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Oly RC sensitivity

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by vinay, Apr 24, 2012.

  1. vinay

    vinay Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Mar 18, 2012
    Toronto
    With Nikon's CLS, an on camera built in flash commander can fire speedlights behind umbrellas, inside softboxes, reasonably outside the room, etc... I'd say it was pretty sensitive for it being IR based..

    Is Oly's RC equally forgiving? Or would the situations I described above cause communication difficulties?
     
  2. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    It depends on the flash, actually. My FL-300R is pretty sensitive, it doesn't necessarily have to face the RC signal flash.

    The FL-36R that I got recently though is not as sensitive it seems.
     
  3. vinay

    vinay Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Mar 18, 2012
    Toronto
    I had previously read a post somewhere about FL-36R line-of-sight issues. Have you tried the FL-36R behind a softbox or umbrella?
     
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I have had mine behind many umbrellas and softboxes no problem, and I have used Olympus R-series flashes for years and years with the sensors pointed straight ahead and not even turned towards me.

    However, recently in the past month or so I've been finding that I need to turn all my sensors towards me, on the FL-36Rs as well as the FL-50Rs. They used to work fine without doing that, but after a couple frustrating shoots where my lights just weren't firing, I discovered that turning the sensors fixed that. I guess my speedlights are starting to show their age? I also use shoe-mounted slave sensors on some flashes, but they generally rely on the built-in optical sensors going off first to fire the Olympus flashes... so if those ones don't catch then none of them do.

    In short, age and condition seems to have a profound effect on sensitivity of the sensor.
     
  5. zettapixel

    zettapixel Mu-43 Veteran

    470
    Aug 12, 2010
    NY
    Does anyone know, by any chance, how Metz flashes compare to Olympus in this respect?
     
  6. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    856
    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    I haven't tried my FL-36R behind umbrellas, etc.

    However you can change the strength of the RC signal flash; by default it's at low (you can change it to low-medium-high).
     
  7. jkassem

    jkassem New to Mu-43

    9
    Apr 12, 2012
    I have the Metz 50 AF-1 and it seems to work very well with the OM D if the batteries are fresh. I have had it face down on a bed with the sensor in the sheets and it fired. I haven't tried long distance, bright sunlight or another room yet. I'll let you know when I do. The only issue I have with the flash and the OM D is it only works remotely in TTL mode. I have contacted Metz about this, and they told me they don't yet have an OM D for testing, but they expected all the functions to work as on other recent Oly cameras. Hopefully there will be a firmware fix. Anyone else using a Metz with OM D?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. jkassem

    jkassem New to Mu-43

    9
    Apr 12, 2012
    OK I did some basic testing with the EM 5 and Metz 50 AF-1. I will post some pics. Keep in mind these are not properly exposed, composed or edited. They are just quick snaps to test the flash sensor, jpg straight out of the camera and resized for iPad.

    The Metz fires very well within the same room with the sensor facing away from the camera, in the test shots it is facing a wall and a window.


    image-4174573357.



    image-2223573974.



    It did not work as well outside the room. I had to move it close to the door (around 3-4 feet) and be 5 feet from the door to get it to fire.


    image-1139928184.



    image-903236335.



    image-3518013198.


    This is how I had it positioned when it actually fired, around 3-4 feet from the door frame. It was 10 feet from the door frame with the sensor facing away in the first shot.

    For the outside tests I made sure the commander flash (the kit flash) was set to H, and I face the flash sensor toward the camera.

    I was surprised by its performance outside. It fires consistently from 10 feet in the shade on a bright sunny day.


    image-2742968345.


    Farther than that, not so much.

    image-3076908992.



    It also fires in direct bright sunlight- This performance is way better than my previous camera, a K20D with af360fgz. Surprisingly, I was able to get it to fire from farther than 10 feet when the flash was in direct sunshine.

    image-3823912924.



    image-1966454324.



    As I have stated before, I have only been able to use this flash remotely with my OM D in TTL mode, which is a big disappointment for me. I expect there to be a fix for this thought, as Metz is supposed to support all functions, and you can update the firmware.

    All in all, I'd say this is a very solid performance for a flash. I don't think you can expect too much more from a light based remote command system. If you need to fire your flash from 100ft or in another room, get some cactus v5s. They are bulky, but they work well.
     

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 4
  9. vinay

    vinay Mu-43 Regular

    137
    Mar 18, 2012
    Toronto
    Looks similar to (or slightly weaker than) the sensitivity of the Nikon cls system. Only problem is we have no option for radio based wireless ttl to extend reach. I reached out to pocket wizard to see if a :43: version of the flex system was on the roadmap and although they acknowledged the growth of :43:, they said they would support any systems for which there is sufficient demand.