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Old May 10, 2009, 6:06 AM   #11
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Why the FL-50/36 flashes are so expensive:



There are three types of flashes, manual, automatic, and TTL...with manual and automatic flashes you have to set a shutter speed 1/180th or longer and use the chart on the back of the flash to determine the aperture setting...IOW you have to use Manual mode on the camera and do all the setting yourself.


With TTL the flash and camera talk to each other...when you change a setting on the camera the flash will compensate, and vice-versa. Also with the FL-36/50 there's also automatic zooming of the flash when you zoom the lens, in the flashes' FP mode you can shoot faster than 1/180th (handy for fill flash use outside on a bright day) and also when focusing in lowlight the FL-36/50 will also emit a red glow to help the camera focus (rather than the strobing that's done by the internal flash). Just a note that other brands TTL (Canon & Nikon) are NOT compatible with Olympus digital TTL and can damage the camera and/or flash...also older Olympus TTL flashes like the FL-40 and those made for film cameras (like the G40, T20, T32, etc.) are also NOT compatible with today's digital cameras.

Personally I use the Olympus FL-36 for my every day shooting, though if I'm doing studio portrait shooting I'll use special strobes called monolights (these are units that combine a strobe with a halogen light and requiring plugging into a wall outlet). They operate like manual flashes with an adjustable intensity control, so again I have to do all the setting myself when using those, and use a handheld light meter to check the intensity of the strobes.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 12:05 AM   #12
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Default The alternative...

Well, I built a slave flash trigger in the end. It mates up to my quite powerful (GN 27) old Minolta 280PX flash unit.
Does it ever work well ! I'm am mightily impressed. This guys free project off the WWW is great, it's won't false trigger in red-eye or AF assist flash on my E-520. Also it seems to detect the real flash fine in full sunlight, that was a surprise. Also works in total dark spots (e.g. Caves) fine too. Programming it to work on another cameras takes seconds to do as well.
I suspect I won't need to buy an Oly or compatible flash now (for my limited use).
http://www.fancon.cz/slave-flash-tri...-flash-en.html

Cheers,
Martin

PS. I did alter his circuit to trigger the Minolta, as it has a very low trigger voltage. Also fitted a more available sensor (BPT-BP2334).
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 3:54 AM   #13
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That's fine if you have the knowledge and experience to build the circuit and program the chip...for the rest there are slave flashes you can buy like the Metz CS2 series (28CS2 and 34CS2) that have a built-in slave and can be set to ignore preflash...a picture I took of it when testing it in the store to see if the preflash function worked (if it didn't work the flash would be dark):


Even though I do own several manual flashes for strobist/studio work, my favourite for times when I don't have time to think is the Oly TTL flashes.
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Old Jul 5, 2009, 8:42 AM   #14
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...hey Sneezy,

That is a neat project and the end result seems worth it, pretty simple circuitry too. Did you scrounge the parts list or does he make a kit?

That is a kind of fun project I did for years, some were worth a few bucks for a kit and some I made up myself. I have not built now for more that 10 years but 30+ years HAM license was plenty of opportunity to makea lot of such projects............friendly to the hobby, good job there.
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Old Aug 7, 2009, 10:51 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pgmCoder View Post
...hey Sneezy,

That is a neat project and the end result seems worth it, pretty simple circuitry too. Did you scrounge the parts list or does he make a kit?

That is a kind of fun project I did for years, some were worth a few bucks for a kit and some I made up myself. I have not built now for more that 10 years but 30+ years HAM license was plenty of opportunity to makea lot of such projects............friendly to the hobby, good job there.
_________
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Sorry I missed your post before now.
I scrounged the parts locally. It wasn't hard as main chip is a popular electronics store item, and the sensor was easy to substitute for a part they had in stock. The whole lot cost me roughly $10AU. The biggest hurdle is the programming a PIC chip, but if that's something you can do already then the rest of it is a joke in simplicity. The button cell and cell holder I scrounged from a dead PC motherboard, the box and the sensor was the only bits I paid for...

My next wish/project is too decode the Olympus flash protocol from the hot shoe and make a version (my own design this time) that will provide extra AF assist light like the OEM flashes.
Actually it could also be possible to do AF-A by adding some code to the slave flash PIC and a couple of super bright white LEDs to the main flash unit. They could be turned on by the first pre-flash from the Oly. This wouldn't require any attachment to the Oly hot shoe... Hmm, I need to ponder this thought a bit, it would be easier to do.
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Old Dec 16, 2009, 2:34 AM   #16
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As an end to the thread I thought I'd add that I bought a Metz Megablitz 48 AF-1 Oly/panasonic compatible flash as well now.

I was actually in Hong Kong looking for one of the cheap chinese TTL flashes that have just started to emerge, when I was offered a Metz 48 AF-1 on some sort of promotional pricing. As it was half what they cost in Australia I felt it was an opportunity not to be missed.

The Metz is also a remote flash, so I now have two. The modified Minolta flash will trigger off of the Metz as well.
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