Olympus FP-1 and SHV-1 battery packs with FL-50 ?

Started Mar 17, 2010 | Discussions
dave gaines
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Olympus FP-1 and SHV-1 battery packs with FL-50 ?
Mar 17, 2010

Is anyone using the Olympus Power Packs with an FL-50 flash for event and wedding photography? I've read about Quantum Instruments and Lumedyne battery packs and strobes, but that system starts around $1000 + for a fast strobe and power pack, plus cables, etc.

Using a HV power pack for continual use may require a better flash than the FL-50. I've read that the FL-50 can fire up to 10 times in rapid succession and then it needs to rest for 10 minutes.

I already have the Olympus FL-50 and FL-40 flashes so using what I've got is more economical. I do some event photography, mostly for parties at non-profit functions. I'm not shooting weddings.

I think this FP-1 grip may be an improvement over a generic flash bracket with a cold shoe and a swing arm. The FP-1 appears to swivel and tilt in multiple directions and can be detached for hand held aiming of the flash. It's better than the standard Olympus flash bracket with no added power and a fixed aim that provides no swivel function.

I've never heard anyone commenting on the Olympus FP-1 Flash Power Grip, which sells for $250 to $280. It uses 4 C-cell batteries and provides a rotating head, shutter trigger on the grip, faster recycle times and more flashes. I see the FP-1 requires a cable to use the shutter trigger on the grip and a hot shoe to grip cable. The flash head on the grip could possibly be connected to the E-3 with an Olympus 5-pin to 5-pin cable through the flash connector on the E-3.

Finding the required Oympus cables is proving to be pretty difficult. No one carries one of them, thanks to a lack of marketing by Olympus I suppose. I also don't see an equivalent FP-1 type Power Pack grip or Oly HV battery pack for use with the FL-50R. Why is that?

The Olympus SHV-1 High Voltage Battery Pack sells for ~ $440. It links through the FP-1. The FP-1 looks like a good option for speeding up recycle times with medium-duty flash use. Adding the SHV-1 linked through the FP-1 can provide even faster recycle times and many more flashes for heavy flash use. The SHV-1 contains a high voltage pack (HV-1) with charging function, a nickel-hydride battery pack (BN-1) and an AC adapter (AC-2), power cord for charging the battery and a hard case and strap.

Has anyone used this system? Can anyone compare it to the other pro systems that are designed for medium to heavy use? Are there other alternatives? I've asked this on 3 gearhead forums without much success.

Thanks,
Dave

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Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
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Henry Caron
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Re: Olympus FP-1 and SHV-1 battery packs with FL-50 ?
In reply to dave gaines, Mar 18, 2010

Hi Dave, FlashZebra.com might be able to make up the cords you need.

Custom Flash Cords & Adapters

Need a custom or oddball flash cord or adapter for a reasonable price? FlashZebra can make many custom cords and adapters. Just email sales@flashzebra.com and indicate what you need. Be sure to include important information on what you are trying to connect — cord length, etc. A quote will be emailed back to you.

Henry

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mn88
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Hi Dave
In reply to dave gaines, Mar 18, 2010

Flash Grip - No, I don't have one and have no intention of buying one. When shooting events I like to keep things simple and have found no limitations to using 'just' a flash diffuser (I have 3). With a diffuser (no grip), I can swing my flash quickly to the side or straight up / as well as tilt it as I see fit - and I'm pleased with the lighting I get using my flash that way. And it's not like a grip is going to move that flash way off camera anyway. If I want to put the flash farther from the camera, then it's on a light stand - either connected to camera with flash cable or more likely controlled with the pop up flash (FL-50R).

A couple years ago, I did consider purchasing a flash grip, but a more experienced photog advised me it wasn't necessary and to spend my $ on other things. Now that I have more experience, I think that was good advice.

Batter Pack - I can see how that could be tempting, but I find eneloops recharge my FL-50's plenty fast enough. Also, as you know, shooting in rapid succession will require some down time for the flash which I'd rather not have to do. Also, I don't like taking shots in rapid succession.

So, for the type of shooting you are describing I think these purchases are overkill. I'd rather have another FL-50R unit to do more OCF. Then again, if you are making quite a bit of $ with your gear and want to try some new stuff out, it's your decision. We all have different shooting styles and budget constraints.
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Marc

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Steve Grooms
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Hi Dave,
In reply to dave gaines, Mar 18, 2010

I think Marc is right.

Don't dump a lot of money on a problem that doesn't exist.

I haven't tried any of the special packs, but I shot about eight weddings with the FL 50 with Eneloop batteries. And it was a great combo. I would shoot fill flash outdoors and bounce flash indoors, meaning I had the flash going for just about every shot, and I would usually need one change from old to newly charged batteries.

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Kim R
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Re: Olympus FP-1 and SHV-1 battery packs with FL-50 ?
In reply to dave gaines, Mar 18, 2010

Dave -

I had the Olympus FP1 Grip for a bit. I got it with one of the lots of Oly Equipment I have bought to horse trade with. That is how I have got a lot of my lenses, etc. by buying used in a lot and selling off what I don't want to pay for other things ... thus the 11-22mm ended up at a cost to me of about 150.00 and thinking of it now that grip might have been in the same lot.

I played with the grip a bit as I do everything I get ... it is a good grip for what it is but is not what I wished to have (stationary flash position with the only advantage being the extra power if I needed it). After playing with it I then sold it on eBay and invested in a Stoboframe Bracket to shoot event or as the case was at the time weddings. Advantage of having the flash above camera and rotation too with the Stroboframe.

The weddings I shot recycling time was not an issue and at the time I was using the FL-36 without added power-grip. Now with the FL-50 and it's faster recycle time it should be a breeze though I do not plan to shoot another wedding.

If you are going to shoot event, weddings, etc. the Stroboframe Grip is something I do recommend highly. Easy to rotate the flash and switch when rotating camera to portrait position or back again. Not bad in price an well built too. Cable needed too but standard from Oly for FL-50l
Check it out and as I said I do recommend this flash frame -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wwvgfk1WTdU

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/117422-REG/Stroboframe_310_700_Pro_RL_Bracket.html
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KimR

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dave gaines
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Marc, spoken like a pro'
In reply to mn88, Mar 18, 2010

Thanks for your input Marc. I was hoping you'd see this and chime in. I have a question below about the PC connector on the E-3.

I've been looking at the FP-1 for the E-3 and FL-50. It provides two things the FL-BK01 does not and it swivels. But the more I look at it the more I realize it will soon be obsolete and the FL-50R is a better investment. I have the FL-40 and the FL-50 and two Wein slave modules I need to experiment with more to see if I can make them all sync.

So here's my question today: Why did Olympus put a PC connector port on the side of the E-3 if there's no Olympus cord or accessory that fits it? It certainly doesn't fit the FP-1 Power Grip or the SHV-1 power pack requirements. Is it there just so I can use a studio flash?

I'm coming to the conclusion that a Quantum Instruments strobe and power pack is less expensive in the long run than trying to use the Olympus flash system with an Olympus power pack because it will fit most future camera bodies with a simple change in connector cords ($45). Does the Quantum system provide TTL?

Are you using the PC connector for studio lighting? Any insight here will be appreciated.
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Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
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 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
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dave gaines
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Olympus power packs becoming obsolete?
In reply to Kim R, Mar 18, 2010

Kim,

Thanks for your input. I was hoping to hear from someone who's actually used one.

The one thing I like about the FP-1 and the FL-BK01 is that the hot shoe to hot shoe cable is not required. The plastic boxes on that cable tend to break with the stress of the flash moving around on top of a generic flash bracket.

As I said to Marc, the FP-1 may become obsolete and Olympus no longer supports it. And the FL-50 can not fire in rapid succession for very long anyway.

I already have a good Fastframe generic bracket with a swing arm (well-made in the USA). It's a bit simpler than the Stroboframe bracket you linked and it works well for what you described. There are half a dozen generic brackets that all work well. I've used mine many times for events when I want to rotate the camera and for flower shots to create side lighting up close.

I've upgraded my tripod to better, taller and strudier Manfrotto tripod legs, an Acratech GV-2 ballhead and Really Right Stuff L-bracket for the E-3. It's much more stable and rotating the camera on an L-bracket to the vertical orientation keeps the camera C. of G. above the center of the tripod head. RRS makes good flash brackets too. Here's a link to one of them.

http://reallyrightstuff.com/flash/index.html
And prices - hold your breath!
http://reallyrightstuff.com/rrs/items.asp?Cc=FlashBrackets&iTpStatus=0&Tp=&Bc=

Here in the US it appears that the FP-1 Power Grip does not come with the FL-CB02 needed to hook the hot shoe to the FP-1 terminal to fire the hot shoe on the grip or the RG-1 cable needed to hook the shutter release to the FP-1 shutter trigger. The RG-1 cable not only doesn't come with the FP-1, you can't find it anywhere. Olympus has stopped carrying the FL-50 now that the FL-50R is out so they don't support the FP-1 grip, which for some reason doesn't work with the FL-50R. So the FP-1 will be obsolete as soon as my FL-50 wears out, if it isn't already due to the lack of cords.

There's no where to hook the RG-1 or any other remote shutter release cable like the RM-CB1 to some E-series cameras like the E-330. For most of the Olympus cameras, like the E-300 and C-8080, you need the battery grip to connect a remote cable shutter release.

I think I can duplicate the Olympus RG-1 cord with 2 of the RM-CB1 cords. The end connectors are the same. The RG-1 just makes the connector a flat, 90 degree plug. Henry gave a link for flashzebra. If they can make a generic connection with two shutter release connector wires then that's a solution. Hey, I could make the cord with two cheap generic cable shutter release.

Well, I may pass on this chance to buy the FP-1. I missed winning an auction on eBay yesterday for the only RG-1 cord I've found.
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Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
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 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
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dave gaines
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Re: flashzebra connector cords
In reply to Henry Caron, Mar 18, 2010

Henry,

Thanks for the link. That may be the best solution for making an RG-1. As I said to Kim below, I think I can make one with two of the RM-CB1cable shutter release connectors. But I need to find 2 cheap ones.

The one thing I like about the FP-1 and the FL-BK01 is that the FL-CB05 hot shoe to hot shoe cable is not required. The plastic box on the end of that cable tends to break with the stress of the flash moving around on top of a generic flash bracket. I've reglued it once already and it broke again.

It's a darned shame Olympus did not put a sync cord connection terminal on the FL-50 and the FL-50R so that a cord could plug into the side of the flash instead of requiring another hot shoe connection. That really makes a generic bracket with a cold shoe harder to use.

I'd like to take the FL-50 apart and add a terminal or tail cord with a flash sync connector on it. Hmmm...I wonder?
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Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
http://whaleshark.smugmug.com

 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Olympus E-330 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +7 more
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dave gaines
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This is sage advice Steve
In reply to Steve Grooms, Mar 18, 2010

Thanks for your input Steve,

nearly 2 years ago I shot the Pasadena Heritage, Colorado Street Bridge Party from about 5:00 to 9:00 pm, for about 4 hours, and never lacked for flash power. I used the flash from before sunset to after dark

Last summer I shot a gala fundraising event from about 5 pm until the late evening and I had plenty of flash power with the FL-50. I used the flash for fill light outdoors on the patio before sunset and indoors as the primary light for candids and portraits. I nearly filled some pretty big rooms with enough light to show the whole party. I probably took over 200 photos, of which 80+ were good and useful.

As I said to Marc above, if I need more flash power, more total flashes, continuos flash or faster flash recycling over long periods of time, the Quantum Instruments or Lumedyne systems are better suited for that kind of work. I don't usually shoot that fast, I'm more methodical and plodding in my efforts.
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Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
http://whaleshark.smugmug.com

 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Olympus E-330 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +7 more
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mn88
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Re: Marc, spoken like a pro'
In reply to dave gaines, Mar 18, 2010

Slaves - you shouldn't have any trouble synching them so long as you shoot your on camera flash in manual and the slaves can pick up the light and fire. The trouble with this in shooting events is everyone else's flashes will trigger your slaves. That's where wireless is nice - unless you want to overexpose others photos!

PC connector - who knows? I might actually have used such a connector with my Fl-50 if it was there, but Olympus decided not to include one. You are probably right that it's there for studio lights on the higher grade cameras. Haven't used the one on my E30 yet - I have a hotshoe adapter that has PC connectors on it. I keep it in my lighting bag as a back up to my wireless trigger when using my studio lights. Works great, it's cheap, and it works on any camera with a hotshoe.

Quantum - I briefly considered that when ordering my first studio lights. Some wedding photogs use a Quantum system. I decided to go with Alien Bees. Great system - love those lights! Best product for the $ as far as I could find and I haven't been disappointed. My AB800's recharge in just about a second at full discharge. Love using them for formals.

If you continue down this direction, you'll eventually want something that puts out more light. I was going to add in my last reply - save your money for strobes.

Hope I'm not off base here - but one last bit of advice. Put all this stuff out of your head and get some business. As you shoot, you'll soon know what you need and you'll just go out and get it - and with income coming in you can justify it. I don't purchase any camera gear anymore unless those two criteria are met (photography income and need) and it's a lot easier on my pocketbook and my marriage.
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Marc

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dave gaines
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More sage advice Marc, thanks
In reply to mn88, Mar 19, 2010

Thanks Marc,

I don't really need a faster flash for what I'm doing. I do need to keep the marriage a happy one though. If I can't use it for a paying gig, I'm not buying it.

I did splurge for a couple of ND filters. I found one Hoya SMC for $29 and another 72 mm SMC Hoya for $35. I'm going to shoot waterfalls this weekend and I'm going to try some really long exposures on a tripod.

We’re heading out to Anza Borrego Desert State Park for camping and 4-wheel driving on some really rough roads - well through a stream and up a rocky gorge to be more accurate. We’re going to an incredible place with water flowing out of the mountains behind San Diego. The water just drops into the sand when it meets the desert floor. Here’s a link to some of my photos from trips over the last two years.
http://whaleshark.smugmug.com/Landscapes/Anza-Borrego-Desert/4643285_UnDkV
--
Dave

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. M. Proust
http://whaleshark.smugmug.com

 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Olympus E-330 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +7 more
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