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Thread: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

  1. #11
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    Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

    Here's the (unsatisfactory) skinny on how the E-3 operates the remote flash units (which I learned from speaking with Olympus tech support):

    The E-3 uses a near-infrared beam to transmit controlling signals to the flash units that comes out of a special port in the camera. The sensors on the flash units must be turned line-of-sight to the camera. The confusing part, at least for me (and evidently for the guy I talked to) is that the popup flash must be raised, and evidently goes off. I don't understand this. If one works out a carefully laid out lighting scheme, it seems to me that the popup flash will ruin any effect set up with the off-camera light sources. Perhaps we'll get clarification later.

    Cheers,

    Leonard

  2. #12
    E1-2-E3 Guest

    That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    You have to raise the flash but it's the IR port (that recieves the RM1 remote signals) that outputs the 'signal'? Nah...

    From what (little) I've heard, it's the po-up that does the signalling through infinitessimally quick pulses (we just see one pulse yet that could have been >insert a number from 1 to 10<

    The pop-up doesn't throw enough light onto the subject so it shouldn't interfere with your other units as it has 3 output settings... just use the lowest of the 3 you can get away with. Or you could try to use the pop-ups output if you throw it in high with a close subject. I haven't got one of these, it's just how I'd imagine they'd work.

    The little diagram in the manual says it has a range of 10Mtrs.

    They probably worked in the room 'out of the line of sight' as the flash signal would have been bounced off the walls... evidently, the remote units caught enough of the signal to work.

    Bearded wombat, to check out the recycle time of a flash, put it (the flash) in Manual and dial the GN up to it's highest (50? in tele) and THEN do the 5FPS thing around the room. That's a more meaningful test! [Don't hammer it though as the head gets hot after 10 bursts so don't be doing 4 or 5 sets of 10+ or you'll be rebuying your cheap-for-the-uk FL50R!! ;-) Great deal... where the queue that I have to join? Park Cameras price is 419]

    The way I look at these units is in a purely monetary way.. canikon can offer peers [SB800 and 580 EX11] to the FL50 for 259 and 315 respectively. Olympus's is 400+!

    I think that's why no one knows anything about them and they're as rare as hens teeth.

    Anyway, someone (Bearded wombat?) could test all this for us: Put the E3 in RC mode and try to trip the flash with pop-up up and down. I theorise that it should only work with it up. You could also try a set blocking the IR port with bluetack or similar. That'd settle things.

    Do we have a tester in the audience? :-)

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    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    Maybe I was a little premature in my praise, but it still seems pretty good to me:-
    set to manual, guide no 92 (highest in ft) - recycle time is around 3 secs,
    set to 46 - fires off two frames consecutively then around 2 secs recycle,
    set to 33 - fires off three frames consecutively then around 1 sec recycle,
    set to 23 - fires off five frames consecutively then around 1/2 sec recycle,
    set to 16 it fires continuously.

    Remote only works with popup up - popup flashes but not at full strength. Once the popup is set to remote, you can no longer adjust the popup's output. Blocking the cameras IR port makes no difference but then that is input only for the camera remote control. If however, you put your finger over the popup reflector, the flashgun still fires if the camera is close to it but if it's more than a couple of feet away it doesn't. Presumably the flashgun can read the necessary information from a glowing red finger if it's close to the camera! Similarly, if you put your finger over the sensor on the flashgun, it will still fire if the camera is within a couple of feet. The sensor on the flashgun looks like an IR sensor. I reckon the communication is using the IR content of the light output from the popup. However it works, it seems to work very well and I think the sensors range is probably greater than the destruction manual says.

    Cheers
    Chris

  4. #14
    E1-2-E3 Guest

    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    Thanks for doing that Chris.

    By the way, you can adjust the pop-ups output. On the RC screen, It's Hi, Mid & Lo. I don't suppose it has enough light to influence remote flash images when used in a ordinary way but I'd bet if you use 'Hi' and have a really close subject...

    Anyway, you'd know more about that than me. ;-)

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    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by E1-2-E3 View Post
    By the way, you can adjust the pop-ups output. On the RC screen, It's Hi, Mid & Lo. I don't suppose it has enough light to influence remote flash images when used in a ordinary way but I'd bet if you use 'Hi' and have a really close subject...
    You are of course correct. The RC screen is a little confusing to an old fart like me! The tests I did were all done with the output set to low. With the output set to high the light level from the popup is about the same as the 1/64 power setting, so you might get a tiny bit of fill-in flash or enough to provide a catchlight perhaps. When doing the tests I had no trouble triggering the FL-50R from about 25ft away with the flashgun turned sideways on so the sensor was at 90 degrees to the camera, and that was with the popup set to low. I'm pretty sure the range is going to be much greater than stated by Olympus with it set to high.
    Chris

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    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    Thanks for testing Chris
    From what I understand, the Lo Mid Hi settings is for the strength of the communication flashes only, this is so you can set it to low so you don't trigger another Oly users flashes who is on the same channel/preserve battery life.
    The control of whether the pop-up flash "fires" is in the Super Menu thing like normal, just set it to off. That should mean it fired the comms flashes to the wireless units, but doesn't actualy go off when firing. I have no R unit to test this but thats the theory. However the wireless comms flashes are probably so fast that it is hard to visually tell whether it is firing or not, in much the same way that you don't normally see the pre-firing flashes used to determine exposure, its just to fast for the human eye.
    Hopefully someone nice (Chris maybe ) can confirm.
    All the best,
    Phil

    ps - I'm sure you're right on the distances, probably stated the ranges in which they can be almost totally certain it will flash so they don't get people complaining.

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    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by thestickman View Post
    Thanks for testing Chris
    From what I understand, the Lo Mid Hi settings is for the strength of the communication flashes only, this is so you can set it to low so you don't trigger another Oly users flashes who is on the same channel/preserve battery life.
    The control of whether the pop-up flash "fires" is in the Super Menu thing like normal, just set it to off. That should mean it fired the comms flashes to the wireless units, but doesn't actualy go off when firing.
    Yes the Output is variable for the reasons you mention but remote flash control does not work if you turn off the popup reflector in the flash menu as you suggest. If you turn it off, it doesn't light at all so there are no comms flashes.

    Incidentaly, these eneloop batteries are very good, I'm still using the same set and have fired this thing countless times!
    Chris

  8. #18
    E1-2-E3 Guest

    Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

    This is like owning an 'FL-R' flash by proxy! :-)

    Yes, thanks for the tsting Chris.

    p.s I'd have thought the Hi/Mid/Lo thing was so you DIDN'T get any pop-up light on the subject and that you'd use the 'Channels' to avoid annoying any other affluent Oly users nearby? ;-)

    P.S. Here's a link to all the manuals for everything including the FL-R units.. which I'm just DLing at the mo. In 5 mins, you'll be able to ask me anying about the FL50R! ;-)
    All manuals:
    http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/support/...wnload/manual/

    or the FL50R in particular:
    http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/support/...an_fl50r_e.pdf

  9. #19
    E1-2-E3 Guest

    Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

    By the way, I meant what 'he said' sounded like a crock of it.

    Now I'm reading the manual for the FL50R, the port he's on about is on the FLASH, not the body! Duh!

  10. #20
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    Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

    Here's the message I received when I wrote to Jim Lee of Olympus. (Jim travels around the U.S. to various large camera stores giving Olympus camera classes. He's an Olympus tech wonk.)

    ===============================

    Hi Leonard,

    The new FL-50 R flash receives information from the E-3 pop-up flash. This is a Flash triggered system and not a wireless or IR based flash system. The pop-up flash has a range limit so the FL-50 R must be able to see the flash from the E-3 in order to fire.

    From my testing, the pop-up flash did not interfere with the overall light value. Since it is giving you TTL reading it is very accurate even at a close range to the subject.

    I hope this information helps you.

    Best,

    Jim
    ------------------------------------------------
    Jim Lee
    Olympus Imaging America Inc.
    Sr. Technical Representative

    ===============================

    What he means by "the pop-up flash did not interfere with the overall light value" is that the light from the popup flash doesn't interfere with the (tightly calculated) lighting effects from the off-camera light sources.

    Evidently confusion reigns, at least at Olympus tech support (you should have heard the technobabble I heard when talking to their tech support about "near-infrared transmissions," "no need to raise the popup," etc.). I take what Jim says over what I heard from the TS guy.

    Leonard

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