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FLash Advice

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by nuclearboy, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    850
    Jan 28, 2011
    USA
    I have the FL300R flash and love the size. I use it attached to the camera and sometimes in RC mode. It bounces off the ceiling pretty well and cycles quick enough for me. I am not crazy about the on/off switch and sometimes I am not happy with the coverage of the flash. The on/off switch does not provide me with feedback as to whether the flash is on or not. The coverage issue is mainly my opinion of the uniformity and light coverage from the flash. I try different settings like wide or tele and bouncing the flash with limited success.

    What advantages would I get by moving up to the FL600R flash? Is there any other flash I should consider in the $300 or less range? Or, is this flash about all I should expect and I should just learn to use it more effectively. Perhaps I should use two flashes in RC mode for better coverage.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. bikerhiker

    bikerhiker Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 24, 2013
    Canada
    David
    Learn to use it more effectively by understanding light and how to use it to fill your subject matter. The FL-300R is a small flash, ideal only for fill or as a secondary strobe to a main flash like the FL-36R, FL-600R or the FL-50R.

    The problem with such a small strobe is the fact that it is under-powered and small, so when you add some diffusion which can be made as easily as placing a white transparent shower curtain in front of it will reduce its effective power by a lot. Which is why you are having such difficulty with light distribution, but the flash light is strong and is isolated to one section of the subject matter.

    You can do 2 things. Get a FL-600R as your main flash attached to a softbox and use the FL-300R as a fill in slave and a reflector will help enhance and even out the light distribution and coverage. Or get a bigger FL-50R with a softbox and use your FL-300R as the fill-in back light if you're into portraiture.
     
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  3. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
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  4. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    The biggest advantage to the FL-600R right off the bat is the ability to tilt and swivel for better bounce control (see below). You will also add more flash power and flexibility, FP capability (allows you to use flash at much higher shutter speeds, though you'll lose some of your flash power doing so), and probably faster recycle times though I don't have the numbers to compare. The FL-600R is still a smaller flash with less power and slower recycle than a larger unit, but the trade-off is it's very easy to pack. I frequently carry mine in one side of a ThinkTank Retrospective 5 for example.

    As you may already know, generally speaking big light is better, obviously with caveats and exceptions. The larger and softer (more diffuse) a light source, the more flattering it tends to look on your subject. That's why softboxes, umbrellas, reflectors, diffusers etc. exist - to turn a small, hard light source into a bigger, softer one. With regards to the Fl-600R, the great benefit to tilt/swivel and more power is that you can bounce your light off a ceiling or wall directionally, and get large, diffuse, directional light. A piece of black art foam (a.k.a. Black Foamie Thing) is a great, super-cheap add-on that allows you to make the light even more directional. In effect, a small on-camera flash unit can act like you have a large softbox over your shoulder by proper use of bounce flash.

    Once I started using bounce flash like that, I was blown away at how much better my photos looked, instead of relying on available light and high ISO. Not only do you avoid noise, but you do away with the racoon-eyes effect from overhead lighting and clean up ugly shadows with nice, soft, directional light. If you invest a little bit of time into learning how to use it effectively one or two more capable flash units like the FL-600R is an awesome investment into your photography, along with a few basic light modifiers.

    Some quick examples, just from testing shots with bounce flash from the FL-600R and GH3

    9162635706_5222cda3f1_c.
    Untitled by jloden, on Flickr


    9160178993_7f4acbdbb5_c.
    Untitled by jloden, on Flickr


    If flash is something you want to dive into more deeply, I'd highly recommend some good books on lighting, for example I liked Neil van Niekerk's Direction and Quality of Light and On-Camera Flash books as good starting points.
     
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  5. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    This review is from a Amazon customer who purchased a FL-600R in the UK........http://www.amazon.co.uk/product-reviews/B0073A1EY6/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

    OK, 11 April 2013
    By James T (UK) - See all my reviews

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)

    This review is from: Olympus FL-600R Wireless Flash (Accessory)

    This flash is OK, it works as described with no issues on the OM-D - so why only 3 stars?
    One was taken off for how easily the battery door was broken, it feels like a very poor design
    The other is because the Panasonic FL360L is identical apart from a couple of cosmetic tweaks and it is a lot cheaper.
     
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  6. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Price is actually cheaper on the FL-600R right now, and the FL-600R and DMW-FL-360L are pretty close in price most of the time, in the US at least.

    I'm not sure how one would easily break the battery door off, never really struck me as unusually flimsy or strange compared to other flash units.
     
  7. nuclearboy

    nuclearboy Mu-43 Top Veteran

    850
    Jan 28, 2011
    USA
    I purchased the FL600R. I find it to be a significant improvement over the FL300R. Already, just using that flash alone on the E-P5 I see much better performance than what I have been getting. I plan on learning to use this better before and if I decide I need more flash power. This is such an improvement already that I am very happy with it. Between the FL300R and FL600R and some light modifiers (as suggested), I should have plenty of light to work with for now.

    I choose the FL600R flash over similar flashes from other brands because I did not want to be surprised by any lack of functionality. Ignorant of the subject as I am, the FL600R was a safe bet and it is controlled very well by the olympus cameras and works well with the FL300R. I am happy with my choice even though there may be better options for the money available.
     
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  8. jloden

    jloden Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 15, 2012
    Hunterdon County, NJ
    Jay
    Great, glad to hear it - didn't realize with my inital post that this was an older thread from Dec, but I'm glad it worked out for you! :smile: