OMD-EM5 Included flash as controller of FL-50R/FL600R

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
Ryan21
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OMD-EM5 Included flash as controller of FL-50R/FL600R
Apr 25, 2012

Anyone know if I can set the included flash (that comes with the OMD) to commander and then set it to not fire but just control an FL-50R/FL-600R?

I am pretty sure it can be a commander but I would love it if I could control if it fires or not.

Ryan

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CrashE3
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Re: OMD-EM5 Included flash as controller of FL-50R/FL600R
In reply to Ryan21, Apr 25, 2012

If I understand your question, yes.

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CrashE3
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Sorry, I think Not.
In reply to CrashE3, Apr 25, 2012

After re-reading your post, I am going to say NO. The flash system works with light.. it is not radio.

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luigibenet
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Re: Sorry, I think Not.
In reply to CrashE3, Apr 25, 2012

You can set its 'intensity' (low, med and high), but is has to fire to send the 'signal' to the flash.

Indoors and close I leave it at low and have not have a problem. I am not sure if you can 'see' a difference with the settings.

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Re: Sorry, I think Not.
In reply to CrashE3, Apr 25, 2012

Similar to Canikon it will fire only to send instructions through IR (IR being combined with the white light your flash produces). However it should be shot at a low enough strength that in most conditions should not affect exposure. What may show is that your flash can still show via highly reflective surfaces vs pure RF.

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Gregm61
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Re: OMD-EM5 Included flash as controller of FL-50R/FL600R
In reply to Ryan21, Apr 25, 2012

Ryan21 wrote:

Anyone know if I can set the included flash (that comes with the OMD) to commander and then set it to not fire but just control an FL-50R/FL-600R?

I am pretty sure it can be a commander but I would love it if I could control if it fires or not.

It has to fire in order to control the external units, but the light it puts out to command the external units is of little consequence to the exposure. There have been several instances where peoplel have used the on-camera flash as the main light source with the RC mode accidently turned on. The resulting shots were grossly underexposed and they thought it was a camera problem, when the only problem was, RC mode just needed to be turned off when using the built-in flash as the light source. The on-camera flash only puts out enough light to signal the external units when in RC mode.

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Ryan21
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Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-V3261300U000-FL-600-Wireless-Flash/dp/B0074WDFSQ

For the FL-600R you can use it strictly as commander without firing the flash....

"In wireless mode, the FL-600R has a built-in commander function to remotely fire other wireless flash units without firing itself, but it can also be used as a slave flash,"

The question is,

1. Is this correct.
2. If it is correct, will the included mini flash do the same?
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Gregm61
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Ryan21, Apr 25, 2012

Ryan21 wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-V3261300U000-FL-600-Wireless-Flash/dp/B0074WDFSQ

For the FL-600R you can use it strictly as commander without firing the flash....

"In wireless mode, the FL-600R has a built-in commander function to remotely fire other wireless flash units without firing itself, but it can also be used as a slave flash,"

The question is,

1. Is this correct.

Looking at the specs on the Olympus site..

http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1583&page=accessories#49

It does appear the FL600R is unique in being able to act as a wireless commander without firing the flash....another reason to want that unit. This is a first for Olympus, but I am dubious it will be able to fire other current models, like the FL50R, that way. Maybe if you have multiple FL600R units. Note, it does say if you use the accessory clip-on flash, you still have to fire that in RC mode to trigger an external FL600R like all previous models.
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Jeremy_T
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

Gregm61 wrote:

Ryan21 wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-V3261300U000-FL-600-Wireless-Flash/dp/B0074WDFSQ

For the FL-600R you can use it strictly as commander without firing the flash....

"In wireless mode, the FL-600R has a built-in commander function to remotely fire other wireless flash units without firing itself, but it can also be used as a slave flash,"

The question is,

1. Is this correct.

Looking at the specs on the Olympus site..

http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1583&page=accessories#49

It does appear the FL600R is unique in being able to act as a wireless commander without firing the flash....another reason to want that unit. This is a first for Olympus, but I am dubious it will be able to fire other current models, like the FL50R, that way. Maybe if you have multiple FL600R units. Note, it does say if you use the accessory clip-on flash, you still have to fire that in RC mode to trigger an external FL600R like all previous models.

I'm confused by the wording. My guess is that it uses its secondary video light to trigger the RC slaves, rather than the main flash.

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Gregm61
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

Gregm61 wrote:

Ryan21 wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-V3261300U000-FL-600-Wireless-Flash/dp/B0074WDFSQ

For the FL-600R you can use it strictly as commander without firing the flash....

"In wireless mode, the FL-600R has a built-in commander function to remotely fire other wireless flash units without firing itself, but it can also be used as a slave flash,"

The question is,

1. Is this correct.

Looking at the specs on the Olympus site..

http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1583&page=accessories#49

It does appear the FL600R is unique in being able to act as a wireless commander without firing the flash....another reason to want that unit. This is a first for Olympus, but I am dubious it will be able to fire other current models, like the FL50R, that way. Maybe if you have multiple FL600R units. Note, it does say if you use the accessory clip-on flash, you still have to fire that in RC mode to trigger an external FL600R like all previous models.

Well, I'm going to contradict myself again.....

As I read the specs of the included clip-on flash on the E-M5 page, it does appear to be able to fire the FL600R wirelessly without flashing itself. That would be just way too cool....
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Gregm61
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Jeremy_T, Apr 25, 2012

Jeremy_T wrote:

Gregm61 wrote:

Ryan21 wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/Olympus-V3261300U000-FL-600-Wireless-Flash/dp/B0074WDFSQ

For the FL-600R you can use it strictly as commander without firing the flash....

"In wireless mode, the FL-600R has a built-in commander function to remotely fire other wireless flash units without firing itself, but it can also be used as a slave flash,"

The question is,

1. Is this correct.

Looking at the specs on the Olympus site..

http://olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1583&page=accessories#49

It does appear the FL600R is unique in being able to act as a wireless commander without firing the flash....another reason to want that unit. This is a first for Olympus, but I am dubious it will be able to fire other current models, like the FL50R, that way. Maybe if you have multiple FL600R units. Note, it does say if you use the accessory clip-on flash, you still have to fire that in RC mode to trigger an external FL600R like all previous models.

I'm confused by the wording. My guess is that it uses its secondary video light to trigger the RC slaves, rather than the main flash.

I just replied to myself below after reading more specs on the E-M5 page. It does look like the clip on flash will work to wirelessly, without flashing, control an FL600R.

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Richard Butler
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

My understanding is that the internal flash can be set so that it triggers a remote flash by firing at a very low intensity, to reduce the risk of its flash appearing in the final image.

Sadly I don't have a remote flash with me right now to check, but a footnote on page 97 of the E-M5 manual says:

'If the subject is too close to the camera, the control flashes emitted by the camera flash may affect exposure (The effect can be moderated by reducing the output of the camera flash using a diffuser or other similar techniques).'

Which implies the internal flash can be used as a control-only flash, with minimal input into the final image (though not quite none).

Richard - dpreview.com

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Jeremy_T
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

Gregm61 wrote:

I just replied to myself below after reading more specs on the E-M5 page. It does look like the clip on flash will work to wirelessly, without flashing, control an FL600R.

I think it's a question of semantics. As I read it, the flash still has to emit the control burst, but the literature doesn't refer to that as "firing" since the flash can still "fire" normally (or not) afterwards.

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dotborg
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Yes.
In reply to Ryan21, Apr 25, 2012

Just like the built-in flashes of the PEN cameras, it can trigger a (compatible) remote flash without it's own emission showing up in the image. It's able to do this because the pulses that setup and fire the remote flash happen before the shutter opens.

[edit] Here's an example using an E-P3 and off camera FL-36R:

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lazy3yed
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Re: Yes.
In reply to dotborg, Apr 25, 2012

Yup, I have tried RC mode with the E-M5 and FL36R. The command flashes from the on-camera flash does not affect the image, even at close range (was using "macro" mode on the 12-50).

dotborg wrote:

Just like the built-in flashes of the PEN cameras, it can trigger a (compatible) remote flash without it's own emission showing up in the image. It's able to do this because the pulses that setup and fire the remote flash happen before the shutter opens.

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Gregm61
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Re: Amazon Tech deets say differently
In reply to Jeremy_T, Apr 25, 2012

Jeremy_T wrote:

Gregm61 wrote:

I just replied to myself below after reading more specs on the E-M5 page. It does look like the clip on flash will work to wirelessly, without flashing, control an FL600R.

I think it's a question of semantics. As I read it, the flash still has to emit the control burst, but the literature doesn't refer to that as "firing" since the flash can still "fire" normally (or not) afterwards.

You could be right. That's what I thought on first blush. The specs section on the E-M5 at Olympusamerica.com does say "Olympus Wireless RC Flash System Compatibe", which would mean the required commander flash is required.

Whoever writes the specs on the website must be the same ones composing the really bad manuals they put out these days.

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Ryan21
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This is how I thought they were doing it...
In reply to dotborg, Apr 25, 2012

So it is just a timing thing. Was the shutter opening during that flash communication sequence on older E models? I recall there being some light affecting the image when I tried this with my E-510-E-620...

If so it would be an effective way of solving the problem.

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azazel1024
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Re: This is how I thought they were doing it...
In reply to Ryan21, Apr 25, 2012

In my limited experience with the Fl-300r and the E-PL1, what is going on is that the camera flash is the IR communication with the RC flash(es). What happens is that the camera fires the built-in or attached flash to control the remote flashes, THEN the shutter opens, then the RC flashes fire. The commander flash contributes nothing to the exposure as it fires its pulses to command the remote flashes before the shutter ever opens.

It does lead to a very slight delay in shutter/RC flash firing compared to what you'd have if you weren't using RC mode. Its small, but if a few dozen milliseconds matter, there is that delay (I couldn't even begin to measure how small the delay is, less than an eigth of a second certainly).

I honestly don't know how TTL mode works though. I am guessing that the RC flashes probably do a flash prefire as well so that the camera body can evaluate light levels or something like that before the shutter operates and the RC flashes do the primary flash. All I know is that even in TTL RC mode, I have noticed no contribution from the in body flash on the E-PL1 one even at close distances in the few dozens shots I have taken using the FL-300r in RC mode.

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Gregm61
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Re: This is how I thought they were doing it...
In reply to azazel1024, Apr 25, 2012

azazel1024 wrote:

In my limited experience with the Fl-300r and the E-PL1, what is going on is that the camera flash is the IR communication with the RC flash(es). What happens is that the camera fires the built-in or attached flash to control the remote flashes, THEN the shutter opens, then the RC flashes fire. The commander flash contributes nothing to the exposure as it fires its pulses to command the remote flashes before the shutter ever opens.

It does lead to a very slight delay in shutter/RC flash firing compared to what you'd have if you weren't using RC mode. Its small, but if a few dozen milliseconds matter, there is that delay (I couldn't even begin to measure how small the delay is, less than an eigth of a second certainly).

I honestly don't know how TTL mode works though. I am guessing that the RC flashes probably do a flash prefire as well so that the camera body can evaluate light levels or something like that before the shutter operates and the RC flashes do the primary flash. All I know is that even in TTL RC mode, I have noticed no contribution from the in body flash on the E-PL1 one even at close distances in the few dozens shots I have taken using the FL-300r in RC mode.

You've got the process right. There are two delays using the current wireless system, which is why I more times than not, do not use wireless, electing to go with an off-camera TTL cord. The RC command flash and the TTL measuring pre-flash. They happen very fast, but there is enough of a delay that sometimes it will cause subjects to have a lazy eye look. I've been shooting events and seen primary subjects prone to it and emmediately reverted to non-TTL auto, which elimated the TTL pre-flash delay, so if the flash was camera mounted, all delays are completely eliminated.

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azazel1024
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Re: This is how I thought they were doing it...
In reply to Gregm61, Apr 25, 2012

Gregm61 wrote:

azazel1024 wrote:

In my limited experience with the Fl-300r and the E-PL1, what is going on is that the camera flash is the IR communication with the RC flash(es). What happens is that the camera fires the built-in or attached flash to control the remote flashes, THEN the shutter opens, then the RC flashes fire. The commander flash contributes nothing to the exposure as it fires its pulses to command the remote flashes before the shutter ever opens.

It does lead to a very slight delay in shutter/RC flash firing compared to what you'd have if you weren't using RC mode. Its small, but if a few dozen milliseconds matter, there is that delay (I couldn't even begin to measure how small the delay is, less than an eigth of a second certainly).

I honestly don't know how TTL mode works though. I am guessing that the RC flashes probably do a flash prefire as well so that the camera body can evaluate light levels or something like that before the shutter operates and the RC flashes do the primary flash. All I know is that even in TTL RC mode, I have noticed no contribution from the in body flash on the E-PL1 one even at close distances in the few dozens shots I have taken using the FL-300r in RC mode.

You've got the process right. There are two delays using the current wireless system, which is why I more times than not, do not use wireless, electing to go with an off-camera TTL cord. The RC command flash and the TTL measuring pre-flash. They happen very fast, but there is enough of a delay that sometimes it will cause subjects to have a lazy eye look. I've been shooting events and seen primary subjects prone to it and emmediately reverted to non-TTL auto, which elimated the TTL pre-flash delay, so if the flash was camera mounted, all delays are completely eliminated.

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Yeah, I mentioned it is super fast, like 1/8th of a second or less...but it is a perceptible pause in taking the photos...just a very slight one. I can deffinitely see how it could result in lazy eye or closed eyes as people blink from the command/pre-flashes before the main flash and exposure is done.

I have a Catus v3 setup that I am probably going to continue using (I just got the FL-300R two days ago, but I played with it in a ton of configurations for about 3hrs and 2 sets of batteries the first night). The only issue I have found with the Catus v3 wireless trigger is that on my Wife's E-PL1, for whatever reason if I bump ISO over 200, I get some kind of weird artifacting in the right 1/5th of the image that looks like horrible JPEG artifacts. I am guessing some kind of EM interference going on that when the signal from the sensor is amplified for higher ISO settings shows up. Anyway, it doesn't show up at ISO200 and at least with fresh batteries the trigger/slaves work 100% reliably up to 50ft (I haven't tried it further than that.

They were cheap too, I think like $50 for the master and one slave and the extra slave was I think $30. No lag there if using them.

PS I don't recommend this for a steady relationship, but I left an umbrella and stand setup with the flash (I use 285hvs) on once in the master bedroom when we were doing baby pictures of my middle child (back when he was the youngest). half an hour later my wife was in the bedroom putting away her laundry and I triggered the flash (on purpose, I mean accident) while I was down in the living room. Scared the bejesus out of her. I couldn't stop laughing for 5 minutes.

I have a comfortable couch...and she agreed later it was rather amusing.

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