OMD & FL600R use advice

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by boulderjoe, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. Indianpeaksjoe

    Indianpeaksjoe Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2012
    So I have to admit, I am a flash noob. But I picked up a FL600R at the amazing discount price right now. And was wondering if I could get some advice on the best setup for taking pics of bike riders around dusk...

    Using the OMD 1600 iso and the 12mm f2 too many of my shots are looking like this:

    So with the FL600R should I just throw it in Auto and let it work its magic or would anyone be able to weigh in with some better advice.

  2. gnb40

    gnb40 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 9, 2011
    I'm still learning the Olympus system so I'm not sure how the flash and exposure compenstions interact. So far my experience is that I think when the camera is on one of the auto modes, it attempts to get the correct exposure on the ambient light and then adjusts the flash for fill. If it can't get the ambient exposure right, it just goes for the flash to illuminate the whole scene.

    I have a method I used on my Canon equipment that I haven't had time to test on the Olympus to see if it works the same way. Here's something you might want to try... set the flash on Auto (not TTL-Auto). Put your camera on Manual. Set your ISO and the aperture that you want to use (must be in the flashes usable range based on the distance you think you'll be from the bikes). Take a test shot. Check your ambient light. Use the camera's shutter speed to adjust the ambient (background) light exposure. The shutter speed won't effect the flash exposure. Use flash exposure compensation to adjust the flash's level if it needs adjustment.
  3. jsalicru

    jsalicru New to Mu-43

    May 23, 2013
    Try a panning shot instead?
  4. Post complete settings.. EXIF has been removed from you photo.

    You also don't post enough info on what you had everything set to at the time of the photo...

    My Guess.... its not the flash.

    * Foreground and background are in focus so DOF is ~not~ the issue. Albeit it is hard to tell on a small posted photo.
    * Shutter speed is too slow to stop motion
    * Camera is slightly underexposing due to bright backlight.
    * Backlight probably making flash go fill.
    * Learn to pan the camera....
  5. spatulaboy

    spatulaboy I'm not really here Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    North Carolina
    Looks like your focus is off. Also your shutter speed might be too slow as well. A flash would definitely help. As someone suggested, a panning shot might be a better way to represent the action:

    <a href="" title="Through the woods by Vincent-F-Tsai, on Flickr"> 5936078002_0f32a50a91_z. "640" height="359" alt="Through the woods"></a>
  6. With flash, you have two exposures to consider.
    1) Ambient governed by shutter and Aperture settings
    2) Flash (foreground) governed by aperture and power of the flash.

    In this case, the majority of the light is still ambient.... so the flash exposure actually takes a back seat. The issue is then (my guess .. not enough info) mostly due to shutter speed being too slow to capture the rider at speed.

    If I were in your shoes (I use manual flashes though... and this requires some practice),

    1) lower the ISO (400? is a good starting) make flash the primary exposure. Allow the background to go dark with a little ambient exposure to expose the trees. I am guessing -3 EV on average.
    2) Since there is still a bit of ambient, limit ghosting by setting shutter to max sync speed.
    3) Flash set medium power
    4) Aperture on a wide angle lens is ok at wide f/2. I'd probably stop down... assuming I don't push the background trees totally black.
    5) Take a test flash exposure on the ground of the trail. Adjust the aperture to bring that exposure correctly towards the middle (in the old days, we used meters).

    As you move and conditions changes
    * Ambient (background in this case) can be controlled with adjustments to shutter.
    * Foreground (flash) exposure can be controlled with power of the flash.

    NOTE: Given the parameters of the two exposures... the common variable between the two is Aperture. Adjusting aperture will impact both exposures.

    I also have the FL600R. For that flash, you have the added advantage of high speed sync. I'd probably simply see how well the flash Auto in with/without FP handles this situation and make a judgement call. FL600R has a premium price for its features, no reason not to try them. Right off the bat, I bet you'll need to adjust/compensate for the strong backlight that will end up tricking the camera/flash into underexposure.
  7. vchaney

    vchaney Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 22, 2010
    I agree with much of what's been said above.

    Expose for the background. Keep the shutter speed above 1/100s to start with (as you learn to pan you will be able to slow down more).

    I usually expose for the background without the flash. I then manually adjust flash power to get the right exposure for the rider. If you can get the rider to stand in the shot while you get the exposure right it really helps. you can also fix focus if they are standing in the spot they'll be riding over. Focus and track the head if possible. Using a flash flatters panning shots because the flash duration is so short it effectively freezes the motion. The more flash power you have vs ambient light, the greater the effect (you may also get shadows on the background though.

    You don't have to only use flash if it's dark, it can really help in quite bright conditions too.

    Here are a couple of examples.



    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  8. HappyFish

    HappyFish Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 8, 2012
    also learn to use the little flash with the OMD and fire the FL600R from off camera :) 

    will get much more dramatic lighting that way :) 
  9. aukirk

    aukirk Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 9, 2012
  10. Savas K

    Savas K Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 10, 2013
    Yousayit said it. The only thing I'd add is forget the flash for the time being (beyond testing to confirm that it works and didn't arrive with a defect.) Learn to obtain acceptable shots without it, then buff up on flash technique. Start by using flash on static subjects indoors around the house to learn certain ropes.
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