First big failure with my OM-D

Started Jun 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Nikko aus London
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First big failure with my OM-D
Jun 3, 2012

This was a very frustrating experience! As part of the Queen's diamond jubilee celebration, my local village put on a barn dance last night so I took the OM-D to capture the action. I had the Oly 45 f1.8 on the front and FL-600R on top to light everything. Flash was firing straight ahead (barn roof was extra high so no bounce) and I used the standard lightning symbol setting on camera. No flash comp.

First results were OK in mixed light (flash & outside light coming through windows) and featuring static subjects. But as the ambient light dropped, I started to lose any background detail due to lack of light. At this point, I decided to switch to "drag the shutter" mode. So the camera settings were changed from A priority to M with shutter set to 1/15, aperture to f2.8, ISO moved from auto to 400. AF was kept on AF-S because I haven't got AF-C to work on anything moving faster then a walking child (my fault, I know). I then started to shoot the dancing, expecting the low shutter/ open aperture to capture the background light but also expecting the flash to freeze the action.

Every single shot was blurred. No keepers whatsoever. In my disgust with myself, I deleted them all which, in hindsight, was a bad idea because I could have posted them to help with diagnosis. I once shot a wedding using this technique with my Nikon gear and it worked a treat with exactly the same settings. The one key difference was that previously I used the Nikon 17/55DX lens at the wide end (so approx 9mm focal length on the OM-D) whereas last night I used the 45.

Having thought about it, perhaps I should have either: (a) switched to a wider lens; or (b) used the flash slow sync setting instead. I would have experimented a bit more but the OM-D battery died and my wife pulled me onto the dance floor. This morning I have a headache due to too much wine and not enough camera technique

Has anyone successfully "dragged the shutter" on an OM-D/FL-600 combo to stop foreground action and light the background at the same time? What settings did you use? And any ideas where my fundamental mistakes lie?

Many thanks in advance.

Nikko

 Nikko aus London's gear list:Nikko aus London's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8 +5 more
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