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Help with E-M5 Mark III and strobes

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by Steyr, Oct 28, 2020.

  1. Steyr

    Steyr Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    75
    38
    18
    Hi all,

    I recently bought an E-M5 Mark III and it's an amazing camera. But I'm having trouble getting it to work with my Sea & Sea YS-D2 strobes. Hoping someone can help.

    With the EM5iii in aperture priority, F8, ISO 200, flash slow limit set to 1/100 and the X-sync on the default 1/250, in very shallow (2-3m), fairly well lit water (8-10m visibility, but overcast skies), with the strobes (optical cables) on manual settings, every shot is still massively underexposed. Even if I crank the strobes up to their max GN32, point them directly at the subject and am at the minimum focal distance (ie. close), the image is still very dark. If I turn the flash off, the camera is managing a shutter speed of about 1/40 using ambient light. Forcing it to a minimum speed of 1/100 with the flash/strobes on, it's very dark. It shouldn't be! I visually checked and the strobes are firing. What's going on??

    It's almost like the strobes are firing out of sync with the camera shutter. Is there a setting somewhere that I've missed relating to this? On the strobes I tried both manual modes (one for pre-flash, one without), and the result is the same.

    If I drop the aperture to F3.6 and crank up the ISO to 500 I can get some better exposed shots, but barely any improvement over turning the flash off and just using ambient light.

    In TTL mode (DS-TTL), the image is massively overexposed. A white frame with a couple of darker spots. Should DS-TTL work with the E-M5? I haven't yet tried Slave TTL.

    I don't believe there is anything wrong with the strobes. I previously used them on an E-PL5 and they worked great, either in manual mode or TTL (noting that the E-PL5 manual said TTL wasn't supported, but it appeared to work just fractionally overexposed).

    I'm hoping there's some simple thing I haven't done and it's user error at play, but can anyone offer some ideas on what I've done wrong?
     
  2. WS007

    WS007 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Empersdorf (Austria)
    98
    70
    18
    Only ideas:

    #1.: Also on camera flash to manual (with 1/64 intensity to save battery). Set both flashes to manual .
    #2.: Flash low limit to 1s to ensure the flash triggers every time, even when automatic mode results in speed slower than 1/100.
    #3.: Camera and all flashes to M (best settings for most UW-photographers!).
    #4.: Eventually camera to M and you select shutter and aperture (ISO200). On camera flash to "Fill in" and Y-DS2 to TTL. When more flash is wanted, reduce aperture and/or shutter speed.
    #4.: There should not be any difference to your old EPL-5 (difference = user error).


    Wolfgang
     
    Ardy likes this.
  3. Steyr

    Steyr Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    75
    38
    18
    Thanks Wolfgang.
    I'll switch to completely manual, rather than aperture priority and have a play with all values fixed manually.

    Re #2, I thought the flash slow limit sets the minimum shutter speed when using the flash? So, for example, in Aperture Priority, if the camera wants to use a shutter speed of 1/60, a slow limit of 1/100 will force the shot to be taken at 1/100 (and potentially be underexposed if the flash doesn't provide enough light). I didn't think it impacted whether or not the flash fires?

    Googling a bit more, the default X-Sync on the EM5iii is 1/250, whereas the YS-D2s only support up to 1/200. So maybe if my shutter speed was over 1/200 then that might result in the sensor not being fully exposed during the flash? But I would expect that to produce bands of dark, not uniform underexposure. And I didn't think my shots were over 1/200 speed. I might drop my camera X-sync back to 1/200 anyway though, since the strobes can't handle more than that.
     
  4. WS007

    WS007 Professional Photographer

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Empersdorf (Austria)
    98
    70
    18
    In my camera (EM1II), the flash low limit is the lowest limit where the flash fires. E.g., in case P-automatic selects 1/40 as shutter speed, the flash will nor fire when the lower limit is set to 1/100. I looked, I have set the lower limit to 30" (I want always a flash in case I selected flash).
    My wife and me had three YS-D2. There was never a problem with 1/250 (EPL-5, EM5II and EM1II). The camera just does not let you select shutter speeds < 1/250, unless one switches the flash off..

    Wolfgang
     
  5. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    618
    217
    43
    It sounds very much like your flash is not syncing. Have you ensured the Olympus only RC flash mode and perhaps rear-curtain sync is turned off?

    The best way to check if things are syncing correctly is to shoot into a mirror if the strobes are syncing correctly you'll see them in the image. I agree with Wolfgang, put every thing on manual and select the no-pre-flash option on the YS-D2. If you still have trouble shoot the bare camera with flash in the mirror to confirm the little accessory flash is syncing correctly.

    If I recall correctly the 1/200 vs 1/250 has to do with the speed of response of the YS-D2, it needs to get its flash happening inside the small window when the shutter is completely open and if it doesn't you'll get a small band not flashed.
     
  6. Steyr

    Steyr Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Melbourne, Australia
    75
    38
    18
    Thanks for the ideas guys. Will try a few things out this weekend.
    My shots from last weekend were captured at 1/100 (the flash slow limit setting I had). Which is as per the description of that setting in the manual.
    I'll try shooting in the mirror to test the sync, but I'm pretty sure the strobes are firing when the curtain is open. I did a couple of dry shots in a dark room when I first set them up and I did notice even then that I had to crank the strobe power up higher than I expected (I should have needed extremely little light in that environment).
    I'm not getting banding across the image - it's uniformly dark - so I don't think it's an X-sync issue (I'm not shooting that fast anyway).
    Could it simply be that my rechargeable AA batteries in the strobes are almost flat? They were freshly charged, but maybe they've dropped capacity?
     
  7. Chris Ross

    Chris Ross Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Sydney Australia
    618
    217
    43
    If the ready light comes on the capacitor is full and can deliver a full dump or very close to it. If they are getting flat they will be slow to charge and very soon afterwards the ready light won't come on Ni-MH batteries hold very close to full voltage right up until empty when they suddenly drop.

    When I say sync issue it's not banding I'm referring to it's firing at the right time - for front curtain sync it needs to dump just as the first curtain completely opens. The problem you have is that the flash is just responding to flashes from the camera and doesn't know if it's a pre-flash or the main flash. So if you are at high power - like near full if it has not been set to expect a pre-flash in manual it will give a high power dump at whatever setting you have it on when the pre flash goes off and when the main flash goes off the capacitor has not had enough time to charge enough to immediately give another half power dump, so doesn't fire. If it is set to ignore the pre-flash but the camera doesn't emit a pre-flash the flash is triggered but at the wrong time.

    You need to be methodical when setting up. Set the camera to manual flash 1/64 power and ensure RC mode etc is all off. Set the flash to manual with no preflash setting and set the power at maybe about 1/4 power. If that doesn't work you have a more complicated problem, so first thing I would do is see if the little accessory flash is syncing in the mirror.
     
  8. JackConnick

    JackConnick Optical Ocean Sales ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Supporter

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