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!
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.
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:
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!