Digital Cameras Guide

Olympus FL-300R Electronic Flash review

First Looks: Olympus FL-300R Electronic Flash

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Launch SRP S$258



Introduction, Design & Handling

Introduction

We're sure that many a time you would have suffered from the harsh light that comes from a camera's built-in flash, and wished that pictures taken with flash would turn out better. One way to get better looking flash is to aim the flash away from your subject, either by angling it at a direction different from which the lens is pointing, or to bounce it off a surface. Unfortunately, you can't do that today with any built-in camera flash system, but you can do it with an external flash attachment.

The Olympus FL-300R electronic flash is one such flash attachment, which is inexpensive, compact and built for the Micro Four Thirds system. Its tilt mechanism lets you swivel the flash from 60 degrees up to 30 degrees down so you can bounce the flash, and it even supports wireless shooting so you can shoot from different angles. Wireless functionality is limited, TTL (Through The Lens) is only available with Olympus' cameras - right now, only the E-P3 supports wireless flash - while manual triggering is possible with other compatible cameras, according to an Olympus official.


Design & Handling

The FL-300R is small, light and very easy to carry around. When attached to a camera, you can take advantage of the tilt mechanism to fold the flash forwards, making the combination easy to store.

The button layout on the back is simple, a black rectangle to power on, a indicator light which stays green when the flash is ready, a button for test firing, and a switch between Off, groups A or B. A built-in wide panel can be slid into place using a side-switch so the FL-300R can be used with wide angle lenses of up to 9mm. The FL-300R can be used wirelessly in TTL-AUTO mode within Olympus' flash system, which means you can use it as an off-camera flash (on the E-P3, the built-in flash will still fire, acting as the master). It comes with a stand, to help you position it somewhere if necessary.

The finish on the FL-300R is prone to scratches, if you look closely at our review set, which came to us brand new, you'll notice a few scratches on its surface only after a couple weeks of casual use.

While using the FL-300R, we only faced one difficulty: when tilted upwards to the maximum of 60 degrees, it becomes difficult to reach the Unlock button on the bottom of the attachment to bring it back to its upright position.