Why no integrated flash?

demiro

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I've been mostly an iPhone photographer lately, but decided to again buy a "real camera" for casual use. I was thinking E-P5 + 25/1.8 or fuji X-E2 + 35/2, but then decided to think up-market a bit, so PEN-F or X-E3. I find it highly annoying that both of those require an external flash. While the integrated flashes are nothing to get excited about, they can be really useful when you need some fill or scene is a bit too dark. For casual use I'm not going to have the external flash with me.

I'm mostly just whining here, but curious what thoughts you all have on this.

Cheers.
 
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Even with an integrated flash, I always carried my Olympus FL-LM3 flash. The ability to bounce the light makes it infinitely more useful and produces much better images than a pop up flash does. If I’m taking a real camera, then it’s already in a bag and an extra 4 cubic inches the flash takes doesn’t make a big difference to me.
 

Steveee

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I have the E-M10ii with the integral flash. Have used it maybe half a dozen times in four years, with less than spectacular results (probably because I’ve not used it enough to get good at it!) so wouldn’t miss it.

But now you have me thinking I ought to give it a try more often..............:roflmao:
 
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I often use the integrated flash on my EM-10. It's great with my 25mm and 45mm 1.8's. It doesn't work well with the 12-40 and is useless with the 12-100 and my longer lenses. I do have a couple of Oly external flashes that work fine with these lenses though. However the flash on my iPhone 11 is also a pain to use. You can't turn it on without diving into an obscure part of the always changing iOs menu.
 

Bushboy

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Yup, if I’ve got my camera, I’ve got the fl-lm3 with me too.
Good unit if your subject is close enough. Bounce it off a reflector if your subject is close enough.
Unlike a phone, you can set the set shutter and aperture and the flash power. I always have better results that way.
 

ac12

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While I will agree that the integrated flash has been handy to have several times, when I unexpectedly needed it. If I have a choice, I would much rather use a regular flash, with the flash tube farther from the lens axis. I have had to do "red eye" removal in post processing a few too many times. And that is my biggest issue with integrated flashes, they are too close to the lens axis, causing red-eye often. A compromised design.

And being able to bounce the flash is a great help. I bounce a LOT.
If you keep a small flash in your bag, you will be covered. Just remember to keep the battery charged, or use low self-discharge batteries.
 

piggsy

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I liked the integrated flash on the E-P5 very much, but I have to say, out of all the bundled flash solutions I've seen, the FL-LM3 is the best one. It's weather sealed and tilt/angle adjustable, and way better than it has any right to be. It's much better than anything you would get housed in the camera body.
 

Mike Wingate

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I have 2 cameras with built in flash. The GX80 and FZ82, both from Panasonic. I tend to use either the Godox 350/860. The 350 is small, but gives good light.
 

retiredfromlife

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I like the built in flashes as they come in handy for a bit of fill in light, and to use as an optical trigger from flashes that will trigger from it.
A lot easier to slave off the on board than mess around with electronic connections for me.
 
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I have the E-M10ii with the integral flash. Have used it maybe half a dozen times in four years, with less than spectacular results (probably because I’ve not used it enough to get good at it!) so wouldn’t miss it.

But now you have me thinking I ought to give it a try more often..............:roflmao:

I had an EM10 II as well, and I used the built-in flash a few times, mainly as fill. It's not very strong and the straight flash look isn't very attractive. Prone to red-eye too. I prefer to use an external flash and bounce it when I need more light or use it off-camera for close-ups and macro. I have an FL-600R which is pretty compact.
 

Steveee

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So, had a look at the FL-LM3 - looks ideal, i.e. very compact which is the deal-breaker for me. With the added bonus of a bit of bounce, and only £60-odd new - I'm having one of those!

Then I noted: "This flash only works with the EM5 Mark II. It will not work with other cameras". Whaaat?!!! I'd expect some lack of the fancier functions on the EM10ii (maybe?) but not to work at all seems wierd to me. Oh well.

@Holoholo55 - thanks for replying - had a look at the 600R, but it must be made out of gold :laugh:. (I understand that my pricing expectations might be unrealistic!).

So - anyone have any comment on the FL-LM1? I know it's a toy (before some of you big flash boys start!), but this is only for a play after all! Looks compact, pops up to increase the lens-flash distance, bit of a boost in guide number. Cheap as chips second-hand. Worth a pop?
 
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The FL-LM1 works as advertised and is basically a "clip-on" pup-up flash. It's small, lightweight and inexpensive so if you just want to give flash photography a try it's definitely good. Also just worth it IMHO to have as a in case of emergency flash (e.g. a situation where you need to pick between no decent photos vs direct flash photo). For me the FL-LM1 is worth keeping in my bag for just-in-case situations.

I do agree that a more powerful flash capable of bouncing gives better (more natural light) results, but those tend to be bigger and more expensive. I don't think the FL-LM3 is particular value for money vs a good full-featured flash like Godox TT350O / TT685O (I would recommend the latter as it's a twice as powerful and close in price).
 
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I did look up the retail price of the FL-LM1 and do think that it is also overpriced. Personally I got the FL-LM1 with the camera and as mentioned it's good keeping it around, but at +€50,- retail (in The Netherlands) I would recommend buying full-featured Godox flash. If you can find a cheap FL-LM1 second hand then certainly go for it (but keep in mind you get approx.. 10% of the options/performance of a €80-€110 Godox flash).
 

LV426

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Many solid points made here on external flash options. But, if you really want a small camera with a built-in flat I would recommend looking at the Lumix GX9 or EM10 series. I have a couple full-size flashes that I mainly use for portraits and occasional product shots so I am not able to recommend a small flash
 

Steveee

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I agree with @danelkins that there is a difference between using a flash vs having a small pop-up flash available. So that would be the most important decision.

Looking at price there is also a Godox TT350O for £40.00 (used), £69.00 (new) which would give you more power/options vs LM3. For reference the Godox has a GN36 vs GN9* for the LM3. The LM1 has a GN7 so is slightly less powerful vs the LM3. Both obviously having the benefit of being small, light and not needing batteries.

I would rank them: LM1 backup flash (only use flash when you are forced to do so), LM3 sometimes use flash (bounce does improve results), Godox (or any other full feat flash) if you often take photos with flash and/or want to get in to off camera flash use. It's difficult to advice what is most appropriate in your specific case.

* GNx = guide number which is an indication of flash power. GN translates to how many meters the flash reaches at ISO 100. So a GN36 translates to 36 m at ISO 100. Keep in mind that the GN is not 100% accurate between brands. I don't think the LM1/LM3 will reach 7 / 9 m at ISO 100 (both more around 4 to 5 m).
 
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But now I've found this: https://cs.olympus-imaging.jp/en/support/imsg/digicamera/compati/pen_flashes.cfm which suggests the LM3 is compatible with my lovely EM10ii.....so I now have a dilemma!
It absolutely works with the EM10ii as I've used it on one for a couple of years now. It works on any Olympus camera newer than the EM5ii. I THINK that was just the first M43 camera with the 5th power-providing pin in the hotshoe which has now become standard. I've even read that, with a tiny bit of judicious filing to make it fit, that it works with certain Panasonic cameras.

I mentioned it first up above but I really will sing the praises of this tiny flash. I think it's slightly mor powerful than a pop-up and provides most of the on-camera benefits of a larger flash while being small and light.
 

PakkyT

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And that is my biggest issue with integrated flashes, they are too close to the lens axis, causing red-eye often. A compromised design.

I wouldn't call it is compromised design (implying they could of done it better) but instead simply that you can not have a camera integrated flash be far enough away from the lens unless you have it stick out on an arm or the make the camera body about 1 foot+ wide. :laugh:


"This flash only works with the EM5 Mark II. It will not work with other cameras". Whaaat?!!!

Ya you already noted it will work on your E-M10.2 but for completeness for anyone else reading this thread, the FL-LM3 according to Oly "is compatible with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, OM-D E-M10 Mark II, OM-D E-M10 Mark III, PEN-F, and OM-D E-M1X cameras. " So a limited number of models, but at least not only limited to the E-M5.2.

My E-M1.1 came with the FL-LM2 which lacks most of the cool feature of the LM3 (weather proofing, bounce, etc.). I have never really used it in the years I have had the camera. However I recently repaired an old FL-36R so I may start carrying around the LM2 to use as a the master to fire the FL-36R remotely. I had been using my even older FL-36 (non-R) and a cheap radio trigger for off camera flash but of course strictly manual flash settings, which works for what I chiefly use it for (old (200+ years) headstone photography to sidelight them to get worn inscriptions to show). But interested in how the FL3+36R might work for the same work.
 

Steveee

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OK, so a LM3 (open, unused) literally just popped up on ebay (was it one of you guys?!!) and I bought it for £40. If it does what it says on the tin (for the amount of times I use it) it will fit the bill nicely.
 

mfturner

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As @roelwillems says, for occasional use i much prefer the LM3's tilt/ bounce/ size over the built in flashes of my old m10.3 or Canon cameras.

The only thing I actually liked about the built in was for occasional macro where I didn't need much power and had to add diy reflector/ diffuser anyway.
 
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