In-camera bounce flash on the Panasonic Lumix GX-85 with wedding photography samples

Panasonic Lumix GX-85 with Hot Shoe cover
Panasonic Lumix GX-85 with Hot Shoe cover

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to attend a wedding near Dallas, Texas. Of course, like any photography-opportunity event, I first had to decide which camera to take. It actually didn’t take long this time because the more I use the Panasonic Lumix GX85, the more purpose I see in its portability. In my 15 Reasons for the G85 over GX85 video, I detail why the G85 is a better buy, but not before calling out how great the GX85 is.

The Olympus EM1 Mark II was the runner-up camera to take. The deciding factor was the built-in flash on the GX85 which could be handy in the dimly-lit venue. Although the 20 MP of the EM1 would helped with noise, I didn’t want to carry around my Godox V1 along with it. That would’ve increased the weight to a sizeable amount. At that point, I might as well have taken my Canon R5 with 24-105… anyway, I digress…

I was aware of how direct flash photography would look like: harsh highlights and shadows. I noted that the flash can be pressed back and held down so it becomes a bounce flash. So the first night I was manually holding the flash so it would fire upwards towards the ceiling. The pics came out good. By the way, I used the Leica 25mm f/1.4 due to the low-light. While I liked the photos, I thought the highlights could’ve been softer. Anyhow, I was curious if there was another solution to make it softer when using in-camera flash.

That night I went home and started researching diffusers and other flash modifiers made for the GX85… and no articles were helpful. Why hasn’t Panasonic made a diffuser to use with the built-in flash on their own camera? No idea… but then I stumbled onto this reddit post that showed a photo of the GX-85 flash aimed upwards with the help of a hot shoe cover and BINGO!

Panasonic Lumix GX-85 hot shoe hack
Panasonic Lumix GX-85 hot shoe hack

While it wasn’t the diffused solution I was seeking, the fact that I didn’t have to hold down the flash was helpful. My left hand was free and I was able to hold the camera steadier.

I tried this method the next day and I was pleasantly surprised at its capability. I didn’t have to hold down the flash and it stayed pointing upwards. To do this, make sure you place the hot shoe cover with the pin side down.

Hot shoe cover with pin
The hot shoe needs the pin sticking out on the right side, otherwise it wont work!

I saw many hot shoe covers on Amazon, but none with this pin sticking out. If anyone has a link, please comment below! This was the original hot shoe cover I got with my camera.

DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE GX-85 HOT SHOE HACK.

OpenFilmmaker

Here’s some sample images with this hack:

Sample Photo 1: Panasonic Lumix GX85 - Hot Shoe Hack
Sample Photo 1 (GX-85 and Leica 25mm @ f/2.2, 1/125s, ISO 1600)
Sample Photo 2: Panasonic Lumix GX85 - Hot Shoe Hack
Sample Photo 2 (GX-85 and Leica 25mm @ f/2, 1/160s, ISO 2500)
Sample Photo 3: Panasonic Lumix GX85 - Hot Shoe Hack
Sample Photo 3 (GX-85 and Leica 25mm @ f/1.4, 1/125s, ISO 200)

Not only did the flash hack perform well, I was also amazed at this little 25mm Leica lens. If you’re looking for a small portable option, I’d highly recommend the Panasonic Lumix GX-85 and Leica 25mm f/1.4. As you can see, it did a great job, without the need for an additional flash.

With that said, I did order another flash, LOL. Mainly because when using the in-camera flash, the shutter speed is limited to 1/160s. While that worked okay for my photos, I’d like to avoid that limitation to get slightly sharper images.

I ordered the TT350O Mini Thinklite TTL Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras and it should come in within a few days – just before we head out for spring break. I reckon I’ll have another article about that flash upon my return.

Happy hacking and happy shooting!

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