Ricoh GR Off Camera Flash Strobist Tutorial

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Its always good to a have an off camera flash with some sort of optical slave trigger. As soon as I got my GR I immediately told myself I have to use this camera in a strobist scenario. Can the GR swing this? Heck yeah! Let me deconstruct this image below and expand with some creative opportunities of what can be done with off camera flash and the GR.

The first thing you must do (after you feel comfortable in a strobist scenario including the parlance used) is set you Ricoh GR

  • Set your GR to manual flash
  • Powered it down to 1/64 power
  • Set the flash exposure compensation of the GR to -2(the lowest it will go, I’d love -3 though)
  • Set your aperture, shutter, and ISO accordingly
  • Now set your off camera flash into optical trigger mode, slave mode, or if on Nikon ― SU-4 mode
  • Select the right power setting on your off camera flash based on the intent of your photographic vision
  • Zoom the off camera flash head to 28mm, again, this is a personal choice and coupled with your power setting will determine the spread of light into your scene, so choose accordingly.
  • Finally, experiment with your light settings until you get the desired effect

Why 1/64 and FEC -2 on the GR? Simple, that way the light being emitted is negligible to the exposure(aperture/shutter/iso) and it lets the off camera flash be the key light of this setup in the true sense of the word.

The reason I chose to go with the on board flash acting as the “commander” was simple. The onboard flash on the GR is highly configurable plus the GR is a small compact, so why add a Pocket Wizard or another brand of optical trigger. Personally, I could’ve, but it just didn’t make sense to over saturate my rig.

Another option would be use a pair of Pocket Wizards or an off camera ttl cable. But if I chose the latter, then I’d have to find out which cable works and go through that trial and error period. In the end, I’m sure it could be done but why. For now, my rig works well, and its super light. The only caveat to my rig is that my flash is not that secure (handholding it) but I’ll hack something soon.

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Same as above but processed in Pixelmator, levels, curves, sharpening. Loving the tones the GR produces.

As this was just a quick experiment, I’ll probably end up using some type of modifier like the the Lumiquest Mini and the bigger one just to further soften the key light. I love it!

I envision this setup working great for macros, portraits, street photography walks, and more. Unleash your creativity with an off camera flash rig. The price of entry into this strobist world is not that expensive. Personally, I have an SB-800 and a Yongnuo 560 and both work very well. It would be a good idea to have a few batteries on hand, as the constant flashing will certainly take its toll on the energy requirements of the GR.

Well there you have it, a simple rig to shoot off camera flash with your new Ricoh GR. Have fun.

12 thoughts on “Ricoh GR Off Camera Flash Strobist Tutorial

  1. What is the time delay like? From when the Ricoh’s flash goes off to when then off camera “optical trigger” flash goes off.

    I would think the Ricoh would snap the image before the Yongnuo 560 could flash. I would like to buy a Yongnuo 560 for my GR but I’m not quite understanding how the time delay works with the optical triggering, especially if the shutter speed is rather long.

      1. I’m confused. Your article only describes using the Ricoh GR and a Y560 (or Nikon flash).
        Why would any other equipment be necessary if you can do all of this with a Ricoh GR and a Y560?

        1. I apologize, I now know what you mean. Yes, via the on board GR flash dial the flash compensation all the way down and if your other flash i.e. a Nikon or Yongnuo has a slave mode it will work like a charm as well. What will happen is the flash from the GR won’t really do much and the slave flash will light up the subject.

          I’ve used both methods extensively it all depends on what you want. If you don’t want the little spill of the on board flash then use a triggering solution and for that Flash Wave III is the best imho (price for function). I also use those triggers on my Fujis as well and they are great.

  2. I have set of Elinchrom triggers, and the command unit is quite compact and light. I have a Nikon SB-28 that I use as a slave, manual controls are great with the flash. My Kr will only do a max shutter speed of 1/160. But with the GR, Pentax has finally broken the 1/160,1/180(for P-TTL flashes) to 1/2000 (according to preview)!

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