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If you have a digital camera, then in all probability you will start wondering about buying a flash. Most new models do come with a flash of some nature, be it built in or not, but this will probably not be up to any real test. I certainly found this to be the case with my Olympus E-PL3 so after one trip away and understanding the limitations of the flash, I opted to spend £190 and purchased the Olympus FL-36R.
This is a much larger unit so two benefits are greater light, be that in your vicinity or further away. Both of these options are impossible with the box standard flash. It fits into the port on the top of the camera in the same way the standard flash does. Also there are no cables as you may usually find on devices of this nature. As a result, it fits into the Pen ethos of compact design for easy use in the field.
It folds in the middle allowing for more control over lighting and swivels 270 degrees to avoid top lighting. It has a zoom range to match the standard 14-42mm lens although there is the option to use the pull out diffuser for longer lenses. The 36 in the model name refers to the power rating at maximum lens range.
The selling point for this unit is that it has its own set of controls but also allows the camera to control the power through the lens or TTL as it is known. This enables amateurs and professionals to be equally at home with this piece.
It comes with a stand to allow you to position the unit elsewhere whilst you hold the camera. The wireless integration means that the camera can use one of the four channels to communicate in much the same way as it would if attached to the top section, albeit with a hardly noticeable delay. Setting the camera up for use in this manner is as simple as scrolling to the relevant menu and selecting 'RC' to on.
Downsides are few, but the main one is the power source. It runs off two AA batteries and goes through them at a rate of knots, so be prepared to have a constant supply for long trips. But aside from that, this unit is a solid al rounder that can handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Finished in matt black to complement most units it is compatible with in the Pen range it weighs 260g and measures 67x95x108mm it comes complete with stand and soft carry case and can be bought for around £184 on Amazon.co.uk.