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Panasonic + remote flash power control?

Discussion in 'Lighting Forum' started by littorio, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. littorio

    littorio New to Mu-43

    7
    Sep 5, 2011
    Hello guys,

    A quick question - is there any possibility to get remote power control for off-camera flashes with Panasonics?

    I have Gf2 and FL-36R and am looking at Yongnuo YN-560 III. As far as I understand, my gear can trigger off-camera YN-560 (YN-560 to slave mode, triggered by FL-36R in manual mode, or by RF-603 on my Gf2), but to adjust flash power I would have to go to the YN-560 myself, risking to drop it accidentally, or to broke my setup (positioning, distance, etc) :mad:

    One solution is to buy an Oly camera and use it with Oly FLXXR's... but I really don't want to be dependent on camera manufacturer. Tried to google for that, but haven't found any solutions yet. It seems to be not very complex device, do you know any? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    Ehud
    Sorry to disappoint you but strobing is complex and need manual settings.
    There is allot of trial and error when doing so but after you get some practice it will be a second nature and you will like the flexibility that manual settings gives you.

    TTL is good when you shot in occasions like parties or kids, where the distance from the subject changes frequently.
     
  3. littorio

    littorio New to Mu-43

    7
    Sep 5, 2011
    You didn't get my point :). I have some experience with manual shooting (GH1/Gf2+FL-36R+trial-and-error) and appreciate it. I don't need TTL, I need an ability to control flash power from the remote commander. If RF-603 had two buttons "+" and "-" for the selected remote flash (or a group of flashes) - that would be ok. And system-wise independence is a great bonus :)
     
  4. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Nope, not as far as I know. The Panasonic cameras themselves have no built-in control of an external flash--even if it's on the hotshoe. There's no equivalent to the proprietary wireless flash (e.g., Oly RC, Nikon CLS, Canon wireless eTTL/RT), so aside from using FEC and a TTL cable between the camera body and the flash, you're going to have to dial in the power on the remote flash.

    And if you get an OM-D and use the RC capabilities in your FL-36R, it's still going to be via a light-based system, with all the inherent range/line-of-sight issues that implies. There also are no 3rd-party m4/3 TTL radio triggering devices like the Yongnuo YN-622, Phottix Odin, Pixel Kings, RadioPopper PX, PocketWizard TTL units, etc.

    I was hoping that the YN-622s were simply relaying pin signals, like a TTL cable over radio, and tried the Canon versions on my G3 and FL-50, but no go. They only worked as dumb triggers. There's some Canon-hothshoe-protocol-specific stuff going on in.

    <del>You may want to look into the RadioPopper JrX/RPCube and use of the quench pin to do remote power control on manual lights, but I have no idea if it's relevant to the FL-36R.</del>
    Doesn't work. The FL-36R is all digital and doesn't have a quench pin.
     
  5. littorio

    littorio New to Mu-43

    7
    Sep 5, 2011
    As I told before, I don't need TTL. And cable does not change anything for me because my Gf2 (as well as even GH2) doesn't have a flash power control and doesn't support manual flash mode :(

    Sad. Thank you for the info, anyway.
     
  6. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Yes. I got that. But if your triggering system cannot do TTL, it can't do power level setting*. Communicating the power-level settings from the camera body to the flash is done through those extra three TTL contacts/pins on the hotshoe.

    Bummer.

    On my G3, there's a "flash adjust" menu, so I can command 2EV of FEC from the camera body, but that's it. And (obviously), I need a TTL cable to relay the signalling that performs that task from the body to the flash, since there aren't any radio triggers or RC light-based signalling in my camera body or flash to do so.

    If I use a TTL cable between my Canon 5DMkII, and 580EXII, the flash behaves as if it's on the hotshoe, and I have full capability to set the power level of the 580EXII either as manual power ratios or TTL ratios. The YN-622c triggers do the same thing for me over radio. TTL triggers aren't about just TTL--they're about communicating the full hotshoe protocol with all the pins/signals, and you need them for all the secondary functionality that isn't the fire/sync signal (that's the pin/contact in the center of the hotshoe/foot): wake-up, HSS/FP, 2nd curtain, power commanding, setting custom functions, zoom control, etc. etc. can only be done remotely via a TTL-capable triggering system.

    *quench pin hacks excepted. :)
     
  7. littorio

    littorio New to Mu-43

    7
    Sep 5, 2011
    inkista,

    TTL = Measuring + "Power set command" + "ignite the flash command".

    I simply don't need the first action, *measuring* (substitute it with trial-and-error technique). It is definitely possible to create a manual, remote controlled flash system which simply don't need to communicate to camera.

    I even saw some guy's conversion of a simple flash with "+" and "-" buttons - he soldered that button's contacts to some simple radio controlled stuff. Just thought there are ready-for use solutions (I'm agree to buy a pair of YN-560's, RF-622s, anything, if it just works and not very expensive). And I'm not very good in googling, yes :(
     
  8. littorio

    littorio New to Mu-43

    7
    Sep 5, 2011
    Btw, my previous GH1 did have that option, Gf2 - doesn't. With GH1 I could just set the power to minimal, in manual mode there were no preflashes (and no measuring, even for built-in flash), and FL-36R had been triggered in slave mode. Couple simple examples (that's my daughter):

    z_d6c9e01c.
    z_66e1fd23.

    But to adjust the power, I had to go to the flash and set the desired power on the flash unit. If I had a transmitter on my camera, nothing prevents the transmitter to have "+" and "-" buttons :)
     
  9. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Probably the aforementioned quench pin hack. As I linked to, there is ready-for use solution, which is the RadioPopper JrX+RPCube, and because RadioPopper took so damn long to come out with the RPCube, a lot of folks hacked one up for themselves, as the electronics isn't that hard to DIY (although it's harder for Canon than for Nikon). But it requires that you start with a TTL flash with a quench pin signal, and the FL-36R doesn't have one.

    Power output with flashes is actually a matter of the duration of the flash burst. Longer the duration, higher the power output. Being able to control when the quench signal occurs gives you a way of controlling that duration, and therefore the power output of the flash.
     
  10. rklepper

    rklepper Mu-43 Top Veteran

    733
    Dec 19, 2012
    Iowa, USA
    Robert
    Manual flash is tricky, but quite satisfying once you get it down pat. Spend the time to learn it and it will pay you back immensely.
     
  11. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    429
    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Again, this thread isn't about manual flash. It's about not having to take the flash off the light stand 15 feet up to adjust it every couple of seconds until you get it right. Or not having to climb the tree or open the softbox or even just walk over to the flash itself, but rather do it on the fly remotely. **** gets annoying.

    Also, I always thought Canon had very similar pins to Olympus? So maybe a Canon-compatible remote would work for adjusting output (manually you fools) but then just function as a dumb trigger to fire the flash. Only problem would be having to invest in a Canon flash that would recognize the wireless controller, and you'd never be able to use it as TTL (honestly doesn't matter to me, only one of my flashes is TTL).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    The pins are placed identically, but Canon uses 5 pins/contacts, and mft uses 4. And the signaling protocols are completely different. Think of it as one system using Morse, while the other Bacon's cipher or something: a blip on pin 1 for Canon doesn't mean the same thing as a blip on pin 1 for mft. Just as an example, that quench pin signal I talked about isn't universal. Nikon has it on one pin, Canon another. And Nikon recognizes it as a signal going to ground [source voltage -> 0 voltage], Canon as a signal going to source [0 voltage -> source voltage].

    Still wouldn't work. The signals the mft camera sends won't match what the flash is expecting to get. The only signal that works is sync/fire, because that's the only universal signal across all ISO-compatible hotshoes. So, no remote power control, either--even if there were some way around the obstacle that the OP's camera has no way to set the power level on a flash via the camera menus... (i.e., he got an OM-D for the RC flash control panel).

    And, as I posted above, the Yongnuo 622c Canon eTTL triggers are doing Canon protocol-specific things, not just simply relaying the pin signals, like a TTL cable would. So, just using the Canon protocol triggers between an mft hotshoe and mft TTL flash doesn't work, while using a Canon eTTL cable does.
     
  13. beanedsprout

    beanedsprout Mu-43 Veteran

    429
    Apr 13, 2013
    north central Ohio
    Blah. That's silly. I wonder why they don't make a radio trigger that can adjust up and down flash power on it's own, even just compatible with CanNikon stuff, but still will fire a flash from the sync pin signal. Seems basic enough.
     
  14. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Actually, for Canon/Nikon the Yongnuo YN-622 (and Phottix Odin, and Pixel King) triggers already do the full TTL hotshoe signals, so we not only get remote power commanding, but also HSS, 2nd curtain, TTL, groups/ratios, etc. etc. (assuming you have a 2007 or later camera body and a menu commandable flash). And the Yongnuo YN-622 triggers are <$40 a piece.

    Why bother building something with much more limited functionality that probably won't cost much less, and will still be system-specific?

    Not to mention that Canon users who can blow a ton of money can always purchase the ST-E3 and 600EX-RT if they want full commanding of a remote flash over radio without needing to add any additional triggers...

    Just me, but as a Canon user, I find Panasonic mft is woefully behind and unsupported by 3rd parties when it comes to off-camera flash technology.
     
  15. chrisrudio

    chrisrudio New to Mu-43

    2
    Aug 6, 2013
    Hi,

    Manual power control of your speedlites can be done via an AC3 controller on a mini tt1 and speedlites on flex tt5s. Just tested this the other day on my GX1 and I was able to successfully trigger and control the power output of my Canon 550EX and Nissin Di866.

    Both speedlites were on TTL mode and you just have to change the AC3 controller mode to 'M'. No extra settings required on the mini tt1 and flex tt5.

    The only thing that I had to to do was cover the hot shoe contacts aside from the middle one - only the center contact is used for triggering the speedlites.

    Hope this helps!

    Sent from my GT-N7100 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  16. chrisrudio

    chrisrudio New to Mu-43

    2
    Aug 6, 2013
    AC3 controller + Mini TT1 on the GX1



     
  17. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Huh. I'm behind on my Youngnuo news. There's a new transmitter in the works to remotely power-control the YN-560iii. Could be vaporware, or a year out, but...

    BTW, despite their use of the mockup artwork for the also-announced (but obviously not actually developed) YN-622TX, this is a different transmitter from the YN-622TX. The YN-622TX + YN-622c with a Canon YN-568EX might also work with a few more features (say, HSS), similar to what the previous poster did with PocketWizard Canon TTL gear & triggers. But this would probably be more expensive than the 560iii and its new transmitter. And nobody's likely to know for a good long while, yet.
     
  18. Jacques

    Jacques New to Mu-43

    3
    Oct 1, 2013
    If they put a pass-through hotshoe on the 560TX transmitter, we might finally be able to remotely control off-camera output power while using TTL on-camera with multiple brands of cameras. That is, since output control does not depend on TTL, it'll work with any camera. And, pass-through would give us TTL on supported cameras. We could use a 560III flash kit off-camera and have a 560TX + eTTL flash on a Canon body and a 560TX + m43 TTL flash on an m43 body. What I'm not clear on is whether a pass-through hotshoe for Canon TTL would also work on m43, or whether we'd need a brand-specific TX. And, if the latter, will Yongnuo make a TX for m43? And, how about a YN-500EX TTL flash for m43?

    Fingers crossed!
     
  19. inkista

    inkista Mu-43 Veteran

    332
    Jan 13, 2012
    San Diego, CA
    Ummmm....

    My guess would be no. The YN-622c "pass-through" hotshoe for Canon eTTL-II only works with a Canon flash on top of a Canon camera. It does not work with an m4/3 flash on top of an m4/3 camera, because I've stacked mine between a G3 and an FL-50, and none of the TTL modes ever show up.

    And power control DOES rely on a TTL pin signal--the quench signal. And with m4/3, that isn't done analog-style by a single pin (as is expected with Canon or Nikon, albeit on different pins)--it's done with some sort of digital code. So... less likely that Yongnuo will be able to reverse engineer it.

    Again, my guess here is yes, we'd need an m4/3 specific Tx unit that can decode the signals on an m4/3 hotshoe and translate them into what the 560III needs to hear.

    So far, Yongnuo hasn't made ANY m4/3-specific gear.

    Ever.

    And they don't even bother to make sure their generic stuff (e.g., RF-603 trigger) works with m4/3. (sigh).

    Yongnuo has only ever made Canon and Nikon specific flashes when it comes to the TTL stuff. The only Sony flashes they've made have been the all-manuals.

    My fingers are crossed, too, but I think it's a longshot. Right now, I just want RF-603s that are m4/3 compatible without having to rip the units open and grab a soldering iron.
     
  20. kenyee

    kenyee Mu-43 Rookie

    13
    Oct 13, 2013
    FWIW, the RPJrX works fine....it just uses the center firing pin on the hotshoe.