Let's talk about off camera flash...

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by gdourado, Jun 19, 2012.

  1. gdourado

    gdourado Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 23, 2012
    Lisbon - Portugal

    How are you?
    So, I was wondering...
    If I want to start playing with off camera flash in Micro Four Thirds, what are my options?
    In regard to this matter for m43 I'm a total noob, but would like to know what options are there to do multi flash photography and off camera flash for portraits, product and package photography and the likes...

  2. c_henry

    c_henry Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Well, there's two of ways you can do it:

    1. With a cable.
    2. With some sort of wireless triggering system.

    For both methods you can use manual flash settings or TTL flash settings depending on the type of cable or wireless triggering system in use.

    Using the flash in manual means that you set the flash power on the flash and the shutter speed and aperture on the camera (there's a but more to it than that but I'm trying to keep it simple). With TTL the camera sets everything (I'm keeping it simple remember).

    The cable method has the advantage of being traditionally cheaper than wireless, though eBay will demonstrate that its not always the case.

    With cables you can get a simple cable that just triggers a flash in manual mode, or you can purchase a TTL cable which will make the camera believe that the flash is still mounted in the hot shoe on the camera and it will set everything.

    Wireless triggers work in pretty much the same way as the cable, but wireless. You place a transmitter on top of the camera, and the receiver on the flash. In with wireless triggers that work in manual mode you would again set the flash power on the flash, and the shutter speed and aperture on the camera, just like the manual cable. It's very simple and works very well. Examples of this type of trigger are the Cactus v5's.

    It's pretty much the same for the wireless TTL triggers, except like the cable the camera believes the flash is still on top of the camera. The transceiver sends the TTL data wirelessly to the remote receiver which passes it onto the flash, just like the TTL cable. Examples of this type of trigger are the Pocket Wizard FlexTTL. I don't believe there are currently any third party wireless TTL systems out there for Micro Four Thirds, but I could be wrong.

    Some manufacturers have flashguns (usually their most expensive models) that can communicate with other flashguns, Olympus for example bundles a small flashgun with the OM-D that can 'talk' to other flashguns to provide both manual and TTL flash. Other camera's use the built-in flash to communicate with other flashguns.

    For a more detailed and probably a more comprehensible explanation check out strobist.blogspot.com, theres some great explanations, tutorials etc. for beginners and advanced flash users.

    [EDIT: This bit got cut off when I was cut 'n pasting]
    I only recently started using m43 properly, and have been using my Canon flashguns with some Cactus v5's in manual mode. I got a Metz 50 AF-1 delivered today, which does TTL and can be controlled wirelessly using the little flash with the OM-D. I wish someone would produce a radio wireless TTL system, like the Pocket Wizards, for m43. I;m sure they will in time though.

    Hope this helps a little,

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  3. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    Seeing that you have a PL2, look for a used FL-36R or any of the Olympus (R) flashes, and use the built in flash on the camera as the wireless commander. Set the remote flash to RC and you're all set for wireless TTL. Later you can add more of the (R) type flashes for even more creative set-ups. The nice thing about the Olympus (R) flashes, they're fully compatible wirelessly, no muss, no fuss.
  4. c_henry

    c_henry Mu-43 Regular

    May 12, 2012
    Apologies if my reply was aimed at a more basic level than you wanted, I thought you were new to flash.

    The Olympus set-up seems to work fine (though I found the Metz seems to under-expose by about 2-stops when wireless, fine on the hot-shoe), pretty much the same as other manufacturers, though I'm not a big fan of optical triggering, it can be a pain in bright light or when the flashes are in soft boxes. I'm not keen on cables either.

    Hopefully with m43 gaining in popularity either Olympus or Panasonic will produce a radio TTL trigger or a third party like PocketWizard or Phottix.
  5. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 23, 2011
    If you have a flash with an optical trigger (it will fire if another flash fires) and you have a flash on your camera, that will work as well. As long as no other flashes are going off nearby.

    I have one of these flashes and a cheap Cactus v4 master/slave setup. The flash works in the hotshoe, by optical trigger, or by the wireless triggers. It's all good, for not much $$$.
  6. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Real Name:
    The Metz Oly/Panny-specific flashes work too. I use the FL36R and 44 AF-1 side-by-side. Works great so far. I also use the Oly FL-CB05 off-camera TTL cord sometimes.