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Remote Flash Limitations

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by webarchitect, Jul 4, 2012.

  1. webarchitect

    webarchitect Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2010
    I recently acquired the OM-D with it's mini-flash, and and FL-600R. I've found this set up quite nice for small product photography. However, one of the things I want to work on is off camera flash. I'm talking about 10+ feet off camera.

    The issue I had on this project was getting the FL-600R to fire. In order for it to work, the flash had to be pointed almost at the camera, but really into the empty space between the subject and the camera. In the fading daylight, it was as if the wireless remote function was blinded by the ambient. And while the picture isn't bad, the resulting shadowing of the rear of the vehicle was unavoidable.

    The ambient light was a little brighter than the image shows, so I was stopped down to increase the drama of the light. Flash was exposed TTL, wireless remote, and was a bit weak. I've worked this over a bit in photoshop.

    Any tips on using the FL-600R as a Remote off-camera flash in day light or diminishing light would be most appreciated.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/owen-imaging/7502432454/" title="DS2 by Owen.Imaging, on Flickr"> 7502432454_a1547faafb_z. "640" height="480" alt="DS2"></a>
  2. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    I don't own the 600R nor have I ever used one.

    If using it off camera wireless remote, I suspect that it needs a signal from the camera to fire it and the photosensor needs to be pointed at the camera on-board flash. That photosensor is likely housed directly behind the red lens at the front of the 600R. Point that red lens toward the camera and rotate the flash output towards the subject.

    Use manual instead so that you can gain greater control of the flash output. You will need to capture several images to determine your desired flash level.

    When I do a shoot using flash units, I routinely utilize at least three: the most powerful as the "main;" a lesser powerful for the "fill" to eliminate shadows that the main creates; and a third as a "kicker" to highlight certain important parts of the image.

    When using only one flash, the light needs to be properly applied to compensate for the lack of the other units.

    If you want shadows, then create them by placing the light in angles that would create them.

    If a shadowless (as much as possible) image with only one flash is desired, you need to disperse the light with the use of a reflector, soft box or diffuser. Remember that that output of a flash is collimated (the light is "gathered" into a small spot) and then "shot" via the small opening that is the flash output lens.

    That little pull-out reflector often found on modern flash units is OK indoors in the presence of walls and ceiling that can also bounce the light. Outdoors, it efficacy is diminished.

    You can also place that diffuser accessory at the output. It is OK as well.

    I prefer a larger reflector when I use a single flash. You can fabricate one from a 6 by 6 inch section of glossy white cardboard stock. Point the flash output towards the sky, tape the card stock to the back of the flash and start shooting. You will find many of the shadows have diminished. Play with the flash head angle, distance, ISO, aperture, and shutter to achieve the desired results.

    Good luck. Hope this helps a little.
  3. digitaldan1

    digitaldan1 Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 22, 2010
    Good advice! I haven't worked with the FL-600R either, but I do have the FL-50R and FL-36R and they work pretty well with the FL-LM2 as a controller. Ten feet should work pretty comfortably unless you're dealing with really strong ambient light. The only things I can add are it's the FL-600R's sensor that needs to see the wireless controller and not the flash head so point it at the camera and position the flash head towards your subject.

    Also, a reflector positioned to bounce some light from the main flash into the shadow area can help improve your lighting too.
  4. Mikefellh

    Mikefellh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 7, 2012
    Toronto, Canada
    It's the same power level as an FL-36.
  5. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    You may need to go to the SCP and bring up the flash sub-menu, select HI. This will allow the commander flash to put out a higher intensity so the remote flash can easily read the optical flash code.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. webarchitect

    webarchitect Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 15, 2010
    Great suggestions! Thank you all! The only problem now is that I realize how "out to lunch" I was shooting this image. Of course the sensor, not the rotating flash head, has to face the camera...! I had the power set to "HI", and that was critical. I didn't want to diffuse the flash much, as the shadow creates part of the drama. I just wanted a better angle on it. Nonetheless, I'm eager to try the technique again, armed with the knowledge you've enlightened me with.
  7. 0dBm

    0dBm Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 30, 2011
    Western United States
    You could also have an assistant stand to your camera left pointing a reflector directly at the subject. Point the flash at the reflector and vary the output settings until you achieve the desired result.

    My local Walmart sells 3x2-foot glossy cardboard stock for $2.99 + the 8.75% tax :) mad:)  we Californians are required to pay.
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