations etc. No experience with modern TTL and wireless RF flashes.


    Any recommendations on those three, which one best for macro, fast recharge and build quality. I remember some of the flashes in my film days lost their peak power output pretty fast. (We used to use a flash meter to check output.)


    Also is there some sort of adaptor I can put into the hot shoe that has a cable that I could use to fire the old flashes from my film days. My E-P5 does not have an old style cable connection like the EM1. I have read that using old flashes can cause problems if they give some sort of electric feed back to the camera. Does using old flashes cause problems with the cable connection on cameras like the EM1?


    Regards
     
  2. My understanding is that the cable can still create the electrical issue...I use a Cowboy brand wireless trigger...not terribly expensive (although there are higher priced ones). I use mine off camera or with a flash bracket.
     
  3. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    Cable or no cable is irrelevant.

    In Olden Times, cameras were mechanical and the flash trigger was a mechanical switch that could handle any trigger voltage that a strobe designer chose. In Modern Times, cameras are electronic and the flash trigger is a transistor that will be blown if connected to a high voltage. There is a web page that includes a huge table listing different flash models and their trigger voltage. Sorry I do not have a link, but a little Google-fu should get it for you. Alternatively, you can use a voltmeter to measure the voltage across the pins of your old flashes. If you get a number like 5, you are good to go. If you get a number like 100, toss it in the trash.

    A high trigger voltage will probably blow most, if not all, radio triggers as well.

    What is "old?" I don't know, but I have a pair of Metz 60CT-4s that have low trigger voltage and work fine with electronic cameras. I'd guess them to be in th 10-20 year old range. So I'm pretty sure "old" is not like 2014!

    Re adapters, eBay is your friend. There are many Chinese offers of adapters that will slip into a hot shoe and provide a PC connection.

    For close-up and macro, ring lights are the preferred tool. There is a company called Lester Dine that sells them for dental work. You can also spend big money with the studio strobe guys. I picked up my Dine ring light on CraigsList for $15, which made me a pretty happy guy. YMMV. Re TTL, I think you will probably end up manually selecting your aperture for close-up and macro so I would not worry about TTL too much. But again YMMV.

    Edit/Found the page: Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages
     
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  4. b_rubenstein

    b_rubenstein Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 20, 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    No brand name flash made in this century (or the last 1/5 of the last century) has a high voltage flash trigger, and many of the cameras made in the last 30 years can handle a high trigger voltage.
     
  5. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Can't speak for the Metz.

    I have the 600r and i40, I'd take the 600r every time. The only reason I'd take the i40 is if you were using it on something like an E-M1/GH4 that was up to supporting a 4-AA battery flash on the camera hotshoe, for off camera use it's pretty shitty. On my E-P5/VF-4 the hotshoe isn't available and the i40 has a few features that make using it as a wireless TTL flash really annoying, the main one of which is a silent auto-power off mode that kicks in after a very short interval and it takes 2 button presses and a few seconds to get back in operation, plus a laundry list of other more minor things that it does differently and worse than the 600r. The 600r can be found cheaper on sale occasionally around the i40's usual price (or lower) and with the price consideration removed there's really not much to recommend about the i40.

    I've been using both flashes at once for cross polarised flash lately and yep, the i40 is as big a hassle as I remember. Every single time there is a new annoyance to it - its refusal to ever sit in a standard cold shoe is a new one, the foot stand it comes with is the only thing it will clip into properly (there's no manual lock like the 600r, it has a spring loaded system that only latches into something with a proper hole for it).

    Recharge and cycle time over multiple exposures will largely come down to the batteries - I use these (there are packs of them there for less) and some older eneloop pros. The other limit will be on the flash itself - from memory the 600r has a 10 full power flash limit before they recommend it being rested for a few minutes. The i40/600r can take about .25 to 2 seconds to recover fully to ready from a 1/1 power flash - just depends on how hot (or cold) the batteries and flash head have gotten so far more than anything, and when the batteries are getting run down they'll go slower as well.

    TTL's importance depends on the subject. There are lots of subjects that won't actually be happy for you to sit around and adjust flash power manually - you might get one or two shot at it and that's it, especially if it's a bug that was already moving. There are others that don't like TTL preflashes (long legged flies and mantis larva have done this to me) where the fraction of a second it takes to do TTL preflash/communication are enough for the subject to freak out and move, and they only need to move a mm or so to be out of focus. Personally unless you're doing something like say, eyeing off the old non-R FL50 flash with no wireless TTL or a dual flash head ring flash for very cheap I'd consider it a necessary feature to have.
     
  6. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    370
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    So far I have not been able to find a hot shoe adaptor for Olympus or Panasonic. I am guessing they would be the same for the Mu43 specification, but not really sure.
    I am searching for "olympus / Panasonic hot shoe adaptor with PC connection"
    I looked at the Lester Dine ring flashes and they are well out of my price range.

    Thanks for the link to the flash page, I will see if my flashes are listed.

    Regards
     
  7. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    370
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    Thanks for the in depth reply.
    Looks like I am now leaning towards the 600r.

    Regards
     
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    If you just want to hook up a manual flash via a PC plug, any PC/hot shoe adapter should work. The contact that fires the flash is the center one/same for everything. That's the only contact that the adapter will have and it will be passed to the PC socket. Like this one: SC-2 Flash Hot Shoe PC Sync Socket Adapter for Canon Black They just say Canon as click bait; it is universal.

    In the unlikely event that you want to use a TTL flash and still trigger a manual flash, you have to match the contact pattern on the top of your camera. All the adapter does is to pass the contacts through from the bottom to the top. IIRC the M43 pattern is the same for Canon as well. I think I have read that we can use Canon flash extension cords on our Pannys and Olys. You should be able to look at some pictures and tell.

    RE Dine I wasn't suggesting new. Don't know if you can find used in Oz, however. Maybe USA eBay? It looks like they are going for under $50 shipped domestically.
     
  9. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    959
    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Frank
    If you're worried about sync voltage on an older flash AND you want to use an older PC-connected flash, get a WEIN Safe-Sync. They're about $50. They go on the hot-shoe, and give you another filtered hot-shoe and a filtered PC connector. Once you have one, you can pretty much use anything out there with somewhat reckless abandon...
     
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  10. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    370
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    Just ordered the SC-2 for Canon, for the price could not pass it up.
    Regards
     
  11. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Veteran

    370
    May 15, 2016
    Syndey, Australia
    This is on my list to buy now, thanks for the recommendation.

    Regards
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Regular

    172
    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Keith
    If you have some awesome 30 year old flash, it might be worthwhile. But you can pick up a modern manual-only Yungnuo flash for $70 now.
     
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