A Simple GX1/GX7 Bounce Flash Hack for Better Images

I just figured out something that I had wish I’d known since I bought the Panasonic GX1… it has a built-in bounce flash. After lusting over the OM-D EM-5 MkII and it’s new LM3 flash with swivel and bounce capabilities, I wondered, “Why can’t they just build this feature in?” It turns out Panasonic did (perhaps unintentionally).

I had this revelation at night, thus these images were taken indoors with a single lamp lighting the room, and with a sleepy pug. So dark, that I had to shoot wide open with the Canon FD 50mm/1.4 (one of my favorite FD lenses) at ISO 12800 to get a decent exposure:

GX1/GX7 Bounce Flash
F1.4, 1/160s, ISO 12800

If you’re wondering why I chose 1/160s shutter speed, well the rule of thumb is shoot at the same shutter speed as your focal length (100mm eFoV = 1/100s), I chose 1/160s to ensure a steady shot and it’s the max flash sync speed for the following photo. The beauty of most speedlite flashes (related: the best TTL flashes for m43) is that it has the ability to bounce off walls or ceilings, allowing you to stop down or lower your ISO for a cleaner and sharper shot. Now that GX1’s flash isn’t that strong, rated a guide number of 7.6 where most speedlites have 36+. But if you’re indoors, and you have a standard 9-10ft ceiling, it’s just good enough. The following image was taken at F2 @ ISO1000 with the GX1’s “built-in” bounce flash:

GX1/GX7 Bounce Flash
F2, 1/160s, ISO 1000

How to Bounce Flash with the Panasonic GX1 or GX7

This could apply to other Panasonic models, if it does please let me know in the comments below. But for the GX1 and GX7 it’s quite simple, pop open the flash and pull it back until the flash is pointing at the ceiling. You might have to hold it with your left index finger while shooting, but mine actually stays into place. That’s it. Dead simple. Non-obvious. And a beautiful tip for helping with those low light situations.

How to Bounce Flash on the GX1 or GX7
Pop open and pull back the flash

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. 

PS. If you’re wanting more flash power, but want to keep a compact kit, checkout the Nissin i40 or di466.

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