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E-PM1 with flash

Discussion in 'The Olympus Outlet' started by cafeldmann, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. cafeldmann

    cafeldmann Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Michigan
    I apologize if this is a stupid question (probably the first of many!). I've had my E-PM1 for about a year now, I use it on land and under water, but I have never really used it with the flash. My husband got me strobes for my birthday this year, so now I am trying to figure out how to make it all work. I noticed that with the flash attached, it does not seem to adjust the exposure in Aperture and Shutter Speed modes. So if I change the aperture, it will not adjust the shutter speed, and I end up with over or under exposed pictures, depending on the aperture I choose. Essentially, it's like manual mode (only without the option to change the shutter speed!).

    Is this just how it works with a flash, and I need to get used to shooting in manual mode? Or is there some setting I should change?

  2. jlyle

    jlyle Loggerhead Turtle

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Palos Verdes Peninsula, California
    I'm disappointed no one else responded to you your post.

    In Aperture or Shutter priority, the camera does its best to adjust the other parameters. However, in low light conditions, using shutter priority the camera cannot open the aperture more than the lens will allow. If you have limited your lowest shutter speed to 1/60th, using a fixed aperture, the camera cannot use a longer shutter time.

    Take your camera outside and play with S/A. I think you will find the camera is operating as it should in those modes.

    With low light, typical of underwater photography, you have a third parameter to play with, ISO. If you wish to shoot A/S under low light where the camera cannot fully adjust, bump the ISO up until it can.

    Most of us shoot in manual, especially when doing macro work.

    I hope this helps.
  3. R-balljunkie

    R-balljunkie Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Doha, Qatar
    I generally never mess with the ISO. it stays on 200 for the most part. I do change the F stop and the shutter speed.

    This guide has some good starting points. I used to write them on a slate to take with me as reference...in case your too narced to remember :)
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2014
    gert7to3 likes this.
  4. victor

    victor Solo Diver

    I am not an expert, or even a very competent novice but here is my 2c worth.
    First get a copy of the Martin Edge book, or similar Underwater Photography, The Underwater Photographer, Edge Underwater Photography
    I just did a one day course with Martin so a lot of what follows is my garbled memory of how it works.
    Macro: The lighting is completely different from topside. You are going to supply all of the light for the subject from the strobe, the background will hopefully disappear into black or blue.
    It will really help if you can play in a pool or similar. Get some children's toys or equivalent and either hang (fishing rod) or sit on top of a bucket. Shoot at eye level or up. Get below, Get closer.

    Lock your ISO at 200 you really don't want or need to change that.
    Set the mode to manual
    Set your f stop to 22 or 16
    Set your speed to the highest it will sync, on my PL3 that's 1/160
    Set your strobe to manual full power.
    Move the strobe so the front is behind the front of the lens stops back scatter.
    Take a shot, look at the result, reduce the power if overexposed.
    Maybe take 1 on full, 1 on 3/4 one on 1/2 and one on 1/4 and have a look and see what the difference is.
    Have a play on the kitchen table. I was totally amazed how well this simple technique works.


    This was shot topside on top of the coffee flask, the toy is lit by the flash, the background has gone. Play with the strobe power it is amazing how well it works. If you reduce the speed from 1/160 to 1/30 or 1/8 the background will appear as if by magic.
    Shot towards the window at about 1/8 sec

    We tested this in a pool, beg borrow or steal some children's toys and have a play.


    Everything shot at F22 and 1/160 just playing with strobe power. Sometimes 4 shots on full to 1/4 power all would be Ok.
    Change the speed to change the background.
    Slower 1/30 maybe

    faster 1/160

    But get the book they explain things so much better than I could.
    gert7to3 likes this.
  5. gert7to3

    gert7to3 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Northwest Michigan now, formerly Chicago
    A Cathy Church take on Victor's excellent post. I try to make as few changes as possible underwater.

    Use the Manual exposure setting.

    Use RAW capture and the fine jpeg setting. RAW will give you the most flexibility with your processing (especially B&W), but many photos come out just fine with small jpeg tweaks.

    Adjust your ISO, usually 100-200, then leave it alone.

    Adjust your ƒ stop to the middle part of your scale, usually ƒ 8-ƒ11 for my E-PM1's 14-42mm kit lens.
    Note: using the smallest aperture (ƒ16-ƒ32) can reduce the sharpness of your images and increase chromatic aberration.
    Check out the tests on lenses at Camera lens tests, user reviews, camera accessory reviews - SLRgear.com!
    They graphically demonstrate the sweet spot on many popular lenses.

    I adjust the shutter speed to get the most pleasing background hue and brightness, then leave that alone.

    Use your strobe controls to illuminate your subject. If you reach over or under exposure limits for your subject then adjust the aperture. This is how that middle aperture setting helps. RAW may save your picture in extreme situations.

    You may need to adjust your shutter speed and/or ISO as your depth or daylight changes during your dive.
  6. victor

    victor Solo Diver

    I agree with Gert7to3
    Cathy Church an equally good mentor to follow.
    The less you have to change underwater the better your chances of composing and taking the shot you want.
    Definitly shoot RAW with or without a jpeg option. I save both, the jpeg to check composition, etc quickly, raw if I intend to edit to try and improve on the shot as taken.
    Shooting raw you can ignore white balance, it has no affect on the raw file, WB is set when you edit the phot afterwards.

    Have a play with the camera, housing and strobe topside. I wish I had done this earlier as so many of the tips made sense when I used them topside without the preasure of diving, fish butts, etc. Messing around in a dull office on a winters day or in the pool with a bunch of toys it is amazing what you can learn.

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