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Loup Garou
12th July 2012, 08:03 AM
In low light and dark situations where use of a flash is necessary rather than an option, does anyone know whether the TTL-A or Auto setting on the FL-600R flashgun is better when the gun is used with the OM-D?
In the TTL-A(uto) setting the flash links with the camera's meter reading and calulates the output whereas in Auto mode it used its own light sensor to make the calculation.

Although it may appear on the surface that the TTL-A option is better, I have not found this necessarily to be the case, partiluarly if there is also some (but insufficient) natural light available. This is particularly true at lower - 200 to 400 - ISO settings. Have any of you experimented with other flash settings?

CJJE
12th July 2012, 06:09 PM
Gary Ayton's wiki includes a section on using flash with micro four thirds cameras. (See http://www.ayton.id.au/wiki/doku.php?id=photo:fourthirdsflash) This may help, as may other linked sections.

Chris

Loup Garou
13th July 2012, 03:46 AM
Thanks for that useful link but it does not really answer my question.

What seems to be happening is that with a micro-4/3 lens attached the FL600R defaults to the TTL-A mode and will not allow the A option. If the flash's LED light is set to Auto, it comes on to assist with the AF (which it does very well) but then seems to affect the camera's meter reading and so the exposure values. The exposure is fine with C/W or spot metering but not the 'matrix' metering option.

I will continue to try various settings with the flash and see what I can do to improve the outcome. In particular use of exposure and/or flash compensation might help.

CJJE
17th July 2012, 09:37 AM
I don't have the FL600 flash, but have been looking at its manual, and the E-M5 manual - both of which are not very explicit! I note the the FL600 manual (page 29) states that "If the camera has communication capability, [the Auto] mode can only be used when the camera is an AUTO-compatible model."

Now the E-M5 must (surely!) have communication capability to send its data to the FL600 in TTL-Auto mode, so do your findings imply that it is not AUTO-compatible? I would have expected the flash to use TTL-Auto mode when a M4/3 lens was on the camera, and default to AUTO mode for legacy lenses that couldn't send data such as their focal length, but don't have any such lenses to test that theory.

I have tested out the E-M5 with my DMW-FL360 flash (a Pansonic badged FL36) and find I can select either the TTL-Auto mode or the AUTO mode on the flash when the camera is in Program or Aperture Priority modes.

I've always assumed that TTL flash would be more accurate than Auto flash as you're using the camera's exposure system to cut off the flash output rather than the flashgun's exposure system; and the latter's is more accurately governed by the image. (In Canon's system, I believe the TTL exposure looks at the focused subject rather than the overall image for example. I don't have enough technical details of the Olympus system to know if that is the same.)

Are there any Olympus flash experts around?

Loup Garou
17th July 2012, 12:33 PM
I have been playing around with various settings and have had some answers. As I am in India at present with limited computer facilities, I am unable to post the results here. In the OM-D's Aperture Priority mode for instance, the FL-600R does deafult to the TTL-A mode but it can be changed to the Auto 'A' mode manually. As long as one is not using anything more than a simple UV filter in front of the lens, the Auto mode works just as well as the TTL-A mode, but in some situations has an advantage. My sis-in law's house, where we are staying, has a lot of concealed carbon-fluorescent lighting that seems to confuse the light-metering sensors and the output is often less than required below ISO 320. Between the TTL and flash's own sensor, the latter seems to cope with this confusing lighting a bit better. I am not sure why this is so but I had to use +1 flash compesation with TTL metering but got the same effect with only +0.3 compensation in the Auto mode.

Another advantage with the Auto mode is that one can artificially increase the flash output by placing a the left index finger an inch or two in front of the flash's light sensor (obviously, not possible in the TTL-A mode). This works surprisingly well and one has to be careful not to overexpose. Obviously, it is only useful for crude party type photos but where there is no time to change settings before a given moment passes, this trick is useful in greatly increasing the flash output.

Footloose1949
24th July 2012, 01:02 AM
The OM-D also offers +/- flash exposure compensation, which might help overcome some of the issues Loup Garou mentions.

Loup Garou
24th July 2012, 03:43 AM
The OM-D also offers +/- flash exposure compensation, which might help overcome some of the issues Loup Garou mentions.

Yes, it does and surprisingly very well. What might have happened earlier was the camera and flash meters read the concealed fluorescent lighting from guttering in the false roofing as daylight. I set the flashgun to +0.7 flash compesation and it worked very well.

But the aforementioned partial blocking of the flash's sensor in the A-mode is still useful in dark outdoor situations without nearby subjects to overexpose and no time to alter flash settings. By greatly increasing flash output, it illuminates backgrounds better - if that is desired, of course.