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Old May 21, 2010, 10:16 AM   #1
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Default Need help with GH1 flash...

Firstly, my apologies if this has been covered before....

I prefer to shoot without flash, but it's clear that sometimes it's an essential element in taking better pictures, and that my recent macro experiments could have benefited from some auxiliary lighting.

I did wonder if I could employ the built-in flash for macro work, and how I might diffuse the light from it, presuming it would be a tad harsh. I stumbled across a neat solution to try, and following a trip to the kitchen cupboard, my GH1 now looks like this....



Since I'm using old FD lenses - here my 50mm f/1.8 is also pictured with 2x macro-focusing teleconverter - I'm using the GH1 in manual mode, with center-weighted average metering. When using the FD lenses, I normally pay close attention to the exposure meter, and adjust things accordingly.

It's clear that this inexpensive (er, free!) diffuser solution has potential to work quite well, but I have no idea if I'm approaching shooting correctly, and am looking for advice!!

For my quick test, I set the flash adjustment to +1EV in order to compensate for the diffuser, and fired off a couple of hand-held shots both with and without flash....





Without flash, a good exposure was 1/15th at ISO1600, so the image is blurry and a bit noisy. With flash, I had chosen an experimental 1/160 and ISO200 and predictably the meter pointed to under-exposure and the shutter speed flashed red.....however, the shot turned out pretty good I thought. Certainly much smoother because of the low ISO, and very sharp in the focal plane.... this should be obvious even from these small web pics!

So. Presumably the camera works out how much flash to use, and I should just ignore the exposure meter (which is telling me that all is not well)...?

I'm not that experienced with manual+flash (obviously!), and I'm hoping those more experienced can offer some input and advice before I go trying this in the back garden
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Old May 26, 2010, 12:01 PM   #2
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Here are another couple of hand-held 1/160 samples using 'plastic-plate-diffused' flash.

It's clear that using flash will allow me to use low ISO's and stop down to increase DOF, and that the GH1's mini built-in unit appears to do a reasonable job of illuminating the subject.

Again, in both these shots the meter reading was off the scale showing total underexposure, and I let the GH1 work out the flash exposure..... I've no idea if I'm approaching this the right way, but the resulting images look pretty good to me

Wide open at f/1.8


Stopped down to f/8 or f/11 (sorry, can't remember!)
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Old May 26, 2010, 3:32 PM   #3
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Default Perhaps it's me who needs help..!

I tried another flashy idea this afternoon - this one's just about as crazy as the plastic plate, but again, I think it works a treat.

Ready to go - GH1, Canon FD 70-210 f/4 (macro) + 20mm tube...



What great timing - no sooner do I fit my fancy tube, and a dizzy bluebottle decides to pause on the office blinds...







These were all shot hand-held at 1/160 (max shutter speed with flash in M mode) and at ISO100. Not perfect, but getting there.

Having said that, I still have no idea if I'm approaching this correctly at all (i.e. letting the flash do its thing), and hopefully someone will confirm whether or not I'm barking mad to be shooting this way
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Old May 27, 2010, 12:12 PM   #4
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I like the results of your experiment. I think creativity is always a good thing and you are certainly being creative here - whether this is practical or not due to the large size of the plate being used as a diffuser is another question.

I'm having a lot of problems getting my G1 to expose properly when flash is activated. I have the flash set to "forced", so it won't pop-up automatically. I recently spent a day in the wine country and one of the wineries had a vintage car on display in a room with very dim light. There was no way I could get the G1 to meter properly and give me a well exposed image with the flash ON. I tried using default settings, forcing the ISO higher, increasing the flash output...nothing seemed to work. I was using the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens and had the camera set to P mode. Any idea of what could be causing such a behavior?
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Old May 27, 2010, 3:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tullio View Post
I like the results of your experiment. I think creativity is always a good thing and you are certainly being creative here - whether this is practical or not due to the large size of the plate being used as a diffuser is another question.
Thanks Tullio.... Despite the lack of practicality (not sure I'll be trying my plate diffuser out at the botanical gardens!), I do plan to do more experimenting - it costs nothing, and it seems to be quite effective so far!

My next idea is some kind of inflated bag, so it looks like I might need to raid the kitchen cupboards again

Re your flash problem, I've added my thoughts to your other thread over in the new Panasonic MFT forum
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