Noob here - what flash to get

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by twoskytrains, May 13, 2017.

  1. twoskytrains

    twoskytrains New to Mu-43

    May 13, 2017
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I have an Olympus EP-3 and I have not long been shooting but I do like to help out my friends by taking pictures at their parties and am wondering about getting a flash. Nothing too fancy, preferably one that can attach to the camera as I don't really want to be too hardcore with separate lighting. I was recently in a wedding party where the photographer had one that flashed straight up/all around attached to her Canon. She used it indoors during the day and evening and I liked the results. Is there some like of equivalent for m43 (sorry I don't even know the model number of hers)? I also don't really know much about flashes, do they sync with the camera body or do you need to operate them in addition to the shutter?
  2. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
  3. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    As per @oldracer@oldracer 's link, you have a bit of reading to do before you buy something - only because it's not as simple as putting a flash on your camera and getting perfect light. It's not as complicated as it may seem though, so don't panic!

    I'd guess you want to learn how to bounce flash, so read about that and then get yourself either a Meike 320 or a godox tt350o. Neither is expensive and both have great functionality for the price.

    But don't expect them to do it all for you - light is more complicated than that!
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  4. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    Most flashes tilt up and she may have put some kind of diffuser on it (magmod, Gary Fong, etc. etc.). This only works well if you have a mostly white ceiling of a suitable height. :)

    For basic on-camera flash, you probably just want any that fully support the automatic modes on the camera (I.e. "Olympus compatible" instead of "manual".)

    ("Manual" flashes are triggered when you press the shutter but you have to adjust the settings yourself. Automatic flashes will attempt to adjust themselves to get the flash level correct (TTL), and may support HSS (faster shutter speeds.))

    The Godox TT350 is new and smaller (good with the P3), and probably a good place to start especially if you might get further into it.
  5. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    If you are just starting out and can afford it something like the Olympus FL-600R is a good bet. Does TTL and manual
    At least you can just use it on full auto to start with and get some reasonable results.
    Only problem is a bit pricey, but there are some generic TTL flashes that are cheaper, just see what your local store stocks.

    If you are just starting one flash I think TTL is nice to have as you can normally get a keeper on auto. Depending on your flash use after that try other flashes as required.
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  6. twoskytrains

    twoskytrains New to Mu-43

    May 13, 2017
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Thanks for your reply. Are you saying that some flashes only work with auto mode? I am at the point now where I would consider it torture to be forced to operate in auto mode, especially in low light, so I wouldn't want to be stuck with something like that. I am happy to learn adjustments for a flash if necessary. The TTL thing sounds convenient. Can the Godox TT350 be used in manual mode?
  7. skellington

    skellington Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 4, 2013
    Atlanta, GA
    There are a few other bits of complication, but the two choices for flashes are basically:

    Manual: You set the power and zoom, and there's a single control pin that triggers it to shoot. (You can usually also set it up to be triggered via an optical sensor, so you can set it up off camera, and use another flash to make it go off.)

    For one with power control only, it's $28 (here, an amazon basics, but other brands are within a few dollars): : AmazonBasics Electronic Flash for DSLR Cameras : Camera & Photo

    Adding zoom and some other improvements runs up to $70 for the YN-560 II: : Yongnuo YN-560 II Speedlight Flash for Canon and Nikon. GN58. : On Camera Shoe Mount Flashes : Camera & Photo

    Various models are available in manual flashes with different batteries, total power, etc.

    Automatic: These let you set the power from the camera, and can be set to do so via TTL (i.e. use a pre-flash to calculate how powerful the flash should be) These are specific to the platform i.e you'll need one for micro-four thirds (i.e. Olympus and Panasonic share an interface.) (There will also be Canon, Sony, Nikon, etc. models which may or may not work as manual flashes when mounted on m43, but they definitely won't have any control from the camera other than triggering.)

    The decently powered Olympus/Panasonic models are the FL-600 or FL360R. The Panasonic is cheaper this week, at $225 at Adorama. (There are a few other models, but this one is a nice compromise on size and speed.)

    The new Godox TT350 olympus model isn't out yet, but will be $85 in the next few weeks. It is TTL, smaller (2 AA batteries), has a bit less power, but does have the ability to trigger or be triggered by other Godox products. (Also sold as Flashpoint, and a few other brand names.)

    There are a variety of other TTL compatible flashes (Nissin, etc.) again in different sizes/power outputs.

    Almost all automatic flashes can be set up for manual control. (Some of the tiny ones might have limited manual capabilities.)
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  8. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    Just tested my OLY FL600R on my G85, looks like the TTL bit works but it cannot read the Panasonic lens zoom length. So it will not automatically set the flash to the focal length of the Panasonic zoom. I do not know if the focal length can be set manually on the flash.

    Does anyone know if third party Mu-43 TTL flashed read the lens focal length and zoom the flash automatically?
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  9. Repp

    Repp Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Jan 27, 2011
    Oak Harbor, WA
    Right now you can only get the Godox TT350-O from amazon and ebay via chinese resellers. I'm going all in with the new godox line (though buying from CheetahStand and Adorama for the warranty). For the price, it's one of the most complete and compelling systems with room to grow pending your needs.

    @retiredfromlife@retiredfromlife I'm not sure. One of the older Oly flashes worked fine on my Pany bodies, but sold it a few years ago to a friend so can't check it with anything current.
  10. Holoholo55

    Holoholo55 Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree with @retiredfromlife@retiredfromlife, you could start with an automatic TTL flash first, and then move on to more advanced flash setups as you gain experience. Using off-camera manual flash like recommended in Strobist 101 is a great next step once you gain some experience and have more professional looking results as a goal.

    Didn't your E-P3 come with a clip-on flash like the Olympus FL-LM1? It's the one that plugs into the camera and flips up to activate. The Olympus FL600R is a larger, more powerful hotshoe flash that is also TTL automatic. The Panasonic version of the FL600R is the FL360L, which is sometimes available for less than the Olympus flash. The FL600R/FL360L are good for bounce flash (pointing the flash at the ceiling). The Olympus FL300R is in between the clip on LM1 flash and the FL600R and may be enough to shoot small groups of people in small rooms. It's ability to bounce is limited. It's available refurbished on the Getolympus site on occasion. Either Olympus flash is kinda pricey at retail.

    I've also heard the Meike MK-320 works pretty well and is reasonable. (edited)
    Mcoplus MK-320 TTL Mini Flash Speedlite for Panasonic Lumix DMC GF2 GF1 GM5 GX7 GX8 G3 LX100 GX1 Olympus OM-D XZ-2 E-P5 E-M5II E-PL5 E-PL6 E-PL7
    by Mcoplus
    Link: : Mcoplus MK-320 TTL Mini Flash Speedlite for Panasonic Lumix DMC GF2 GF1 GM5 GX7 GX8 G3 LX100 GX1 Olympus OM-D XZ-2 E-P5 E-M5II E-PL5 E-PL6 E-PL7 : Camera & Photo
    Last edited: May 14, 2017
  11. twoskytrains

    twoskytrains New to Mu-43

    May 13, 2017
    Wellington, New Zealand
    We got our E-P3 second hand and it just came with a lens and a charger (for the wrong country), so no such luxury. I didn't know some came with a reasonable flash. Thanks for your comments though. I'm grateful to have specific models to research now!
  12. PakkyT

    PakkyT Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 20, 2015
    New England
    First, were you testing it with the flash head in the "normal", level, straight ahead and not in "bounce" orientation? Typically when you move the head away from the normal shooting forward position, the flash no longer auto zooms the flash head since it wouldn't know how far the flash has to bounce.

    To manually set the focal length, again you first have to have the head in the normal shooting position, then press the "ZOOM" button on the back of the flash.

    To the original poster, if you are thinking you want TTL, find the FL-600R to be a bit too expensive, and won't need to use it in "remote" mode (off camera), you might look into second hand Olympus FL-36 or FL-50 models. The FL-50 may be a bit too large to handle comfortably on the E-P3, but the FL-36 would do the trick. It is only a two AA battery camera so recharge time between flashes can be a little long sometimes (upwards of 5 seconds), but for things like parties where you are shooting a shot no more than every 10 seconds or whatever shouldn't be an issue at all.
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  13. retiredfromlife

    retiredfromlife Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 15, 2016
    Sydney, Australia
    I had the flash in normal position. The not zooming is not a problem for me just an observation when used on a Panasonic body. I hardly use that flash now, mainly just use it for TTL with the E-P5 when out with family.

    I mainly use my Yongnuo 560 IV now, for practicing my macro.
  14. You should look at the Olympus FL-600 for your EP-3. We CAN make it as complicated as you like, but if you want a simple solution that will work, get the FL-600. You can get one of those white plastic cups for any flash, just search online. They are generally called "diffusers". Enjoy!
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  15. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    A couple of choices and comments -
    Meike 320 has record of having issues for many people.
    The Godox TT350 is yet to be significantly tested and sorted out.

    Olympus FL-600r/Panasonic FL360 are tried, tested, reliable- Auto, Manual, TTL, HSS (both of the above units are supposed to have all of these too) - cost is now about $250. These are also a little more powerful and will recycle quicker the than the previously listed ones.

    And then there are the fully manual ones -
    YONGNUO YN560 IV and Godox TT600 are both about $70 are reliable and part of larger systems that you could grow into.

    They both have transceivers built in so they can act as a a controlling flash of other off camera flashes and the they can receive signals from other controllers without any additional gear. They also double the light output of the Olympus/Panasonic ones mentioned. These are also full sized flash units so they are bigger.

    If you take @PakkyT@PakkyT advice for the FL-36/50 flashes, get the FL-36r or FL-50r models. These can be controlled form your camera with another flash unit. The FL-60R has about the sme power as the FL-600R and the FL-50R has about uthe same power as the 560 IV and TT600 mentioned. These are also Auto, Manual, TTL, and HSS capable.

    Here is some of the best flash advice out there.

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  16. Sarky Git

    Sarky Git Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 6, 2016
    Yes. I'd be surprised if any flashes are auto-only, unless they're really small. I'm certain about the TT350o as I have one on the desk next to me.

    The ones I found when I was researching flashes are:
    Godox TT350o
    Nissin i40
    Nissin i60A
    Metz M400
    Metz 44 AF-2
    Metz 52 AF-1
    Metz 64 AF-1
    Neewer GN40 TTL (not yet released, few specs)​

    I'm happy to answer any questions about the TT350o but bear in mind it's my first flashgun and I'm no expert on the subject.
  17. Bif

    Bif Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2012
    San Angelo TX
    Bruce Foreman
    Your Olympus Pen E-P3 has a built in "pop up" flash. It's tiny and probably limited to fairly close range due to the tiny reflector. I had one and although I'm a retired professional photographer and was used to using some fairly heavy duty flash gear, I still found that tiny pop up flash on the E-P3 to be fairly useful. I believe it also tilts upward (but you have to hold it in position with a finger) and I think I used it for some bounce work with 8 ft white ceilings.

    When pushing the button to release the flash to pop up, I do restrain it with a finger so as not to put sudden stress on it as it snaps into position. And in open room environments (parties, wedding receptions, large living rooms) I'll often set the ISO at 400 or even 800 which gives that tiny flash a little more "reach". It'll be good enough to learn some of the basics of on camera flash.
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  18. twoskytrains

    twoskytrains New to Mu-43

    May 13, 2017
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Good to know re the ISO info, I will give that a go. I couldn't seem to get it to tilt at all, but I have used it a little with natural light - after dark it doesn't seem to great. I have recently realised I really should have utilised it a bit more for kids day time parties, back when I didn't know extra lighting was for daytime too. The more you see, the less you know huh.
  19. twoskytrains

    twoskytrains New to Mu-43

    May 13, 2017
    Wellington, New Zealand
    I have ended up ordering the Godox TT350o. I looked into the Olympus ones, but budget really is a constraint for us. So I hope I can come back here if I really get stuck on something.
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  20. BosseBe

    BosseBe Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 7, 2015
    Stockholm, Sweden
    I was about to put my own 2c in, but you probably don't need it now since you have made a decision.
    I certainly hope you come back with questions if you have them, that is what I think this forum is for, to answer questions and improve all our experience in the ยต43 world!
    I have learned from your questions as I just bought a flash myself!
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