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Q for Lumix Flash Experts

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by ScottinPollock, Jun 11, 2019 at 5:36 PM.

  1. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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.
     
  2. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
  3. JemRaid

    JemRaid Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 8, 2016
    Jem Raid
  4. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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?
     
  5. JemRaid

    JemRaid Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 8, 2016
    Jem Raid
    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
     
  6. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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.
     
  7. JamesK

    JamesK New to Mu-43

    7
    May 29, 2019
    Panasonic cameras detect a flash is present by sensing the voltage on the flash sync pin. There has to be a positive voltage on the pin for the camera to short it to ground to trigger the flash.

    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.

    Of course it would be better if Panasonic fixed their dumb cameras. There is no reason to disable flash in focus bracket mode (or mechanical shutter drive modes).

    I heard a claim that genuine Panasonic flashes are not disabled. I never fancied spending more than half the price of the camera on a flash to be able to find out.

    Anyone know?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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?
     
  9. JemRaid

    JemRaid Mu-43 Regular

    43
    Oct 8, 2016
    Jem Raid
    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
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  10. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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@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.
     
  11. JamesK

    JamesK New to Mu-43

    7
    May 29, 2019
    They are triggered by shorting the pin to the shoe (ground). It used to be a mechanical contact in the shutter mechanism. You can't tell something is shorted without some voltage to cause a current to flow through the short.

    This isn't the only Panasonic + flash issue. It is a weak area lacking development and testing.
     
  12. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    900
    Feb 25, 2017
    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.
     
  13. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    Are you sure about this? @JamesK@JamesK tested that 1.27+ volts across the pin/ground senses the flash is mounted.

    You can do this using shutter delay, but only if you have a Lumix camera with a built in sync port.

    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.
     
  14. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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.
     
  15. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    900
    Feb 25, 2017
    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.

    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.
     
  16. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    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).
     
  17. JamesK

    JamesK New to Mu-43

    7
    May 29, 2019
    A dumb single pin flash does not disable mechanical drive modes on my G9 or G80 (it does disable bracketing). It isn't going to work with electronic shutter I didn't check if the flash or drive mode gets disabled in that case.

    A TT350-O and Godox triggers do disable drive mode. I have a suspicion that Godox flashes/triggers lie to the camera saying they are always in TTL mode and in manual mode just ignore the metering flashes and exposure adjustment from the camera. That could explain the shutter lag people (especially Olympus users) complain about. It might be TTL that inhibits drive modes and that might be something genuine Panasonic flashes do differently.

    I see talk of Panasonic working with 3rd parties including Godox to ensure comparability with the new S1. I hope that also results in Godox/Panasonic fixing their issues on M 4/3.
     
  18. archaeopteryx

    archaeopteryx Gambian sidling bush Subscribing Member

    900
    Feb 25, 2017
    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.
     
  19. ScottinPollock

    ScottinPollock Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    230
    Oct 26, 2017
    You're right... my bad. I saw the "BKT" indicator disappear when I turned the flash on and just assume burst mode too.

    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.
     
  20. JamesK

    JamesK New to Mu-43

    7
    May 29, 2019
    Occam's razor tells me Panasonic are dumb is the most likely explanation.

    The flash menus are disabled while no flash is attached meaning you can't select 1st/2nd curtain sync when you only have a flash to plug into the G9 sync socket.
    Tried to be clever with the UI, ended up being dumb.

    G9 in M mode with a flash attached the exposure compensation button only works if ISO is set to auto, but, attaching the flash forces 'auto' ISO to 200 anyway. Exposure compensation can be adjusted and brightens and dims the EVF while not having any effect at all on the actual exposure (except possibly in TTL mode when the option to link flash to compensation is on). The exposure compensation button gives access to flash exposure compensation on the front dial, but, if you don't want auto forced to 200 ISO you have to access flash compensation in the menus.

    In auto A or S modes and a flash in TTL mode exposure compensation serves to alter the balance between flash and ambient light giving the same exposure, but, again the EVF brightens and dims with compensation providing a preview of what you are not going to get.

    And a big issue - no 3rd party wireless flash trigger that I am aware of works properly in HSS with later Panasonic bodies because the shutter timing is wrong and/or 3rd parties don't know how to control it.

    Flash operation and 3rd party compatibility is a really weak Panasonic area.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
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