I just purchased a very nice Olympus 35SP rangefinder and the seller included a National PE-200S flash. I'm just exploring trying film photography and have very little experience. The camera manual describes using the optional flash, but I have not found a manual for this flash online and no descriptions of it. Is it possible to give me some guidance on how to go about using it with this camera?


1 Answer 1


I have never used an Olympus 35SP or National PE-200S, but I did some research, and this is what I have come up with:

Your National PE-200S flash has both an Auto mode and a Manual mode. It can be used with your Olympus 35SP either way.

The Olympus 35SP has a very unique “Flashmatic” mode which will work with almost any flash in Manual mode. To use “Flashmatic” place the flash in the hot shoe and turn it on. The P.L. light is the pilot light and it will illuminate when the flash is ready to fire. Set the camera’s shutter speed ring to 1/30 and then rotate the aperture ring to the Guide Number of 20 meters. (Your flash has a GN of 20 meters at ISO 100) Also make sure the ISO is set correctly on the camera. Place the switch on the front of the flash to M for manual mode.

The flash will fire at full power, but in this mode the camera will automatically adjust the lens aperture to correspond to the correct exposure for the focus distance you select. As long as the subject is in focus, it should be properly exposed by the flash.

Ken Rockwell photo enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

Alternatively, you can use the camera in Manual mode and set the switch on the front of the flash to A for Auto. Set the film ISO on the camera to 100, then set the shutter to 1/30 and the aperture to f/4

There is a sensor on the front of the flash that measures the light output and it will automatically adjust so that the exposure is always f/4 as long as the focus distance is between 1-5 meters.

If you use ISO 400 film, you would set f8 (200 film would f/5.6)

If you use the “wide panel” adapter on the flash it will spread the light coverage for for wider angle lenses (28mm? or 35mm?), but the effective range of the flash is then reduced to 0.7-3.5 meters.

This what the National PE-200S looks like with wide panel attached. enter image description here

  • \$\begingroup\$ Nice investigation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rafael
    Aug 11, 2023 at 16:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ Mike, thank you very much. Great explanation. I'm left with only one thing I didn't understand, and this is probably a stupid question, sorry. Your text for the Flashmatic process says the Guide Number for the flash is 20m for ASA 100. I'm assuming that little chart on the back of the flash is the Guide Numbers, but may have that wrong. In any case, on the Manual section, looking across the ASA 100 line, I don't see 20 anywhere. I'm so inexperienced, I really don't know how to read that chart. Thanks. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rex
    Aug 11, 2023 at 18:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ I determined that the Guide Number is 20 from reading reviews of the National PE200S. There is a formula for using Guide Numbers, (Guide number = f-number × distance) and while your actual Guide Number is not shown, you can work backwards to figure it out. Example: GN 20 ÷ f/2 = 10 m or f/2 x 10 m = GN 20 The other values shown on the back of the flash also work. (f/4 x 5 m = 20 GN) (f5.6 x 3.5 m = GN 20) \$\endgroup\$ Aug 11, 2023 at 20:11

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