Questions About Using Flash with OM-D EM-5

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by newbert, Jul 29, 2012.

  1. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    Let me start by saying that I almost NEVER use flash. Nevertheless, I decided to finally play with the flash unit that comes with the OM-D E-M5 and I've got some basic questions:

    1. First of all, how do you attach the darn thing to the camera? :confused: I've removed the cap on the hotshoe, but I see that you also need to remove a piece on the back of the camera between the EVF and hotshoe. I'm having a heck of a time getting that off and I don't want to force it. Is there some kind of release button somewhere, or what's the trick?

    OK - I got it off!

    2. Once I do get the flash installed - What are the settings that you use? My main purpose for using flash would be to provide fill flash to the foreground of early evening landscape images. For example, in this photo (below) I would like to have had the foreground flower lit, while still exposing the background sunset properly. Any thoughts on how to do that? (Remember, I'm a total noob to using flash, so please cover all the bases for me! :redface:)

    Based upon what I'm seeing so far, I'm best off just using the "Auto setting" for what I want to do, right?


    Any help offered for these basic question would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

    Do most of you keep the flash unit attached to the camera all the time? Or do you just attach it as needed? Thanks again!
  2. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    If you look at the accessory port cover, there's an arrow on it showing you how to remove it (someone in another forom actually used a tool to et it off, where it actually comes off easily with a finger nail if you follow the directions).

    What mode depends on the existing light, and what effect I want!

    Considering this is the first camera I used in over 10 years that didn't have a built-in flash, I don't know yet...I may end up carrying an FL-36 or 50 with me for those times I think I'll need a flash (I don't like the way the accessory port was designed, the chances of losing the cover are too high).
  3. tanMu4358

    tanMu4358 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 26, 2012
    I apologize if I jack your post but you mentioned about FL-36 which is made in China. Would that flash last longer than the one made in Japan (original of Olympus)? I am newbie and also looking a good flash for my m43 system too. Thanks.
  4. jmw

    jmw Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    To do what you want with the flower, you'll want to use the slow sync mode to expose for the background. This will be a challenging shot without taking multiple exposures to get a HDR composition - there's a huge difference in EV between the sky, the background, and the flash-illuminated foreground. Flash photography is an area that rewards exploring various settings - try different manual flash settings and see what you get.
  5. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    Thank you so much for that tip about using slow-sync mode to expose for the background. I returned to the same location tonight - the sunset wasn't quite as nice, but I was just experimenting anyway. Here's what I came up with:



    These required some gradient filter adjustment in Lightroom (for the sky), and were shot using Aperture Priority. What's the best way to shoot in order to still expose the sunset (or sky) correctly while having the flash expose the foreground? Take a spot meter reading off the sky, then shoot in full manual mode? Or is there an easier way that allows me to remain in Aperture Priority (my preferred shooting mode....)

    Thanks again!
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  6. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Real Name:
    Those last photos are really nice shots. AEL is irrelevant to what mode you're using. Don't know if it was your intention to have the trees on the background (appears that way), but IMHO, such a scene would go well with an HDR shooting protocol (that way you could draw more detail out of the shadows on the trees). Again, it's your own aesthetic vision you ought to follow.

    edit to add: if you'are shooting landscape type photography most of the time, you could also experiment with stacked focus in Photoshop (or other software) to get (almost) all the scene in focus. This way you can avoid setting your aperture close or above the limit of diffraction. I haven't experimented with altering the exposure for every shot in the stack, so I'll leave this to more experienced shooters to comment.
  7. cputeq

    cputeq Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 27, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Real Name:
    First, very nice shots after the fill-flash addition. Bravo.

    *Disclaimer - don't have my OMD in yet, so this is theory-craft/experience from other systems*

    The scene you're trying to shoot is actually pretty difficult for a camera to handle automatically, and you might want to switch to manual mode for both flash and camera.

    Typically, what I do is spot meter off the sky (assuming no use of grad filters), then I give the (mental) EV comp a push upwards and switch to M - this lets me get a bit more detail out of the shadows, and I can always drag down the highlights later in processing, assuming they're aren't super-blown.

    I also switch the flash to M and play around with a few shots. In your posted examples, that's probably what I would have done, considering the foreground is such a small portion of the image, it's quite possible the flash would have been fooled into trying to expose for the darker background, etc.

    (again, this is theory-craft, don't have my camera in yet).

    Regardless, you've coming along quite well!
  8. newbert

    newbert Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 22, 2012
    Glens Falls, NY
    A Few More Experiments....

    Based on the great feedback I've gotten on this thread, I went out again yesterday evening, just after sunset, to try my hand at shooting some "urban" sunflowers against the sunset. These sunflowers are being grown in a Community Garden in my town.


    My method for shooting these was:

    - Take a meter reading off of the sky and set those parameters in manual mode. Lower/Raise them as needed.
    - Using slow-sync for the flash, play with flash compensation until the sunflower is lit up to the extent you want.

    These are post-processed in Lightroom 4 and I'm pretty happy with them, but welcome any comments for improvement.
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