Olympus OM-D E-M1 – using Flash

Like I announced in my initial E-M1 review, here are my thoughts on the usage of flash. First of all, I love to use available light only, but from time to time adding a flash can make a difference and lead to better results.

I don’t own an Olympus flash except the one that came in the box together with my E-M1. And here is why:

Typically I don’t shoot flash mounted on top of my camera and at the moment there are no remote triggers with TTL support for Olympus on the market. Therefore I wouldn’t benefit from buying a fairly expensive Olympus flash unit, so I will stick to my super cheap Yongnuo YN-560 II. I also own a 400ws battery driven studio strobe which served me pretty well the last 12 months. For wireless triggering I use the Cowboy Studio NPT-04 which have worked flawlessly ever since.

Olympus claims that the E-M1 can do 1/320 with the small flash that comes in the box and 1/250 with an external Olympus flash. The good news is, that I am able to fully utilize the 1/320 with my strobe and the Yongnuo.

There is only one thing I really miss and that’s the opportunity to sync up to 1/8000. Hopefully one day there will be remote triggers that support HSS. Till then I have to use ND Filters to get rid of the ambient light without stopping down too much.

Here are some example shots taken whether with flash or studio strobe.

E-M1 Flash (7)

Nikkor 20/2.8 AI-S on Lensbaby Tilt Transformer, f/5.6, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (1)

25mm, f/1.4, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (2)

17mm, f/1.8, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (3)

17mm, f/1.8, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (4)

45mm, f/1.8, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (5)

17mm, f/1.8, 1/320, ISO200

E-M1 Flash (6)

25mm, f/1.4, 1/320, ISO200

13 Kommentare

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  • bruno.giacomarosaFebruary 27, 2014 - 13:06

    really great stuff, especially 2, 3, and 6 …..

    number 2 have a so great “strobist-like” mood, I love it..

    number 3 for the subtle, almost invisible presence of lightning vs ambient light…

    and 6 for the superb perspective by the use of 12mm…..


    • RobinFebruary 27, 2014 - 20:10

      Thanks Bruno! 🙂 Oh I was wrong on #6, just checked the exif data and it was shot at 17mm f/1.8.


  • Jean-Marc SCHWARTZApril 3, 2014 - 19:46



    • RobinApril 4, 2014 - 10:26

      Thank you! 🙂


  • Lyn ReesApril 3, 2014 - 21:41

    Great work Robin. That little 17mm is a gem (though, not all reviews seem to agree!).

    I have an E-P5 and Fuji X-E1 at the moment. The X-E1 needs to go, AF is too slow for me. So then do I buy an E-M1 or an X-T1… decisions, decisions!


    • RobinApril 4, 2014 - 10:30

      Thank you Lyn! I have both X-E1 and X-T1 and the X-T1 is just slightly faster. If single AF speed is very important to you then go for the E-M1.


    • Jean-Marc SCHWARTZApril 4, 2014 - 11:16

      Hello Lyn,

      could you tell me your global feeling about the EP 5; i don’t know wich buy between EP 5 and EM 1.



      • Lyn ReesApril 4, 2014 - 18:26

        Hi Jean-Mark,

        Well, I’ve owned an E-M5 and an E-P5, but not the E-M1. I have, however, held an E-M1 a few times in a shop.

        The E-P5 is fast, and when coupled with the VF-4, does most of what the E-M1 can do it seems. It’s smaller and friendlier – people like the look of E-P5, they come up to ask me about it (it’s in black and silver). I think people would think the E-M1 was an SLR so might react differently.

        The ergonomics of the E-M1 are great, but it is bigger. Personally, I think the E-P5 handles better that the E-M5.

        If I was going to buy one of them today, I’d pick the E-M1. However, with that said, I’ve sold every digital camera I’ve ever owned (to upgrade etc.), but I can’t see myself selling the E-P5. It’s a lovely camera.

        I think Robin has owned both, so he might have something to add.


        • Jean-Marc SCHWARTZApril 4, 2014 - 19:22

          Thanks Lyn. I confess the EP5 is actually my favourite for his LOOK very nice. And i think sincerely to buy one. And i ‘m sure it performs as good as the EM1. Maybe Robin could tell me something about it.
          Thanks again.


          • RobinApril 5, 2014 - 09:59

            It performs pretty good but I love to have a proper grip and with the viewfinder attached it’s not possible to use a remote flash trigger.


        • RobinApril 5, 2014 - 09:57

          The E-M1 feels more professional and I find the handling to be matter, especially the grip makes a big difference to me. But other than that the E-P5 is a lovely camera!


  • Ryan S.April 4, 2014 - 14:01

    Wow, your images are an inspiration! I did find a remote trigger w/ ttl recently. It’s the Aokatec Ak-TTL. I haven’t purchased it, but I do have pics from the manufacturer attached to an OMD and FL-600r if your interested.


    • RobinApril 5, 2014 - 09:53

      Thank you Ryan! Interesting but I am not sure if that would work with a studio strobe too. But I am pretty sure there will be a solution at some point.