Dual flash setup

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Talonted90, Feb 7, 2010.

  1. Talonted90
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    Talonted90 New Member

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    I do a lot of biological work in Central America and have had tremendous results using a single SB-600 mounted on top but I would really like to look into going into a dual flash set-up. If anyone uses this setup could you please chime in with everything that I am going to need aside from another flash as well as any tips you might have. I know that I need brackets and then some means of triggering the flash to fire. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Sample image from this summer
    [​IMG]
  2. Overread
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    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member

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    If you want to go down this rout I would strongly suggest looking at the Nikon twin macro flash setup. It would let you have two light sources whilst also offering you the option of adding more flashes to the setup with ease and also being a light and easy to handhold setup - something that is harder to do if you start adding several larger flashunits - especailly over a prolonged period of time.

    I would recomend checking out the following blog where Dalentech goes into detail about his use and modification of his set of twinflash lights as well as general lighting advice:
    No Cropping Zone
    It might be a lot of canon talk but the positioning, diffusion and power settings will be very similar.

    In addition check out John Hallman's flickr page - he not only uses different and varied lightingsetups that you might wish to adapt; but he has also used a lot of macro gear ranging from lenses like the MPE65mm through to old cini and microscope lenses (infact a majority of his work is done with the latter lens groups)
    Flickr: johnhallmen's Photostream
    Its a very good resource for ideas of lighting and going beyond 1:1 photography work if you don't have a canon setup to use the MPE65mm with.


    Also for your current setup it looks like you are shooting the flash bare onto the snake - it might be an idea to look into using a Lumiquest softbox (or similar design product) over the flashhead. This will give you a much softer lighting source from your main flash and thus a much more pleasing end result.
  3. Talonted90
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    Talonted90 New Member

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    Thank you very much for your recommendations I will check out these websites. I used a diffuser on my flash all summer but this was often the effect. I did plan on getting the softbox before going down this summer.
  4. Overread
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    Were you using one of those little plastic rectangle diffuser eg:
    http://www.mennon-usa.com/store/images/mennon/Flash Diffuser C-550EX.jpg

    Because if so its best to understand that they are designed for bounce flash rather than direct flash diffusing. The idea of diffusing flash is to have the light source as large as is possible and when one bounces of a wall (eg indoors) the wall becomes the light source and is thus soft because its so large.

    Alone and used for direct flash the little heads will throw some light way (thus giving a similar effect to using negative flash exposure compensation) but won't have much of a softening to the light itself - since the light source is still about the same size as the flash head.

    That is why softboxes are a better approach for this kind of work since they do increase the area of the light source.


    In addition, having another look at your snake shot - it seems to have quite a bit of noise to it and I wonder at what settings you took the shot
  5. Talonted90
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    Talonted90 New Member

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    For some reason a lot of my shots are turning out like that. The original EXIF data is ISO 250 at 1/30s and -.7EV. I had to brighten it some on photoshop but not much to result in that much noise. Gear was a Nikon D80, nikon 105mm macro, and SB600.

    And the diffuser was what you linked. I literally got my flash and macro lens a week before leaving from a private seller for my trip. I stopped on my way home at some camera store and that was the diffuser I was recommended, go figure. But as noted the softbox is going to be ordered shortly. I'm now tempted to forgo the dual flash set up for this summer and have fun with just one off camera flash and splurge for a nice local nikon 80-400mm.
  6. Overread
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    Hmm what mode are you shooting in? If you have the settings set to underexpose the shot by 0.7 of a stop then you will have to brighten in editing most times and that will mean the noise will show up a lot more.

    I would shift into manual mode - set things to around 1/250sec, ISO 100 and f13 (that is the smallest you should go with aperture - if you start heading into f16 and f20 you might get more depth to the shot but you will also get diffraction with will soften your end result).
    Then let the flash fire on auto mode - adding a little + or - flash exposure compensation as needed (to judge how much read up and use the camera's built in histogram to review your shots once you have taken them - this gives an accurate way to understand how well the shot as been exposed).
  7. Buckster
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    Buckster Well-Known Member

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  8. Talonted90
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    Talonted90 New Member

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    Buckster thanks a lot for the link. I think I am going to opt to do something just like this. In your link you mention the "Y adapter flash wiring harness". Could you give me a little more information on this or link me to where you found it.


  9. Overread
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    Ahh I must bookmark that duel flash setup - I keep forgetting about it!
    Out of interest Buck had any luck trying out cross posterization flash lighting yet?
  10. Buckster
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    Buckster Well-Known Member

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  11. Buckster
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    Buckster Well-Known Member

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    If you're talking about using Polarized film, I must admit I've been remiss in working with that yet, though I'd still like to.
  12. USM IS
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    USM IS New Member

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    Just bought the Canon twin-flash..%^&^$#@#$$.....Mike
  13. Overread
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    If you don't want it anymore I'll happily take it off your hands :)

    The twinflash (whilst overpriced) still has some bonuses over the duel flash setup that Buck had made. Even if you use 430EX2s (because they are a lot lighter than 580EX2s) its still a lot heavier than a twinflash setup. Further the twinflashes let you reposition the aspects of the two light sources - so you can set them below or above the subject (above gives very good lighting).
    Finally if you ever start working with higher magnification shots twinflashes give a focus assist light (the heads send out a series of light pulses) that greatly aids manual focusing by illuminating the subject.

    Also Buck since you have the power output of 2 580EX2s in that setup you might want to look at the laser setups on this site
    Cognisys - Home of High Speed Photography
    could be the startings of a great insect in flight setup!
  14. USM IS
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  15. Talonted90
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    Talonted90 New Member

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    Thanks for the link Buckster. I had to send them an email because no where that I look has this cord for a nikon which is somewhat odd to me. Hopefully I'll be in luck.

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