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Old Nov 25, 2003, 5:16 AM   #1
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Default I need basic info PLEASE!

I have an Olympus 2020 with a PC sync port.

I'm trying to educate myself about the best external flash option available and am really confused.

I'm a Realtor and use a wide angle lens to take photos of small rooms in houses. I fight with the "dark shadow" problem.

What is the simplest solution for the non-professional? I don't understand the difference between external flash options. I see some that sit on the table, some that are attached to a "gizmo" bracket that attaches to the camera (wouldn't that be really heavy?) some use a cable, some don't . . .. . some are triggered by the camera? Beware of the "second flash syndrone?" I'm sooooo confused.

Any explanations and/or recommendations would be greatly appreciated.
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Old Nov 25, 2003, 11:20 PM   #2
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I can't offer much help, but here is something I have learned.

If you trigger an off camera flash with your built in flash, you will hit what I believe you are refering to as "second flash syndrome". The problem is that to properly meter the scene, the flash fires once first and then meters the scene. That tells it how much power to use for the main (big) flash. The problem is that the first flash will trigger the off-camera flashes and then they won't fire when the picture is actually taken. So you'd need a flash that can be told to skip the first flash pulse and then fire on the second. If your camera supports some varient of TTL, then it should work.

For wide angle pictures I believe you either need a defuser (I think that is what its called) so that the flash will cover a wider area or you will need multiple flashes.

Hope that helps.

Eric
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Old Nov 26, 2003, 3:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: I need basic info PLEASE!

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpainter
I'm trying to educate myself about the best external flash option available and am really confused. I'm a Realtor and use a wide angle lens to take photos of small rooms in houses. I fight with the "dark shadow" problem.
I don't have a Oly camera. But, all cameras and flashes work essentially the same way. You actually have three options. FIRST, you use a flash that is compatible with your camera and allow the camera to control the exposure. This flash may be mounted into the hotshoe of your camera or the hotshoe of a flash cable that is attached to your camera. Note that in this case, the flash, cable and camera must be compatible with each other. Therefore, you use the TTL option, which is the simplest. SECOND, if your flash is not compatible with your camera (e.g., a generic flash not specially made for your camera), then you may be able to use the flash sensor on the flash. In this case, the flash measures the illumination level by itself. However, you still need a cable to connect the flash and the camera. A generic cable would be sufficient. If your flash does not have a built-in sensor, you need to calculate distance, etc, which is a little complex. This still require a generic cable and the understanding of basic flash skill. THIRD, some flashes can be controlled remotely. We will say they are remote slaves. For those cheap ones, they are triggered by the on-board flash of your camera, and always fire in full-power. There is a catch in using these remote slaves. If your camera's on-board may fire twice, a weak one for measuring illumination (i.e., pre-flash) and a second and strong one for actually illuminating the scene. Some remote slaves may be fooled by the pre-flash to believe it is the time to fire. As a result, by the time the second flash fires for taking a picture, the remote slave has no power to fire again!

Some small remote slaves are very cheap usually in less than $20.00 and yet have some good power output. You could carry several in your pockets and place them on table, shelf, and floor. As long as these little ones can see the on-board flash firing, they will fire if they are not fooled by the pre-flash. (See the "Slave Firing Test" page of my Nikon Coolpix 4500 User Guide for the details.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jpainter
What is the simplest solution for the non-professional?
This depends on your actual work. The simplest one may be buying a TTL flash and TTL cable that are compatible with your camera. Or, if you have multiple dark corners to illuminate, a number of small remote slaves may also be very convenient and handy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpainter
I see some that sit on the table, some that are attached to a "gizmo" bracket that attaches to the camera (wouldn't that be really heavy?) some use a cable, some don't . . .. . some are triggered by the camera? Beware of the "second flash syndrone?" I'm sooooo confused.
Those attached to a bracket are likely the TTL ones if you can see cable between the flash and camera. If you don't see a cable, the flash is a slave triggered by the on-board flash even though the flash is mounted on a bracket. The "second flash syndrone" means the pre-flash of your on-board flash fools those remote slaves that do not recognize the pre-flash.

Hope this helps.

CK
http://www.cs.mtu.edu/~shene/DigiCam
Nikon Coolpix 950/990/995/2500/4500 User Guide
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Old Nov 27, 2003, 10:40 PM   #4
lg
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FL-40 flash, BK-01 bracket, and CB-01 cable is what I use. The bracket puts the flash above and to the left of the lens, and it is very comfortable to use. I purchased all on eBay, and would recommend this highly as all three cost me less than $300. You might check with the Olympus website and make sure these are the right bracket and cable for your camera, but they work great on mine!
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Old Dec 1, 2003, 1:31 AM   #5
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LG, the 2020 (I believe) only has a PC Sync connector...no TTL like your 2100 has.
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