by Ian Burley
Pen E-P1 flash limitations even more fundamental than originally thought
No wireless flash for E-P1 users, even with the FL-14 flash unit
Olympus has confirmed to us that there is no future path open to adding wireless flash control support for the Pen E-P1. Optimists had hoped that a firmware upgrade would endow the E-P1 with such a facility some time in the future. However, Olympus has dashed any such hopes.
Wireless flash control of FL-R series flash units was lost immediately the Olympus design team opted for the controversial strategy of doing away with a built in flash of any description. The official explanation for this highly unusual move is that there wasn't enough space in the compact design of the E-P1 to accommodate an internal flash unit. The Olympus wireless flash system relies on a built-in flash to available wireless units in a given flash group. Although Olympus provided the Pen E-P1 with a matching FL-14 flash unit (above), Olympus' dedicated flash show system is not designed to carry the signaling required to make the FL-14, or any other external flash model, a commander unit for the Olympus FL-R wireless flash system.
Further more, a minor point is that the FL-14, itself, is not a wireless-capable unit.
Here at FTU we would speculate that Olympus was fairly comfortable in sacrificing wireless flash capability. The Pen E-P1, arguably, is not aimed at a user who wants to shoot in tightly controlled studio or other multiple flash-controlled environments. Nevertheless, we certainly hope that future Olympus (and Panasonic Lumix G-series) Micro Four Thirds cameras will feature wireless flash capability.
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