Possibly use Canon 430EX with E-PL1?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by isabel95, Sep 30, 2010.

  1. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have a drawer filled with flash units bought throughout the years and would love to be able to use my 430EX rather than add to that drawer.

    I realize I will have to use it in full manual mode but am concern it might damage the flash shoe.

    Has anyone use this combination? (I have used it on my LX3 and don't see any damage.)

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  2. ajramirez

    ajramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 16, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico

    I have used my 580EXII and ST-E2 on my E-P1 with no problems whatsoever.


  3. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran


    Any pointers you'd like to share?


  4. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    I've used a few flashes on my Pens and GF1. Most flash units have 1 or more auto mode controlled by f-stop.
    So, choose your f-stop according to the flash output and shoot in A mode... If you need more control, M mode works by allowing adjustable shutter speeds.
  5. Brianetta

    Brianetta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    North East England
    Real Name:
    Brian Ronald
    The 430EX has a low trigger voltage (something less than 5V, IIRC). According to the E-PL1's manual (page 55), "Using obsolete flash units that apply currents of more than about 5 V to the camera hot shoe X-contact will damage the camera."

    Of course, we're not told how to deal with the fact that your Canon flash isn't obsolete, and that current isn't measured in volts.

    You can measure the voltage across the flash's trigger using a multimeter. Put the black probe on the side of the foot, and touch the red probe to the middle pin on the bottom of the foot.

    The Olympus FAQ for the E-P1 states that the safe trigger voltage is 6.5V; it might be that the E-PL1 is really the same, and that the manual is being very conservative. My gut instinct is that the 430EX will be fine, and more to the point, so will your camera.
  6. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    Angloasturian provided this link on another thread :

    Photo Strobe Trigger Voltages

    FWIW, Canon flash guns seem adequate for digital camera since a long time, because Canon cameras themselves (like olympus ones) are rated for 6 V only while the industry 'norm' is officially 12 V.

    But the best is to test yourself with a multimeter.
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  7. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran


    when I use the 430ex in manual on the Panasonic LX3 I just make some test exposures and set the output on the flash. Has worked just fine.


  8. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    My original "good" flash was a Vivitar 283...

    and I liked it a lot. I learned that the one, made in Japan had too high a trigger voltage to be safe on today's digital cameras. (I had bought it to use with a Nikkormat.)

    I bought a newer 283 Made in China, because that was had a safe trigger voltage.

    Don't use it any more, however, although I could...just have bought so many different flashes as I bought different models of camera.

    I wish camera equipment wasn't so redundant!


  9. J. Allen

    J. Allen Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 29, 2010
    I tried my 580EXII on the E-P2. In manual mode I dial back the flash to 1/4 or 1/8 with the camera in manual mode and the results are quite good. I have found that using the little FL-14 in TTL mode is much easier and will provide ample light at the normal setting at distances of 15 feet or so. If I boost the flash it will go further. Surprisingly there is very little light fall off on the sides with the FL-14. With the 580 I needed to use the diffuser and set the lens selection to 24mm to avoid significant fall off in the corners.

    A side note to whether it's safe to use another flash. I didn't think about the possibility of causing damage to the camera using the 580. After using it I wanted to compare it to the FL-14. First I put it on the camera and it wouldn't go on. A set of new batteries fixed that. Then it would not activate in TTL mode until I finally figured out that it wasn't completely pushed into the flash bracket. All I could think of was what an idiot I was not to think about damaging the camera before using the 580. I would be very hesitant to try a flash without being certain it is compatable. Although it seems to work I see no need to use the 580 instead of the FL-14. I also can't get the ST-E2 to fire the 580 flash though I believe someone said they have used it. That would be worthwhile.
  10. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Doesn't look like you can bounce FL-14

    Not crazy about direct flash.

    I did notice that with the 430ex and not setting the zoom I had a lot of light falloff. Hadn't tested it at the 24mm setting - just did - much better!

    Can't imagine using the 580ex with the PL1 - the 430 is big enough! Feels awkward but works nicely.


  11. ajramirez

    ajramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 16, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    There really isn't much to say. I fire the flashes in manual mode and basically adjust the aperture until the shot looks correct. I know that the 580EXII has an autoflash (non TTL) mode which probably would work with the E-P1, but have not had an opportunity to try it yet.


  12. ajramirez

    ajramirez Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 16, 2010
    Caguas, Puerto Rico
    You need to set the flash(es) to manual mode. They will not fire if set to any of the TTL modes. You also need to tape over the extra hot shoe terminals.

    These are two shots taken with the E-P1 and one or two 580EXIIs on stands fired remotely with the ST-E2:




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  13. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I didn't believe the Canon 430ex TTL mode would work with the Oly, but I decided to compare the contacts on the hot shoe. The Oly had one less contact than on my 50D.

    I put the 430ex in TTL mode and the camera on manual - 1/160 at f/5.6...and darned if it didn't work quite well. I set the flash setting in the camera to full.

    I'm going to keep experimenting.

  14. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Further experimentation with 430ex

    Here are a couple of pictures I just took in my laundry room.

    I set the PL1 on the counter and pointed it at my computer chair. Camera was on manual exposure, auto ISO, 1/160, f/5.6, flash on full, self timer. I just cropped the image, leaving part of the counter in it. The picture was slightly too light so I darkened it a bit in camera raw. Other than that, cropped and resize down. No sharpening or noise reduction.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5040117712/" title="P8300803 TTL Canon 430ex by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5040117712_dba612f3ab_o. "903" height="660" alt="P8300803 TTL Canon 430ex" /></a>

    I feel confident that the TTL will work for me with just slight adjustments on the flash output or settings in the camera, set on manual. I had been using Canon flashes on their manual with other brand cameras, but clearly TTL in the 430ex works pretty darned good with the PL1.


    Here's what the light level looked like to me:
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5039491637/" title="P8300806 Actual Light Level by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5039491637_76740a6608_o. "840" height="702" alt="P8300806 Actual Light Level" /></a>

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  15. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    You're Welcome, Fiddler - More 430ex bounced examples

    All taken with flash bounced off ceiling. 430ex on TTL, camera on manual.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5040224356/" title="P8300782 Canon 430ex bounce on PL1 by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5040224356_d273a963ac_o. "1008" height="756" alt="P8300782 Canon 430ex bounce on PL1" /></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5039603635/" title="P8300780 Canon 430ex TTL on PL1 by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5039603635_c44275e8a8_o. "1008" height="756" alt="P8300780 Canon 430ex TTL on PL1" /></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5039603271/" title="P8300778 Canon 430ex TTL Pen PL-1 Manual by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5039603271_3a6b3e40f2_o. "888" height="679" alt="P8300778 Canon 430ex TTL Pen PL-1 Manual" /></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5040223580/" title="P8300777 Just Resized by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5040223580_5846cf04fa_o. "1424" height="938" alt="P8300777 Just Resized" /></a>
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/isabel95/5039602705/" title="P8300776 Bounced Off Cathedral Ceiling by Isabel Cutler, on Flickr"> 5039602705_1014ecc76e_o. "1008" height="756" alt="P8300776 Bounced Off Cathedral Ceiling" /></a>

  16. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    Looks great - I'm gonna try it with mine tomorrow.
  17. feppe

    feppe Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 31, 2010
    Amsterdam, Netherlands
    I've tested my EX-580II with E-PL1, too, and it worked well. It looks absolutely ridiculous and is tough to handle, as the flash is twice the size and weight of the camera, though :D
  18. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Thanks - isn't this exciting?

    I honestly was very excited that it worked.

    If I set the PL1 on Aperture Priority and full flash it way overexposes with the 430ex on full. Works much better with the camera on manual.


  19. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have the 580ex as well...

    but chose to use the 430ex because of the size and weight difference. Even though it's smaller it still feels a bit awkward, but it works extremely well.

    I'm thrilled that I don't have to pay $200 for an Olympus flash.


  20. isabel95

    isabel95 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Did you use it in TTL mode?

    For me that works great with camera in manual mode and flash on full. (bounced)