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more details on flash options for Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras

Olympus dedicated external flash functions:

  • NB. only the auto & manual mode flash functions below are possible if using a non-dedicated flash unit
  • flash exposure modes:
    • TTL auto exposure:
      • ie. camera determines external flash light output amount
      • camera must be set to a non-Manual exposure mode
      • external flash must be set to TTL-auto mode
    • flash auto mode:
      • ie. external flash unit determines its own light output level using its inbuilt sensor
      • camera can be set to any exposure mode but best set to either Manual or Aperture mode
      • external flash is set to one of its auto modes which gives a ISO + aperture setting
      • set camera to the ISO & aperture setting as indicated on the external flash setting
    • flash manual mode:
      • ie. external flash gives off a set amount of light, it is up to you to determine the appropriate aperture/ISO setting on the camera
      • camera can be set to any exposure mode but best set to either Manual or Aperture mode
      • external flash is set to one of its manual modes
  • flash charge ready indication in viewfinder or LCD screen
  • flash zoom function:
    • on flash units that have a motorized zoom (eg. the Metz MZ series), the camera can set the zoom level automatically according to the camera's zoom thereby optimising the efficiency of the flash output and giving you better working distance at telephoto and better conservation of batteries.
  • external flash red eye reduction:
    • ?
  • external flash slow sync 2 mode:
    • Olympus flashes & Metz flashes incl. 45CL-4;
  • external flash auto-off or sleep mode:
    • when camera turns off or flash setting is turned off in the camera, a compatible flash unit will be put into sleep mode to conserve its batteries.
  • flash multi-burst mode:
    • only available with the E-x cameras and the FL-50(R) flash
  • external flash AF-illuminator to assist auto-focus:
    • only available with the most recent cameras and the FL-50(R) or FL-36 (R) flash
  • Super FP TTL/Manual:
    • allows for higher shutter speed (1/4000th sec) synchronisation with certain Olympus cameras (eg. E-x) and the FL-50(R) (not available on Metz flashes, yet)
  • built-in modeling light:
    • Metz 54MZ-4, Metz 70MZ-5
  • wireless remote TTL:
    • any Olympus flash with R as a suffix in the model name (eg. FL-36R, FL-50R) with most recent Olympus models BUT not available yet on any Panasonic models.

For TTL control with Olympus digital cameras:

  • Metz flash guns need to use SCA 3202 adapter (~$A100) and either:
    • go to the Metz page to see compatibility issues, especially with TTL and Olympus E digital SLRs
    • on camera flash if flash unit permits (eg. 32 MZ-3, 44 MZ-2, 50 MZ-5, 54 MZ-3), or
    • connection cable SCA3000C (~$A100)
    • with MZ flashes and SCA 3202:
      • pre-flash TTL even with spot-metering - now that is impressive!! sure beats non-spot-metering, much more accurate.
      • AF illuminator beam on the SCA control unit works in tandem with camera's beam (but can't turn camera beam without turning off the SCA beam)
      • motor zoom works as you alter camera zoom
      • SCA control unit displays camera settings
      • ( I have a 50MZ-5 and it works very well with the 8080 although a bit heavy to hold)
    • NB. newer versions of the 3202 adapter numbered M1,2,3 ,4 are backwardly compatible, but you need at least the M3 for the Olympus E-1 and the M4 for the E-300. You do not need to buy the new adapter if you already own an older version of the SCA3202. Metz, will re-flash the adapter with the new code at no charge.
    • 44MZ-2 on hotshoe still allows inbuilt flash use as well.
      • TTL, AF illuminator, and works in auto & manual modes in slave mode.
    • if using a Metz unit like the 32MZ-3, it may work using directly mounted on hotshoe, but Metz insist it should be mounted on an Olympus flash bracket FL-BK01 and connected to the camera hotshoe via the Olympus synch cable FL-CB01 - maybe Metz not realise it has a hotshoe?
    • Metz comments regarding its 34 CS-2 slave flash Oct 2004:
      • unfortunately, a mecablitz “34 CS-2” (without the supplement “digital”) can not be used with a C8080 because it is still not able to ignore the pre-flashes coming from the camera's flash. This is only possible with the later model “34 CS-2 digital” which can be synchronized at the right time. Also a NEW 28 CS-2 digital can be used as well wireless  triggered
        from the camera. In this case only auto flash mode with manual settings is possible. Unfortunately, the reflector of a 34 or 28 can not be tilt or swiveled for bounce flash. Therefore we recommend to use either a 44 MZ-2, 54 MZ-4 etc with adapter SCA3202 supporting all flash features of camera plus bounce flash plus wireless triggering flash (by switch SL on the rear of adapter SCA3202)
    • Metz also sell a digital slave trigger SCA-3083 which allows light-triggered wireless TTL control of other compatible Metz units such as the 54MZ-3, 70MZ-5, 70MZ-4.
  • Promaster 5750DX with 1045 DX Olympus Shoe Mount:
    • $US200; GN 30 (40 tele), manual zoom, secondary light, tilt/swivel 90/180deg; 0.3-10sec recycle; 
    • for TTL off camera, need as for Olympus FL flash guns
    • The only feature that's lacking compared to the FL40, FL50 and the Metz 32 is the motorized zoom
    • supports slow sync (front and rear curtain)
    • focus assist illuminator that projects a pattern of vertical red lines
    • Soligor DG-20 DA and DG-34 DA
    • Cullmann AF 20-O Digital with GN20
    • Cullmann AF 34-O Digital with GN30. 
    • They have AF diodes and up-tilting reflectors.
  • Phoenix RL-59C ring flash

(Not all features below are available on the Olympus C8080 eg. AF-measuring flash)

Metz 44MZ-2Metz 45CL-4Metz 54MZ-4Metz 60CT-4Metz 70MZ-4Metz 70MZ-5Olympus FL-20Olympus FL-36Olympus FL-50
GN (m)34 (44 @50mm)4540 (54 @50mm)6050 (70 @50mm )50 (70 @50mm)20 @35mm36 @85mm28 (50 @85mm)
secondary lightNYYYNYNNN
built-in slaveN (opt)NNNNYNNN
tilt vert/horiz90/0 deg90 / 360deg90 / 270deg90 / 270deg90 / 270deg90 / 270degN 90 / 270deg
AF-measuring flashYNYNNYNY (not 8080)
StroboscopicNNYNNYNNE1 only
Modeling lightNNYNNYNNN
NiCdY (85)Y (50)Y (60)Y (160) Y (60 flash)
NiMHY (205)NY (120)N Y (100 flash)YYY
AlkalineY (240)Y (100)Y (180)N N
recycle time0.2-4s0.3-7s0.1-5s0.25-5s 0.1-5s
apertures126128 12 9?
partial light levels822525 25 6?

External flash units directly mounted on camera:

  • TTL compatible on camera units:
  • non-TTL flash units:
    • set camera to manual & use shutter speed up to 1/300th sec - can use faster but may lose flash light output
    • set Flash mode in camera to IN+external or external only
    • set camera aperture & ISO according to flash auto setting or your flash meter readings, or guestimate.
    • must not have high voltage (?>6V) synchro terminal - these may damage the camera - see Botzilla's guide
      • ie. not the Sunpak MX130 as 190V
      • NB. Olympus do sell a voltage-regulated PC sync adapter for $US90 that fits on a hotshoe & allows use of any flash gun with correct polarity see 
      • HOWEVER, an Olympus technician has said that the C5060 has an inbuilt voltage regulator and thus higher voltage flash units are safe - still not sure you would be covered under warranty if this turned out not to be!
    • must not use units with non-FL TTL contacts as these may damage the camera
      • ie. not the Olympus T20 but may be OK via a PC link as only 3-7V however, many do use it!
      • ie. not the Vivitar 3700  but may be OK via a PC link as only 9.4V
      • Tip: either cover up all hotshoe pins other than the central one, or, buy a hotshoe extender which only has one pin or the Olympus voltage-regulated PC sync adapter
    • some units may not work as they have opposite polarity
  • consider a bouncer:

External flash units remotely connectable to the hot shoe mount:

  • for TTL use see TTL flash units
  • for non-TTL use:
    • see general points above, in addition, need to either:
      • connect the PC sync cable of the flash (if flash does not have a PC sync cable, then need to buy an adapter for it's hotshoe connection that provides a cable) to a hotshoe-PC sync adapter set on the camera hotshoe, or,
      • use a slave trigger connected to the flash & trigger it from the inbuilt camera flash with camera flash set to SLAVE and setting = 1 or higher.
    • ie. you don't need to buy the expensive TTL cables & adapters, but you do lose TTL capability and all the other dedicated flash functions
    • flash unit recommendations for bounce flash, etc off the camera:
      • Metz flash guns (can also connect via Metz SCA 3202 adapter and connection cable SCA3000C  for TTL auto):
        • for safety, maximum dedicated functions, and versatility in aperture/power output settings, use the new MZ series which have a safe trigger voltage of < 5V
        • 45CL-4:
          • has 14-17V but direct PC connect to hotshoe seems to be safe.
          • readily available on Ebay for $A300-350 (retail ~$A550)
          • rapid recycle time, secondary flash, easy to use
        • do NOT use the older Metz CT-1 or CT-2 models as their trigger voltage is way too high and risk destroying the camera, although the CT4 & CT5 models should be OK

Metz 45 series flashguns:

  • Metz voltage safety (from Metz):
    • “Metz mecablitz 45-CT 1 units featuring a model number that is smaller than 534 000 are fitted with a so-called high-voltage ignition circuit. These flash units must not be directly connected to modern cameras as this could even damage the camera! All other flash units of the Metz mecablitz 45 CT and 45 CL series feature a low-voltage ignition circuit in keeping with the current standard.”
  • Metz 45 series and non-proprietary rechargeable batteries:
    • “A battery case supplies a flash unit, such as the Metz mecablitz 45, with 9 V power (6 x 1.5 V). However, if NC or NiMh batteries are loaded in the battery case, then only 1.2 V (6 x 1.2 V = 7.2 V) will be available on account of the cell’s lower voltage rating. This results in a significantly smaller guide number, thereby greatly reducing the maximum flash range in automatic and TTL flash mode. It also means that manual flash operation becomes impracticable because a guide number is no longer available to calculate the camera’s aperture setting.

      The contacts of our NC battery pack 45-40 are located at a different point so that the existing voltage difference is compensated. The NC batteries incorporated in this pack are special cells that are rigidly connected with metal strips to cope with the high power consumption of the flash unit. Consequently, an empty NC battery case cannot be loaded with other commercial rechargeable batteries.

      Furthermore, the high currents of an inadvertently incorrectly loaded NC battery may destroy the electronic circuitry of the flash unit. Consequently, we urgently advise against the use of NC batteries in the battery case.”
  • 45 CT vs 45 CL series:
    • “Flash units of the Metz mecablitz 45 CL series are successor models of Metz mecablitz 45 CT units, and they feature a modified method of flash readiness indication. Accordingly, flash readiness is indicated by a light-emitting diode on Metz mecablitz 45 CL units, whereas flash units of the Metz mecablitz 45 CT series feature a glow lamp for flash readiness indication. Furthermore, Metz mecablitz 45 CL flash units have standard connecting sockets.”
    • they all share the same brackets, filters, batteries, PC sync & SCA cords
    • 45CT-1 has only 1 manual setting and 5 auto settings and no TTL mode and no SCA 3002 functions
    • 45CL-4 has 4 manual settings (full, half, quarter & “winder” which is 1/40th), 6 auto settings + TTL as well as having a secondary flash and SCA 3002 functions such as in camera flash ready signal, TTL.
      • thus this is more versatile for hair lighting, etc.
  • SCA 300 vs SCA 3002 systems:
    • “SCA-300 is an analog system, whereas SCA-3002 is digital. As a result of the additional exchange of digital data further special flash functions become possible when these cannot be set on the camera concerned. The flash units of the SCA-3002 system are downward compatible, and can ,therefore, also be fitted with SCA-300 adapters. However, SCA-3002 adapters are not necessarily compatible with SCA-300 flash units. For instance, the SCA-3000 C connecting cable is required to match SCA-3002 adapters with handle-mount flashguns of the SCA-300 system, but not all the functions of the given adapter will then be available with this connection.”
    • “The adapters of the Metz SCA adapter system are constantly being updated to match new cameras with additional or modified flash functions. For this reason the new adapter models are continuously numbered (M, M2, M3 …). The latest adapter model always replaces the previous one and is downward compatible. The adapters of the SCA 3002 system can generally be upgraded by way of software update.”
photo/fourthirdsflash.txt · Last modified: 2014/04/06 12:12 by gary1

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