Olympus STF-8 Macro Flash
Posted By Editor AL Lee
Image: Set-up, Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII + Zuiko 60mm F2.8 PRO Macro + Olympus STF-8 Macro Flash mounted on a macro rig + Adjustable Arms.
27th April 2019, Singapore – And so, recently I was renewed for another term as the Visionary & Brand Ambassador for Olympus Imaging Singapore – as part of my “education tools” for the new term, I was issued some equipment and among the list, there’s STF-8 – an Olympus Macro Flash that I had secretly wanted for the longest time.
Why I like the STF-8? Here’s why ; the STF-8 is compact, lightweight, dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof down to -10℃.
Image: You get everything here in the retail box + 02 snap-on diffusers + 03 adaptor rings.
The STF-8 came with a nice pouch that houses everything inside – the flash head unit, the 02 flashes, 02 diffusers, 03 ring adaptor which was design to be compatible with M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm F3.5 Macro, M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro & M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO. With 3rd party step up/down rings – it can be attached to other lenses too.
The STF-8 had been around since 2016 and for some strange reasons, I had never requested from Olympus or gotten a chance to lay my hands on an unit to try or review until recently this unit came to me.
Features – (Taken from Olympus website)
Movable flash heads
The angle of the flash heads can be adjusted in a range of 60° upward to 40° downward, and the position of the flash heads along the ring adapter can be adjusted as well. Arrange the flashes to create shadows and achieve your desired level of depth in your photos.
Output ratio control
The output ratio can be controlled from 1:8 to 8:1 between the left and right flash heads. Use the dial for quick output ratio adjustment.
Image: (Left) Without the supplied diffusers, (Right) With the supplied diffusers.
Dedicated diffuser for soft lighting
A dedicated diffuser is included for creating soft lighting effects. The diffuser is designed so that you can select to use or not use it without having to attach or remove it every time.
Designed with working distance in mind
The flash heads are nearly even with the end of the lens for minimal effects on the lens working distance.
Image: Editor AL using the STF-8 mounted on adjustable arms rather than the lens adaptor.
As you can see from the above image – I did not mount the 02 flashes onto the 60mm Macro lens with the supplied adaptor, instead, I mounted the 02 flashes onto an extension/ adjustable arms for more versatility on the light directions and the ratio of flash for each side. Some advantages here for my set-up – your get a more balance & softer flash rather than a harsh straight-kill flash, you get to control the distance, the height and the angle, and with the longer arms, I can also direct the flash from unthinkable angels as compared to mounting straight to the front of the lens.
Here’s some images that I’ve shot using the STF-8 paired with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 MarkII + M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro PRO. These images were shot at Gardens by the Bay (Singapore) between 2.00pm-5.30pm and the ambience is moderately bright with sunlight shinning through tinted glass panels. The STF-8 helped me “re-create” sunlight that gives viewers a false sense of time which can easily passed off as the 10.00am sun.
Check out the images!
Ok, see below for the ambient light when I was shooting the above flower and then look at the flower again. Amazing isn’t it?
I have a strange liking for shooting the stigma of Tulips. The STF-8 didn’t disappoint a single bit. We all know the petals of a Tulip curves inwards toward the stigma at bloom (and that also formed the unique shape of tulips when you look from the side view) and that kinda blocked certain lights from entering the chamber – the STF-8 – with a little adjustment, got me the shots that I badly wanted. See the examples below.
And when the STF-8 is adjusted to position for non-close-up shooting, it works well as a regular flash too – with added flexibility on the left-right ration and the angle of the flash heads.
Personally I am thrilled by the STF-8, the ease of use, the flexibility of angle and power ratio, the compact size, the light-weight, the weather-proofing and the images are awesome. I will be trying out on insects soon. If you are using Olympus system and likes Macro or Close-Ups – Get the Olympus STF-8!
Buy your NEW Olympus STF-8 Macro Flash here!
Image by Serene Ong of Serene Digital Crafts.