View Full Version : HELP! Flash recommendation for EM5

23rd April 2014, 09:42 AM
I have very little experience with working with flashes. Since i have been shooting with primes most of the time, i rarely needed a flash. However i find switching prime lenses an inconvenience sometimes and end up loosing caps and filters :(. Sometimes i am too lazy to switch that i end up not taking any pictures. I going to build a zoom setup and hence would need a good flash.

My experience in the past with the kit flash has been disappointing. I find the subject bright but the background dull. The image doesnt look very natural.

I only need flash during indoor functions when my subject is 2-5 meters away. Would a TTL flash like the Olympus FL36R solve my lighting problems and give better results? Should i invest in a more expensive flash? Also is there any third party flash which would offer better value for money?

Also at present I own an Olympus 14-42 lens. Would a flash upgrade be sufficient or should i upgrade to Olympus 12-40 for better results?


Bikie John
23rd April 2014, 01:52 PM
I don't use flash much either so any advice is suspect, but....

With on-camera flash you will almost always get the subject brighter than the background, because it is closer. And if the flash is pointing directly at the subject the results can be pretty horrible, with flat light and if you are really lucky a big shadow on the wall behind. If there is a nice low white ceiling you can get better results by bouncing the flash off it. For this you will need to be able to move the head, which you can with the FL-36 (R or otherwise). But you lose a lot of light doing that so a more powerful unit might work better.

There are plenty of people here who are really good on setting up flash for things like posed portraits or interiors so with luck we will see some good tips later. But I have still never figured out how to do it if you just want candid shots in a situation where there is nothing to bounce off - for example a wedding reception in an oak-panelled room with a high dark ceiling.


Ross the fiddler
23rd April 2014, 02:22 PM
I have often used bounce flash & in a house with low white ceilings (8') the FL36(R) is fine on the E-M5. I also usually have an after market diffuser attached & that can give a bit of face fill at the same time, which can be better than just relying on what is reflected off the ceiling. For larger venues (with plain white ceilings), the FL50(R) is better but heavier & the E-M5 needs the full grip to help balance it. If the ceiling is coloured, so long as it is pale & plain it can be used too, but the White Balance may need to be adjusted (from the RAW file) later. Textured ceilings will often absorb a lot of the light & make it useless to use that method.

I hope that helps.


23rd April 2014, 03:03 PM
The FL-36R is an ideal match for the EM5 in the situation you describe.

Forget all the expensive attachments. I use a lot of flash and apart from the big Softbox and the Brollies, I make all my reflectors and diffusers from things you can easily find in any craft/pound shop for a few quid.

My background illuminator is a milk carton lined with silver foil, the shoots are selotape hubs with black card/foam formed into a cone, reflectors are made of anything (including coloured Christmas wrapping)

Only when you run out of light with the FL-36R (having upped the ISO as far as you are prepared to go) should you consider getting a more powerful gun.

The Metz are very good, but again, I buy any old gun from eBay and trigger it with either an optical slave or a radio trigger.

Have fun


24th April 2014, 07:50 AM
Thanks John, Ross and Graham.

Will give FL-36R a try. I was searching in ebay yesterday night and some sellers have mentioned that there is a common problem with the base of the flash and plastic breaks after sometime. Any idea if this is fixed in newer models and if i am better off buying a new one?