E1/FL50 Underexposure on TTL

Started Apr 9, 2005 | Discussions thread
E B Veteran Member • Posts: 3,028
Recommended indoor FL-50 flash setup.

If your hardware is set up properly, you should get a very good exposure every time; at least I do. So, let's check the setup issues:

a. When you do the custom setup for the FL-50 (instructions in the FL-50 manual) make sure that the following settings are:
Zoom= 4-3

b. Camera setup should be:
Set flash mode to auto flash (P.103 of English language PDF manual)
Set metering to ESP mode (P.68)
Set exposure mode to Aperture (P.59)
Set White Balance to Auto (P.87-88)
Set ISO to Auto (P.83)
No exposure compensation should be set on the camera (P.65)

c. Mount FL-50 on camera hot shoe.

d. Turn on camera, then turn on flash. Set flash to TTL Auto flash control mode by pressing the Mode button on the flash until that appears in the display. No exposure compensation should be set on the flash.

e. Adjust your aperture by turning the camera dial (P. 59 again) to accomplish two things; select desired depth of field and secondly, set the operat-ing distance of the flash. This is shown on the bottom line of the flash LCD display. Changing the aperture will change this operating distance and any subject within the near/far distances shown will be exposed properly.

f. The camera will select a proper shutter speed. If you are using a zoom lens note that when you zoom the camera changes the shutter speed. The camera does that continually to give you a slow shutter speed that will include as much of the ambient lit background as possible to meld in with the flash exposed foreground and at the same time the shutter speed the camera selects will be the lowest speed that you can safely hand hold that focal length lens on the E-1. If you are using normal to wide angle focal lengths the shutter speeds will be fairly slow and you will get very good ambient illumination of the background as well as a properly exposed flash foreground. Helps avoid those pictures of properly exposed subjects that look like they are standing in a black cave.

g. After looking at some of your images you may notice in the EXIF data that the ISO used for the exposure was not 100. That is because when the ISO is set to Auto and the camera is using a flash it will change the ISO to anywhere between 100 and 400 in increments of 20 to help obtain a good exposure. There is no need to recheck or reset the ISO after flash exposures. It will still be set at Auto. The only way you can tell that the camera used other than an ISO of 100 for any given exposure is to check the image EXIF data.


1. keep an eye on the effective flash distances shown on the bottom line of the flash LCD display. To avoid subject under/over exposure your sub-ject must be between those limits. You can adjust those limits to be closer to you or farther away by adjusting the aperture the camera uses.

2. The flash will illuminate wide angle shots quite well but if you are shooting with a lens that allows focal lengths shorter than 14mm the flash will signal a need to apply the diffuser lens by a blinking warning in the top left corner of the flash LCD display when you zoom to wider than 14mm focal length. Keep an eye out for this, otherwise the flash lighting on the right and left sides of the image will fall off.

Now go shoot to your heart's content. If your subject is particularly reflective or dull, you may care to adjust some exposure compensation (I rarely do). If so, do it on the flash with the large dial near the bottom back of the flash. Don't do it by adjusting exposure compensation in the camera. Two reasons: the big dial on the rear of the flash is easier to get to and use than the camera controls and secondly once you take the flash off the camera and step outside you don't have to readjust the exposure compensation because you made it on the flash and not the camera.

Hope that helps as a starting point for those of you who haven't had much experience with the FL-50 yet. Remember, the E-1 is designed to give a 1/3 stop underexposure for both indoor and outdoor use in order to prevent highlights from being blown. This is normally adjusted during RAW development if the highlights are ok and should not be confused with a failure of the flash/camera to give proper exposure.

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Good Shooting,
English Bob

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