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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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on May 24, 2010
I'll put it bluntly: this is the smallest and weakest external flash gun I've ever seen. It should be obvious from the GN of 14 (barely better than my DSLR's popup) that this is absolutely *not* useful for serious flash work.

Rather, the Olympus FL-14 is aimed at a very specific market: E-P1 and E-P2 shooters who want to have some kind of flash capacity without lugging around a full-sized flash gun.

Considering its design goals, one can hardly complain; it matches perfectly with the PEN's retro styling and metallic highlights, and it looks totally natural on my E-P2. Its metal casing also makes it look and feel a cut above typical plastic encased units in terms of build quality. Indeed, if one cares about shooting with an attractive kit (and I must admit to being a complete sucker for this, hence my love affair with the PEN), this is absolutely your best option in a flash.

Performance is, well, what I'd expect from a GN 14 flash that runs on two AAA batteries. We're talking about pop-up quality and slow recycle time, neither of which should be any sort of surprise. The unit has 3 modes: TTL-auto, auto, and manual. TTL-auto is what you probably want, as it fires a pre-flash burst and meters the resulting scene through the lens to determine exposure. In practice this seems to be hit and miss for me, sometimes over or under exposing, requiring a bit of EV compensation. I'm reluctant to blame metering on the flash though; I assume that this is primarily a body limitation.

One *huge* negative for E-P2 owners is that using this (or any) external flash gun will prevent you from using your VF-2 viewfinder. This is really a shame, and it means you're stuck having to choose between viewfinder or flash.

So, who exactly should buy this thing?

For owners of a body with a pop-up flash (e.g. the E-PL1 (GN 7) or the GF1 (GN 6)), I can't really recommend it at all. Even though it's a bit more powerful than your pop-up and it won't sap your main batteries, why would you lug around such a marginal upgrade?

For the pragmatist E-P2 or E-P1 owner, who really needs an external flash of *some* kind, the price tag has to give you a bit of pause as well. If size and styling aren't critical to you, you should strongly consider the not-that-much-bigger Olympus FL-20 as a substantially cheaper, more powerful alternative.

If you've considered the other options, and you're OK with paying a premium for a tiny, sexy little flash, then the FL-14 exactly what you're looking for. As such, I am happy with the unit, but I recommend that you study its limitations and think long and hard about whether this is what you really want.

**** Update 05/2011 ****

I complemented this flash with an Olympus FL-36R. I bought the FL-36R hoping (but not knowing for sure) that the E-P2 with the FL-14 mounted could fire it wirelessly. Although I was sure I had this working in the past, I was recently unable to fire the other unit wirelessly. It seems that for wireless flash shooting, the fl14 just can't do the job.

**** Update 02/2012 ****

I have recently acquired the Olympus FL-300R which I consider to be an upgrade to the FL-14 in all respects save appearance and size. The FL-300R is not much bigger, but it is more capable across the board.

If you are considering a flash for an Olympus camera, the FL-300R is simply a better option than the FL-14 at a very similar price point, and the slightly larger size is more than justified. Given the addition of the FL-300R to Olympus's product line I am removing one star from my previous four star rating of this product, which I now consider to be obsolete.
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VINE VOICEon September 17, 2009
The flash looks good on the E-P1 Olympus PEN camera, but it's pretty weak for an external flash. Okay, that said, if you like the look and feel for the PEN system, here is your flash. Do enjoy. It's as good or better than most point and shoot camera flashes but is small and dim compared to full sized SLR flashes. This keeps the kit small, but isn't as useful as a larger flash, so it's a tradeoff.
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on November 26, 2010
This flash unit for the Penn is small and easy to use. It switches on and off with the camera so saving the batteries and it defaults to TTL mode when attached to the shoe. Being small it does not have a big output so it's use is a bit limited. It is fine for party snaps or close in work but over 20ft forget it and take advantage of the Penn's low light capabilities. Also carry plenty of AAA batteries as they do not last long.
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on March 24, 2014
I have numerous flashes, Canon, several 550ex, two 580ex, and one 430ex. I needed something small to use with my OM e 5 and this is perfect for it. The recycle time is very fast, except when used in manual and fired in full. There is where the 3 - 5 second recycle comes in. With the OM5 can easily increase the ISO to increase the reach of the flash. The five stars is not for the price as it seems on the high end the FL 300R is a better flash, from what I have read, and priced lower. I am not rating the price, that would probably be a two star. I did add a star for the "cute" factor as one person described it.

Everyone seems to make a big deal about bounce, and I do use bounce, but most persons will not be able to tell the difference nor know what to look for. In fact they are used to direct flash and to most people that is the norm. This could easily be used professionally in the right hands and I guess the right camera. If you want bounce it is easy to tape a piece of card board on the bottom and guide some of the light up. Bounce is used to diffuse the light so it will not be so harsh. When you do that with a flash you will also have to increase the ISO, lower the shutter speed, or allow more light in with a large aperture, i.e., f/1.4. or increase the light output of the flash which are doable, but in that case go manual all the way.

The reviews here on Amazon are much lower than the ones in B & H for the same flash.

But this little jewel with my OM 5 can be set on auto, set the exposure up one and it will almost get the image right almost all the time. Remember that the "Selective Pattern" also plays a part in getting the right exposure. It does not do high speed flash, but how many people do that? I use it for birds and have done it to stop motion when it is dark. But one can accomplish the same by using a slow shutter and flash to freeze motion.
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on March 20, 2010
I have typically bought an external flash to supplement the internal flash.

Canon and Nikon have entry level external flashes that are very good, offering bounce features (the ability to point the flash upwards so you subject gets indirect flash light) and very good integration with their cameras.

The Olympus FL-14 falls short compared to competitive offerings. No bounce ability. It tends to brutally overexpose out of the box. I guess for the Pen cameras without a built-in flash it is the easy choice (but I would research the market for compatible flashes with bounce, or go one up the Olympus range), for E-PL1 owners - avoid it: the built-in flash is better and more flexible.

It is very overpriced for the value add and performance it seems to provide.
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on April 17, 2010
Normal flash that is cute, light and compact. Works pretty nice and goes perfect for the camera it was intended.
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on November 20, 2009
It's as good as any of the flashes normally built into a DSLR. Pretty good, but nothing spectacular.
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on February 11, 2014
I do mostly available light photography. Occasionally, I might need a flash. It does the job. Not very strong, but it's what I expected.
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on February 10, 2010
light index is a bit low for a external flash, more like a build-in flash. but it's size is great, and it uses 2 AAA battery. The build quality is nice but it's not very durable as the silver metal casing is very thin and easily dimpled, specially on the bottom side of the actual light unit. The thin silver metal portion of mine has bended inside. the auto mood of the flash gives way too bright flash, i just use the TTL which is a bit in the bright side also, I usually dial down the flash a step. The auto white balance is not working when attaching the flash, need to manually set to flash mode. over all it's a good little flash, some people even loved the look of it attached. But I think there should be one build-in. used on EP-1.
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on January 24, 2010
In view of the pen's performance at high ISO's, this flash is minimally useful. Still, fill-flash can come in handy .
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