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Ellie
6th December 2010, 02:29 PM
I'm trying to put together a photographic 'wish list' and would be really grateful for a bit of help choosing brands/models, best places to buy etc. and also some useful ideas.

Tight budget is a serious consideration, as well as my own technical illiteracy.

Everything needs to go with an E-30. I rarely use RAW. I have kit lenses + 70-300mm and 25mm (rarely used); tripod and monopod + Gitzo offset ball head; reflector (rarely used).

Here's the list so far:-


First a flash gun. I've read that the FL36R might not be the best option, because it doesn't have enough batteries, but are there similarly priced alternatives that are quicker?

A means of converting the flash gun to a ring flash.

A remote IR trigger, that will work for both camera and flash (or do they do that anyway?).

A light box - affordable (cheap) that's easy to pack away into a small space; to be used for assessed assignments for a course I'm doing.

Lightroom - is there a best place to buy a student version?

Any tips, and any other ideas, will be gratefully received.

Wee man
6th December 2010, 03:59 PM
PM re Lightroom.

shenstone
6th December 2010, 05:35 PM
The FL-36 is by no means a bad gun so don't write it off

Yes only 2 batteries does mean a little longer to recharge if it fired at full capacity, but depending on use this is often not an issue so if you see on at a good price it's a good investment.

It's also that bit smaller than the 50 so a bit easier to carry. In fact I use my Fl-20 more than either the 36 or the 50 because it's so small it's always with me.

There are a few recent threads on off camera flash devices that you may want to read through

Regards
Andy

Ellie
8th December 2010, 12:10 AM
Thanks Andy, I've spent a while reading threads about the various flash options but I don't really know which is best for me, and the sort of photos I prefer to take, so I guess it'd be pot luck and probably either the FL36R or the Metz equivalent. But if the FL-20 is a reasonable option, that's even better, because it's sure to be cheaper.

I suppose what I really need is something that can be used mostly to 'fill' shaded areas when photographing wildlife/flowers etc., and that's where lack of technical experience/expertise comes in, although I guess a ring flash would be the best option it's likely to remain unaffordable so I think I need something that can be added to/adapted. :confused:

@ Wee Man, thanks for the pm

Makonde
8th December 2010, 04:58 PM
I got the FL36R at the outset (which is OK) but ever since then wished I had gone the extra money for the 50.....

yorky
8th December 2010, 07:10 PM
How about a small head torch which will fill in lights and costs around 5-10. They do work quite wel and the light is Daylight based. It works for me with fungi etc.

emirpprime
8th December 2010, 07:28 PM
FL-36 - The Metz equivalent of the FL-36 takes 4 batteries and is compatible with the Oly wireless system AFAIK (please check though!). I've heard very good things. Don't forget though - if you are learning lighting going the "strobist" route could work well. Have a look at http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ if you don't know it.

Ringflash - try the Ray Flash. It is one of the few around that gets good reviews. Also featured on the Strobist site - http://strobist.blogspot.com/2008/03/full-review-ray-flash-ring-flash.html It is quite well stocked too so you can actually buy one! Think about why you want one though. These will not perform like "proper" ring flash - it is not nearly powerful enough. However it will get most of the effect for close up portrait work, just no full body shots.

IR Trigger - normally you would use an IR trigger to trip the camera, and an IR/radio trigger on the camera's hotshoe / sync socket will trigger the flash. Is that what you want? Hama make some quite decent camera triggers.

Lightbox - good ones can be quite expensive, but you can diy. Again, browse the Strobist site - it is great for info on all this sort of stuff.

Lightroom - Amazon.co.uk has good prices for it usually - slightly cheaper than rrp.

benvendetta
8th December 2010, 09:57 PM
The Fl-50R is a great and powerful unit. Yes it is bigger as it needs four AA size batteries but it is worth having. I had the FL-36 before that but it took an age to recharge. So it went.

Ellie
8th December 2010, 11:49 PM
How about a small head torch which will fill in lights and costs around 5-10. They do work quite wel and the light is Daylight based. It works for me with fungi etc.
That's certainly thinking outside the box, and seems very portable, which is a serious consideration. I'm guessing they can be used without being worn round the head.

Ellie
9th December 2010, 12:00 AM
FL-36 - The Metz equivalent of the FL-36 takes 4 batteries and is compatible with the Oly wireless system AFAIK (please check though!). I've heard very good things. Don't forget though - if you are learning lighting going the "strobist" route could work well. Have a look at http://www.strobist.blogspot.com/ if you don't know it.
Being able to use flash is part of the course I'm doing, so not having one is a bit limiting! The strobist site is very good, loads to see/learn/read. Thanks
Ringflash - try the Ray Flash. It is one of the few around that gets good reviews. Also featured on the Strobist site - http://strobist.blogspot.com/2008/03/full-review-ray-flash-ring-flash.html It is quite well stocked too so you can actually buy one! Think about why you want one though. These will not perform like "proper" ring flash - it is not nearly powerful enough. However it will get most of the effect for close up portrait work, just no full body shots.
Oh heck, that's far too expensive, so out of the question. The thing is that I know that many people who do wildlife/insect/flower photography use ringflash to get rid of shadows/ensure even lighting ... or at least that's what I think they use it for. It's less hassle, and much quicker, than trying to set up reflectors that can frighten things away.

I don't take many pictures of people, my subjects are very much smaller.
IR Trigger - normally you would use an IR trigger to trip the camera, and an IR/radio trigger on the camera's hotshoe / sync socket will trigger the flash. Is that what you want? Hama make some quite decent camera triggers.
I hadn't thought of Hama, I'll take a look.
Lightbox - good ones can be quite expensive, but you can diy. Again, browse the Strobist site - it is great for info on all this sort of stuff.
I tried rigging up something temporary quite some time ago, I might even have used info from Strobist. It was quite successful, but I didn't keep it because it was way too Heath Robinson. I need one to be able to take product shots, again for the course I'm following, but might well use it for other things afterwards.
Lightroom - Amazon.co.uk has good prices for it usually - slightly cheaper than rrp.
Ah, didn't think of Amazon! Why ever not!

Ellie
9th December 2010, 12:05 AM
I got the FL36R at the outset (which is OK) but ever since then wished I had gone the extra money for the 50.....
That's what's bothering me really. Any flash I get will be a one-of, so needs to be the right one for the job ... mostly fill-flash, outdoors, insects/flowers and sometimes birds, if I know they won't be spooked by the light.
The Fl-50R is a great and powerful unit. Yes it is bigger as it needs four AA size batteries but it is worth having. I had the FL-36 before that but it took an age to recharge. So it went.
Hmm, size is an important consideration. I have one bag, everything has to fit into it!

Graham_of_Rainham
9th December 2010, 12:11 AM
LED Panels are great alternatives to light boxes, especially as they are now being mass produced for eBay :D

I made my own ring light for 1.99 inc P&P years ago

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/10234/ppuser/218

They are a lot brighter now

Metz guns are excellent and good VFM - But the FL-50R is brilliant (especially when it goes off on full power)

Sell the 25mm and get a 14-54 or 12-60 if you can afford it.

Get the Olympus RM-1 IR release (for use at BULB setting)

eBay is good for most things (with the right seller)

Is all this going to be Cut-n-Paste into your letter to Father Christmas :D

Have fun

Nick Temple-Fry
9th December 2010, 12:47 AM
[bit about ringflash]

Oh heck, that's far too expensive, so out of the question. The thing is that I know that many people who do wildlife/insect/flower photography use ringflash to get rid of shadows/ensure even lighting ... or at least that's what I think they use it for. It's less hassle, and much quicker, than trying to set up reflectors that can frighten things away.



Fot that sort of money you can get the Metz ringflash, which as it works as a ttl flash controlled by the camera can be used alone or with other flashes.

Actually for insect photography I think general lighting of the area is very important, and something that provides basic background light in addition to the flash is very useful (or else you'll still be limited to very bright days), probably more important than the ringflash/conventional flash debate.

Nick

Ross the fiddler
9th December 2010, 03:47 AM
The Fl-50R is a great and powerful unit. Yes it is bigger as it needs four AA size batteries but it is worth having. I had the FL-36 before that but it took an age to recharge. So it went.

Same here. The FL36(R) does not have enough power to bounce off a ceiling any higher than 9' but the FL50(R) does much better. I use 2 X FL36R flashes in RC mode triggered by the cameras flash for macro lighting (on a twin flash bracket) & it does quite nicely for that. For other flash uses the FL50(R) does it for me. I might have 2 cameras with one on each for quick change of applications (with different lenses). If you decide to go with a Metz flash, I would go for the bigger one Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-1 Digital Flash for Olympus.

An add on ring can add to the above applications for portrait use etc like this one, but search for the correct size to suit the flash-camera combination.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Rayflash-ring-flash-fit-Nikon-SB600-size-flashgun-/250737976015?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_CameraAccessories_ CameraFlashUnits_JN&hash=item3a6125e2cf

An IR trigger for the camera is real cheap off ebay & work quite well if in sight & not too far & in not too bright a light. The above flashes can work from the RC flash mode of the camera using the pop up flash as a commander (using a pulse code) but I'm not sure how effective the Metz flash works with it.

Hope that helps.

yorky
9th December 2010, 10:07 AM
That's certainly thinking outside the box, and seems very portable, which is a serious consideration. I'm guessing they can be used without being worn round the head.

yes they can be hand held quite easiky, a couple of months since Lidls actually had one which fitted into a hotshoe for 4 or hand held you can direct the light just where you need it on a plant etc

Radar
9th December 2010, 03:05 PM
I will recommend a reflector. A cheap 5-in-1 for a start. It's light, small and a fantastic lightshaping tool. I've found my self using it more and more. Especially the diffusion panel.

Ross the fiddler
9th December 2010, 10:18 PM
I will recommend a reflector. A cheap 5-in-1 for a start. It's light, small and a fantastic lightshaping tool. I've found my self using it more and more. Especially the diffusion panel.

I tend to forget them although I had bought 2 sizes of reflectors, 22" for macro & a larger one for portrait but I still need to get them out & use them. I tend to reach for the twin flash setup first for macro (now that I have perfected it to work with my Sigma lens). The reflectors do add a lot of light when used properly & if I can get into a habit of trialling them before flash, I would become more adapt & confident in getting good results with them.

For a general allround useful flash, I would still go for the FL50R flash first as it has enough power & functions to serve you for most purposes. It comes with a diffuser & a reflector.

Ellie
14th December 2010, 12:09 AM
LED Panels are great alternatives to light boxes, especially as they are now being mass produced for eBay :D

I made my own ring light for 1.99 inc P&P years ago

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/10234/ppuser/218
Errm, I wouldn't know where to start making something like that. :o
Is all this going to be Cut-n-Paste into your letter to Father Christmas :D

Sort of *yes but I'm realistic, our Father Christmas has a slight cash flow problem!

But I don't think there's any harm in actually working out what I would be likely to use, and having a handy list ... just in case anybody asks!

I will recommend a reflector. A cheap 5-in-1 for a start. It's light, small and a fantastic lightshaping tool. I've found my self using it more and more. Especially the diffusion panel.
Good idea, thanks. I've got a basic silver/white one, which I rarely use, but I might actually use one that has more options.

(re:headtorch) yes they can be hand held quite easily, a couple of months since Lidls actually had one which fitted into a hotshoe for 4 or hand held you can direct the light just where you need it on a plant etc
Have you got a link somewhere, so I could see what they are?

Ellie
14th December 2010, 12:15 AM
Same here. The FL36(R) does not have enough power to bounce off a ceiling any higher than 9' but the FL50(R) does much better. I use 2 X FL36R flashes in RC mode triggered by the cameras flash for macro lighting (on a twin flash bracket) & it does quite nicely for that. For other flash uses the FL50(R) does it for me. I might have 2 cameras with one on each for quick change of applications (with different lenses). If you decide to go with a Metz flash, I would go for the bigger one Metz Mecablitz 58 AF-1 Digital Flash for Olympus.

An add on ring can add to the above applications for portrait use etc like this one, but search for the correct size to suit the flash-camera combination.
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Rayflash-ring-flash-fit-Nikon-SB600-size-flashgun-/250737976015?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_CameraAccessories_ CameraFlashUnits_JN&hash=item3a6125e2cf

An IR trigger for the camera is real cheap off ebay & work quite well if in sight & not too far & in not too bright a light. The above flashes can work from the RC flash mode of the camera using the pop up flash as a commander (using a pulse code) but I'm not sure how effective the Metz flash works with it.

Hope that helps.
It does help, thanks, even though it makes me think I won't use the FL50 because I don't ever take photographs of people, not unless I have to, and I only very rarely work indoors. And, umm, if it's too big I won't be able to get it in my bag and I couldn't carry a larger bag for any length of time. So I'd be limited to taking pictures of things at home and/or in the garden, which isn't a lot of use to me really. Goes to show how different we all our, and how we take pictures of different things :)

The trigger though is a completely different thing. Does it matter what brand? I'd hate to get something that kills my camera. :o

Ross the fiddler
14th December 2010, 12:24 PM
It does help, thanks, even though it makes me think I won't use the FL50 because I don't ever take photographs of people, not unless I have to, and I only very rarely work indoors. And, umm, if it's too big I won't be able to get it in my bag and I couldn't carry a larger bag for any length of time. So I'd be limited to taking pictures of things at home and/or in the garden, which isn't a lot of use to me really. Goes to show how different we all our, and how we take pictures of different things :)

The trigger though is a completely different thing. Does it matter what brand? I'd hate to get something that kills my camera. :o

The trigger I'm referring to is an IR remote.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IR-Wireless-Remote-Control-Olympus-E-410-E-510-RM-1-/330458423083?pt=UK_Photography_DigitalCamAccess_RL&hash=item4cf0db5f2b or similar styles & brands.

The camera drive mode would need to be selected for the IR function at 0, 2 or 12 seconds delay.

Other IR remote triggers can be part of an after market grip such as OwnUser brand, but I don't think the hotshoe units are compatible with Olympus gear (for triggering the camera, only for triggering external IR recievers for flashes).

I have bought more bags for different uses. Maybe a sling backpack next time, there are a myriad of styles & choices of all sorts of bags out there.

yorky
14th December 2010, 01:56 PM
Have you got a link somewhere, so I could see what they are?
think they have now all gone from lidles but a small head torch can usually be fond for around 5-10. They usually have several levels of brightness to select from so you can be very selective

Ellie
14th December 2010, 10:48 PM
The trigger I'm referring to is an IR remote.

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/IR-Wireless-Remote-Control-Olympus-E-410-E-510-RM-1-/330458423083?pt=UK_Photography_DigitalCamAccess_RL&hash=item4cf0db5f2b or similar styles & brands.

The camera drive mode would need to be selected for the IR function at 0, 2 or 12 seconds delay.
and think they have now all gone from Lidls but a small head torch can usually be fond for around 5-10. They usually have several levels of brightness to select from so you can be very selective
Thanks chaps, that's just what I need.

Thanks also to those who've sent me PMs. This is a brilliant place to ask questions, everybody is so very helpful. *chr