Flash basics: Olympus flash vs. other manufacturers

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dombi, Nov 6, 2014.

  1. dombi

    dombi Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    I am quite new to photography (definitely not a pro). I am slowly learning, step by step. I started my M43 purchases with a GX1 and then moved to E-M10. I love this camera.

    My next purchase will be an external Flash. I would like learn how to use it, and hopefully to take better pictures with it.

    Possibilites are:
    - Metz Mecablitz 64 AF-1
    - Nissin i40
    - Olympus FL-600R

    I think the first 2 flashes are M43 compatible. At least some articles say so.

    But as far and M43 specific functions, compatibility with M43 cameras, is the Olympus flash better than the other 2?
    Choosing any of the first 2, would I be missing out on any functionality that the Olympus could do?

    This is the part that I don't quite understand.
    Could someone help me and explain this?

    Thank you!
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    With the i40 you will definitely miss out on wireless TTL commander capabilities - it can only act as a hot shoe or slave unit in TTL mode, not act as a wireless controller for other TTL flashes.

    The 64 AF-1 is bigger, but looks good on paper with a GN of 64 and both wireless master and slave.
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  3. dombi

    dombi Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2013
    So if if I understand what you saying correctly, the 64 AF-1 is basically fully M43 compatible.
    And it basically works as well with M43 systems as the Olympus flash. Is that correct?
  4. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    It's a pretty new flash, and I have no experience with it. The specs certainly show it to be fully compatible. The other thing that tends to not work is the AF assist lamp - only the FL-600R (DMW-360L) and DMW-580L have m4/3 AF assist lamps and even then, it's just an annoying white LED rather than an IR grid. The Mecablitz certainly has the white LED as well, so maybe AF assist also works?

    It's a different scale of flash though - large and powerful, fast recycle. The i40 and FL-600R are both medium sized flashes.
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  5. DavidC

    DavidC Mu-43 Rookie

    Sep 15, 2014
    If you are not looking for TTL, but just off camera flash I use the Youngnuo 560 iii with the 560-tx. I use the Cannon versions on my E-M5. Adjustments are manual, but all done from the 560-tx mounted on the camera hotshoe.
  6. metalmania

    metalmania Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 19, 2012
    IMHO a TTL flash is definitely needed if you take outdoor portraits. I prefer Metz brand. Have two Metz 50 AF-1, only for off camera use . Used ones priced at around $130, which I think is pretty good.
  7. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    There are three basic types of flash...manual, automatic, and TTL.

    Manual means it either has one power level, or a control like a dimmer...these are usually used in studios by those who want a constant light level, they don't want the flash changing intensity on its own. Note that you need to use manual mode on your camera for this flash using the chart on the flash or a flash meter.

    Auto means there's a sensor on the flash (thyristor) that cuts off flash power as soon as it thinks enough light has reached the subject (and bounced back). Again you have to use manual mode on your camera using the chart on the flash.

    TTL is the most advanced (and expensive); TTL flashes talk back and forth to the camera so (usually) if you change a setting on one the other will compensate. TTL reads exposure Through The Lens of the camera, and it has to me a compatible device; you can't use a Nikon TTL flash on a Canon camera, and vice versa.
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  8. Rasmus

    Rasmus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 16, 2013
    Stockholm, Sweden.
    Interestingly, Metz also specify a guide number for when the flash is used with a 50 mm FF equivalent lens. It turns out that the new 64 AF-1 has more or less the same power as the old 58 AF-2 and the Oly FL-50 in that scenario. The real difference is that the 64 can produce a narrower beam than the other two, which means it can be used with longer lenses than the other two.
  9. GShooter

    GShooter Mu-43 Regular

    I have bought the Nissin i40. I think it is a superb flash for the price. TTL and HSS + plenty of controls on the body. i have always used a Canon flash extension lead on M4/3 bodies as you can pick them up quite cheaply on ebay, just make sure that it is a genuine Canon lead. The added bonus is that I can use the M4/3 flash on my Canon 7D but only on manual which is no big deal for me as I tend to use manual most of the time anyway.
  10. Ian.

    Ian. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2013
    Real Name:
    Ideally you need one of each!

    The Nissin i40 is worth getting because it does nearly everything and is tiny. I used it this week to light up backlit birds being fed at the lake. It is so small you can take it everywhere. And leave the heavy clunkers at home.
    The Yongnuo flashes are good because they have lots of power and are cheap. No M43 TTL though. But can be used manually to add power to a multi flash set-up.

    Everyone seems to recommend Eneloop rechargeable batteries for flashes, as they don't lose charge between shoots.
  11. ExCoderAtWork

    ExCoderAtWork Mu-43 Rookie

    Jan 20, 2014
    I purchased the Metz 52 AF-1 TTL for use with my E-M1. I am very happy with it. It is a bit large compared to the camera, but I like the power output from it.
  12. DaveEP

    DaveEP Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 20, 2014
    York, UK
    This is true, you need to have a wireless commander on the camera. I use the Nissin i40 in wireless TTL mode as a remote from my GH4 with no problems. Doesn't the EM-10 popup also work as a commander?

    A quick Nissin i40 review here.
  13. fortwodriver

    fortwodriver Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 15, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    I use one of these with my E-M1...

    It's a Metz 40MZ-3 from the 1990s. It's very powerful.

    I use it in Auto(Thyristor) mode with the sensor on the flash unit. It works fine and is reliable, if somewhat "hot" in use (by default it causes light skinned people to be fairly light) but I wouldn't recommend one unless you already have one (like me) or are a bit of a tinkerer. They are relatively cheap now on the used market.

    I use it because it's pretty stout on the camera. Although I think it actually weighs more than the camera itself. Years ago you could get a potato-masher handle for it, but I never bothered with it.