GM1 Flash Limits Me to 1/50 sec?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by tjdean01, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Feb 20, 2013
    Sometimes I like to use the flash on the GM 1 as fill flash while Outdoors. No matter what mode I go to it always gives me a 1/50 shutter speed. Can anybody help me adjust this? I want to set the shutter speed and aperture exactly how I want it but I just want the flash to fill regardless of my settings. Anytime I take a picture now it's almost completely whited out if I use flash
     
  2. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 Top Veteran

    745
    Mar 18, 2015
    I am not exactly sure but I remember the flash sync speed on the Gm1 and Gm5 to be abysmally slow. I think you will have to live with 1/50s but maybe some others will chime in and correct me.
     
  3. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    There is no HHS with the built-in flash, and max flash sync speed is 1/50th, its one of the drawbacks of the GM1

    Really though, even if you could do 1/250th or so, the pop-up flash isn't going to have enough power to provide much fill. Camera like the Fuji X100 series is a better bet, because the leaf shutter allows the flash to sync at 1/2000th, meaning you can shoot fairly wide open, while still getting full flash power, which is why leaf shutters are so great for fill-flash
     
  4. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    800
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I hate to say this (well, not entirely, to be honest), but how to use faster shutter speeds is described in the manual (on p.203 to 205)! It's possible in P and A (though not S and M) modes and with a few selected effects using Slow Sync (which is, admittedly, somewhat counter-intuitive). Finding that out took about five dedicated minutes on the Panasonic site (locate manual, download, browse). Bottomline? RTFM!

    But beware - the (already very, very low) flash power will decrease further while draining your battery faster (flash duration increases considerably). That's how HSS modes work as well - start lighting before the shutter is fired, stop once it's closed again. So, even if you *can* do that, there are serious limitations. Essentially, you get what you pay for (diminuitive size, some functional restrictions). It's entirely possible the the whole fill-flash scheme will not work out in a satisfactory fashion using "creative" settings (i.e. while controlling aperture) with this camera.

    What all this doesn't actually tell us is if there's HSS (high-speed sync) available with appropriate flash lights. Would be interesting to find out if something versatile and sufficiently cheap (like the Godox TT350) would provide that when the camera is used in Slow Sync mode. Anyhow, it'd be rather tedious. If you're really into flash photography, get a different body.

    M.
     
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  5. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Veteran

    242
    Oct 16, 2016
    The GX8 would be a good candidate in that case. High sync speed, and works brilliantly in the HSS mode with cheap flashes like the Meike MK320. I still prefer to use it with the FL360L set to PF TTL A.
     
  6. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    230
    Jun 2, 2015
    I read the manual and it certainly wasn't very detailed. How the heck does slow sync let you shoot all the way up to 1/16000? That sounds like hocus pocus to me... Any GM1 users actually tried this?
     
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  7. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    800
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I agree that the manual doesn't really show what to expect. The usefulness of this is certainly severely limited by the fact that you have to force or cheat the camera to "HSS" because you can't set the desired shutter speed; you rely on program shift and/or aperture (plus exposure compensation). Awkward at best. I know why I like to have mechanical shutters in my bodies ... though if you get it to work (how?), you could - in theory - sync up to 1/16000; sounds awesome, but it's most definitely completely proprietary. I wonder if any of Panasonic's own on-camera flash units support something approaching HSS in this case ... I doubt it.

    M.
     
  8. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Feb 20, 2013
    I think we might be on the wrong page here; and I think you guys are giving me more credit than I deserve. I don't even know what flash sync speed really means. But I've never met a point & shoot camera that CAN'T do what I want to do.

    Now, I rarely use the flash. And if it were night time, sure, the 1/50 shutter speed would work. All I'm looking to do is to take a photo, at whatever shutter speed I want, and have the flash fire. Again, all point & shoot cameras can do this (even if you can't set the shutter speed, the camera adjusts for the bright sunlight, gives you 1/500, for example, and fires the flash). In this situation the flash usually does nothing except add some light to a dark face with the sun behind it--which is all I'm looking to do.

    I read the manual that's why I posted here. Whenever that flash is popped up, my shutter speed will be 1/50, no matter what I do. No way can this be the case on this much-better-than-point & shoot camera!?
     
  9. Stanga

    Stanga Mu-43 Veteran

    242
    Oct 16, 2016
    Shooting in HSS mode requires a bit of experimenting with different flash guns. It also seems camera dependent in some areas.
    Camera wise, my FZ50 can do it with the inbuilt flash. My G80 can't.
    Flash wise, my FL220 can't, but my FL360, FL360L, and FL500 can.
    As for getting into the HSS mode, I found out that I have to put it in the S mode before I can access the faster speeds. It won't work with the electronic shutter, only with the mechanical shutter.
    In the case of the flash gun, you also need to set it in HSS mode. In the case of the FL360L that would be the FP mode.
     
  10. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    800
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Yes, it can. That's because a fixed-lens small-sensor compact usually uses a different shutter/aperture technology - the leaf shutter - that has one key advantage: It can sync with flash at any available speed! Leaf shutters aren't a good idea for consumer interchangeable lens cameras, though, because they have to be built into the lens because they also provide the aperture (this is actually a bit of an over-simplification, but it'll do for now), and furthermore, the bigger they get, the harder it gets to provide fast speeds. That's why most modern ILCs use focal-plane shutters in the body. It's easier to make, easier to maintain and provides faster shutter speeds. However, focal-plane shutters add mass and volume - so for the GM1 (and GM5, GF7 and GX850), Panasonic has developed a minimalistic, super-compact focal-plane shutter that tops out at 1/500s; faster speeds are provided by the electronic shutter.

    The key thing for your problem is that focal-plane shutters *can't* provide flash sync with every shutter speed, instead, they provide a shortest flash sync speed; 1/50s is very slow, but it's the shortest sync speed for the GM1's shutter (which is not that uncommon: Leica's legendary rangefinders offered 1/50s as well; my old medium format monster, the Pentacon Six, only provides 1/22s!). Fast speeds can go up to 1/320s (Olympus E-M1 II - faster than the Nikon D5, probably because of the smaller unit!). My E-M10 offers 1/250s, the GX80 is slower: 1/160s.

    The workaround, of course, is high-speed sync (HSS). Essentially, this means to use special flash units and connectors/transmitters that provide a flash "window" within which the shutter fires. This sounds simpler than it is - everything happens within franctions of a second and needs very precise control and communication; that's why not all cameras and flash guns offer it. Additionally, HSS needs pretty serious flash power to work well - small flash units like the built-in one on the GM1 won't provide that. With HSS, cameras that offer that function can use shutter speeds up to the system's (flash, transmitter and camera) upper limit; e.g. the E-M10 does 1/4000s with HSS, the GX8 does 1/8000s. 1/8000s is the limit for most such systems, btw. - at least as far as I'm aware. All this isn't made any clearer or simpler by the fact that most brands use propiertary names and technologies to provide HSS (Olympus calls it "Super FP Mode") - which means that you usually need dedicated and enabled hardware to use it ...

    Back to the GM1: I suspect that with Slow Sync, you can a) coordinate flash and long(!) shutter speeds (to get light trails or motion blur, for example) and b) actually do something similar to HSS in bright light. But it's the camera that'll determine what to do, and since the flash is very small and weak to begin with, it'll struggle with the longer flash firing times that are needed - I don't know what'll actually happen, because the manual doesn't provide any information on this. Obviously, the electronic shutter (which doesn't have any moving parts) can work up to its top speed within any given flash duration - that's the good part. But if there's hardly any power from the flash, the shorter sync time won't help a lot - at least that's what I suspect.

    I suggest experimenting with Slow Sync - it can't hurt, and maybe you succeed in getting the images you want. However, it's probably better to learn a bit about exposure compensation and maybe HDR/stacking ... (that's stuff I don't like and don't do, but it's a big deal, so there's a lot of information available). And again, if you want to get into flash photography, I think the GM1 isn't the best base for that ...

    M.
     
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  11. MillsArt

    MillsArt Mu-43 Regular

    94
    Jul 8, 2012
    Gm1 uses a focal plane shutter, most point and shoot uses a leaf shutter.

    Gm1 is point and shoot sized of course, but it's just a tiny version of an interchangeable lens camera with a focal plane shutter

    Most P&S will sync at max shutter speed and don't even need HSS. It's one of the useful features of them.

    They can fill at 1/2000th with a tiny little flash, and you need a big speedlight with HHS to get equal output on a focal plane shutter camera
     
  12. exakta

    exakta Mu-43 Veteran

    230
    Jun 2, 2015
    Actually you can build ILCs with leaf shutters in the body but it places tremendous limitations on the lenses you can build. The Kodak Retina Reflex S/II/IV models had in camera shutters, Voigtlander Bessamatic, Topcon Uni/Auto 100 as well.

    But look at the size of the lenses!

    Here's all the available lenses. That giant one is a 200mm f4.8!! The 28mm f4 is on the far left. On the camera is the 50mm f2.8 lens. There's also a 50/1.9, 35/2.8, 85/4, 135/4. Note how slow all the teles are!

    reflex-lenses.


    The body only showing the shutter mechanism inside the lens mount


    il_fullxfull.1048815184_3dti.

    With 50/2.8

    dscn3956.

    With 28/4

    dscn3951.

    With 135/4

    dscn3955.

    Here's the 200mm mounted...despite the huge front element it's only f4.8.

    -iv-kodak-retina-reflex-iv-vintage-slr-camera-cased-c-w-200mm-xenar-lens-89.99-[3]-66154-p.

    There was also the very first zoom ever made for a 35mm SLR, the Zoomar 36-82/2.8 here mounted omn a Voigtlander Bassamatic but it also was available for the Retinas.

    igtlander-ultramatic-cs-slr-camera-voigtlander-zoomar-36-82mm-f2.8-lens-cased-249.99-[2]-34749-p.
     
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  13. CWRailman

    CWRailman Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    949
    Jun 2, 2015
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Denny
    Instead of worrying about trying to increase the shutter speed or using HSS and all the complications that brings, it is a lot easier, and in some respects much quicker to use a ND filter to bring the shutter speed down to a reasonable level. Damien Lovegrove demonstrates that in some of his videos and explains it in this blog. ND filters for flash with mirrorless cameras - ProPhotoNut.
     
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  14. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    800
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Great collection! I wasn't aware of the fact that someone (Kodak *and* Voigtländer, apparently) had built set lenses without fixed lens groups in the body - my two Zeiss Ikon Contaflex cameras offer the possibility to mount set lenses, but those share a common lens group (embedding the shutter), which limits the choice of focal lengths and also lens speed (set lenses were slower than the core lens - which came in at f/2.8).

    Anyhow, it seems that even with something as sophisticated as this Retina Reflex has its limitations, as is visible in the bulk of the 200mm and the zoom - wonderful constructions, certainly (a f/2.8 zoom - fantastic!), but really awkward. I think in spite of all the charme of those cameras, they were too complicated and cumbersome to make and maintain; Leitz/Leica and Zeiss' own Contax cameras had already shown the advantages of the focal-plane shutters at the time, but German camera makers proved to be real traditionalists (not so much in the GDR, btw. - the Pentacon/Praktica cameras are testament to that, as are the Exakta cameras ...) who tried to stick with what had worked for decades by then, not embracing innovation (or maybe we should call it opportunism) in time. I have to say that I really, really love those old leaf-shutter cameras; I literally cut my theeth on my father's Zeiss Ikon Contaflex Prima (still have it - the Rodenstock Pantar triplet is a surprisingly nice lens), and one of my most loved film cameras is a Zeiss Ikon Contessamatic E rangefinder with a Tessar 50mm f/2.8, not to mention my older Nettar folders ...

    Anyway, the way things worked out, the focal-plane shutters proved easier to manufacture and simpler to control mechanically and electronically - so a reasonably reliable, inexpensive, yet somewhat limited technology won over the probably more sophisticated (and certainly in many ways more satisfying) one, at least as far as 35mm format is concerned.

    I don't disagree with that, but I think we're not (only) talking feasability here (which ND filters would provide) but also - or mainly - fill-flash in bright sunlight. With weak built-in flash units, you can't make up for the additional light needs you create with an ND filters. It's a conundrum - the ND filter reigns in the incoming light, but the flash, being very limited to start with, gets even less chance to do what you want it to do.

    M.
     
  15. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Feb 20, 2013
    Wow! Thank you for all this! I understand what you're saying about the shutter. All makes total sense. I accept your explanation, but I still don't understand how they didn't think of a work around. Like, if when I press the shutter with my right hand I squeeze the button of my LED flashlight (let's pretend it only flashes for 1/4 second), this will get me the effect I want. I guess my question is, why does the flash need to know what shutter speed I'm using? Doesn't it not matter? The flash is flashing for 1/8 sec? 1/2 sec? Doesn't really matter how long the flash is on, even if the shutter speed is longer than that. But I don't see why if I can use a flashlight, why they couldn't make the flash in the camera just fire when I want to it. Heck, give me a second button with my left finger then, a separate battery, and I'll tape one of these guys to it!:


    Moustache man.
     
  16. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You've got it backwards. The Shutter is open for more then 1/50 second, but the flash pop last less than 1/1000 second. Many speedlights are in the 1/10,000 - 1/20,000 range, or even more. That's why a tiny battery powered light in your flash can fill up a room - it only has to shine for 1/10,000 of a second! The problem comes with the way these high speed shutters work. At speeds above flash sync, they use a curtain flash, meaning the flash slides in a narrow slit across the flash. The sensor is exposed in segments as the slit moves across the sensor. When the flash pops, it last for way less time than the shutter speed, so it only would light that one part of the sensor under the flash curtain.

    Here's an example of an SLR shutter speed curtain at high speed. You can imagine if a flash at 1/10,000 second duration popped, it would only be captured by maybe 1/4 of the sensor.

    (Fast forward to 3:00)



    Electric sensors are even worse, because they scan line by line and can take as long a 1/30 of a second to read the whole sensor. The flash might only light up one line of pixels.

    The solution is a global electronic sensor (probably coming in the near future) or a leaf shutter (found on the rare camera, usually rangefinders or large format. Fuji X100 series has them). Both expose the entire sensor at once, at almost any shutter speed. Fuji X100 series can flash sync at 1/1000, for example. (You also have the issue of TTL needed a pre-flash that happens as the shutter is pressed. So there has to be at least a little lag in the system which may prevent syncing at like 1/8000 or something.
     
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  17. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    800
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    I concur, just a little addition: Leaf shutters are used in *fixed-lens* cameras quite frequently - the LX100 has one, too, and may actually be the compact alternative the OP is looking for. However, it doesn't have a built-in flash but comes with a tiny add-on (which in my book is a good thing - it allows for choosing an external unit according to your needs).

    But I'm pretty certain that the Sony RX series cameras have leaf shutters as well (it explains some of the stranger limitations - like the fastest mechanical shutter speed only being available at f/8 ...), and so do the Panasonic FZ series in all probability - at any rate, they don't mention a sync speed in the manuals even in the most sophisticated bodies. A focal-plane shutter becomes advantageous as soon as you want to swap lenses easily - it's smaller, lighter and faster than a leaf shutter if it has to be universal and to be built into the body. But leaf shutters can be made simpler, and as I said before, can (and usually are) used to provide the aperture as well.

    M.
     
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  18. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Feb 20, 2013
    Ahh, I see now! So the sensor is reading the lines so slowly, that as it reads the first lines of the image, that's when the flash would be going off, so the top (I assume top) of the image would have light exposure but the bottom wouldn't because the light would be done by then. Got it!

    And, let's see, when the sensor is normally read, some lines of the sensor are exposed a micro-second longer than other; but not enough to make a difference, or, does it compensate for this?


    No thanks, not looking for a fixed lens camera anymore. The 12-32mm pretty much has those bases covered. I just figured that there's this nice flash built right in, why not use it, you know? Ah well. The exposure compensation semi-HDR mode does okay at times.

    I can still use it in dark restaurants, etc., as it seems that's all it's good for! Well, it would work for any show shutter shots too. I like 10 sec shutter shots in the dark. The flash would sometimes give a neat effect.

    Thanks, guys!