Q for Lumix Flash Experts

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
Panasonic cameras have this really "stupid" algorithm were bracketing is disabled if the camera senses a flash is attached... resulting in not being able to use flash with focus bracketing. This wasn't a problem with the G9 as I could connect flash via the PC Sync socket, being able to trigger a flash without a flash being detected on the hot shoe. But with cameras without a sync port, there seems to be no workaround.

I know there are a number of hot shoe to sync port devices out there... my question is if any of them are dumb enough to not alert the camera there is a flash mounted.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
Thanks. Yeah that is the kind of thing I was thinking of, but I have my doubts about the camera not detecting it, and even if it does not, whether it will get a signal on shutter release.

Anybody here have one of these they can test with?
 
D

Deleted member 28510

Guest
Hello SP,

Errrrm pehaps I'm being a bit thick, I always use the manual setting with flash, it's so easy to set up with the LCD screen. Once done I can wing it for the rest of a session. I use 2 or 3 Yongnuo flash guns, they will easily light a full length figure and there are no cables to get in the way.

[edit] sorry I forgot to say I use a wireless adaptor in the hot shoe and the flash guns on stands. And a wireless remote for selfies which can give in combination with the camera setting delays of; 7 secs, 10 secs or 17secs.

Cheers
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
Hi Jem...

I have both Yongnuo and godox triggers. Both are recognized as a flash by the camera, thus on Panasonic cameras, bracketing is disabled.

I was hoping the little single pin sync adapter would not be detected and just get a flash signal to the PC port.

But I have considerable doubt that would be the case.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
I just checked a G80 and it thinks a flash is attached if the pin voltage is more than 1.27v. I would imagine the camera still 'fires' the sync pin regardless of it thinking a flash is attached, but, I haven't checked.

I don't think there will be anything you could buy to trigger a flash while presenting less than 1.2v to the pin. A bit of custom electronics could probably do it.
Interesting. I don't think this adapter offers any voltage to the shoe as it does not contain any battery. It must only present a load. So in this case, is it reasonable to assume it will not be detected as a flash, but may be able to receive a contact closure to fire a flash connected to the PC Synch port?
 
D

Deleted member 28510

Guest
Hello all,

I don't think £3.40 or $6.45 is going to break the bank, unless you're from Yorkshire. (Yorkshire people are like the Scots but with the generosity removed)

Cheers
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
After a little more research I have concluded this will never work. Yes the "adapter" has no battery and provides no voltage, but the PC Sync cord does (I measured my strobes at 5V). I didn't know this and thought they were just triggered by shorting one lead to the other.

So connecting the sync cord from the strobe to the adapter on camera is going to put 5V across the shoe and center pin, and as @JamesK kindly pointed out, the camera will see this as a flash and disable bracketing.

Well done Panasonic!!! Why do you feel the camera should be crippled when using flash?

Thanks anyway guys.
 

archaeopteryx

Gambian sidling bush
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
1,398
Why do you feel the camera should be crippled when using flash?
From what I've read, lots of people have tried to figure out why Panasonic disables burst (continuous shooting) when a flash is attached without any success. By extension, it seems that disables most bracketing modes as Panasonic appears to treat them as bursts. I've come across mentions of four exceptions:
  1. Use of a sync cord with bodies which have sync ports, as already mentioned in this thread.
  2. Use of flashes which connect only to the X pin.
  3. Focus bracketing with a 1+ second interval between frames. Presumably, scheduling the bracket on the intervalometer forces the camera out of burst mode.
  4. Once source claiming success with Panasonic's FL580L. I'm unsure this trustworthy, though, as the poster ducked when asked for configuration details.
Not a new issue as the earliest significant investigation I've found was with the G2 and there are mentions of encountering the limitation with the G1. Seems quite a few possible explanations have been advanced (and I have candidates of my own) but nothing's ever been ruled in or out.

Personally, my lighting needs are limited to focus bracketing at close up to macro magnifications. My lumen requirements are therefore modest as lights need cover only a small area and can be placed close. Continuous LEDs are the main tool there, so I've not bothered with flash.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
Use of flashes which connect only to the X pin.
Are you sure about this? @JamesK tested that 1.27+ volts across the pin/ground senses the flash is mounted.

Focus bracketing with a 1+ second interval between frames. Presumably, scheduling the bracket on the intervalometer forces the camera out of burst mode.
You can do this using shutter delay, but only if you have a Lumix camera with a built in sync port.

Once source claiming success with Panasonic's FL580L. I'm unsure this trustworthy, though, as the poster ducked when asked for configuration details.
I too find this really hard to believe as it would have to be designed to do this by communicating to the camera in a specialized way. Problem is, there is no one to ask. Even the Luminaries don't know and would have to test, and I imagine most can't be bothered.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
Are you sure about this? JamesK tested that 1.27+ volts across the pin/ground senses the flash is mounted.
Confirmed. I just dug up one of my old Chinese one pin dumb triggers from the pre-Yongnuo/Godox days... as soon as I mount it burst and bracketing are disabled.
 

archaeopteryx

Gambian sidling bush
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
1,398
I too find this really hard to believe as it would have to be designed to do this by communicating to the camera in a specialized way.
It's normal for manufacturers to differentiate by implementing device specific commands to support their features, so the notion this might also be the case for the FL580 doesn't strike me as intrinsically far fetched. Both Canon eTTL and Nikon iTTL involve manufacturer-specific serial communication. Infrared interfaces are necessarily serial. The data moved over wireless probably isn't any different. If anyone's used an oscilloscope or bus analyzer to look for traffic on a Panasonic hot shoe I haven't seen them post about it. Same for snooping an RF or infrared link.

My skepticism in the case of the FL580 is mostly to do with Panasonic's description of its multi-flash feature appearing to be unrelated to burst mode and the company not marketing the FL580 as having burst support. Basic hardware capability clearly exists but there seems to be a lack of clear evidence for firmware support.

Are you sure about this?
I don't recall having reason to think the poster was incorrect but, if the description was ccurate, their (probably older) body would apparently be giving different results. IIRC it was mentioned in one of the m43 forum DPR threads on Panasonic flash behaviour.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
I don't recall having reason to think the poster was incorrect but, if the description was ccurate, their (probably older) body would apparently be giving different results.
Possibly... I can only vouch for the G9, G85, and GX85. This seems to be a very conscious decision by Panny to shut down any modes that hit the flash continuously. Maybe it was designed to protect the built in flash, but then the G9 has no built in flash, so truly unexplainable (other than oversight).
 

archaeopteryx

Gambian sidling bush
Joined
Feb 25, 2017
Messages
1,398
Some of the ideas I've come across for why Panasonic has this limitation are
  • Concern about flash overheating. Potentially internally (the body manuals I've looked at have hints) but most clearly documented in cautions given in the external flash manuals. If so, this strikes me as overprotective as a flash could simply not re-raise its ready signal until it's cool enough. However, that's not something which can be safely done unless the flash is known to be smart in that regard.
  • Deprioritization of still photography to focus on video. Or, potentially, desire to sell continuous video lighting solutions over maximizing flash efficiency.
  • Lack of competitive pressure. Some claimed it's only Olympus with flash burst support, but I don't know enough about flash to gauge the accuracy of this.
  • Hardware limitations. Some of the proposed difficulties strike me as not credible. Some postulate difficulty with operating flashes along the flash power-number of flashes continuum. The lack of flash standardization makes me suspect this may be in the right direction in that there may not be a way for the camera to query an arbitrary flash for its capabilities to determine if a burst or bracket can be executed. If so, I'm inclined to view it as more of a software limitation, though it's not something firmware can figure out without a data link.
  • All or nothing feature design. This is usually in the direction of Panasonic reasoning that if a flash can't deliver n full power illuminations then an n image bracket isn't feasible. I doubt their thinking is that naive. But it would surprise me if there's any general way for a camera to know if a flash can actually deliver, say, 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 = 7/8 total power in quick succession for a EV bracket. Given a healthy engineering culture, it should be no problem to work out for bodies and flashes from the same manufacturer (particularly integrated ones), but I could see it being not enough of a feature to get funded.
  • The TTL constraint James just mentioned. The more complete version of this is TTL exposures aren't completely deterministic and thus there's some difficulty in planning out the exposure sequence relative to flash capabilities. I don't see this as a reason not to try a bracket and terminate it early if it goes on too long, but that's only a reasonable option in circumstances where flash capabilities are known and power and thermal budgets can be reliably monitored. That this approach might not always produce what the user asked for would also be a reason for risk averse engineering and marketing cultures to avoid it.
  • Internal Panasonic politics or different engineering teams for the hot shoe and sync ports. Different teams would surprise me. Different behavior in different parts of the firmware which aren't important enough to make consistent, sure. Politics, those who know Panasonic's internal culture aren't talking.
From a user interface standpoint this strikes me as a good example of why having a tooltip type message indicating why a menu item is disabled can be useful. It'd also be an in-camera upsell point for marketing ("Want this unlocked? Buy our stuff!") which, while kind of annoying, would at least signal there's a way of resolving the problem.
 

ScottinPollock

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Oct 26, 2017
Messages
445
A dumb single pin flash does not disable mechanical drive modes on my G9 or G80 (it does disable bracketing).
You're right... my bad. I saw the "BKT" indicator disappear when I turned the flash on and just assume burst mode too.

Some of the ideas I've come across for why Panasonic has this limitation
I think this is just a mess. Set your flash mode in camera to "S", set bracketing to Focus. You'll see the "BKT" indicator above the AFS/AFF indicator. In Manual, mount or turn on the single pin flash... you'll see the "BKT" indicator disappear. Now move the mode dial to A or P and you'll see the "BKT" indicator appear. Of course it still doesn't work (only takes one photo), but at least the indicator is still there.

Of course you would "exposure" bracket in A or P mode, so maybe that is why the camera thinks bracketing is possible in those modes. Of course you can exposure bracket in all PASM modes so it is simply that the logic involved was developed by a third grader, and the QC team or photographers consulted either don't use flash or use it at its most rudimentary level.

Product and macro work screams flash, and this is the kind of stuff focus bracketing is most used for. Disabling it is just stupid.

The camera has to know if the internal flash is being used rather than a shoe mounted one, so they could easily protect the internal flash without killing it for shoe mounted triggers.

I exchanged emails with PhotoJoseph last year about this when I discovered it on the G85. He said that Panasonic was aware of the issue. I think that was B.S. as it wasn't addressed in the G9, or GX9. I wonder if it also exists in the S1.

It's really hard to get more behind Panasonic when they do stupid s**t like this, there is no one knowledgable to talk to, and even their own photographers don't seem to give a damn.
 
Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Mu-43 is a fan site and not associated with Olympus, Panasonic, or other manufacturers mentioned on this site.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Copyright © 2009-2019 Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom