RC1 Olympus & Panasonic TTL Receiver for DS Strobes + Olympus TG-5 Review

The TG-5 packs some seriously impressive features in a compact and tough body. It has the ability to capture RAW 12MP images, shoots 4K video, and has a microscope mode that easily rivals any DSLR or Mirrorless camera at a fraction of the size and cost. 

The only drawback is the lack of a manual shooting mode. The camera is programmed to choose the fastest shutter speed and smallest aperture possible without producing an underexposed image. If the scene lacks ambient light, which is often the case underwater, the camera will choose a large aperture resulting in an extremely shallow depth of field. In the event the camera happens to choose a small desirable aperture it will make up for the lack of light with a slow shutter speed, resulting in motion blur. 

RC1 Olympus & Panasonic TTL Receiver for DS Strobes + Olympus TG-5 Thankfully, there is a solution that unlocks the camera’s full potential and it lies in the flash setting. When set to “RC” (Remote Control) flash setting the camera will still automatically choose aperture and shutter speed, but now it will do so while factoring in a powerful external strobe.  With this extra light now part of the equation it is free to choose smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds. This produces images with a larger depth of field and complete lack of motion blur. There is still one more hurdle to overcome. When set to RC flash mode the camera emits a coded signal in the form of rapid, sequential flashes. This signal lets a compatible accessory strobe know when to fire and for how long. 

RC flash mode

A typical TTL slave strobe is not designed to interpret the dedicated RC signal and therefore will not sync properly with the camera. A knee-jerk remedy may be to set the strobe’s power manually. The problem here is that often times the best flash output is less than the lowest manual setting on the strobe. This is especially true when shooting macro. A strobe needs to be set to “auto” or “TTL” in order for it to choose the correct power output, which may be lower than the lowest manual setting or even in between manual power settings. 

So what to do? That’s where the Ikelite RC1 Olympus & Panasonic TTL Receiver for DS Strobes is needed. Attach this receiver to any Ikelite DS series strobe and set it to TTL, sync it to the housing using a fiber optic cord and it will interpret the RC signal emitted by the camera. The result is optimal camera settings and perfectly exposed images!

RC1 Olympus & Panasonic TTL Receiver for DS Strobes

Want even better results when shooting super macro in microscope mode? Try these settings…

Set the back dial to microscope mode. Press “ok” to access the following settings. Up/Down will highlight the setting and Left/Right will toggle between options. 

  • Picture Mode = Natural 
  • ISO = 100
  • White Balance = Auto 
  • Focus = Autofocus 
  • Aspect Ratio = 4:3
  • Format = RAW
  • Video = Choose the quality and frame rate that best suits the scene and desired result 
  • Still IS = ON
  • Flash : Remote Control “RC” 
  • Exposure comp: 0 (This can be adjusted for fine tuning if desired)
  • Single frame rate 
  • Spot metering 
  • Face priority off
  • Accessory off

Pro note: Zoom all the way in and the camera will choose even smaller apertures and faster shutter speeds. If the scene is setup correctly you’ll have blacked out backgrounds and a much larger depth of field.

Featured Products 

RC1 Olympus & Panasonic TTL Receiver for DS Strobes

Underwater Housing, Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera and Strobe Deluxe Kit