Modern Classic SLRs Series :
Olympus F280 FP Flash

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The Olympus F280 flash unit can be regarded as the world's first electronic flash to permit full synchronization at all focal plane shutter speeds. A theory based on older FP (Focal plane) Bulb flash mode where a series of short burst of light* in continuous stream "substitute" and "emulate" the emission of light when used a long burning light flash bulb in an electrical form (The flash duration in Super FP Mode of about 1/25 sec. is some 40 times longer than normal electronic flash, affording full synchronization at all shutter speeds). * Most auto flash provides an intense, short duration of 1/1000 - 1/100,000 sec flash burst, that can only expose the film correctly when the shutter is completely open which we normally termed it as workable sync speed; a Super FP flash emits a continuous series of short bursts, like a very fast stroboscope (Repeating flash), from the moment the first curtain starts to travel to the moment the second curtain arrives. This allows the flash to be synchronized at shutter speeds from 1/60 sec to 1/2000 sec. .

Not all OM camera models are equipped with such fore running technological flash feature, which restricted to a few bodies such as OM-3Ti, OM-4Ti or OM-77AF. The new innovative flash mode opens up new realms of expression in flash photography, including flowing movement, creative use of fill-in flash, etc. In addition to Super FP Flash with full synchronization at all shutter speeds, also offers TTL "OTF"Auto Flash and Manual Flash. Some rivaling top of the line camera models such as Nikon F5, F100 and others are believed to "borrow" similar technology first pioneered by Olympus.

The F280 is clip-on type flash unit with with a Guide Number of 28m (100 ASA, TTL "OTF"Auto Mode or Manual Mode) and offers a selection of three modes: Super FP, Normal OTF and Manual. When NOT operating FP mode, the flash is also usable on other OM bodies as a dedicated flash units. The extra high shutter speeds available for flash photography permit the photographer to have the freedom to select desired lens aperture allows use of wide open apertures to blur background and put emphasis on main subject. The normal coverage (74°) for the F280 can be extended by using an optional Full-Synchro Flash Wide Adapter and extend its angle of coverage safe for even a 21mm lens. This flash can be mounted in the Power Bounce Grip 2 for off-camera bounce operation or via the TTL Auto Cord F0.6m for off-camera operation.

Some guide on synchro-sunlight/ Fill-in flash with he F280 The range of subject distances that can be covered by Super FP Flash varies depending on the available light, lens aperture, film speed and shutter speed. Different OM models that capable of providing Super FP flash mode may react differently depending on the technologies used in respective model. Camera such as OM-4Ti utilizes TTL Direct Light Measuring system to measure the combination of available light and flash light, and control the exposure by setting the shutter speed. While camera like the mechanical OM-3Ti which does not has auto shutter speed as with the OM4Ti that runs in AUTO mode (Manual mode for OM4Ti works as OM3Ti), hence basic exposure calculation using guide number calculations should be used to determine the correct aperture/shutter speed combination for a given distance.


Guide number
: 28 (ISO 100, meters at Normal "OTF" Flash mode), 91 (ISO 100, feet)
Flash Coverage angle: 53
° vertical, 74° horizontal
Flash duration: Super FP Flash emission: 1/50 - 1/25 sec. (with OM-3Ti, OM4Ti), 1/70 -1/30 sec. (with OM-77AF) Normal "OTF" Flash emission: 1/40000 - 1/1000 sec.
Flash mode selection: OM-77AF: Automatic selection between Super FP Flash and Normal "OTF" Flash. OM3Ti and OM4Ti: Super FP Flash, Normal "OTF" Flash and Manual selectable. OM cameras with "OTF" AUTO Flash mode: Normal "OTF" and Manual selectable. cameras without "OTF" AUTO Flash mode: Manual
Recycling time: (With R6 (AA) alkaline batteries) Super FP Flash mode: 5 - 10 sec. (depending on shutter speed); Normal "OTF" Flash mode: 0.2 - 10 sec. depending on distance
Color temperature:
5,800° K
Flash synchronization: Super FP Flash Mode: 1~1/2000 sec. With the OM-4Ti on Auto, the 1/60 shutter speed is used as a lower-treshold. To achieve longer shutter speeds with Super FP, the OM-4Ti must be set to Manual. Normal "OTF" Flash mode: 1/60 sec or longer. Manual Flash Mode: 1/60 sec or longer.
External Synchro Socket:7-pin quick release plug accepts TTL Auto Cord F0.6m.
Electrical connection with camera: 1) Clip-on method: direct contact-point type 2) via TTL Auto Cord F0.6m
Camera mount: Clip-on method: shoe-inserting, lock-screw
AF Illuminator: Automatic actuation in low light (with OM-77AF)
AF Range: 1.5 m - 5 m (with OM-77AF and AF 50 mm F1.8, ISO 100)
Power source: R6 (AA) battery x 4 (Ni-Cd batteries can be used)
Dimensions: 110(H) X 68(W) x 71 (D) mm
Weight: 250 g (without batteries)

F280Cable.jpg Super FP Flash Guide Numbers (ISO 100, m (ft))

Shutter Speed


OM3 Ti & OM4Ti


3.1 (10.2)

2.6( 8.5)



3.7 (12.1)













1/60 or slower



Normal "OTF" Flash Range Guide (ISO 100)

Shutter Speed





3.4 - 23 m (11.1 - 75.4 ft.)


0.7 - 5 m (2.3 - 16.4 ft.)


2.8 - 20 m (9.2 - 65.6 ft.)


0.5- 3.5 m (1.6 - 11.5 ft.)


2.0- 14 m (6.6 - 45.9 ft.)


0.36 - 2.5 m (1.2 - 8.2 ft.)


1.4 - 10 m 4.6 - 32.8 ft.)


0.25 - 1.8 m (0.8 - 5.9 ft.)


1 - 7 m 3.3 - 23 ft.)



Newer accessories designed by Olympus fro their flash groupd of system accessories: TTL Auto Cord F0.6m This extension cord is a spiral Shoe Cord type, extendable from 0.3m to 0.6m which is used to connect a full-synchro flash F280 to an OM camera for for off-camera flash operation. This cord provides full support for Super FP flash, TTL "OTF" flash, and viewfinder ready light with the F280 and a compatible OM camera.

Please note that OM Flash units other than the F280 cannot be used; the plug does not fit in a T-series connector, so units like the TTL Auto Connector T20 and TTL Auto Multi Connector cannot be used. The Hot Shoe Mount must be slipped into the Hot Shoe with the arrow pointing forward. To disconnect the TTL Auto Cord from the flash, hold the metal part and pull it out. Do not pull the cord or its rubber part. When the F280 is mounted on the Power Bounce Grip 2 for off-camera bounce flash operation, the TTL Auto Cord F0.6m can be inserted into the F280, but not in the Power Bounce Grip 2.

Wide Flash Adapter for the Olympus F280 Attached to the Full-Synchro Flash F280, this wide-angle adapter enlarges the coverage angle of the flash. The Wide Adapter increases the F280's angle of coverage to the picture area of a 21mm ultra wide-angle lens. The Guide Number of the F280 will be reduced to 19 (100 ASA, TTL "OTF" Auto). Although it still can be used, but under the Super FP mode, the guide number will be reduced to a even extend for comfortable normal flash usage. It is a dedicated accessory designed for the Full-Synchro Flash F280. To mount, just click it on the flash window of the F280. To remove, gently pull it.

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