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

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

    Both are ideal for use with the Olympus E-3 professional D-SLR which enables the control of up to three different flash groups directly from the camera no separate commander unit is required. Photographers benefit from extreme flash unit versatility and never again need to be hindered in the studio or in the field by troublesome wires.

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  • #2
    Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

    Very nice flash system where photographers could controlled the lighting ratio.
    Still unknown about flash recycling time where all of Olympian complain abouut..

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    • #3
      Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

      Originally posted by nikkorku View Post
      Very nice flash system where photographers could controlled the lighting ratio.
      Still unknown about flash recycling time where all of Olympian complain abouut..
      Recycling is a function of available current from the batteries - if you need shorter recycling, go for an external battery pack

      Ian
      Founder/editor
      Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
      Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
      Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
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      • #4
        Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

        Originally posted by Ian View Post
        Recycling is a function of available current from the batteries - if you need shorter recycling, go for an external battery pack

        Ian
        Comparing to Canon 580EX or Nikon SB800, you'll feel how slow the cycling time of the FL50 is..

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        • #5
          Any clues on how RC data transfer works?

          It seems a little misleading to call it RC as that is frequently an abbreviation for radio controlled. Anyway, some of the info I have seen suggests they are using something a little more sophisticated than basic IR. Seems like a competitive disadvantage if other brands are using radios.

          Many are concerned that it is the same IR technology as used in handheld remote that fires my E300 from if lucky 5 meters IF it has line of sight on that side of the body - about 50% of attempts work. They claim 200 feet I think so it must be something else. Is it as simple as remote flashes seeing the blast from the popup flash? I would hope you have the option to not always fire the popup to avoid red eye and have total control of lighting effects. Thanks.

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          • #6
            Re: Any clues on how RC data transfer works?

            Originally posted by zuikonion
            It seems a little misleading to call it RC as that is frequently an abbreviation for radio controlled. Anyway, some of the info I have seen suggests they are using something a little more sophisticated than basic IR.
            I'm with you! Does it broadcast some sort of radio signal, or some complex "flickerflash" code?

            Cheers,

            Leonard

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            • #7
              Re: Any clues on how RC data transfer works?

              I received an FL-50R today from Ian Kerr (2kerso@gmail.com 263 inc postage & Paypal fee). I think the remote control works by using flashes from the popup rather than IR. To check recycle time I just stuck it on my E-3, set it to TTL Auto and fired off 30 frames of the same subject at 5fps with the flash firing quite happily without pausing. I then fired off another 30 frames at 5fps moving the camera around the room, this time it paused twice for maybe half a second. The pauses may have been the camera clearing the buffer but I don't think so since I was shooting jpegs large sf. All frames are correctly exposed. Frankly I was amazed. I certainly have no complaints about recycle time from this crude test. It may, of course, be quite different in a live shooting situation.

              I am new to Olympus so have not used an Olympus flashgun before. It is well made, easy to set up and use, comes with a diffuser (like the Stoffen) and a clip on deflector plate as well as a stand. I am delighted with it!
              Cheers
              Chris

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              • #8
                Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

                It also has a tripod socket Good for those times when you don't have a floor/table to put it on using the foot stand. It seems really well thought out to me. Definite added value
                Phil

                ps - sounds pretty good on the recycling time, how big was the room/far away was the target out of interest?
                All the best,
                Phil

                www.stickmanphotography.co.uk | www.customcreative.co.uk

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                • #9
                  Re: Olympus announces remote control (RC) wireless flash units FL-50R and FL-36R

                  Originally posted by thestickman View Post
                  It also has a tripod socket Good for those times when you don't have a floor/table to put it on using the foot stand. It seems really well thought out to me. Definite added value
                  Phil

                  ps - sounds pretty good on the recycling time, how big was the room/far away was the target out of interest?
                  Smallish room about 12ft x 15ft, first target was only about 13ft away so perhaps not a fair test. I was using eneloop batteries.

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

                    I recently saw on the internet an article about an experiment done with an E-3 and two FL remote flash units. The units were hidden behind objects, but still flashed. It sounds like radio control. I'll contact Olympus tech support and see if I can get a clearer answer.

                    Cheers,

                    Leonard

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      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

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                      • #12
                        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? :-)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          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

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                          • #14
                            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. ;-)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: That sounds like a crock of it! :-)

                              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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