Flashes, what have you used, whats the results?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by moccaman, May 4, 2012.

  1. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Hey guys, I am looking at flashes, the first ones I looked at were of course the Pana flashes, and the Oly FL36 flash.

    But if I want to keep costs down its either s/h oly, or something aftermarket.

    I have looked at Metz, the 50 seems like a good flash but still costly.

    The other one I am interested in is the Nissin Speedlite Di622i MkII, this is a very affordable flash, comes in :43: version, and seems to have some good features as well as a lot of power.

    Anyone using the Nissin flashes? Thoughts?
  2. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    I prefer the yongnuo to my nissin 466. The TTL doesn't make up for the GN and full swivel, and bounce. The 622 would be nice, but you'll be paying for TTL you can't use. unless they've finally made one for m4/3. If you got the cash, I'd say go with the FP ready Panny, metz or oly. That way you get a decent GN, TTL, and use of more shutter speeds. Barring that, yongnuo, they're like $80.
  3. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Real Name:
    Any flash allowing you manual settings of output power would be fine. The problem is that most flashes allows you to set output power in very few steps. I am assuming that it is not an issue for big scenes when several flashes is triggered simultaneously. Fine tuning of power is much more needed for macro work and little scenes.
  4. tam

    tam Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 12, 2010
    Other way round for me. My YN has somehow stuck on full power, and I like being able to just bounce and TTL for nice snapshots. Still got enough power to work outside in daylight too:

    SUS Blairadam - Mu-43 Gallery
  5. Chas

    Chas Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2011
    Nissin Di622 does not work

    Unless they announced something I missed, the only Nissin flash that works with MFT cameras is the Di466 FT. In an email to them less than a year ago, I asked if they plan to come out with more powerful versions (622 or 866) for MFT and the answer was no.

    Anyway, my Di466 FT is a nice mid sized flash, and with 4 batteries recharges quickly. Exposures are good, and the flash can adjust power through the camera menu. The power zoom flash functions in full TTL, TTL (pre-flash) slave and manual (no pre-flash) slave very well. It has a built in white card and wide angle diffuser. It is not the most powerful, but was something like $139 when I bought it from Amazon.

    Unlike the Oly FL36, Di466 only has tilt, but not a swivel, and it does not have FP (high speed synch) flash mode, but my GH1 does not either. The FL36 does swivel, which can be a nice thing.

    GN36 does not seem to be enough in larger venues, so I ended up getting a very gently used Oly FL-50 for about $175. As expected, it works very well also.

    There are number of TTL flashes of various power ratings, all made by the same manufacturer, iCorp of Hong Kong, but marketed under various names such as Vivitar, Rokinon, Bower, Polaroid, Tumx, Cactus, etc. The one caveat is that at this time, the Cactus AF-50 is the only large GN50 unit I have seen for Oly/Pany MFT cameras, and is available on Ebay for $155. Vivitar and others have not yet decided to market a GN50 flash for MFT. Perhaps for good reason. When you get to be that power, the flash is very large, like the size of a Canon 580 EXII...which works well in automatic mode by the way...but let's not go there...this is too long already.

    Metz flashes are nice, but tend to be expensive.

    Oly is putting out a series of newer flashes that should work well also, such as the FL300 and FL600, but of course you will pay... I think the FL36/36R will be replaced by the FL600.

    Good luck.


  6. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    If you're considering the FL-36R, also consider saving up for the FL-600R which is just new and should only cost about $100 more.

    The FL-36R is a wonderful flash. Compact size, respectable power, full swivel and bounce head, built-in slave sensor, built-in wireless TTL, easy controls, traditional and GN power displays, metric and SAE settings, etc.
    However, the FL-36R suffers from one design flaw... it only uses 2 batteries (as opposed to 4), and has a really slow recycle time.

    The FL-600R has all of that BUT uses 4 batteries for a much quicker recycle time, equivalent to the FL-50R shooting at the same power (1/2 power for the FL-50 = 1/1 power for the FL-36R/FL-600R). Plus it has a built-in continuous (video) light.

    In other words, it's almost the perfect flash, lol. And still very affordable... The FL-36R is a half-sized flash and also half the cost of traditional large flashes like the FL-50R, Canon 580EXII, or Nikon SB900. The FL-600R is only slightly more expensive than the economical (for OEM brands!) FL-36R.

    That said, third party brands like Metz and Nissin are exponentially cheaper still... I use OEM brands like Olympus, Canon, Nikon, etc. because I only buy local 'cause when I need a new flash unit I need it NOW and can't wait on shipping. So that's where most of my experience lies.
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    You are not alone here in asking "What is the best (insert your device name here)?" without saying what you want to use it for. If you need a hammer, one of the old Honeywell Strobonar handle flashes would work well. If you want to do macro or medical work, a ring light might be the choice.

    If you are shooting with Oly equipment, you should probably look for a flash that works with the Oly off-camera synch system. If you have Pannys, you don't care about this.

    Ned mentioned recycle speed. I think you'll end up caring about this even if you don't think so right now. More batteries are better than fewer batteries.

    If you want to do the usual thing of bouncing an on-camera flash off the ceiling to lighten up a room where you are shooting, look for a flash that has both tilt and swivel.

    If you want to use the flash for a little bit of fill outdoors, garfield_cz's comment about power settings is something to pay attention to. My Metz 48 goes down, IIRC, to 1/128th power and my big 60 CT-4s go down to 1/256th. Having a wide range also lets you trade a larger aperture for faster recycling.

    strobist.com is good resource. If you head their direction you will not find yourself using TTL very much. I rarely use it myself.

    I often see posts where people seem to be agonizing over how a flash "looks" proportionate to their camera. I have never understood this. Why care about how a tool "looks" if it is the right tool?

    For saving money, CraigsList and eBay can't be beat. My Metz 48 AF-1 cost me some eBay lurking time but was under $100 delivered. My two Metz 60 CT-4s were free on CraigsList after I bought a bigger package and sold off what I didn't want. I am a horrible cheapskate.

    Metz has had a superb reputation for years, and certainly used to be very expensive. But lately, probably because the OEMs are demanding high margins for their products, Metz's prices are relatively much better. I would be much more comfortable buying a used Metz than a used oriental brand, but this may be unfair.
  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Using the flash manually isn't all that difficult and a non-TTL flash is by far the best cost effective way to an excellent performing flash.

    Sunpak flashes are generally my choice.

    Leica SF24D. Small compact, Uses CR123 batteries that last an extremely long time. Auto and Some Manual control. Auto works pretty darn well. Perfectly sized for micro 4 3 cameras. Does not tilt nor swivel. I often use it with a cord. GN of 65 @ iso 100 is pretty darn good for this small flash.

    Sunpak 422D (got a few). Good all-around. Full of features. Auto + Manual from FULL-1/16. GN100 @iso 100. No zoom head. Compatible with TR-PAK but doesn't take advantage of the pack's high voltage.

    Sunpak 622Pro Hammer-style. Powerful and very fast cycling. I use a couple with stands/umbrellas. Rather large. The 622Pro with the high voltage TR-Pak (Modified with NiMH pack from RC cars) has no problem keeping up at 9fps at full power. Although I have to be careful not to melt the head. IIRC its GN of 200.

    Vivitar 285HV - Well known with the strobist groupies. I like its battery cartridges (quick changes), cycle time, and power. I also like the variable control that can be swapped out with a card and hotshoe with sensor on the camera. I don't like that it doesn't swivel.

    Metz 28 CS-2 - I use this primarily with P&S that don't have a shoe. Its a very pocketable full featured optically triggered flash. Its smart enough to handle/compensate for the multiple flashes that come out of digital TTL's. Hasn't seen much use with Micro 4 3 but it works well with every other camera I have owned. Its neat to get off camera light in a pinch. Pretty powerful for its size.
  9. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    Thanks guys, a lot of info there! I am using a G2 mainly, with 14-45, 45-200, 20mm, 14-140, 45mm oly.

    I like using fill in outdoors when shooting portraits/people in the shade, I want to be able to bounce the flash to bring a rooms light up, can I run the inbuilt flash forward firing with an external on the hotshoe firing up?

    I actually have a Sunpack 355AF in my old SLR bag, it runs 4 AA batteries so would be easy enough to load it with eneloops and play around with it first. It has 35/50/85 settings for the focal length as well as the ISO and F stop, is there any danger to trying it out on the G2?
  10. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    should be ok.

  11. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Can someone answer me this flash question, similar to the OP but on a budget.. For a G1 user which one would you go with, an FL-36 or FL-300R (both used) or a New Metz mecablitz 36 AF-5 ? All three selling at the same price (under 130 USD).

    Till now I got along with older manual flashes, and would like something with TTL that's more powerful than the Built-in .

    If OP feels I am hijacking their thread just let me know and I shall delete this and start a new thread.
  12. moccaman

    moccaman Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 4, 2012
    No go for it, my Sunpack didnt work on the G2 so I am still looking round, just not a priority right now. Any new info that arises is most welcome.
  13. sokar

    sokar Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 30, 2011
    I am not as experienced as most here, but use an Oly FL36R. I use it with an EPM1 and either the 17mm and/or 45mm Oly primes. For outdoor use in bright conditions I find the FP TTL mode of this flash extremely beneficial considering that the EPM1 has a shutter/flash speed of 1/160 sec at most.

    The FP function is great for fill purposes when I am snapping portraits with the lens wide open. The off camera R/C function of this unit will also be beneficial if and when Pany release a camera that has this function, or if you purchase an Oly in the future.

    I agree with others that the recycle time on the FL36R is not as fast as others, but the overall benefits of this flash unit outway this IMHO. If I was to purchase another flash in the future it would definitely be the FL600R. It seems to have everything in a compact package.
  14. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks.. and hey I just found this helpful info page on all the flashes out there.
    And take a look at the Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4. It has the same GN as the FL-36 but a blazing 3 sec recycling time but just Tilt, and no Swivel, which is OK.
  15. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    I am still deciding on which flash to buy. I guess in addition to my main concern of best guide number for my dollar is recycle and duty time .. I do not think the difference between 3 seconds and 9 seconds recycle time is something I need. But I would hate to have one of the flashes that require you to let it rest for ten minutes after say 10 or 15 shots.. Or what ever.
    It seams tho that the old FL-36 or the Metz Mecablitz 36 AF-4. or even the FL-50 would be the best bang for my buck as a DMC-G1 owner (well not sure about the FL-50).
  16. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Tellin ya, if you don't mind lack of TTL Yongnuo the way to go. Recycles fast (can boost it with external battery pack if you need to), high GN, and honestly people say they melt down with heavy usage, I have yet to see that in my unit. But at $80, buy a six pack of em for what you'll spend on a metz.
  17. RDM

    RDM Mu-43 All-Pro

    Thanks for the suggestion , which model Yongnuo are you talking about?
    I do not mind using flashes with out TTL because like I said earlier in this thread:
    So I actually am Looking for a TTL flash. I still use my other manual flashes with my radio trigger when I need to, I would just like to be able to have a TTL flash for those shots on the go, when I don't have time to set things up or retake them.
    Also I understand you assuming the Metz is Expensive as they usually are but as I said earlier I am looking at only Used flashes under 150 USD, and between the three flashes I mentioned, the used Metz flash was the cheapest of them. So I could not buy a six pack of the the eighty dollar Yongnuo flash for the same price, just one and a half maybe.
  18. bunguar

    bunguar Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 18, 2012
    Real Name:
    Compared to all other flash sold in my country, Metz is really cheap. Its the only non camera brand flashes sold here.
  19. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Yongnuo YN560. The manual model. They have others that have TTL for Canon/Nikon, those are a bit more. Also of note, they are eerily similiar to older Canon flashes... wouldn't be surprised if its the same factory.
  20. Chas

    Chas Mu-43 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2011
    The Nissin Di466 works well, for a mid size flash, especially in TTL mode, and especially in off camera TTL, using the on camera flash to trigger it.

    Like any midsize flash, it can run out of light pretty quickly in a largish room if you are bouncing, but is decent for its price of $139. Much higher build quality than the comparable Vivitar TTL flashes which are also sold under a variety of names such as Bower, Polaroid, Bell and Howell in the US, and maybe Tumax and Rokinon overseas. All made by a Hong Kong company named iCorp.

    One thing that you may miss is the swivel...it tilts, but does not swivel which may be useful for bounce in portrait mode.

    I was able to purchase an FL50 from ebay and it is a joy to use, even in FP mode out doors, even on a Panny (GF1 and GH1) I have gone up to as high as 1/800. The FL50 is big, but I felt it a deal for $175, even as old as it is. Nothing beats high power. Get a Pixel or similar made in China off camera TTL cord and you are well set.

    There is a Cactus FL50 on ebay, which is a similar high GN (50m at max zoom) flash, but really cheap. It shoots TTL, about $155. A whole lot better than $400+ for a Metz. I think the Cactus is also made by iCorp.