Olympus E-420 SLR Review
Flash, I/O, Storage & Power
The E-420's auto/manual pop-up TTL-controlled flash has modes for Auto, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction slow sync., Fill-in, Slow synchronization (1st and 2nd curtain), Manual, Off. It offers a Guide Number of 12 (ISO 100.m) and the X-synch speed is 1/180 sec. or less with Super FP up to 1/4000 sec. The flash intensity (output) is controllable ±2 EV in 1/3 EV steps. Flash bracketing is not available.
The Olympus FL-20, FL-36, FL-50, FL-36R or FL-50R external flash units can be attached to the 's
hot shoe and offer full TTL flash control. The E-420 also offers full wireless flash control with the FL-36R/FL-50R models, triggered and controlled by the built-in flash light. Wireless control offers 4 channels and 3 groups. For our testing, we used the FL-36 shown below.
Designed specifically for use with digital cameras, the FL-36 flash offers the robust and full-featured functionality of the larger FL-50 combined with cost effectiveness.
The FL-36 Electronic Flash is specifically designed for digital with an accurate 1/8
step illumination control to provide the precision required by digital cameras, while
minimizing illumination reduction. The built-in wide-angle diffuser panel will allow
the flash to provide even illumination with wide angle lenses like the new Zuiko
Digital 14mm-45mm zoom. The inclusion of a lockable bounce and swivel mechanism offers
a variety of bounce photography options including left-right, as well as top-bottom in
addition to a compact zoom head to accommodate lenses from wide angle to telephoto.
The FL-36 also features an energy circuit that improves recharge rates and enables the flash to operate on just two AA batteries or one CR-3 Volt lithium. In addition, the FL-36 incorporates an ultra-precision mounting technology communicating with the E-1, E-300 and E-500 for control. The FL-36 is compact, lightweight and extremely portable, and is approximately 25% shorter and 35% lighter than the larger FL-50 flash, a significant space and weight savings.
The FL-36 Flash Compact achieves higher guide numbers than comparable SLR film cameras even while maintaining wide-angle light distribution. The Guide Number is 117 feet (36 meters) at ISO 100. You'll notice the difference when using it in combination with a wide-angle lens on the . Accurate, 1/8-step illumination control provides the precision required by digital cameras, while minimizing illumination reduction near the screen.
The FL 36 features the FP mode for syncro at shutter speeds up to 1/4000 sec. In both FP-
TTL Auto and FP-Manual modes. Standard TTL-Auto, Auto and Manual flash modes are also
There is no external power or flash PC sync port.
The E-420 can be remotely operated with the optional RM-1 wireless
infrared controller. The maximum effective range is approx. 16.4 feet indoors
and 9.8 feet outdoors (in front, within 15° of center of the camera).
Images are stored on Compact Flash cards, Type I or II and Microdrives or xD-Picture
Card media. See the graph below for file sizes and approx. storage capacities.
Approximate File Sizes
The E-420 is powered by a BLS-1 Lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack that fits up inside of the hand grip. This is high capacity (7.4v, 1500 mAh) battery that is unique to the E-410 and E-420 models. The pack is charged in the included BCS-1 AC charger. Olympus claims this pack can power the E-420 for up to 500 shots using the optical viewfinder to frame.
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