flash for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras


  • flash units designed for Olympus Four Thirds dSLR system are cross compatible with Micro Four Thirds system and generally, one can use either Olympus or Panasonic flashes on either camera brand
  • in addition, there are some unique flash accessories designed for Olympus Pen cameras
  • most Olympus cameras allow remote TTL with Olympus flash units with “R” as a suffix to their model number
  • the only Panasonic flash with remote TTL capability thus far is the FL360L
  • Panasonic cameras prior to the Panasonic GH-3 do not support remote TTL flash
  • at least the older Panasonic cameras have limited TTL flash capabilities as they appear to assume legacy lenses are f/2.8, and they stop you from using shutter speeds higher than flash sync, I am not sure if this has been addressed with the GH-3.
  • when buying a flash unit, perhaps the most important feature for anyone other than TTL compatibility, size and price, is the ability for the head to swivel AND tilt to allow bounce flash of walls and ceilings.
  • best is to stick with the Olympus branded flashes, although the Metz flashes are also excellent quality. Most of the other brands are cheap Chinese versions which generally lack either features or quality or both, but can be considered if budget is very tight.
  • flash photography for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras tends to be a LOT simpler than Canon flashes on a Canon, but still needs a revamp of the macro capabilities.
  • as with all mirrorless cameras, TTL flash on Micro Four Thirds cameras introduces a shutter lag as the camera must first measure the light output of the preflash on the main sensor, not a dedicated light metering sensor as in dSLRs
  • one potential issue is the relative lack of 3rd party vendors making radio wireless remote TTL accessories such as Pocket Wizard for Canon and Nikon – but this is changing - Nissin Air System is now compatible - see remote radio wireless flash with the Olympus OM-D cameras
  • on the positive side, after using Canon’s 580EX II flagship strobe, the Olympus flash units are FAR simpler to adjust – no need to memorise arcane Fn Ctrl settings to put it in “Auto” mode instead of “TTL”, etc, and, for Canon users, you can use your Canon off-camera cord with these units and still have TTL.
  • furthermore, you can use an Olympus flash on a Canon dSLR hotshoe and the flash will automatically set itself to “Auto” mode (as no TTL or FP mode available), and you just set zoom, ISO and aperture on the flash and it will take very well exposed shots indeed – not only that, but you can physically fit accessories designed for the Canon 580EXII head to the FL50R head.
    • the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras now have a 4 + central pin hot shoe instead of 3 + central pin hotshoe, with the extra pin being a power supply and in the same position as the extra pin on Canon flashes - I would NOT use Canon flashes on these new cameras as the power surge may damage the flash!
  • optional Flash Power Grip (Olympus FP-1) provides off-camera support and extra power.

adding a PC sync port

  • most Micro Four Thirds cameras do NOT have a PC sync port fo use with manual off-camera flash units or studio strobes
    • an exception is the E-M1
  • this is easily fixed by buying a hotshoe adapter with a PC sync port built in such as:
    • those with TTL pins and a TTL hotshoe so can also use your Olympus flash mounted:
    • plain single pin hotshoe adapters
      • getting hard to find, but are very useful as also allows mounting your Olympus flash and pushing shutter speed above x-sync
    • radio remote flash transmitter units
      • some have a PC sync port

flash units currently available with TTL compatibility

  • Cactus v6ii third party radio remote transmitters now allow radio remote TTL flash on Micro Four Thirds cameras with almost any other brand of TTL flash (even Canon or Nikon) if flash is attached to a Cactus v6ii receiver

flash units with tilt and swivel for bounce flash

  • Olympus FL-40 flash is NOT compatible with Four Thirds or Micro Four Thirds cameras - it is only for earlier digital cameras

Olympus FL-900R

  • announced sept 2016
  • weathersealed

Olympus FL-600R

  • GN 50m at ISO 200
  • faster recovery than FL-36R and FL50R
  • built-in LED light for movies and AF assist
  • the first Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds external flash of reasonable flash output which sync at 1/250th sec and can act as a master for remote TTL flash
  • introduced Feb 2012 with the OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera

Panasonic DMW-FL360L

  • introduced Sept 2012 with the new GH-3 camera which provides wireless TTL support for the 1st time in a Panasonic camera
  • wireless TTL flash
  • it could be just a re-badged Olympus FL-600R as it has similar specs

Olympus FL-50R

  • this is the flagship model for Olympus, the R designation is the newer version which allows infrared remote TTL flash.
  • GN 50m at ISO 100 at maximum zoom setting of 42mm (= 85mm in 35mm terms)
  • 350g, 4x AA batteries, tilt and swivel including 7deg tilt down for macro, AF assist beam, supports Super FP flash (high sync flash)
  • built-in flip out wide diffuser to cover focal lengths 8-12mm
  • ?2.5-6sec sec recycle time from full output
  • no modeling light – but then I have not found this useful anyway on a portable strobe
  • it’s exposure compensation (up to +/- 3EV) is additive to camera flash exposure compensation setting.
  • as with all portable strobes, it must be rested for 10min after high burst rates – at full power, rest after 10 shots at 1sec intervals, or at 1/8th power, rest after 80 shots at 0.2sec intervals.
  • optional high voltage pack (HV-1) allows recycle time to be reduced to 1.3sec for full output, and allows up to 40 frames at up to 8fps at 1/8th power instead of 5 frames without it.
  • optional FP-1 power grip with 4x C cell batteries allows elevated flash position to reduce red eyes, extended battery life and shorter flash recycle time, but can ONLY be used with the FL-50, FL-50R and the macro flash set, although allows use of the HV-1 pack for even faster recycling
  • the cheaper, discontinued FL-50 is identical but does not support wireless remote TTL flash.
  • Panasonic re-badge the FL-50 as the Panasonic DMW-FL500E

Olympus FL-36R

  • similar to 50R but more compact (260g), less powerful than the 50R, but only has 2x AA batteries and thus longer recycle times.
  • tends to be preferred for Micro Four Thirds, or for travel.
  • GN 36m ISO 100 at maximum zoom
  • has swivel and vertical tilt for bounce flash photography
  • see Wrotniak on the FL-36
  • Panasonic re-badge the FL-36 as the Panasonic DMW-FL360E

Metz dedicated units

Metz Mecablitz M400
  • announced sept 2016
  • GN 40 (ISO 100)
  • LED video light
  • OLED display
Metz 64 AF-1 digital
  • late 2014
  • $US499
  • similar feature set to 58 AF-2 but:
    • GN 64m ISO 100
    • backlit touch display
    • master and slave remote TTL
Metz 58 AF-2 digital
  • tilt and swivel
  • motor zoom, flip out reflector, integrated wide diffuser
  • twin flash with automatic fill flash
  • remote TTL, HSS, stroboscopic mode
  • similar feature set to Olympus FL-50R but adds a 2nd smaller flash for auto fill-in flash
  • an awesome flash but perhaps a little big for Micro Four Thirds system
Metz 50 AF-1 digital
  • tilt and swivel, motor zoom, flip out reflector, integrated wide diffuser
  • replaced model 48 AF-1, new metal base, remote TTL, HSS.
Metz 44 AF-1 digital
  • tilt and swivel, motor zoom, flip out reflector, integrated wide diffuser
old Metz models with TTL compatibility
  • Metz 48 AF-1 digital - old model

Metz SCA 3002 digital units

  • requires SCA 3202 adapter with latest firmware – see Metz info
  • non-handle style MZ’s can be used off camera via the SCA 3008A connecting cable
  • can use Metz P-76 power packs
  • Metz 45CL-4 digital – digital version of the old handle style flash with no zoom, no fill flash, no 2nd curtain flash, requires SCA 3045 connection cable
  • Metz 76 MZ-5 digital – but no auto fill flash
  • Metz 54 MZ4i digital – twin flash, bounce, zoom, but no auto fill flash

Nissin i60A flash

  • introduced 2016
  • GN 60m at ISO 100, 200mm
  • 1/3rd EV increment control down to 1/256th sec
  • radioTTL and NISSIN AIR SYSTEM (NAS) remote for Sony, Canon and Nikon but not Olympus?

Kenro Nissin i40 flash

  • introduced 2014
  • similar design to Olympus FL600R but:
    • dials to control settings instead of buttons and LCD screen
    • seems it cannot be a master for remote TTL
    • can be used in remote TTL with most camera manufacturers (presumably need a camera-specific model)
  • GN 40m at 105mm focal length
  • covers 24-105mm, built-in diffuser extends this to 16mm
  • built-in LED video light with 9 steps output
  • tilt-swivel head - 180deg R/L and 90deg up
  • 2 control dials
  • remote TTL, HSS
  • 4x AA batteries
  • 203g, RRP $US338

MeiKe MK320

Vivitar flash

Vivitar DF-383

Bower SFD926O Digital

  • cheap version of FL-36

Bower SFD290 Digital

Opteka EF-790 DG Super

  • cheap version
  • GN 45m at ISO 100
  • 4xAA batteries
  • 6 manual output levels?; wireless slave mode but does not specify if wireless TTL;
  • no FP/HSS mode; no stroboscopic mode;

Opteka EF-600 DG Super

  • cheap version
  • GN 45m at ISO 100
  • 4xAA batteries
  • 24-85mm zoom
  • 270g
  • 6 manual output levels; wireless slave mode but does not specify if wireless TTL;
  • no FP/HSS mode; no stroboscopic mode;

Polaroid PL-144AZ Studio Series

Bell & Howell Z480AF-OP

TTL flash units without tilt and swivel

  • need off-camera TTL cable for bounce flash
  • avoid these if possible unless size/price are much higher priorities

Olympus FL-300R


  • tilt but no swivel
  • GN28 but at ISO 200
  • covers the angle of view of a 14mm lens but a built-in wide panel allows the flash to be used with 9mm ultra-wide lenses such as the M.Zuiko Digital 9-18mm f/4-5.6, albeit at reduced effective GN.
  • no manual mode
  • 2 x AAA batteries
  • 97g
  • in remote TTL mode has 2 groups A/B to allow 2 groups of flashes to fire and can be used as a master or a slave

Olympus FL-20

  • compact 74g vertically styled flash but no bounce, tilt or zoom,or Super FP mode. GN 20m ISO 100
  • Panasonic re-badge the FL-20 as the Panasonic DMW-FL220E

Olympus FL-14

  • ultra compact 84g horizontal styled flash for Micro Four Thirds cameras with GN 14m ISO 100
  • no bounce, tilt, zoom nor Super FP flash mode.
  • see manual (pdf) hosted on

Panasonic FL70

  • compact flash introduced 2014 for the GM5 camera

Olympus FL-LM2

  • ultra compact weatherproofed flash comes with the OM-D E-M5 camera
  • can act as a trigger for remote TTL flash
  • GN10m ?

Metz 36 AF-5 digital

Metz 24 AF-1 digital

  • tilt but no swivel

Nissan Di466

  • non-swivel but tilting white flash which is similar to the FL-36 but uses 4xAA batteries for faster recycling

Rokinon D870AF-OP D870AF

Other brand flash units

  • Promaster
  • Soligor
  • Cullman
  • Phoenix
  • Vivitar eg. Pro 648

Macro TTL flash units

Olympus STF Twin Flash

  • announced Sept 2016
  • weathersealed

Olympus Ring flash SRF-11

  • a nice simple ring flash, which unlike the Canon version is full circumferential, but annoyingly, it only fits certain lenses as it does not use filter threads to attach.
  • no Super FP mode
  • fits the ZD 14-54mm lens
  • designed for the first version of the ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 lens but does not attach to the new SWD version
  • requires the FR-1 clip on adapter to use on the ZD 50mm f/2.0 macro – but adapter is so nice, I use it as a lens hood on the lens all the time!
  • Olympus FR-2 adapter allows attachment to 46mm filter threads such as on the Olympus m.ZD 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, and of course you can use step up and step down rings for other lens sizes
  • hopefully Olympus will make one for 58mm filter threads

Olympus Twin flash TF-22

  • uses the same control unit as the Ring Flash, and unlike the Canon equivalent, comes with diffusers which are essential for this style of photography.
  • uses same lens adapters as the SRF-11 ring flash

Metz 15MS-1 digital macro "ring" flash

  • supports IR remote TTL of Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Four Thirds, Micro Four Thirds (requires firmware v3 or higher), and Sony
  • wireless manual exposure mode with “learning” capability to ignore on-camera pre-flashes
    • manual mode the total output can be set to from full power to 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/16, 1/32 or 1/64th full power
  • clip on plastic diffuser
  • 2 x AAA batteries
  • one of the lightest “ring flashes”
  • each flash unit is able to be angled by 20deg within the ring frame and variable output from each flash via the ratio setting
  • modeling light
  • AF assist light
  • adapters to fit lens filter threads of 52mm, 55mm and 58mm;
  • adapter rings in the sizes 62, 67 and 72 mm are optionally available
  • comes with a on-camera flash IR pass clip to prevent that flash causing shadows on macro subjects
  • PC sync outlet
  • USB port for firmware updates
  • GN 15m ISO 100
  • only weighs 190g excl. batteries
  • standard 1/4-20 tripod socket on the bottom for tripod mounting
  • generally sells for $US399
  • it's size, weight and ring adapter sizes make it well suited to Micro Four Thirds, and as a fill in flash, it is to be preferred over the Olympus Ring Flash, as it is lighter, does not occupy the hotshoe and thus you can still use remote TTL flashes as your main and kicker flashes.
  • issues:
    • lighting from above with the flash diffuser on is still quite harsh for macro work
    • angle of flash is limited to 50mm focal length lenses on APS-C cameras
    • requires latest firmware to work with Micro Four Thirds

Underwater flash

Olympus UFL-1 flash

  • waterproof to depth 40m
  • TTL flash in slave mode
  • uses Sea & Sea parts
  • floats - which can be a nuisance as it may need to be weighted down for keeping it on the sea floor
  • GN 14m at ISO 100

Olympus UFL-2 flash

  • waterproof to depth 60m
  • TTL flash in slave mode
  • uses Sea & Sea parts
  • RC and Slave mode
  • floats - which can be a nuisance as it may need to be weighted down for keeping it on the sea floor
  • GN 32m at ISO 100 (similar features to an FL-36)
  • ~$599

Sea & Sea YS-01

Inon S-2000

TTL off camera cables

hot-shoe to hot-shoe

Olympus FL-CB05 cable

  • not pin compatible with Canon EOS TTL flash and cameras

Canon OC-E3 Off Camera Shoe Cord 3

  • fully pin compatible with Olympus TTL flash and cameras as well as Canon EOS - but obviously will not give TTL flash with mixes of Canon flash on Olympus camera and vice versa.

FP-1 power grip to hot-shoe

Olympus FL-CB02 cable

TTL off-camera power grips

Olympus FP-1 power grip

  • uses 4x C cell batteries
  • allows elevated flash position to reduce red eyes, extended battery life and shorter flash recycle time of 2.5sec on full charge
  • and allows use of the HV-1 high voltage pack for even faster recycling of 1.3sec
  • requires a TTL flash cable to connect to camera such as the FL-CB02 which connects to a hot shoe
  • can ONLY be used with the FL-50, FL-50R and the Olympus macro flash set
  • optionally can use a RG-1 release cable to allow the shutter release to trigger the camera
photo/microfourthirdsflash.txt · Last modified: 2017/05/05 10:59 by gary1