1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Olympus F280 Flash - any users?

Discussion in 'Olympus Chat' started by Staropramen, Oct 20, 2010.

  1. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    I'm thinking about getting an Olympus F280 flash (for OM cameras) which permits synch at high shutter speeds for daylight balanced flash, etc. I wonder if anyone has any comments on the F280, particularly the use of the off camera flash cord which, by some accounts, may be a bit 'temperamental' . Alternatively, any other comments specifically about the F280? Thanks.
  2. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Digging around reveals that the flash power is only sufficient for quite close range work and that the set-up appears unnecessarily complex. I'll save my money.
  3. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It's the case with all high speed flash systems - they manage to cover the frame by using a strobe effect, which inevitably reduces power.
  4. Graham_RM13

    Graham_RM13 Well-Known Member

    I use it with an OM4Ti for "balanced" flash and it works brilliantly. With 400 film the range is acceptable.
  5. PentaxManiac

    PentaxManiac Well-Known Member

    I bought one to use with my OM101. With that camera, the high speed sync is not available. I tend to use it in aperture priority rather than program, as in program it defailts to one stop in from the widest aperture of whichever lens is in use and I prefer to be stopped down further.

    One good thing about the F280, whatever camera it's used on, is that unlike the other Olympus guns of the time it gives a reasonable distance between the flash head and the lens axis, to the extent that red eye is not often a problem. The one negative aspect is that silly money tends to be asked for them.
  6. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all. I'm still chewing on this, having been distracted by a couple of 'affordable' fast lenses . . .
  7. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    The F280 is a good flashgun, but as others have said, it's power output is limited.

    I use mine with an OM4Ti, and it works brilliantly with fast OM lenses. It can also work in normal flash sync mode at 1/60. The gun is also small and neat, whilst TTL metering is good in both modes.

    If you want power, I would buy a second-hand Metz 45 or 60, with the Metz-OM adaptor. These will only work at 1/60 maximum shutter speed, but with the Metz lead you can hold the flashgun at arms length to avoid red eye, etc.

    I think the F280 was very much a 'first' in offering high speed shutter synchronisation, which is now fairly widely available. Unfortunately, none of the new generation of flashguns. including Olympus's FL50 allow high speed synchronisation with OM cameras.
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    It certainly was, and it took other manufacturers years to catch up.
  9. iveljay

    iveljay New Member

    Still have two. For use on an OM707 the switch to high speed is fully automatic, on an OM4 you slide a switch one notch - dead easy. The high speed power output is fine for fill in/close up - If in doubt download a manual off the internet.
    Never had any reliability issues on or off the camera, but it never had the flexibility or rapid recharge of a T32 mounted on a Power Bounce Grip so didn't get as hammered. My only Olympus flash problem was on an early OM1 using guns with near lethal trigger voltages!
  10. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    The fast-synchro flash system is designed to provide fill in flash for close-up and portrait type photography. I cannot think of any applications where high speed flash would be required at longer range.

    Apart from anything else, the power required for long range fast-synchro flash would be immense! I can still remember seeing spots for hours after having school photographs taken with the old flash bulbs! :D
  11. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Some interesting comments here - thanks. My aim was to explore daylight fill-in flash on my OM4, though I must admit that, so far, I haven't been motivated to actually do anything. I have come to the conclusion that it would primarily be used for closeups or near-macro work where aperture choice is important, so the F280 would evidently do the job - good.
  12. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    The F280 will work perfectly well with the OM4 at 1/60 shutter speed; but if I recall correctly, only the OM3Ti, OM4Ti and OM707 cameras supported high speed flash synchronisation.
  13. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    That was my suspicion (re: OM4Ti), though I have yet to locate a copy of the OM4 users' manual to check the flash issue.
  14. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    According to my F280 user manual, Super FP Mode (full speed synchro flash) only works with the OM4T, OM4Ti, and OM707 cameras.

    I seem to remember that is also works with the OM3Ti, but my manual possibly pre-dates that camera.

    The F280 also works with my OM2SP, (and most other OM film cameras of that era), providing off the film metering, but only at 1/60 second.

    All supported Olympus cameras have five pins on the hot shoe connector, (i.e. one large central connector, and four smaller connectors arranged around it). Non supported Olympus cameras only have three pins.

    I believe some earlier OM4 cameras were modified with new circuitry to improve battery life. If I remember correctly, these modifications also provided support for Super FP mode.

    I hope this helps.
  15. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Thank you Nigel - that's a great help, and puts an end to my quest. I have a plain OM4, apparently with improved circuitry but with a standard hot-shoe; also an OM2n. The better solution is to bite the bullet and buy a modern (though more expensive) 'all-singing' AF flash for my digital system which will also work on my primary film cameras too.
  16. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    I don't know which digital camera you have, but there is little or no cross compatibility between flashguns for OM film cameras and those for digital - including Olympus digital.

    Any flashgun designed for digital should fire if fitted on your OM hot shoe, and won't damage your cameras electronics; but you will have to set the shutter speed manually to 1/60 second or lower. Moreover, you will lose TTL (through the lens) metering. If your digital flashgun doesn't have adjustable output you will get a full power flash every time, which can make correct exposure tricky.

    (Equally; flashguns designed for film cameras have very limited functionality when used with digital cameras).

    Given these limitations you might like to find a second-hand flashgun that is compatible with your OM4. I have a Metz CL4, which with the correct SCA adaptors works with all of my film cameras, but is a bit of a beast! However, there are many smaller flashguns, including some of Olympus's own that would do the job well.

    One final point: all electronic flashguns contain a large electrolytic capacitor which is charged to 300 volts or so to deliver the power that is needed to fire the xenon flash tube. Like all electrolytic capacitors these need to be charged once in a while to maintain the electrolyte. If this is not done the insulation in the capacitor may fail when it is charged, and they are difficult, if not impossible to find replacements for.

    With this in mind, I would recommend that all electronic flashguns are switched on and left on for a while at least every six months. It is also best to leave the gun charged when switching off, rather than firing the gun to discharge it.
  17. Staropramen

    Staropramen Well-Known Member

    Thanks Nigel, got all that. I was being a bit coy there: my main 'serious' system is Nikon (digital + AF + MF) so backwards compatibility is pretty good, with TTL flash and other fancy features available on several camera models. The better option there being a used SB800 flash (or later) which I do not yet have and can't justify at present.

    I'd thought about using my Canon FD gear, but I don't like doing macro and close-range with this for a whole raft of reasons. It's more fun than the Nikon gear but not as flexible.

    The OM system was a late, 'clean start': two cameras, 5 lenses, no gizmos, 'KISS'. Adding a flash (other than the basic T20) seemed like a good idea - initially. However, every camera (system) is a potentially a "Topsy" - i.e. they inherently grow and grow, get bigger and bigger. Sometimes (indeed, often), individual systems simply don't grow logically or in a planned way . .

Share This Page