Successful Flash Settings for GH2

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Boatman, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. I do a lot of natural lighting photography, but once in a while, I really need a flash. I have an Olympus FL-36 to use with my GH2 and have had very good success with the following settings:

    Camera: Manual Mode, ISO 320, f2.2-3.5, shutter 1/100

    Flash: Auto (not Auto-TTL) - aimed at the ceiling with a white card behind the flash

    This combination works very will with the 20mm lens and I've purchased a low cost grip since, with the weight of the flash and the small lens, there really isn't enough camera to hang onto. I learned an interesting fact on the way to finding these settings. The flash in Auto mode recharges much faster than in TTL-Auto mode. In TTL-Auto, the typical recharge time is around 10-15 seconds. In Auto mode, with the subject at the same distance, the recharge time is about 1-5 seconds. Using Auto mode on the flash and fixed Manual mode on the camera yields very consistent good exposure. The height of the ceiling and other factors may require some adjustment, but once the flash is dialed into the room, the results are good across a reasonably broad range, say 2 to 15 feet more or less.

    Another trick I've learned is how to zoom my 20mm lens. I normally shoot with the eye viewfinder, but if I need a bit of zoom, simply extend the camera out arm's length and use the panel display. With subjects that are pretty close to begin with, this works nicely.

    photo.JPG Flash Sample 1. Flash Sample 2.
  2. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    some good examples

    a good white uninterupted ceiling helps a lot here - and you can experiment with the relative looks over a range of head angles as the room gets bigger!

    on your point between TTL Auto and Auto, the pre flash from the TTL mode to meter via the camera will mean that there is a vary slight difference in recharge times inherent in the different modes; but nowhere near the differences you indicate.

    depending on the AE mode you have selected on the camera you may get a slightly different metering of any particular subject between the camera (TTL Auto) and the flash thyristor (Auto) - frequently people find they get more consistent results from the latter - which is normally a result of the camera's metering trying to be clever!

    there's also less blinking from sensitive subjects with Auto due to the lack of pre-flash (although it's normally only small birds and rodents that can react fast enough!
  3. The difference recharge between TTL-Auto and Auto really is as dramatic as I've noted. I can't fully explain this. I ran a bunch of test a while back and while TTL-Auto would take 5-10 seconds to recharge, Auto was essentially instant in the same situation. The FL-36 is known for having a rather slow recharge cycle, but using Auto mode makes it quite acceptable unless you are trying to shoot a subject 20' away. Perhaps the pre-flash is skimming off a lot of the charge in the capacitor. I have noticed that if you shoot two or three shots in rapid sequence the recharge time will go from just a few seconds up to around ten. So I'm guessing that with a fast lens, somewhat raised ISO and a good low, white ceiling, the flash just isn't working very hard, and enough of the charge is preserved to keep recharge time down.

    I would agree that the TTL-Auto pre-flash is annoying. If nothing else it creates nearly a second of shutter delay, which is never desirable. With Auto mode there is no delay other than what the camera normally has, and with the GH2 and the 20mm lens, it isn't very much.
  4. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    hmmm - not sure where your shutter delay is coming from, but it's not the TTL process!

    I don't have a GH2, but I can duplicate a test of recharge times on that unit easily enough - you have picqued my interest!
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