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Hotshoe Flash

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Empireme, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    I remember just a short few months ago when I first dove into the camera word - words like ISO and shutter spreed were words I had to look up and I knew absolutely nothing. I now find myself in that place again with picking out a flash.

    I do a lot of indoor shooting in an office building. I own an afterschool program for elementary kids. I find that now I need to purchase a flash because the lighting isnt sufficient but dont know where to turn to. Could someone provide me some basic information like the different types of flash out there?
  2. dpj

    dpj Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 20, 2011
    If you want to shoot with the flash on camera, you are best looking for one with TTL Control, this will meter the light through the lens then adjust the flash power as such. This is the easiest way of going about it. If you want to shoot off camera, you need one with manual controls, but the some way of firing the flash. You can go with cords or radio triggers, or mix the on camera mini flash with the optical trigger built into most modern flashes.
  3. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    It seems like TTL is the way to go for me. By what basis are the TTL flashes judged? For example it's by horsepower for cars, megapixels for cameras etc... Would it be by watts for the light bulbs? Any hands down clear wunner for this one? Again I wouldnt everdesire for the unit to be off camera.

    Thanks for the help.
  4. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    It's guide number, although there is more to it than that. Megapixels, for example, are a poor way of judging a camera. There must be some reason that people are paying $5,000 for the 12-megapixel Nikon D3s.

    Are you using a Panasonic or Olympus? If you're using Olympus, you can take advantage of the remote function of their newer "type R" flashes; for example, they added wireless capability to their FL-50 and renamed it FL-50R. Otherwise, all of the speedlights are identical in use. The Panasonic DMW-FL500 is, for all intents and purposes, mechanically and functionally identical to the Olympus FL-50. Same specs, and compatibility is the same as with lenses: both Panasonic and Olympus flashes will work completely perfectly on your camera's hotshoe. Skip the 36/360 model flash; it runs on two batteries, so despite its moderate guide number, it is unusable because of the incredibly slow recharge times. You'll be wanting to bounce or diffuse the flash, which will make it important to have as much power as necessary, too.

    Definitely buy the Olympus FL-50R. Panasonic's marketing department must be smoking crack if they're charging the same price for their non-wireless FL500. I guess their business subsists on preying on people that don't do their research. The FL-50R is more easy to sell later on because of its advanced feature set, plus Panasonic will eventually have wireless capable cameras too.

    If you are willing to give up TTL capability, you can get the much more powerful, and much cheaper, the LumoPro LP160 is very cheap, and very powerful. It is manual-only, but if you are bouncing the flash, then you can pretty much set it and forget it. Turn it to 1/4 power, tilt it up, and shoot in manual mode, perhaps at 1/80, ISO 400, f/5.6 and see how it works for you. As long as you don't have very high ceilings, that should be a good starting place for you, and if it's underexposed, just turn up the flash power.

    Where are you shooting most of the time? Is it in a single room, or are you moving between rooms? If you're shooting only in one room, for the same price as the overpriced DMW-FL500, you could get yourself some studio strobe monolights, like Flashpoint or Alienbees. Put two in the room, opposite ends, pointing upwards, or diffused out, and you have exponentially more light for not much more money.

    Either way, you should do some reading up here, it's great for learning about using flash effectively:
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    I've been a member on many different forums but the quality of helpful responses here is really special. Thank you so much for your help. I currently own a panasonic gh2 and will be bouncing from room to room. The TTL flash is is a function I would like to have! Right now money's not a big factor due to the relative "low" cost.
  6. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    I have to put in a plug for the Metz flashes. I have a Metz 50 AF-1 and am extremely pleased with it. And it's a sight cheaper than the OEM flashes. It has full TTL capability with m4/3. I use it with my GH2. Indoors I do a lot of bounce flash with it and it lightens things up wonderfully.
  7. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA

    So you are saying that the olympus flash offers offers wireless capabilities. But since I own a panasonic body it is something my camera cannot utilize...but due to the price of both the units I should get the olympus because of its higher resell value... And what does the wirelesa capabilities do exactly?

    I also like the relatuve low cost of the Metz camera.
  8. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Having made the move into flash recently myself I gotta say manual, while more flexible and long term the way to go, is quite a bit of work. I opted for the low cost approach and that forces all manual.

    If there is not time to acquire low cost but decent quality/performance and time to flesh out your skills then I'd suggest TTL flash using a wired cable for off camera use (Oly and Panny both have this-I think) as the fastest path while still giving high percentage of good quality light.

    +1 for reading over the flash 101 tutorial on stobist (mentioned previously by others). I'm even tempted to outright get one of their kits.
  9. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    So you are saying that the olympus flash offers offers wireless capabilities. But since I own a panasonic body it is something my camera cannot utilize...but due to the price of both the units I should get the olympus because of its higher resell value... And what does the wirelesa capabilities do exactly?

    Eliminates the need of a flash cord when using the flash off camera.
  10. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Wireless triggers the flash by sending optical signals to communicate with the flash and control the TTL function. Without TTL though, the R-Series flash can still be triggered wirelessly as a dumb slave using manual power settings. this can be done from any camera with any flash. If usinga pop-up flash, I recommendusing it at 1/64th power to trigger a slave without disrupting the image, then you can set the actual flash power on the flash gun to whatever you want. This is a very handy feature and to those of us wo use manual flash it is far more valuable than the TTL trigger function. You definitely want to get the Oly R-Series flash for the same price as the Panny. You can even get the older Oly flashes without Remore which are identical to the Panny flashes, but they aren't being sold new anymore. They are a lot cheaper if you can find one.
  11. Empireme

    Empireme Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 25, 2011
    LA, CA
    But if I never take the flash off the camera then there's no need to wireless or wired transmitters, correct? I just want brighter pictures without having to have the ISO so high. And the built in flash gives that point and shoot look and ruins the artistic value of the pictures.
  12. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    Just from my limited experience, I see having the flash on the hot-shoe, right over the lens will always yield that PnS look, unless it's manipulated (pointed up/ bounced/ diffused)

    It's kind of nice to have the option to go off the shoe if you eventually want to. Stumbled on this article a couple days ago:

    f11 :: for photographers and aficionados (pg 78-79) Lighting the easy way: Flash Basics Part 4 On and off-camera by James Madeline
  13. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Correct, wireless just allows you to place the flash somewhere else, like on a table or stand to give a different look. You do not need it if you are just going to keep the flash in the shoe all the time.

    However, if you can get a wireless capable flash for the same price, why not do so? Let me reiterate: the Olympus and Panasonic are identical besides the name on the front, and that Olympus allows wireless. Same parts, same electronics, same specifications. Plus, if you want brighter pictures, putting the flash on a tripod, with an umbrella, is much better than just bouncing it off camera.

    If you want to save money and get something like the Metz or Nissin though instead of brand name, then by all means go for it, keep your wallet nice and thick.
  14. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I like the idea of being able to use multiple flashes simultaneously ... this is what off camera optical or RF links enable (or even cables-but cables are not as cool and techy). I got the Cactus one for <$30 which is RF and I use an old Vivitar flash I had laying around and it works just fine.

    Still, manual flash is more work that TTL but TTL requires more specialized hardware (aka $$) for off camera work.

    I'm definately seeing the advantage of an umbrella but have not yet gotten one. BFT is working nice though.
  15. Kevstarr

    Kevstarr Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 3, 2011
    I think you should just go and get the Yongnuo 560. It's comparable to high end Canon/Nikon flashes. Just mount that onto your hot shoe and shoot away. I've been using it for portrait shoots while using my G2. Before my G2, I used it on my Sony DSLR. Some people may say it's not good because it's a "third" party, but I know many people that went from using high end Canon/Nikon flashes to using Yongnuo flashes. I'm getting into Off Camera flash for portraits, so I purchased a Cowboy Studio wireless trigger. Both items are inexpensive and does it's job.
  16. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Yeah, get a flash and use it on the shoe and see what you like and don't like. Then get a cable and go off camera. Repeat. Next you will get wireless, umbrella and another flash. Piecemeal your way into it.

    The only downside is getting deeper into it and realizing you really should have gotten a better flash to start with. I already had a flash and the lower cost ones are not such a big investment so why not start cheap?

    I just read into your (the OP) posts that you wanted it to be easy and I think TTL is way easier than manual so that puts restrictions on the setup from the get go. 1) TTL compatable flash 2) TTL comp cable 3) TTL wireless is a completely different path than going low cost generic and all manual.

    If, on the other hand, your subject matter permits plenty of time and many trys and fiddling around then manual is the way to go. Probably better in the long run anyway to develop that skill. Making the jump to TL will then furthur broaden the skill set.

    I don't really know from experience so I could be way off base but I looked into it enough to be certain enough for my purchasing decisions. Each of our situations is different enough that there is not one easy pat answer.
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I don't know about that... When I started out I only wished I had gotten more cheaper flashes, and instead of wasting my money on one FL-50R I should have spent it on half a dozen Vivitar slaves and optical eyes or peanut slaves for them. ;) 

    But now I use half a dozen of the expensive OEM flashes, so I guess I have the best of both worlds. ;) 
  18. RobWatson

    RobWatson Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    You are not like the rest of us, bless your heart.

    I wish I was able to afford a FL-50R or 36 first ... now I want more cheapos! Many paths to the top of Mt Fuji.
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