Question re practical use of wireless (RC) flashes

Started Aug 20, 2014 | Discussions thread
JCB123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,274
Re: Question re practical use of wireless (RC) flashes

biggles266 wrote:

Hello I am looking to get an FL-36R (since the FL-50R is a bit large and has a slower sync speed and the FL-600R is too expensive for me), but I would like to check how its wireless connection works in practice.

I believe it is controlled by a burst sent by the onboard flash of my Olympus E-P5, is that correct? So my onboard flash must be up but it won't affect the photo, right? There's no way to control it with the onboard flash down?

If the onboard flash must be up, and the FL-36R must see the burst sent by the onboard flash, it must have line of sight. But line of sight to what - the subject since the burst flash bounces off them, or line of sight to the camera? What if I am hand holding the flash (which I hope to do), will I have to hold it carefully to avoid blocking the flash's view of the controlling burst, or is that easy to manage in practice? And what if I want to put the flash behind a large softbox, how will it get the line of sight then?

If there is no way of it working behind a large softbox, is there a similar alternative flash that will?

Thanks!

OK Guy has told you about the limitations of the system. Systems like this using IR generally work well indoors but not so good outside when there are no walls to reflect the IR light. Using TTL also brings with it the vagaries of the metering system being fooled by very dark or very light scenes or backlighting. I use manual mode when using flash as the primary light source to solve the latter problem and use radio triggers to solve the non triggering issues when shooting outdoors.

I am currently using Yongnuo RF603 mk II radio triggers and Yongnuo YN560 mkIII manual flashes (which have built in radio receivers) These work well indoors and out and are not affected by ambient light. I have used them to shoot (photograph) badgers at night and family events in bright sun. I got an occasional failure to trigger with the older version RF603s  but this was not more than say 1 in a 100 exposures. I haven't seen this with the later versions (which is what you need to work unmodified with m4/3). Manual flash is pretty easy to set up and has the benefit of more consistent results once you have your settings made. The down side is that you have to make the changes on each flash rather than doing it all on the camera. Yongnuo are bring out a new product (might well be out by now) to allow you to do all the set up from the camera position though. One more thing - The Yongnuo gear is very affordable, but good quality and in my experience very reliable.

Regards

John

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