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Thread: Flash and the G1

  1. #1
    marknorton
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    Flash and the G1

    There are the usual warnings from Panasonic about only using their flash guns.

    As you might expect, they are just playing cautious. I've tried both the Nikon SB-800 and SB-900 and they work fine in A(uto) Mode. Set the camera to Manual mode, dial in the aperture displayed by the flash gun and select your shutter speed - I used 1/125.

  2. #2
    Senior Member kweide's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    ... or take those small Oly FL36 or compatible flashes. They should work TTL !! Pana and Oly do use the same flash protocol and due to FT rules they should even have the same flashpinouts....

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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Funny I was going to ask about flashes yesterday. I was using my G1 and pop ip flashbalong with my Nikon and SB800 the other night. After looking at the difference in results I decided that I wanted an external flash for the G1. I get a dsicount at Panasonic Direct so the price was slightly cheaper than the Oly and ordered the 36. I read the 50 is a bit large for the G1. I will post some shots with it when it arrives.

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    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Mark, KWeide & Terry,

    I went one further. To do some portrait work with the G1 (which, with it's articulating LCD, is superb since you can keep an eye on the subject and engaging him or her while checking the framing) I bought a Photogenics strobe with a wireless set-up from B&H in New York to trigger it (the G1as you know doesn't have a PC connector).

    Curiously I had to 'shave' the transmitter module 'thinner' so it would fit inside the accessory slot on the G1 (the slot isn't too wide...just too thin apparently for this unit).

    The set up appears to work okay. The only anomalies I've encountered are some accidental misfirings of the strobe before actually pressing the shutter button. Sometimes it would happen when I was making adjustment to the aperture or shutter speed. Sometimes the strobe would fire totally on its own. (Strobe Gremlins?)

    But the results are quite good. Here's the first shot I took with the set-up I put together for simple one-light portraiture with a 36" square soft box and a 320 watt/second strobe. It's of my brother's friend, Ollie, a designer and builder of miniature golf courses on Cape Cod.

    Peter
    Last edited by peterb; 24th March 2010 at 05:46.
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    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Terry,

    I tried to scuff up the lens on the built-in flash to soften or diffuse the light (using the Norton's 000 equivalent to the 3M Scotch Brite Pad from Home Depot). It helped somewhat but it was still kinda harsh for my tastes. I did find that after going through the menus when I toned the flash all the way down the light was more pleasing. But I still feel getting either the larger external unit, whether the Nikon's as Mark used successfully or the Panasonics you may have a discount on (which seem to be nice units by the way) will be much better. Particularly if you get a smallish soft box or angled diffuser for it.

    Peter
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
    My job is to capture them.

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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Peter, that shot looks great. I'm still taking baby steps on lighting. I posted some of the Nikon shots on that forum and after using the external flash and getting such natural results, I agree dialing back the on board flash just isn't the same. One simple way I have heard to diffuse the onboard flash is to get a white translucent canister from a roll of Fuji film. cut a slit into the canister and slide it over the flash.

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    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Terry,

    I'd heard about the "Fuji" diffuser and that it got good results.

    Thanks for the compliment. Believe it or not the shot you see is the FIRST ever with a serious 'professional' flash. Until then I avoided using any kind of flash like the plague. I just hated the look of it (which others do like). So for the most part I used the M6 with its fast lenses relying on higher film speeds to allow handheld shots under low light conditions. Portraits were generally 'environmental portraits' made with available light. It was limiting I know but that's the way I liked it. When I went 'digital' with Digilux 2 I have to admit I did use the flash on that camera from time to time because the good folks at Panasonic had ingeniously designed a 'bounce' capability by allowing you to angle the flash head that popped up. And I felt a lot of those shots were very nice. Probably similar to the results you're getting with your Fuji-diffuser. Still I prefer not using a flash at all relying on whatever is available for the most part.

    As for my recent foray into the world of flash photography I attribute getting the G1 for that. As I mentioned on a previou post with its articulation screen I felt the G1 made a great portrait camera (similar to the twin-lens reflexes of yore which allowed the photographer to see the subject and monitoring the image on the camera's viewing screen). And so, for the first time in my life, I thought about doing some 'serious' portraiture using a full-blown monolight flash set up.

    You should know that I've been an advertising copywriter all my career and a private photographer who shot for his own personal enjoyment even longer (and only recently have I become bold enough to share what I saw with others). That said, as a copywriter I would constantly see portfolios of scores of photographers (with the art directors and art buyers I was with) as well as spend considerable time on photo shoots for print ads (mostly eating lox and bagels they would provide and general schmoozing). In that time I saw a lot of different lighting set ups for a lot of different situations (food, fashion, cars..you name it).

    For portraiture, I sort of fell in love with a look that I'd best describe as 'minimalist'. One light at most. With none of the hair lighting and other glamorous stuff you generally see. I liked what was soft and lit for what I call 'sufficiency' to get it.

    Of all the set ups and the results of those set-ups I'd seen the portraits I liked most were shot with one large "softbox". Basically it's a HUGE diffuser that fits over a flash that allows the light to 'balloon' out and bathe the subject. By adjusting the position of the light as well as the power output (okay, okay, shutter and aperture ratios, too) you determine how much or how little light you need to make out the subject. I like it for its drama and simplicity. (I know it sounds complicated but it's not as much as you might think.)

    Overhead a softbox makes for wonderful lighting on product shots. But on the side with a model or subject with just a black, brown or gray (or other neutral) background it makes fantastic portraits that, if done right, really bring out a subject's personality with little distraction.

    Just this December I bought two excellent books, one titled "Light, Science & Magic" by Hunter, Biver and Fuqua from the Focal Press (who have a great selection of books if you're so inclined) which is an excellent introduction to the nature of light and photography and "Portrait Photography: Secrets of Posing and Lighting" by Michael Cleghorn published by Lark Books (who have a fine books on the M8) which I like because it reinforced what I'd suspected about the most basic of set-ups and the results I saw..

    When you're ready to go beyond the 'baby steps' you've taken, these books are a pretty good place to start.

    Peter
    Last edited by peterb; 3rd January 2009 at 09:35.
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
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    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Here's some other shots I took that day while experimenting with the flash.
    Last edited by peterb; 24th March 2010 at 05:46.
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
    My job is to capture them.

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    Re: Flash and the G1

    I briefly tried the 50R on the G1 and I'm not sure it was working perfectly. When I have more time I plan to experiment more. But, yeah, it is too big for the G1.

    I'm fairly new to flash as well having relied instead on fast Canon primes. But to capture my kids indoors I realized I could only do it with flash. So, I'm learning, slowly.

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    Senior Member barjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    The Oly FL36 or 36R work well and can be found discounted.
    V/r John

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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Peter,
    Many thanks for the info. These look really good. I'm going to work on lighting later in January so my baby steps will start to get bigger!

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    Senior Member back alley's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    does panasonic have a made for g1 flash? and can the built in flash of the g1 trigger it wirelessly?

    joe

  13. #13
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    No, the G1 doesn't support the wireless. Thats how my e-420 worked with the the FL-36R (built in flash used as the trigger). I wish Panasonic would support the wireless protocol.. I miss that quite a lot.

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    Senior Member back alley's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    thanks!

    that's reason enough for me to keep my sony gear.

    joe

  15. #15
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Curiously I had to 'shave' the transmitter module 'thinner' so it would fit inside the accessory slot on the G1 (the slot isn't too wide...just too thin apparently for this unit).
    Could you go into a bit more detail on this? What kind of transmitter are you using, and in which dimension(s) does it not fit?

    I don't have a Micro Four Thirds camera yet, but want to make sure I know what I'd be getting into before taking the plunge. (Also, I'm torn between springing for the G1 and waiting to see what Olympus does... and I figure I'd better find out what Steve's Camera Service is going to charge me to fix my Epson R-D 1 before I start spending more money!)

    I shoot a lot of flash, but always off-camera, so want to know about any potential "gotchas" in terms of compatibility with my current equipment.

    Thanks for any info...

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    Senior Member barjohn's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    You can take the Oly FL36R and set it in slave mode and trigger it from the flash on the G1. It is wireless in that there is no wire connection needed but i believe it needs to be able to see the flash from the camera. Actually just tried it with the flash on the floor pointing away from the camera and the camera's flash triggers the unit, much to my surprise. Even pointing camera in opposite direction with my body between the camera and the unit and the camera's flash triggers the unit.

    Also the flash comes with a combination floor and tripod stand.
    V/r John

  17. #17
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    The G1 manual lists a "soon to be released" flash. I don't know the model number right now, but the model number was below the current low-end model. Probably something sized for the G1. I hope it rotates up to bounce.

  18. #18
    Senior Member peterb's Avatar
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Ranger,

    The wireless unit is a simple 4 channel transmitter/receiver from Smith-Victor that retails for around $85.00. The transmitter (which has a synch cord jack) attaches to the accessory shoe on the G1 like any flash attachment would. (The receiver connects with the flash elsewhere in the room.)

    The thing is, what I found was while the WIDTH of the base of the transmitter was fine, the THICKNESS of the 'sides' of the base that slip into the grooves of the accessory shoe was thicker than the grooves could accommodate it.

    So with an a Stanley utility blade I had from Home Depot (or an X-acto knife) I 'shaved' the thickness down so it would slide into the slots more easily making sure that the metal contact along the sides would contact the metal of the accessory shoe so a circuit could be made. (I hope this is making sense.)

    Mind you, this is for attaching a wireless triggering system for a strobe/flash that I bought for use in portraiture. With a regular flash like the Nikon or the Olympus or the Panasonic (or, I suppose, even Metz) my guess is that would not be a problem. And for all I know, maybe it isn't a problem with this Smith-Victor flash triggering system and I got a G1 with a rogue accessory shoe that would have had problems with any flash!)

    Hope that helps.

    Peter
    Life is an infinite series of moments called..."now".
    My job is to capture them.

  19. #19
    Ranger 9
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Ranger,
    The thing is, what I found was while the WIDTH of the base of the transmitter was fine, the THICKNESS of the 'sides' of the base that slip into the grooves of the accessory shoe was thicker than the grooves could accommodate it.
    I see. This sort of thing isn't uncommon, even though there's supposed to be an ISO spec for the dimensions of the hot shoe and "foot." (I call it a foot because it goes into the shoe... right?)

    Lacking any further data, I suspect that the G1's shoe is pretty close to spec, and it's the transmitter's plastic foot (I assume it was plastic, if you could shave it with a hobby knife) that was molded a bit thicker than standard. That could be a design decision for strength, or maybe you just happened to get one that was at the thick end of the tolerance range. Anyway, I'm going to assume it's just a random mismatch unless we start hearing widespread reports of problems; otherwise, as the saying goes, "If the shoe fits..."

    Thanks for the expansion.

  20. #20
    edslaughter
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    Re: Flash and the G1

    Ranger,

    For what it's worth I have put four different "feet" in the shoe of my G1 (all CV viewfinders I use with a GX200) and they fit like gloves (to completely mangle the metaphor). I suspect your theory about the slightly oversized plastic foot is correct.

  21. #21
    olyinaz
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    The FL50

    Not sure I saw anyone mention that the big advantage of the FL50 (and whatever it is they call the Panasonic equivalent) vs. the FL36 is recycle time. Of course it can throw a lot more light as well, but even when doing so it recycles much faster. It also gets the flash up higher since it sits taller.

    I've used mine on the G1 and while it is a bit large for that camera it works very very well in the way that only a big, powerful pro-grade flash gun can.

    Best,
    Oly

  22. #22
    olyinaz
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    The Metz units?

    Metz and just a few others make flash guns that are supposed to work with Olympus and Panasonic DSLRs. Has anyone tried a Metz (or one of the others) on a G1 to confirm functionality?

    Thanks,
    Oly

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