OMD severe flash exposure problem

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
photofan1986
Senior MemberPosts: 2,312Gear list
Like?
OMD severe flash exposure problem
Apr 11, 2013

Hi there,

I have been using my OMD for about a month now, and with the exception a couple of things driving me mad (like the rattlesnake problem, wich IS a Olympus problem), I am slowly learning to use the camera, and trying to forget my 50D (not so easy, in the end).

I never used the flash, as my 25 1.4 allows me shooting with ambient light most of the time, but yesterday I decided I will give the small clip-on flash a go.

The exposure accuracy for continuous light is excellent on the OMD. Much more consistent than some of my previous Canon cameras. The 50D was very good, too, but I'd say the OMD is better.
However, flash exposure, at least with the clip-on flash, is not very consistent, to say the least!

The camera seems to be underexposing by close to a full stop, but moreover, it is VERY sensitive to reflective surfaces, much much more than my Canons ever were.

Here are some examples:

OMD, FEC 0.0 EV

50D, FEC 0.0 EV

OMD, FEC 0.0 EV

50D, FEC 0.0 EV, slightly underexposed, but not as severely as the Olympus.

OMD, FEC 0.0, white background, extreme underexposure!

OMD, FEC 0.0 , changed framing, good exposure!

OMD, FEC 2.0 EV needed to get a similar exposure!!

50D, FEC 0.0, good exposure.

50D, FEC 0.0 ,changed framing, slightly brighter, but very good exposure.

As you can see, the Olympus is not only underexposing severely, but it is also very, very sensitive to framing (and light reflections). Moreover, Oly does not allow flash exposure lock (which Canon does) to help sorting this out. The only way to get proper exposure is to constantly play with the FEC according to the subject, but for that matter, I could also use prehistoric manual flash with more consistent results!

Anyone observed a similar behaviour? How is your OMD behaving? Does mine have a problem or is it just the (crappy) way the camera works?


Thanks for your help!

 photofan1986's gear list:photofan1986's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Canon PowerShot S100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 +6 more
Canon EOS 50D
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Laryb
Forum MemberPosts: 79Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 11, 2013

Just put my fl36r on my OMD and tried a few shots. You are right! Mine underexposes too. I had to dial in +1.3 on flash to compensate. I rarely use flash but it's nice to know now....Larry

 Laryb's gear list:Laryb's gear list
Olympus E-1 Olympus E-620 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus Zuiko Digital 14-54mm 1:2.8-3.5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R +2 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Storm1969
Regular MemberPosts: 176Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 11, 2013

Haven't had that issue with my fl-36r or fl50r,  hard to tell with the add on, it's so weak.

-- hide signature --

OMD EM-5, E-3, E-300, 17/2.8, 12-50, 11-22, 14-54, 14-45, 40-150 (old),50-
200swd, Sigma 24/1.8, FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-36, Various
and Sundry M F lens in M42, OM, Minolta mounts.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
photofan1986
Senior MemberPosts: 2,312Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Storm1969, Apr 11, 2013

True, it's weak, but then again when I select ISO 800, shooting from a meter distance at f 2.8, I don't think power should be an issue.

Could you please provide a sample or two of similar subjects?

Thanks!

 photofan1986's gear list:photofan1986's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Canon PowerShot S100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
daddyo
Veteran MemberPosts: 9,358Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 11, 2013

I will be following this thread with great interest, as I also find that Olympus flash metering is too greatly influenced by high reflectance surfaces. I encounter it all the time shooting professionally, but it's not a deal breaker, as I generally just dial in flash compensation when needed. However, there are times when I don't have time to do that, and just have to correct an image in post processing.

I am not at all familiar with Canons flash system, but it seems to work better than the Olympus system for the most part.

Given all the benefits of the E-M5 to me, I can live with the flash issue. However, I would like to hear from some Metz users to see if this issue is any different using Metz flashes.

I would love to be able to lock a mid-tone flash exposure when shooting people at events.

God Bless,

Greg

www.imagismphotos.com

www.mccroskery.zenfolio.com

www.pbase.com/daddyo

 daddyo's gear list:daddyo's gear list
Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
CrisPhoto
Contributing MemberPosts: 636Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to daddyo, Apr 11, 2013

daddyo wrote:

I will be following this thread with great interest, as I also find that Olympus flash metering is too greatly influenced by high reflectance surfaces. I encounter it all the time shooting professionally, but it's not a deal breaker, as I generally just dial in flash compensation when needed. However, there are times when I don't have time to do that, and just have to correct an image in post processing.

I am not at all familiar with Canons flash system, but it seems to work better than the Olympus system for the most part.

Given all the benefits of the E-M5 to me, I can live with the flash issue. However, I would like to hear from some Metz users to see if this issue is any different using Metz flashes.

I would love to be able to lock a mid-tone flash exposure when shooting people at events.

God Bless,

Greg

www.imagismphotos.com

www.mccroskery.zenfolio.com

www.pbase.com/daddyo

Regarding Metz flash I can answer (have a Metz52):
bought a Metz flash and it behaves similar to my small addon flash (besides the fact that ISO800, F2.8, 1m would overexpose because the Metz can not flash this weak ...).

The flash intensity needed seems to vary with distance/direct light something like this:

  • direct flash with 1-2m distance:         +-0EV flash compensation
  • bounce flash with some direct light:   + 1EV  flash comp
  • bounce flash avoiding direct flash:      + 1,3EV or +2 flash comp
  • same 3 numbers regarding flash comp for RC-mode 

But all in all the flash seems to be quite consistent with my OM-D, I only have to dial the EV-comp because I switch to indirect/bounce flash. Once I set the compensation it works satisfying.

Best regards

Chris

P.S.: First when I tried the RC-mode with the Metz I had severe exposure problems. After trying some 100 shots I realized the addon flash was defect: It did not fire some of the RC-control micro-flashes and as a result the Metz gave confused flashes: some very bright and some very dark.
After replacing the OM-D addon flash, the Metz behaved normal again. Maybe your addon flash also simply does not fire correctly?

-- hide signature --

OM-D + PL25, O45, O75
O9-18, P12-35, O40-150

 CrisPhoto's gear list:CrisPhoto's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50-200mm 1:2.8-3.5 SWD Olympus Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter EC-14 +7 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alumna Gorp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,531Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 11, 2013

photofan1986 wrote:

Hi there,

I have been using my OMD for about a month now, and with the exception a couple of things driving me mad (like the rattlesnake problem, wich IS a Olympus problem), I am slowly learning to use the camera, and trying to forget my 50D (not so easy, in the end).

I never used the flash, as my 25 1.4 allows me shooting with ambient light most of the time, but yesterday I decided I will give the small clip-on flash a go.

The exposure accuracy for continuous light is excellent on the OMD. Much more consistent than some of my previous Canon cameras. The 50D was very good, too, but I'd say the OMD is better.
However, flash exposure, at least with the clip-on flash, is not very consistent, to say the least!

The camera seems to be underexposing by close to a full stop, but moreover, it is VERY sensitive to reflective surfaces, much much more than my Canons ever were.

Here are some examples:

OMD, FEC 0.0 EV

50D, FEC 0.0 EV

OMD, FEC 0.0 EV

50D, FEC 0.0 EV, slightly underexposed, but not as severely as the Olympus.

OMD, FEC 0.0, white background, extreme underexposure!

OMD, FEC 0.0 , changed framing, good exposure!

OMD, FEC 2.0 EV needed to get a similar exposure!!

50D, FEC 0.0, good exposure.

50D, FEC 0.0 ,changed framing, slightly brighter, but very good exposure.

As you can see, the Olympus is not only underexposing severely, but it is also very, very sensitive to framing (and light reflections). Moreover, Oly does not allow flash exposure lock (which Canon does) to help sorting this out. The only way to get proper exposure is to constantly play with the FEC according to the subject, but for that matter, I could also use prehistoric manual flash with more consistent results!

Anyone observed a similar behaviour? How is your OMD behaving? Does mine have a problem or is it just the (crappy) way the camera works?


Thanks for your help!

What metering mode are you using, not that I can see a problem.

 Alumna Gorp's gear list:Alumna Gorp's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
photofan1986
Senior MemberPosts: 2,312Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Apr 11, 2013

It doesn't matter what metering mode I'm using: the flash uses a particular metering mode, it's probably an evaluative mode. Have you even tried to change the metering mode when using the flash? It simply does not change anything. Besides, you do not see what's wrong? So for you a picture underexposed by two stops is perfectly normal? Yeah, then you probably don't even need a camera with a light meter.

 photofan1986's gear list:photofan1986's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Canon PowerShot S100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alumna Gorp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,531Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 11, 2013

photofan1986 wrote:

It doesn't matter what metering mode I'm using: the flash uses a particular metering mode, it's probably an evaluative mode. Have you even tried to change the metering mode when using the flash? It simply does not change anything. Besides, you do not see what's wrong? So for you a picture underexposed by two stops is perfectly normal? Yeah, then you probably don't even need a camera with a light meter.

The OMD meters through the lens, the metering mode used can make a huge difference.

 Alumna Gorp's gear list:Alumna Gorp's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alumna Gorp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,531Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Apr 11, 2013

I you have occidentally dialled in some negative flash compensation ?

 Alumna Gorp's gear list:Alumna Gorp's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alumna Gorp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,531Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Storm1969, Apr 11, 2013

Storm1969 wrote:

Haven't had that issue with my fl-36r or fl50r,  hard to tell with the add on, it's so weak.

-- hide signature --

OMD EM-5, E-3, E-300, 17/2.8, 12-50, 11-22, 14-54, 14-45, 40-150 (old),50-
200swd, Sigma 24/1.8, FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-36, Various
and Sundry M F lens in M42, OM, Minolta mounts.

Could be part of the problem.

50D Guide number of 13m @ ISO 100
OMD Guide number of 10m @ ISO 200

 Alumna Gorp's gear list:Alumna Gorp's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Roderic
Regular MemberPosts: 102
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Apr 11, 2013

I use the little FL14 or the bigger FL36R both on TTL Auto and never had a problem.  I think you have a setting incorrect somewhere.

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Alumna Gorp
Senior MemberPosts: 1,531Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Roderic, Apr 11, 2013

Roderic wrote:

I use the little FL14 or the bigger FL36R both on TTL Auto and never had a problem.  I think you have a setting incorrect somewhere.

Yep I think he must have.

For the shots across the room I was first thinking the little FL-lm2 was running out of gumpth, but it should not be happening when used close.

 Alumna Gorp's gear list:Alumna Gorp's gear list
Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix G 14mm F2.5 ASPH +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
copejorg1
Senior MemberPosts: 1,625
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

Hi,

I've had my OM-D EM-5 about as long as you've had yours (about a month), so I'm certainly not an old pro with it yet.  But here are some observations, for whatever they're worth ...

I find I have better luck with the flash exposure when I'm using center-weighted metering, than I do when using the multi-zone metering; CW just seems to be more consistent and/or reliable.  That's how I set it when using the small clip-on flash.

I bought the Olympus FL-600R flash when I bought the camera.  For a couple of reasons, I prefer to use this flash in "Auto" mode, as opposed to "TTL Auto".  This is the mode in which flash duration is determined through a reflected light reading from a "thyristor" sensor on the flash itself, rather than using the camera's TTL flash metering.  Here's why I like using it in that mode ...

  1. It seems to meter the most reliably this way -- better even than when using the combination of CW metering and TTL Auto.
  2. No preflash, therefore no preflash delay -- just the main flash occurring during the exposure, and that's it.  Result: No lazy eyes from my fast-blinking daughter when I take flash pictures of her.  She's one of those people who can get a good blink going during the preflash delay, about nine times out of ten.
  3. Since there's no preflash, the flash batteries should last longer in this mode than they do when using TTL flash metering (although I haven't performed the series of controlled tests that would be required to confirm this).

Hopefully this is of some help,

Greg

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Anthony Curcione
Regular MemberPosts: 272Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

I must be the odd man out here. I always shoot flash with the camera in manual and the flash on auto. Did this even with my myriad of Canon cameras and Olympus before that.

While I can clearly see from the image data that the cameras are metering differently, I have no idea what mode the camera is in. Don't rely on Program mode for flash, or anything really.

Also, it's been widely noted that the OMD meters normally a bit under  so this would translate to flash as well I would think. Try the camera on manual and do some trial shots so you can learn how the camera behaves.  I would do the same for non-flash as well. And I'd get the FL600R too.

 Anthony Curcione's gear list:Anthony Curcione's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8 Olympus 12-40mm F2.8
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Roderic
Regular MemberPosts: 102
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Anthony Curcione, Apr 12, 2013

Also check:

Menu

Cogs F

Custom flash

Make sure compensation is OFF

if you have this wrong this could give the results you are experiencing.  But having said that the clip on flash that comes with the EM5 is pretty useless at anything other than close range. Best used as a daylight fill in.

Good luck

Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Guy Parsons
Forum ProPosts: 19,052Gear list
Like?
Ditto E-PL5
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

When this topic surfaced in relation to the E-PL5 I tried FL-300R, FL-36R and FL-50 and all three in TTL mode needed plus 1.3 EV flash compensation to get back to what looked like a normal histogram, so I assumed that TTL flash underexposure is normal for Olympus. So my flash M mode MySet assigned to the M spot on the dial has a permanent plus 1.3 EV for flash, so far so good.

Just now tried mix 'n' match E-PL1 & E-P3 & E-PL5 variously with pop-up, FL-LM1, FL-300R, FL-36R and FL-50 and to have decent histogram all required about plus 1.3 EV flash comp. to get a decent exposure with no highlights blown but also have the histogram spread nicely to the right.

On that basis the E-M5 is normal in that it underexposes the flash.

All the above tests were with direct front facing flash, also tried bounce and the same plus 1.3 EV flash comp. still applies.

Regards...... Guy

 Guy Parsons's gear list:Guy Parsons's gear list
Olympus PEN E-PL5 Olympus PEN E-P5 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-150mm F4-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 +17 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Paul De Bra
Forum ProPosts: 11,340Gear list
Like?
I have dialed in +1 flash EV and then forgot about it.
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

I have the Metz 58 but with the puny E-M5 flash the issue is the same. No problem whatsoever after dialing in +1EV for the flash permanently. Yes the metering is apparently wrong but to me it looks quite consistently off which allows for compensation that makes it right.

Having the metering depend on how much white surface is in the picture is not a flash exposure issue but is just the same without flash.

-- hide signature --

Slowly learning to use the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
Public pictures at http://debra.zenfolio.com/.

 Paul De Bra's gear list:Paul De Bra's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm 1:4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G 20mm F1.7 ASPH Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 +4 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
photofan1986
Senior MemberPosts: 2,312Gear list
Like?
Re: I have dialed in +1 flash EV and then forgot about it.
In reply to Paul De Bra, Apr 12, 2013

Paul, Guy, Greg,

Thanks for your input.

No, it's not a settings problem. I'm not exactly a noob and I tried to play with every possible settings on the camera. My findings are always the same: the camera generally underexposes by more than one stop, but sometimes even more, making it difficult to rely on the TTL metering. At least compared to the very reliable Canon flash system.

Having to use workarounds as manual flash or automatic thyristor flash is unacceptable to me on a modern expensive camera. It's good to have the option for sure, but TTL should work perfectly most of the time, and it does not.

 photofan1986's gear list:photofan1986's gear list
Fujifilm FinePix F200EXR Canon PowerShot S100 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus PEN E-PM2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 +6 more
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
jcuknz
Senior MemberPosts: 1,992Gear list
Like?
Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

I would say  the camera is fine except for its owner expecting mental connection between it and him

 jcuknz's gear list:jcuknz's gear list
Rokinon 7.5mm 1:3.5 UMC Fisheye CS
Reply   Reply with quote   Complain
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads