Compatible flashes?


Status
Not open for further replies.

cjtune

New Member
Mar 20, 2006
1,519
0
0
#1
Hi,

Can anyone recommend Olympus DSLR compatible-brand (ie. non-Olympus) flashes? Something with enough oomph for, say, indoor small group portraits and can be detached and used with sync cording for off-body firing?

Thanks.
 

Teo

New Member
May 17, 2002
500
0
0
Visit site
#3
1) Vivitar 285
2) Sunpak 383 / 3600

Both flash having a powerful GN of 36 (ASA 100, 35mm).
--power ratio
--bounce
But got to find in the used market, I personally prefer the Sunpak 383 as it can swivel the flash head.
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#4
Olympus T32. GN=32, I think you should be able to get these quite cheap since they are very old, but relyable. Can use it on top but also move it from the camera if you have an adapter cord. You can not use it in TTL mode, at least not yet. I am trying to make it work in TTL. It works however fine in manual mode, flash tells you which settings to use on camera. I will certainly use mine until it dies.
 

cjtune

New Member
Mar 20, 2006
1,519
0
0
#5
OlyFlyer said:
Olympus T32. GN=32, I think you should be able to get these quite cheap since they are very old, but relyable. Can use it on top but also move it from the camera if you have an adapter cord. You can not use it in TTL mode, at least not yet. I am trying to make it work in TTL. It works however fine in manual mode, flash tells you which settings to use on camera. I will certainly use mine until it dies.
Talking about used units... I wonder what is the typical service life of low-GN flashes in terms of flashes fired? Does the bulb maintain the same amount of energy output till the day it dies or does it noticeably steadily decreases?
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#6
cjtune,

I was just joking. I would never in my life buy any second hand flashes at all, unless it is really very very cheap.

If 32 is a low guide number then 36 is just a tiny bit more. And an other thing about guide number, I am talking about GN for 35mm film. As far as I know, you should double that number for Olympus E-500 digital camera, in which case that gives 64 for my T32 and 72 for the Vivitar and Sunpak. Or, am I wrong? My T32 definitly beats the built in flash in my E-500 by many miles. And for the lifetime of the flash? Well, I think the main problem is the large capacitor that may start to leak after so many years. I feel as mine does take considerably longer to charge today then it did some 25 years ago. The amount of light is the same all the time until it dies. It is not an ordinary bulb, but a high voltage discharge lamp.

You need a flash for ...indoor small group portraits and can be detached and used with sync cording for off-body firing... in that case T32 or similar is good enough. Mine lights definitivly up a whole room 10x7 meters from one of the corners. I tested it in my living room. Other than that, it is extremly cheap, I have an old Metz also, so if I would not be happy, I can use all three at the same time, two bouncing from an umbrella and the camera flash as fill-in. That way you will get nicer tone and much better shadows, like in the pic below. The pic below is taken with my T32 bounced from umbrella about 2,5 meters from subject, elevated to about 1,7 meters. Camera on tripod about 70 cm from floor and 2,5 meters from subject.

 

cjtune

New Member
Mar 20, 2006
1,519
0
0
#8
OK so I got myself a Sunblitz Ai829TW (=no-name?) auto-flash. Slave unit + free handle mount bracket for S$63 from AP SLS... One shop at Peninsular even quoted me S$130 'best price' for the same model! For newbies: just say "standard SLR hotshoe/ one pin" when they ask you for what camera. When I said "Olympus" I often get "ooh, that one hard to find but I do have something for you..." with some ridiculous price :sticktong .

I think I'm getting used to using it in manual mode (reading off recommended aperture vs ISO values off a sticker at the back of the flash) but it's gonna be real tricky taking live and fluid subject later when I plan to use it at a friend's wedding. Will play with its auto mode later. 50+ test shots with it and my E-330 is still alive so I guess it's safe in the long run too.
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#9
OlyFlyer said:
If 32 is a low guide number then 36 is just a tiny bit more. And an other thing about guide number, I am talking about GN for 35mm film. As far as I know, you should double that number for Olympus E-500 digital camera
GN are always quoted for ISO100 so that they can be compared across models easily. In actual usage. the flash range will depend on ISO and aperture.

For compact (less than 400g) and powerful (GN of 50m or more) flash with low trigger voltage (<6V), LCD panel (easy to read info and backlight helps when dark) and multiple automatic modes (more flexible in allowing you to use different apertures), you can consider Nikon SB28, SB28DX or SB80DX. Some of them could be had for a pretty good price used.
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#10
mpenza said:
GN are always quoted for ISO100 so that they can be compared across models easily. In actual usage. the flash range will depend on ISO and aperture.

For compact (less than 400g) and powerful (GN of 50m or more) flash with low trigger voltage (<6V), LCD panel (easy to read info and backlight helps when dark) and multiple automatic modes (more flexible in allowing you to use different apertures), you can consider Nikon SB28, SB28DX or SB80DX. Some of them could be had for a pretty good price used.
GN has also with distance and area to do. 35mm film is 2x Oly CCD in area. For me that is 2x more power for film. Maybe not exactly 2 but definitly more than it needs for CCD. I may be wrong, I still have to verify that. However it is, the diff between 32 and 36 is not much. And in actual usage, flash range depends on power also, not only aperture and ISO. Yes, the larger aperture the less power needed, but you'll also loose DOF. To get larger DOF, you need power and/or higher ISO. Higher ISO means more grainy (noisy in DC terms) pictures, so that is not always an option.

I don't know what GN has to do with weight, weight depends mostly on battery type. If I have my T32 on the Grip-2, then it weights quite a lot. On the other hand, it charges instantly with right and powerful batteries even after full discharge. I don't know about Nikon SB28 but a Nikon on an Olympus? That is UGLY and disgusting!:sticktong Please, cjtune, if you go for that, promise to paint over that brand name.
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#11
Missed out one aspect, the "35mm equivalent", for flash with zoom heads. e.g. for Metz 54MZ4:
Guide number with ISO 100/21° (105mm) 54m
Guide number with ISO 100/21° (50mm) 40m

35mm film is actually 4x the Olympus CCD in area. Definitely, there will be some wastage if you set the flash zoom to 35mm and you're using a a lens with 35mm focal length (70mm equivalent) on your DSLR (you can and should set your flash zoom to 70mm accordingly to reduce wastage!). But it depends on whether the flash you're using has a zoom head in the first place (some don't).

Mathematically.....
GN is the measurement of power of the flash (and hence flash range). Every doubling of ISO increases the GN by 1.4x. To get the flash range, divide the resulting GN by aperture.

So for e.g. you want to calculate flash range for the following scenario:
Flash with GN of 32m at ISO 100
ISO used = 400
Aperture used = f5.6

Max flash range = 32 *1.4*1.4/5.6 = 11.2m

In actual usage, the flash range depends on the environment too (e.g. color of walls).
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#12
OlyFlyer said:
I don't know what GN has to do with weight, weight depends mostly on battery type. If I have my T32 on the Grip-2, then it weights quite a lot. On the other hand, it charges instantly with right and powerful batteries even after full discharge.
A newly designed flash using modern components could be small and packs lots of power (high GN). Older flashes are generally big and not as powerful (low GN). Recharge rate and GN are separate matters.

OlyFlyer said:
I don't know about Nikon SB28 but a Nikon on an Olympus? That is UGLY and disgusting! Please, cjtune, if you go for that, promise to paint over that brand name.
can just use gaffer tape to cover the name ;p btw, I'm a Canon user, not Nikon. Brand doesn't matter much to me and I go for the best equipment (I have Nikon flash, Fujifilm bag, Olympus converters, etc) that meets my budget and needs.
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#13
mpenza said:
A newly designed flash using modern components could be small and packs lots of power (high GN). Older flashes are generally big and not as powerful (low GN). Recharge rate and GN are separate matters.
Well, I am not sure it is the truth nothing but the truth. In ALL powerful flashes there must be a big capacitor. It is that capacitor you charge when you charge the flash. The higher the GN the bigger this capacitor. Unfortunatly, the capacitor alone weights much more than the rest of the electronic inside, it is really huge. Yes, modern flashes may be lighter, but they still work on the same principle, you charge a huge capacitor and discharge thrugh an inductor which will give you the high voltage needed to fire the lamp.

Lamps of today are also better and lighter and need somewhat less power to fire. But the principal is the same. You will still need high capacity batteries to charge, the more power you have the quicker the recharge will be, up to a limit. There is a direct relationship between high GN and recharge rate. High GN needs bigger capacitor. The larger the capacitor (or GN) the longer it takes to charge (if you compare with using same batteries). To keep the same charging speed, you need higher capacity batteries for higher GN. And these are bigger and heavier. Weight of electronic is just a small portion, if you want quick recharge. That's where Bounce Grip 2 comes in for my T32 and that's why some people use extra battery packs. That is simple basic electronic facts.

More about T32 and other vintage Oly flashes: http://mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/flash/t32flash/index.htm

mpenza said:
can just use gaffer tape to cover the name ;p btw, I'm a Canon user, not Nikon. Brand doesn't matter much to me and I go for the best equipment (I have Nikon flash, Fujifilm bag, Olympus converters, etc) that meets my budget and needs.
Well, I was joking. :bsmilie: I don't really care what people put on their camera. In my home there are at least four different brands. I am not even convinced Olympus is the ONLY Camera in the world with capital 'C'. What brand you use and what you consider the best is your freedom of choise and it is up to your taste and budget and prejudice.

You are right about the CCD area, film has exactly 3.73 times larger area. As for your calculations about range and GN, yes, in theory there is a 35mm equivalent and ISO 100 is used. But Unfortunatly camera manufacturers do everything possible to confuse us. Oly FL-36 is actually much less than powerful than the T32. FL36 has actually a GN of only 20 at 12mm (24mm in film world) while the T32 is 32 at 24mm (actually down to 21mm). More to read here: http://www.olympus-esystem.com/dea/products/flash/fl36/index.html
The T32 has also a zoom head to concentrate the light for tele lenses. Actually, T32 is more powerful than FL50 also, since FL50 has GN28 at 12mm. Just read here: http://www.olympus-esystem.com/dea/products/flash/fl50/index.html
I am not saying T32 is the only one and the best, but since I have one, I know it is a very good and not a weak flash.
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#14
While it's good to understand theory behind the design, it's also important not to ignore what's happening.

Examples of "downsizing" while maintaining/increasing GN:
1. Nikon SB24 weighs 390g (without batteries) while Nikon SB28 weighs 320g (without batteries) and has a smaller volume. Both have similar GN.
2. Canon 550EX weighs 405g (without batteries) while Canon 580EX weighs 375g (without batteries) and has a smaller volume. Canon 580EX has higher GN and more zoom options.


OlyFlyer said:
As for your calculations about range and GN, yes, in theory there is a 35mm equivalent and ISO 100 is used. But Unfortunatly camera manufacturers do everything possible to confuse us.
The calculations about range and GN remains the same whether digital or otherwise (as long as you have the right understanding - Olympus seems to be the only manufacturer that uses actual focal length of digital lenses in the flash). Agree with you that manufacturers can be confusing.


OlyFlyer said:
Oly FL-36 is actually much less than powerful than the T32. FL36 has actually a GN of only 20 at 12mm (24mm in film world) while the T32 is 32 at 24mm (actually down to 21mm). More to read here: http://www.olympus-esystem.com/dea/products/flash/fl36/index.html
The T32 has also a zoom head to concentrate the light for tele lenses. Actually, T32 is more powerful than FL50 also, since FL50 has GN28 at 12mm. Just read here: http://www.olympus-esystem.com/dea/products/flash/fl50/index.html
I am not saying T32 is the only one and the best, but since I have one, I know it is a very good and not a weak flash.
I never really said FL-36 is more powerful (I've said in a follow-up post on the missing aspect "35mm equivalent")....

True, T32 is more powerful than FL50 and FL36 at "24mm" equivalent in 35mm terms (a big achievement I must say and also better than the current top of the range shoe-mount flash from Nikon and Canon). However, from the link you provide, there is no zoom head in T32. It's only that the sensor that measures flash at the same angle as the taking lens (not that there's a concentrator that helps to increase flash range). Hence, when you go beyond 24mm, FL50 and FL36 will give you longer flash range due to the "concentration" of the flash beam by the zoom head (lesser extent for FL36).
 

cjtune

New Member
Mar 20, 2006
1,519
0
0
#15
Wow. I'm humbled by the presence of flash gurus here in this thread. It'll take me some time to digest what's been discussed... :sweat:
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#16
mpenza said:
While it's good to understand theory behind the design, it's also important not to ignore what's happening.

Examples of "downsizing" while maintaining/increasing GN:
1. Nikon SB24 weighs 390g (without batteries) while Nikon SB28 weighs 320g (without batteries) and has a smaller volume. Both have similar GN.
2. Canon 550EX weighs 405g (without batteries) while Canon 580EX weighs 375g (without batteries) and has a smaller volume. Canon 580EX has higher GN and more zoom options.
I could not agree more. So I weighted my T32 a few minutes ago.

T32 without batteries: 299g
With 4 AA size batteries: 401g
With grip including 4 extra A-size batteries: 876g

My interpretation of my and your figures are: T32 is both lighter and a bit more powerful than SB28, even if it is some 20-25 years older. Grip is not needed for GN, it is needed to be able to hold the camera better, give power for extreme fast recharge and to place the flash a bit to the side to get better pictures. T32 can be placed on top of camera if one prefers that. See the guide number table here: http://mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/nikonf4/flash/SB28/index.htm

Canon 580EX also specified with zoom 105mm to have GN58, it covers 30m with 50mm lense while my T32 covers 25 at the same 1.4 aperture.
http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/controller?act=ModelTechSpecsAct&fcategoryid=141&modelid=10514 It may be a bit more powerful than T32 but not much. I can not see the comparable information anywhere. Maybe in user manual.

Canon 550EX is actually less powerful (in GN) than T32 at same 24mm as T32 is specified.
http://consumer.usa.canon.com/ir/co...hSpecsSupportAct&fcategoryid=217&modelid=7270

Now, once again, I don't say there are no better flashes than T32, just that it is a very very good flash, well worth its price if one is prepared to use semiautomatic or manual mode. Definitly not something you just throw away and call it useless. And this debate only convinced me to eve more belive that my flashes are no weak old rubbishes, but good and powerful onece when you compare the same data.

mpenza said:
The calculations about range and GN remains the same whether digital or otherwise (as long as you have the right understanding - Olympus seems to be the only manufacturer that uses actual focal length of digital lenses in the flash). Agree with you that manufacturers can be confusing.
As far as I can see, both Nikon and Canon is also using the same, or similar method and that is the only method I know of. You always have to consider focal length. General GN calculations are just to make life easy for us.


mpenza said:
...However, from the link you provide, there is no zoom head in T32. It's only that the sensor that measures flash at the same angle as the taking lens (not that there's a concentrator that helps to increase flash range). Hence, when you go beyond 24mm, FL50 and FL36 will give you longer flash range due to the "concentration" of the flash beam by the zoom head (lesser extent for FL36).
Sorry, I forgot to say click twice on Next at the bottom of the page. Anyway, here it is. http://mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/flash/t32flash/index2.htm Grip, flash, zoom and more data.

Now if you'd say the flashes you mentioned are more advanced, I would say, that's no surprise, they are some 25 years younger. Technology advanced since the T32. But if you say T32 is a low end, old, low GN garbage, I would say, You don't know what you are talking about.

Thank you for enlightening my vision. Before this debate I just had a feeling that my flashes are very good. Now I have the knowledge also, because you forced me to google and read more facts about other species on this earth.:thumbsup:

Let's end this discussion brother (or sister) in peace :cheers: and agree, that two people can probably never agree on flashes. As long as you are happy with your Canon, Nikon or whatever it is definitly a good flash, at least for you. And thats what counts.
:cheergal:
 

OlyFlyer

Senior Member
Mar 22, 2006
2,161
0
0
#17
cjtune said:
Wow. I'm humbled by the presence of flash gurus here in this thread. It'll take me some time to digest what's been discussed... :sweat:
I hope you exclude me from the group called 'guru'. I am affraid, I don't have enough knowledge in the subject to be called 'gugu'. I am just a happy owner of some old, but powerful flashes;)
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#18
You're repeating what I'm saying abt the T32 being more powerful at 24mm than top of the range Canon and Nikon flashes and having to consider focal length in GN and flash range calculations. I hadn't compared T32 with the current flashes because the design is essentially different (the others I've listed have LCD panels, built-in zoom heads, AF assist and some even supports wireless trigger).

OlyFlyer said:
Sorry, I forgot to say click twice on Next at the bottom of the page. Anyway, here it is. http://mir.com.my/rb/photography/hardwares/classics/olympusom1n2/shared/flash/t32flash/index2.htm Grip, flash, zoom and more data.
External concentrators are usually not as effective as those built-into the flash. Case in point, the T32 has a higher GN than other flashes at 24mm but lower at higher focal lengths (a GN of 42m is pretty good at 135mm!).

OlyFlyer said:
Now if you'd say the flashes you mentioned are more advanced, I would say, that's no surprise, they are some 25 years younger. Technology advanced since the T32. But if you say T32 is a low end, old, low GN garbage, I would say, You don't know what you are talking about.
Don't put words into my mouth. The only subjective opinion I've expressed of the T32 is that the GN is "a big achievement I must say and also better than the current top of the range shoe-mount flash from Nikon and Canon" at 24mm. I'm not sure how you can derive from this that T32 is low end, old and low GN garbage.

What I want to do share facts and information I know (from prior research and experience) and not to attack a product (I never do it if you have read my other posts). Btw, through this discussion, I learnt that T32 is a really interesting product that's ahead of its time. Downside is that it's rarely seen in the used market in Singapore.
 

mpenza

Senior Member
Jan 18, 2002
12,938
0
0
Singapore
www.instagram.com
#19
cjtune said:
Wow. I'm humbled by the presence of flash gurus here in this thread. It'll take me some time to digest what's been discussed... :sweat:
Not a guru, just sharing some experience with automatic flashes.

T32 and Nikon flash, etc offers automatic modes (they have built-in sensor to detect proper flash exposure) when used with an Olympus DSLR. It's not as seamless as TTL modes which you'll get with a current Olympus flash and you need to manually sync the settings for ISO and aperture between camera and flash, and "zoom" the flash accordingly so that the angle of flash sufficient covers angle of the taking lens (if you get a fully compatible TTL flash, you don't need to do any syncing of settings.). The syncing needs only be done once until you change ISO or aperture. In terms of accuracy, automatic modes actually works very well.
 

Hacker

Senior Member
Dec 6, 2005
4,239
1
0
Cyberspace
#20
cjtune said:
Hi,

Can anyone recommend Olympus DSLR compatible-brand (ie. non-Olympus) flashes? Something with enough oomph for, say, indoor small group portraits and can be detached and used with sync cording for off-body firing?

Thanks.
Many of the Metz flashes have their own built-in sensor making the need for TTL unnecessary. Whether you are pleased with the results depend largely on the photographer.

I used the CT-4 for many years and liked it very much. Manual for my Nikons and Leicas, and auto with my Minoltas with the adapters. Could not really tell much of a difference. Now just waiting for the 76 MZ5... ;) .
 

Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom