OMD severe flash exposure problem

Started Apr 11, 2013 | Discussions
mfj197
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to jcuknz, Apr 12, 2013

jcuknz wrote:

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

Not according to the evidence in this thread.  Good information from Guy and Paul - many thanks.

Michael

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Chas J
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to daddyo, Apr 12, 2013

I have this problem with my Metz flash.

I have a G3 and an E-P2.   The problem is worse with the G3 but they both tend towards under-exposure most of the time (+1/3 to 2/3 EC) ... with it getting severe (+2/3 to 1 2/3 EC) if there is a large portion 'white' in the frame.

I also have a Nikon system and it is much better in this regard.

Chas.

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

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Chas J
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Re: Ditto E-PL5
In reply to Guy Parsons, Apr 12, 2013

This is similar to what I have found.

Chas.

Guy Parsons wrote:

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

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photofan1986
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to jcuknz, Apr 12, 2013

Yeah, because some people don't even expect a connection between their thinker and their talker.

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photofan1986
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to copejorg1, Apr 12, 2013

Mmhh, I don't really see the point of buying a +300$ flash unit to use it as a simple manual flash or auto thyristor flash. You could buy 3 or more similarly powered flashes for the same price.

The flash is supposed to work as advertised. As it fails to, it's simply not acceptable.

The thing that bugs me the most is that while I read tons of reviews and user opinions on the OMD, I never came across anyone stating the obvious: the flash system is erratic.

It's up to you as a buyer to decide whether it is important to you or not, but someone who (like me) is about to switch from another brand (Canon or Nikon, both having excellent flash systems) should be aware of this.

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: To succeed more with flash....
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

First, I want to state that I didn't think I was getting flash underexposure with my FL600R on my E-PL5, but I did notice that my jpgs were much lighter than my raw images and that I had to increase the exposure in Adobe Camera Raw.

I hesitate to use plus flash compensation when I'm photographing a "deep" subject like a room full of people because I know those closest to me will be overexposed.

I use my shutter speed that will give me the best representation of the ambient light in a room so the background doesn't go completely dark.

Everything is a trade off - part of the picture will be properly exposed and part of it will have to be adjusted.  That's just the way it is with flash.

I've never used the clip on flash because I know it is underpowered - and never use direct flash if I can avoid it.  I use the Stofen Omnibounce on my FL600R and point it at the ceiling, rather than use it at the 45% agree they suggest - I just like the results better.  I find it better to use manual mode, choosing both aperture and shutter speed, as well as ISO, to achieve the results I want.

Best thing I ever did to improve my flash photography was to get a copy of "Flash, The Most Available Light", published by Lumiquest.  It's a wonderful education that made me hate flash way less - and even enjoy it sometimes!  I no longer feel like a victim of flash results I don't like - at least I know how to avoid them.

Isabel

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photofan1986
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Re: To succeed more with flash....
In reply to Isabel Cutler, Apr 12, 2013

Thanks for your input, Isabel. However, what you say is not really relevant here.I have been using flash systems with light modifiers for a couple of years now, and understand light quite well, but the question here is why the OMD fails to measure a very simple scene accurately, where all my other cameras succeed. I'm not talking about very difficult scenes here.

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: To succeed more with flash....
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

My response was aimed at all the readers of the thread - perhaps many of whom aren't as well practiced as you are...

I do agree with you that, at least with my raw images, the flash exposures seem to be underexposed.

Isabel

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daddyo
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Isabel...a bit O.T.
In reply to Isabel Cutler, Apr 12, 2013

If you like using the Stoffen as you have indicated, you really should give the 'Better Bounce Card' a try. Peter Gregg offers the following video that shows how to make your own, and how it works.

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

I made up about 10 of these a couple years ago (and have given most of them away to photographer friends). I find this design to be much better than the Stoffen, or Gary Fong diffusers for doing bounce because the light is being reflected forward and up rather than 360 degrees in every direction.

The light quality from this design is very natural looking, and you are not wasting flash power lighting the people behind you, etc.

When ceilings are too high to benefit from bounce, or when weird color casts might result from bounce I use a very effective, but inexpensive mini softbox on my flash -- the Vivitar DF-Pro, which collapses easily and fits in a camera bag pocket. Fry's sells them for $9.99.

God Bless,

Greg

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: Isabel...a bit O.T.
In reply to daddyo, Apr 12, 2013

Thanks for the suggestions.

I have the Lumiquest Pocket Bouncer, which is similar.

I've tried many different diffusers and reflectors and for sheer small size, convenience and output I prefer the Stofen and note when I watch news events that many of the pros have it on their flashes.

The worst of the diffusers I've tried was the Gary Fong Lightsphere.  It was heavy and awkward to use.  I like to go lightweight and compact and the Stofen works in a pinch.

Actually, the E-PL5 is so outstanding with a fast lens like the Panasonic f/1.7 or Olympus 45 that I find I can usually do without flash entirely, relying on auto ISO set for a maximum of ISO3200 and I don't need flash at all, which is the way I prefer to work for a more natural look.

What I really appreciate is the deep depth of field I can get with the 20mm at f/1.7 when I have to shoot a group of people - yeah, others might complain that they can't get a shallow enough depth of field, but sometimes that's not what I want.

Look at this group of people taken at f/1.7 (no flash).

Isabel

daddyo wrote:

If you like using the Stoffen as you have indicated, you really should give the 'Better Bounce Card' a try. Peter Gregg offers the following video that shows how to make your own, and how it works.

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

I made up about 10 of these a couple years ago (and have given most of them away to photographer friends). I find this design to be much better than the Stoffen, or Gary Fong diffusers for doing bounce because the light is being reflected forward and up rather than 360 degrees in every direction.

The light quality from this design is very natural looking, and you are not wasting flash power lighting the people behind you, etc.

When ceilings are too high to benefit from bounce, or when weird color casts might result from bounce I use a very effective, but inexpensive mini softbox on my flash -- the Vivitar DF-Pro, which collapses easily and fits in a camera bag pocket. Fry's sells them for $9.99.

God Bless,

Greg

www.imagismphotos.com

www.mccroskery.zenfolio.com

www.pbase.com/daddyo

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Isabel Cutler
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Re: Looks crummy at dpreview's "original" size....
In reply to Isabel Cutler, Apr 12, 2013

Look at it on pbase:

http://www.pbase.com/isabel95/image/149644265

Isabel

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Alumna Gorp
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Re: Looks crummy at dpreview's "original" size....
In reply to Isabel Cutler, Apr 12, 2013

I`m not familiar with this under exposing problem some of you are experiencing and I have been using this flash system for about 8 years.

Sure comparing different systems I will see a difference but its generally very slight, maybe a tenth of a stop or two and that is to be expected.

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Guy Parsons
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Underexposure....
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Apr 12, 2013

Alumna Gorp wrote:

I`m not familiar with this under exposing problem some of you are experiencing and I have been using this flash system for about 8 years.

Sure comparing different systems I will see a difference but its generally very slight, maybe a tenth of a stop or two and that is to be expected.

Are you sure you are using Pen or OM-D cameras and Olympus flashes?

As I said elsewhere I tried E-PL1, E-PL5 & E-P3 and various combinations as appropriate of pop-up flash, FL-LM1, FL-300R, FL-36R and FL-50 and they ALL underexposed when using TTL. And of course now E-M5 is added to that list.

In trying the get the "perfect" result histogram I usually found that I needed plus 1.7 EV flash compensation via the SCP. The resulting jpeg from the camera was "too bright" and had a totally flashed look of course, even though no highlights were blown. I reduced it to plus 1.3 EV flash compensation for a better result that actually was in theory (the histogram) a little underexposed.

Before this I mostly used a small Nikon flash in auto mode so never had this TTL problem, when I started using my old FL-50 again, plus buying the later R series flashes and using them as TTL did I start to have flash problems. Solved nicely with that plus 1.3 adjustment on the camera that works nicely for all the cameras I tried. Must go back and dust off my E-300 with those flashes and see what the old DSLR used to do.

Seeing that this TTL Olympus flash under-exposure problem seems universal then I don't understand what you are saying.

Regards...... Guy

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Alumna Gorp
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

photofan1986 wrote:

Mmhh, I don't really see the point of buying a +300$ flash unit to use it as a simple manual flash or auto thyristor flash. You could buy 3 or more similarly powered flashes for the same price.

The flash is supposed to work as advertised. As it fails to, it's simply not acceptable.

The thing that bugs me the most is that while I read tons of reviews and user opinions on the OMD, I never came across anyone stating the obvious: the flash system is erratic.

It's up to you as a buyer to decide whether it is important to you or not, but someone who (like me) is about to switch from another brand (Canon or Nikon, both having excellent flash systems) should be aware of this.

Can you describe what settings you are using.

Mode, metering type, flash mode etc, etc.

At the moment all I can think of is that you may have set RC mode to On by accident.

I can assure you the flash generally works great, I`ve never found it erratic and I don`t think you will find many others who have found this as well.

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Alumna Gorp
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Re: Underexposure....
In reply to Guy Parsons, Apr 12, 2013

Guy Parsons wrote:

Alumna Gorp wrote:

I`m not familiar with this under exposing problem some of you are experiencing and I have been using this flash system for about 8 years.

Sure comparing different systems I will see a difference but its generally very slight, maybe a tenth of a stop or two and that is to be expected.

Are you sure you are using Pen or OM-D cameras and Olympus flashes?

As I said elsewhere I tried E-PL1, E-PL5 & E-P3 and various combinations as appropriate of pop-up flash, FL-LM1, FL-300R, FL-36R and FL-50 and they ALL underexposed when using TTL. And of course now E-M5 is added to that list.

In trying the get the "perfect" result histogram I usually found that I needed plus 1.7 EV flash compensation via the SCP. The resulting jpeg from the camera was "too bright" and had a totally flashed look of course, even though no highlights were blown. I reduced it to plus 1.3 EV flash compensation for a better result that actually was in theory (the histogram) a little underexposed.

Before this I mostly used a small Nikon flash in auto mode so never had this TTL problem, when I started using my old FL-50 again, plus buying the later R series flashes and using them as TTL did I start to have flash problems. Solved nicely with that plus 1.3 adjustment on the camera that works nicely for all the cameras I tried. Must go back and dust off my E-300 with those flashes and see what the old DSLR used to do.

Seeing that this TTL Olympus flash under-exposure problem seems universal then I don't understand what you are saying.

Regards...... Guy

Sorry Guy, mist your post.

I`m using the OMD, supplied flash, fl36(old style) and a couple of FL50R`s, never experienced any of these problems in all the years I have used 4/3 and M4/3.

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photofan1986
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to Alumna Gorp, Apr 12, 2013

Oh wait, I was holding the camera with my finger in front of the flash!

...

*sarcasm*

By the way, I already told you that changing the metering mode does not do anything to flash exposure. Just try by yourself. There is zero change, whether you shoot in spot metering or evaluative. Flash metering is independent from ambient light metering.

I'm not a noob, and I know what I'm doing. I just wanted to hear experience from other users.
And I can see that some people are experiencing the same problems.
Now the question is, do some specific cameras or flashes have problems, or are some people simply blind not to see there's a problem?

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daddyo
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

Some here seem to be saying that the Olympus flashes have an across the board under-exposure problem -- I do not experience that.

What I do experience is pretty much what your example photos show -- that when a bright/high reflectance item or area is introduced into the scene, the flash metering tends to be overly sensitive to such situation and weights the exposure too heavily toward the bright area.

A perfect example is that I can shoot a group of people at a reception and get a perfect flash exposure, then do a second shot where some waiter's white shirt sleeve sneaks into the border of the frame and the next shot is at least a stop underexposed -- it drives me nuts -- and you are correct that the camera metering mode has no impact on this tendency.

What I would love to see from Olympus is a flash system that allows face detection metering that would ignore the overall scene metering -- that would be a true godsend.

God Bless,

Greg

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Alumna Gorp
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

photofan1986 wrote:

Oh wait, I was holding the camera with my finger in front of the flash!

...

*sarcasm*

By the way, I already told you that changing the metering mode does not do anything to flash exposure. Just try by yourself. There is zero change, whether you shoot in spot metering or evaluative. Flash metering is independent from ambient light metering.

I'm not a noob, and I know what I'm doing. I just wanted to hear experience from other users.
And I can see that some people are experiencing the same problems.
Now the question is, do some specific cameras or flashes have problems, or are some people simply blind not to see there's a problem?

What lens are you using.

Ok is still have no idea of what settings your using.

Are you familiar and understand how metering works, and when you should be using exposure compensation and when you should`nt.

If your using auto everything without using that nogin of yours then yes the camera can and will expose incorrectly at times, any camera will.

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bgalb
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Re: Underexposure....
In reply to Guy Parsons, Apr 12, 2013

I agree with Guy.  Using FL50, and the little clip on flash, direct or bounce.

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goshane
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Re: OMD severe flash exposure problem
In reply to photofan1986, Apr 12, 2013

Hello,

First of all, the clip on can't perform like a proper flash, and also you are shooting the clip on at iso 200 where as the other is shot with iso 400 - this is a big difference. As well, why are you shooting at 160 of a sec? you are pushing the flash too hard. One other observation is that the focal length of the lenses are not similar.... hardly a fair comparison.

Better to use the clip os as a commander and get a real flash.....

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