Olympus FL-700WR Flash

I recently purchased the Olympus FL-700WR Wireless Radiowave Control flash to extend the overall functionality of my M4/3 kit. This article features an extensive selection of FL-700WR sample images of birds, captured handheld at Bird Kingdom.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 260 mm, efov 520 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.8 metres

I chose Bird Kingdom for this initial test of the FL-700WR flash since one of my planned uses for this gear is to photograph small birds in low light conditions.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.8 metres

I captured a number of different images of a few species to test out various lighting situations. In the case of the three Zebra Finch photographs in this article, the first one illustrates a typical opportunity to capture an image of a bird with nothing in the immediate background. The second (above) was composed against a busier background.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2 metres

The Zebra Finch in the above image was up against some very bright light streaming in through a window in the Small Bird Aviary at Bird Kingdom. This caused the bird to be silhouetted against the bright sunlight. I wanted to test a couple of things with this type of lighting. The first was to see how well the TTL exposure would work with the FL-700WR flash. The second was to test the auto-focus performance of my OM-D E-M1X when it was trying to achieve auto-focus on an extremely dark subject.  Suffice to say that I was quite pleased on both counts.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 190 mm, efov 380 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.8 metres

I was fortunate that a couple of Speckled Mousebirds were flying about in the Small Bird Aviary during my visit. Sometimes they are not out in a public area.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.5 metres

These birds can be quite restless, so they are decent subjects on which to test auto-focus speed, as well as accuracy.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.3 metres

They often frequent areas with strong sunlight, causing back lighting challenges. My E-M1X handed the conditions well.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.3 metres

Getting up close to a Spotted Mousebird, and other specimen, also gave me the opportunity to test whether the FL-700WR would create any hot spots on subjects.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.2 metres

As could be expected, depending on angles of the birds’ beaks, there was the occasional blown out area.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 220 mm, efov 440 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

Much of that had to do with the reflective properties of the birds’ beaks. My test photographs of various Scarlet Ibis worked out well.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 150 mm, efov 300 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.9 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 120 mm, efov 240 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.4 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 200 mm, efov 400 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.4 metres

Using the FL-700 Wireless Radiowave Control Flash was extremely helpful capturing images of small birds in low light at Bird Kingdom.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.6 metres

I was particularly pleased with how well my OM-D E-M1X with the FL-700WR flash worked with silhouetted subjects up against very strong sunlight.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 194 mm, efov 388 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.7 metres

As the afternoon light began to fade the birds basically became black blobs against the bright back lighting. That’s when the focus clutch on my M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 zoom came in handy. As long as I could obtain even a rough manual focus on the subject bird, the E-M1X’s single point auto-focus would then grab good focus for me, once I clicked back to AF.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.9 metres

In the weeks to come, I am planning to go out with the FL-700WR flash to photograph some wild birds in low light.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.2 metres

Over the past 5 or 6 years I’ve hardly ever used any flash for the work that I’ve been doing. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Olympus FL-700WR Wireless Radiowave Flash. Based on my initial outing with the FL-700WR flash at Bird Kingdom, I am anticipating good results with wild birds in the future.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 3.2 metres

In many cases my subject birds were almost continuously on the move. Using the TTL mode was ideal for the photographic conditions.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 4.6 metres

While most of the photographs I captured were at fairly short distances, I did create a few that were in the 3.3 to 4.6 metres range (~11 to 15 feet). I was pleased with the results.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 250 mm, efov 500 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 4.3 metres
Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 3.3 metres

There are likely cheaper flashes on the market than the Olympus FL-700WR Wireless Radiowave Control flash. I didn’t bother to look at any other brand.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.1 metres

I wanted a flash with the same IPX1 weatherproof rating as my other Olympus gear, as I plan to use it outdoors extensively. And, I wanted the flexibility of using wireless control in the future. The FL-700WR fit the bill on both counts.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.5 metres

The FL-700WR flash seems to be fast and efficient when it comes to battery use. Recycle time using four AA batteries was very quick. I seldom had to wait for my FL-700WR to recharge between capturing images. During this initial session at Bird Kingdom I captured over 800 images and still had charge left on the batteries.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 230 mm, efov 460 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 2.4 metres

I absolutely loved using the Olympus FL-700WR Wireless Radiowave Control flash! Darn near ‘lost my head’ over it.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process, and are displayed as 100% captures without any cropping.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter @ 212 mm, efov 424 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, FL-700WR flash used, subject distance 1.9 metres

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4 thoughts on “Olympus FL-700WR Flash”

  1. Hi Thomas, great images! I have been wanting to try out flash with my bird photography when I get the chance. Just interested in your choice of exposure settings. 1/250 is quite slow, is this because it is your max sync speed? Also were you stopping down to f8 to get more depth of field because you were so close?
    I’m really enjoying your website, thanks 😀

    1. Hi Tim,

      I’m glad you are enjoying the website!

      This was my first attempt with the FL-700WR… literally right out of the box. The standard sync speed with my E-M1X is 1/250 so I used that as a starting point. I’ll be doing more experimentation with this flash in the months ahead.

      I was using the MC-20 teleconverter so I lost 2 stops of light (I was shooting with an M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8). I set my camera to f/8 for more depth of field as I was very close to the birds.

      Tom

      1. Don’t know if your aware, but your camera should have a high speed sync function which will allow you to shoot all the way up to the max shutter speed. Is very useful for freezing action like wing movements in small birds because you can shoot at speeds like 1/2000 and still use flash.

        1. Hi Tim,

          Thanks for the follow up comment! Yes, I was aware of the high speed sync. Most of the small birds in the Small Aviary at Bird Kingdom are in quite poor lighting so I decided on a more typical 1/250 sync speed. The FL-700WR also can fire continuously at 10 frames per second, and can capture movement in photos with the Multi Mode… a couple of things with which I may experiment in the future.

          Tom

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