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flash newb needs olympus flash help

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by knfeparty, Oct 2, 2013.

  1. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    I have a PM-1 and have so far totally avoided using flash. I am now going down the road of trying to learn how to use flash properly and have a few questions/snags.

    -TTL metering. Is this just whenever the flash intensity is set to "AUTO?" I shoot almost exclusively on shutter priority due to most of my shooting being done with old adapted nikon lenses with aperture adjustment rings. "AUTO" isn't available when using shutter priority. Is there another way to determine how much flash I need to use?

    -the included FL-LM1 hotshoe flash. Honestly does this thing have any use? I've gotten very good at squeezing all the available ambient light out of my shots but trying to add a bit of flash in always results in the "this is a flash photograph" look where the subject is washed out and nasty shadows are everywhere.

    -ISO. I usually shoot on wide apertures, 4 or less, and 200 iso to reduce noise. If it's dark enough I resort to tripods. I've found that any iso above 400 introduces obvious noise and that anything about 640 is complete garbage. Am I doing something wrong here? I am using the noise reduction feature.

    -using the FL-LM1 as a remote commander for an off-camera flash. Can someone explain how this actually works and how many pieces of equipment have to be bought to do this? I am interested in maybe buying a single off-camera flash to take studio-style shots of cars mostly, but eventually want to learn to do portraits of people too.

    Thanks :drinks:
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    It'll actually say Auto TTL on your flash when TTL is on. Just keep cycling through the modes until you find it.

    Yes. As a Remote Flash Commander to trigger wireless external flash guns. That is its main purpose and in my opinion its only purpose. ;) The Olympus RC menu will allow you to set all the controls for all Olympus R-series flash guns (ie, FL-36R, FL-50R, FL-600R, FL-300R) or Panasonic L-series flash guns (there's just the FL360L that I know of, since Panasonic bodies never got the RC function until the GH3) in up to 3 different groups of settings, with any number of flash units within each group. This allows you to easily change all the light ratios in your shoot without having to leave your spot behind the camera or ask your assistant to run around for you.

    We used to call it "grain" when it was in film, before digital. That noise has always been there. The presence of noise is not wrong, it is the expectation that it should not be there which is wrong. :)

    All you need is your FL-LM1 and any number of R-series Olympus flash units or L-series Panasonic flash units, as listed previously. Nothing more. Set each of these flash units to groups A, B, or C, and that will determine which settings it will respond to (your flash manual will tell you how to set the flash group for each of your speedlights. Some are slightly different so I won't give you any directions here). Turn RC Mode to On in your menu (under Camera 2), then when you press OK (which normally brings up your camera menu, Super Control Panel or Live Guide - if you are still using Live Guide I suggest you turn that off and turn on SCP instead) it will bring up the RC menu. Press Info to switch between all available menus, such as RC and SCP.

    In the RC menu, you will then be able to adjust all the flash settings, in Auto TTL, Manual, or whatever you please, and it will send those settings to each of the flash units in that group. If you set Group A to 1/2 power and Group B to 1/4 power for instance, then every flash you set to A will fire at 1/2 power and every flash you set to Group B will fire at 1/4 power. It's very easy.

    Using the wireless commander, as well as using any TTL metering will always introduce a bit of a delay before the shutter opens. The camera needs time to communicate with the flash in order to use these features. I suggest not using them for fast-moving action, but to wire in directly or with a radio trigger, using manual flash settings instead.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    Right now the only thing I'm looking to use the flash for is for still shots so maybe I will pick up a RC-enabled flash. Thanks for the explanation. Through the RC menu I was able to enable TTL for the onboard flash.

    Enabling the TTL through the RC menu made a big difference; I'm getting much more natural-looking flash shots now.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    Australia
    What sort of situations do you use flash?

    You might find this recent thread interesting as well:
    https://www.mu-43.com/showthread.php?t=52640

    However, you probably won't be able to push the ISO up as high as 1600/3200 with your camera.

    If you don't feel comfortable going above ISO 400, you should consider getting a powerful enough flash that you can bounce or at least diffuse.
     
  5. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    I learned on a 35mm nikkormat and usually shot 400 film but sometimes 800 and the "grain" didn't bother me. On this camera, the noise really jumps out as it is always green and purple and not the color of the things around it, so I find myself trying to stick to 200 whenever possible. A picture of the cat using flash is attached. No PP other than cropping to show what I'm talking about- see how all of his random white hairs appear green and purple?

    Right now I use flash for nothing! I am trying to learn how to use it for stills though- portraits of people and cars. Ultimately I would like to do candid street shots with it too.

    I shot a few at higher ISO this afternoon and depending on the subject, 1600 either looks passable or really noticeable. I attached a couple with NR off and then high. I had been using STD NR but I think I'm going to shoot with it off for a bit. No PP other than cropping on these to show detail/noise.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    strobist 101 is a good read for getting the feet wet on technique and methods/gear.

    Watch the channel number - took a moment to figure out that was one of my problems. It is possible to do the RC with 4 groups (isolated by channel #) of 3 flashes (+ onboard) from the RC panel. Crazy but fun to try once anyway just to have that in the bag.
     
  7. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You should not be getting much color noise with that camera, but also remember that the ISO number is not what's important to the quality of the photo but the lighting. Your use of flash will fix your problems, not just by reducing the need for high ISO but also improving the image when high ISO is used. First of all though, you're doing the right thing by turning off the noise filter. If you want to reduce noise in your image do it in post-production, not in the camera. Use a plugin like Noise Ninja, Neat Image, etc. with Photoshop or standalone.
     
  8. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    367
    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Kevin
    I've discovered a great deal of usability with the FL-LN2 by bouncing it off the ceiling with a reflector.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    With so little power how much extra light actually gets bounced from the kit flash?
     
  10. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    I had tried a white business card with no success but I will give the reflector a shot. How did you make it, tin foil?
     
  11. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    Okay and I should have mentioned - and this will come as a shock - there are people on this planet that don't own Photoshop...and I am one of them. So if anyone knows of a decent free OSX-compatible PP software please post.
     
  12. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    367
    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Kevin
    the LN2 has a guide number of 39 I think, which is definitely enough to bounce off a 3 meter ceiling and back.

    but having said that I get the best results with FEC +3.0 or +2.0

    it was a foil sheet from some packaging that I glued to a membership card. I cut 2 slots on the sides for the elastic hair band to secure into.

    the mirrored surface helps to redirect the flash rather than diffuse it like what the bios unless card does. essentially just like pointing the flash head up
     
  13. klee

    klee Mu-43 Veteran

    367
    Mar 20, 2013
    Houston, TX
    Kevin
    there's a deal on Corel software for free. only Mac licenses left. check the deals forum.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. knfeparty

    knfeparty Mu-43 Rookie

    19
    Aug 30, 2012
    WOW thanks so much. Now I've got to learn how to use all these new features. I see that Noise Ninja is an included plugin. This is great (=