Help needed with OM-D and flash

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Kevmaughan, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Kevmaughan

    Kevmaughan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2011
    I am having trouble with underexposed shots using my OM-D and the Fl600. With my canon ttl, I can shoot with flash (in ttl mode) and camera in manual and if I am underexposed, the flash will boost output to create a well exposed shot. With the OM-d and fl600, I don't see the same results. The flash is firing but doesn't seem to add much light to the exposure. I am using the Olympus flash bracket and a lightbender but these type of gizmos didn't seem to hinder the canon ttl setup.
    Could somebody help me figure this out so I don't have to resort to aperture mode or manual flash when I'm trying to take indoor shots of my kids
  2. dre_tech

    dre_tech Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 31, 2012
    Can you get a decent exposure in Aperture Priority? I presume the flash is in TTL...

    What kind of exposure do you have dialed in while in M? I assume you're at ISO200, what SS and aperture? I don't imagine that indoors you could set the exposure to allow so little light that not even 1/1 flash power would expose ok.

    If I understand correctly, you want to underexpose the shot throughout and then use the flash to light it up as TTL sees fit.
  3. Kevmaughan

    Kevmaughan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2011
    Typically I use a 1/60 or 1/80th shutter and aperture around f2-f4 depending on the DOF I need. ISO is usually kept between 800-3200.
    My experience with the canon ttl was quite easy in that even if I was showing 2-3 stops of underexposure, the flash would make up the difference. The FL600 flash has the power to do this in a fairly small room, but I am needing a pretty big bump in exposure using LR4.1 (.5-1.5 stops).
    With the canon ttl system you can independently change the flash metering from evaluative to averaging which helps indoors. I do not see a similar option on the Om-d.

    Ill fiddle around some more and see if I can figure this out.
  4. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    You can do the same with the Olympus RC flash system. Both flash and bodies have +/- compensation, by doing a little experimenting, you will find the settings that suit your needs and give you the results you desire.
  5. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    I shoot my Oly FL36R in TTL the same way I shoot my Canon 580EX in ETTL; it performs the same way, at least in M mode.

    So it sounds like you're saying adjusting FEC on your FL600R isn't affecting overall exposure?

    If you were shooting in a typical indoor scene at 1/80, f/4, ISO800 and the camera's meter tells you that you're 3 stops underexposed, does the flash fill in the remaining exposure to properly expose? If the photo is underexposed, does adding FEC make the picture brighter at all?

    If not, I see a few possibilities:

    1) Are you outside the bounds of what can be properly lit? Is the flash firing very near its minimum or maximum power? You're shooting at ISO800, so maybe try a lower ISO in case you're very near ambient exposure already and the flash can't fire briefly enough to avoid over-lighting the scene?

    2) Is your flash modifier monkeying things up? Try shooting without it and shoot at a white ceiling indoors.

    3) Are you sure the camera is in TTL mode? I own an FL36, not an FL600R, but check to make sure you aren't in "AUTO" mode (which is metered by thyristor and could easily be affected by your flash modifier blocking it).

    4) Are you adjusting EC instead of FEC?

    Just some ideas. I don't know what the problem you're having is, but I'm not familiar with the FL600R. I shoot my OMD and FL36R at 1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO200 and I get great exposures just by tweaking FEC, just like my Canon setup.

    I hope this helps. Losing flash metering is a big pain in the butt!
  6. peeeeeejay

    peeeeeejay New to Mu-43

    Jun 5, 2012
    this is true. i was also having problems with my FL600R. in fact when i tilt the flash and have it bounce on the ceiling, the subject won't get properly exposed. Not only will it underexpose, the subject will only be lit by half. Meaning, only the upper part of the subject is lit.
  7. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    I assume you're shooting in TTL mode, is that correct?
    From what you describe, sounds like you're bouncing the flash off the ceiling at a point behind the subject, that would would account for the under exposed subject and only the top portion of the subject receiving the bounced light. Make sure the bounce point on the ceiling is in front of the subject, you can fine tune the exposure by using the exposure compensation dial on both the camera and the flash. Also set the low sync speed to 1/60 and the high sync speed to 1/250 on the camera. Once your confidence rises, you can tweak those setting s to your liking, but I don't know why you would want to change those.
    Posting photo's would help us solve your problem.
  8. Bokeaji

    Bokeaji Gonzo's Dad O.*

    Aug 6, 2011
    Austin, TX
    i feel yer flash pain
    i never seem to be able to get a flash to seem like its done anything! lol
    im flashtarded!

    however, the cheap tiny clip on flash that came with the em5 seems to work FANTASTIC.. and it was FREE!... and i dont have to change any settings! lol


    im not smart enuf to understand flashes! :D
  9. peeeeeejay

    peeeeeejay New to Mu-43

    Jun 5, 2012
    actually, yes the flash is bounced incorrectly. However, if you check the hot shoe, it is already tilted unlike with Canon or Nikon SLR bodies, when you put the speedlight on, it is angled straight. my problem arises when i use primes,specifically the 45mm indoors and want some flash. let's say i want to have a half body shot, i position myself lets say 5 meters from the subject. Even if i tilt the flash straight upwards, it would not hit the subject correctly because the position of the flash in the hot shoe is tilted at an angle already.

    I will post some of my group shots with the kit lens later when i get home. I guess it's just harder to use this compared to nikon or canon speedlights wherein they usually expose the subject correctly.

    By the way, im using TTL, then I just press the + or - on the flash exposure when it is being bounced.
  10. peeeeeejay

    peeeeeejay New to Mu-43

    Jun 5, 2012
    to be honest, the small flash that came along with the om-d works better and exposes the subject correctly as compared to the FL600r. If you am straight at the subject, then use TTL, the subject would be very much highlighted.
  11. Kevmaughan

    Kevmaughan Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 26, 2011
    After another round of some family shots indoors, I am making some improvements. My house is pretty dark. I have tall painted (non-white) ceilings in some rooms that are 20 feet. Straight bounce flash is a pretty tough challenge. I believe that the OM-D's evaluative metering really looks for bright spots and over emphasizes them to save clipping. This became very apparent if there was a sunny window or light in the background of the frame. I changed the metering mode to center weighted and the results are much better. I can also say that the OM-D is really capable of deliver clean results even if you are a stop or so underexposed (much more so than the ep3).

    @peeeeeejay- I would recommend that you try some sort of flash modifier to "throw" the light at your subject. I have been testing out the om-d with FL600 using the Olympus flash bracket and a flashbender attached. This combo is so light and easy to use that I'm leaving the 7D/580EXII in the case. With a fast prime like the 45f1.8 you should be able to get your exposure close to perfect and use the flash to fill in the shadows.
  12. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    I have found flash exposure on the E-M5 to underexpose by about a stop or so. On canon (and even my Panny bodies with the same flash...I use a Metz 50), I need about +2/3 of FEC for proper exposure. On the E-M5, I need +1 2/3 to +2 for proper exposure. Luckily, the camera has up to +3, so it's mostly a non issue, but it is an odd thing.
  13. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    Well, the Oly flashes have an angled flash FOOT so that it's easier to adjust settings, and so the flash doesn't bump against your head, but the flash head is still inline with the lens (at 0degrees). Howver the shoe on the camera is NOT angled...if it was any third party flash would be out of alignment!
  14. dcisive

    dcisive Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 19, 2010
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    Real Name:
    About the ONLY thing I don't care for regarding the small supplied flash is if you are shooting directly into a area that has reflective surfaces (like a kitchen for example) you can get all kinds of erratic light reflections. But otherwise if you're just shooting in a normal environment or outside it works GREAT. I think it's highly underrated. As for the FL-600R which I also got with the OMD, It is a highly capable flash. Like ALL flash units (except Nikon which are automatically perfect without effort) you have a "getting to know you" stage. The nuances and subtleties of their operation need to be messaged. I spent a night with it working through it's quirks and now have a lot of respect for it. Plenty of power on tap for proper exposures. What surprised me was how little an improvement modifiers have as they are not quite as needed as I've found in the past. I suggest just working with it and making all kinds of adjustments to figure out what works and in which situation. It's a great flash to be sure.
  15. peeeeeejay

    peeeeeejay New to Mu-43

    Jun 5, 2012

    yep that's what i did actually. am using a spectralight modifier. The white bounce card built in the flash is so small and is close to useless. :p