Macro Lighting question.

Snakeguy101

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Hey guys, I have a Nikon D80 and Tokina 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I am looking into some lighting systems and the Nikon R1 and R1C1 systems. I was wondering if I needed the commander with my camera or if I could use the on camera flash as a commander. This is my first jump into flash photography so I am completely unfamiliar with my cameras flash settings. What would you guys recommend? Thanks for your help.

R1C1
4803 Nikon R1C1 Wireless Close-up Speedlight System for i-TTL SLRs without Built-in Commander, with SU-800 Commander, 2 SB-R200 Speedlights, & System Components - U.S.A.

R1
4804 Nikon R1 Wireless Close-up Speedlight System for i-TTL SLRs with 2 SB-R200 Speedlights, and System Components - USA Warranty
 
You can utilize commander mode, the D80 is an i-TTL camera. I haven't personally used the R1, but I've been thinking about it myself. If you shop around the forums online you can find them used for around 300-350. A lot of people tend to buy the unit, rarely use it and then resell once the novelty of macro has faded. Most of the used R1's I have seen for sale have been in mint condition.

A cheaper option would be to just use a standard flash, like maybe a sb600 and create your own macro flash setup. There are ton's of examples on this and other forums as to how you might go about this for the loose change in your couch. Here's a good resource I read when I was interested in macro:

Macrophotography by LordV
 
That R1C1 and R1 setup are way over priced IMO and can give flat lighting similar to a ring light. Just get a cheap used speedlight and a set of radio triggers. You can get the SB-28's used for under $100 and a transmitter/receiver set can be had for $30 or so. Then all you need to do is make a cheap diffuser. Lots of DIY's on that. This will save you at least $300 over what you're looking at and will probably give better results. Not to mention a speedlight like the SB-28 can be used for other things.
 
That R1C1 and R1 setup are way over priced IMO and can give flat lighting similar to a ring light.

If its giving you flat lighting you're not using it correctly (assuming you don't want flat lighting). If you keep the flashes on opposite sides and at the same power, then yes you'll get flat lighting. However if you shift them around their rotational mount and if you vary their outputs the variations are very wide indeed with what's possible. You can, at its simplest, vary the powers to have one stronger than the other to cast a shadow; you can also shift them to around a 10am and 1pm positions on the ring mount (00:00 taken as middle top of the circle when mounted) which gives you an "above subject" light source similar to the angle of the sun (And thus an of desired angle for the lighting).
 
Nevermind- that site IS a scam. Found this on them: cameraslamps.com

Don't think this site is a scam. LordV is a legit and very accomplished macro enthusiast. The R1 will work with your D80's built in flash in commander mode according to what I read. I have a similar setup except two SB600's on a macro flash bracket. I believe you would be happy with the R1 setup.

Jerry
 
I agree with mjhoward that the R1 setups are overpriced... and can give flat lighting if not used properly. Used properly, the macro shots I have seen with them far exceed using a normal flash. But part of that is also the experience of the shooters using them.

For someone starting out, you can get great light with a single speedlight.. and a small softbox diffuser (either purchased or DIY). I used one of these for a while Amazon.com: Fotodiox 6"x8" Softbox for Nikon Flash, Canon Speedlight, for Nikon SB-600, SB-800, SB-900 Flash, Canon Speedlite 380EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Vivita Flash, Sunpack, Nissin,Sigma, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonica Lumix.. and it does pretty well, especially if you put a Stofen or something similar on the flash before you mount the softbox. This is a good size.. they make one that is larger, but it is also much more bulky. Lately I have been using one of these... as it is a double layer diffuser and much high quality than the Fotodiox stuff Amazon.com: Lastolite LL LS2420S Ezybox Speed-Lite: Electronics.

All of the butterfly pics on my Flickr were shot with the lastolite... the fly (eyes) and the Box Elder beetle were shot with a Fotodiox.. if you are interested in see what the diffusers do.

I did just order an R1 set (I already have an SU-800)... and found it new for under $400. It just arrived today, as a matter if fact! Now I just have to learn to use them! lol!
 
Thanks for the info guys. I have been doing a lot of research on this system and I think it is a match for me. I will eventually expand it to more than the two flashes included and may also get a Sb 600 & soft box down the line too. Macro (or semi-macro) is what I would like to start focusing on. Most of my shots are of reptiles or amphibians and that is what I am interested in most as a subject so I feel like this will give me the most possibilities.


I agree with mjhoward that the R1 setups are overpriced... and can give flat lighting if not used properly. Used properly, the macro shots I have seen with them far exceed using a normal flash. But part of that is also the experience of the shooters using them.

For someone starting out, you can get great light with a single speedlight.. and a small softbox diffuser (either purchased or DIY). I used one of these for a while Amazon.com: Fotodiox 6"x8" Softbox for Nikon Flash, Canon Speedlight, for Nikon SB-600, SB-800, SB-900 Flash, Canon Speedlite 380EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Vivita Flash, Sunpack, Nissin,Sigma, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonica Lumix.. and it does pretty well, especially if you put a Stofen or something similar on the flash before you mount the softbox. This is a good size.. they make one that is larger, but it is also much more bulky. Lately I have been using one of these... as it is a double layer diffuser and much high quality than the Fotodiox stuff Amazon.com: Lastolite LL LS2420S Ezybox Speed-Lite: Electronics.

All of the butterfly pics on my Flickr were shot with the lastolite... the fly (eyes) and the Box Elder beetle were shot with a Fotodiox.. if you are interested in see what the diffusers do.

I did just order an R1 set (I already have an SU-800)... and found it new for under $400. It just arrived today, as a matter if fact! Now I just have to learn to use them! lol!
Where did you order from? Cheapest I found it was used for $430.
 
Thanks for the info guys. I have been doing a lot of research on this system and I think it is a match for me. I will eventually expand it to more than the two flashes included and may also get a Sb 600 & soft box down the line too. Macro (or semi-macro) is what I would like to start focusing on. Most of my shots are of reptiles or amphibians and that is what I am interested in most as a subject so I feel like this will give me the most possibilities.


I agree with mjhoward that the R1 setups are overpriced... and can give flat lighting if not used properly. Used properly, the macro shots I have seen with them far exceed using a normal flash. But part of that is also the experience of the shooters using them.

For someone starting out, you can get great light with a single speedlight.. and a small softbox diffuser (either purchased or DIY). I used one of these for a while Amazon.com: Fotodiox 6"x8" Softbox for Nikon Flash, Canon Speedlight, for Nikon SB-600, SB-800, SB-900 Flash, Canon Speedlite 380EX, 430EX, 430EX II, 550EX, 580EX, 580EX II, Vivita Flash, Sunpack, Nissin,Sigma, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, Panasonica Lumix.. and it does pretty well, especially if you put a Stofen or something similar on the flash before you mount the softbox. This is a good size.. they make one that is larger, but it is also much more bulky. Lately I have been using one of these... as it is a double layer diffuser and much high quality than the Fotodiox stuff Amazon.com: Lastolite LL LS2420S Ezybox Speed-Lite: Electronics.

All of the butterfly pics on my Flickr were shot with the lastolite... the fly (eyes) and the Box Elder beetle were shot with a Fotodiox.. if you are interested in see what the diffusers do.

I did just order an R1 set (I already have an SU-800)... and found it new for under $400. It just arrived today, as a matter if fact! Now I just have to learn to use them! lol!
Where did you order from? Cheapest I found it was used for $430.

Oops.. that was a typo.... you have me beat at $430. I meant to put a 5.. not a 4... so under $500. I found it for $469 at Unique Camera. They always provide good service. Normally I buy from B&H or Adorama, but they are both back ordered on the R1 kit.

http://store.uniquephoto.com/e/inde...le&zmam=86451217&zmas=29&zmac=65&zmap=NKH4804
 
Oops.. that was a typo.... you have me beat at $430. I meant to put a 5.. not a 4... so under $500. I found it for $469 at Unique Camera. They always provide good service. Normally I buy from B&H or Adorama, but they are both back ordered on the R1 kit.

Unique Photo | Nikon R1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System 4804 | uniquephoto.com

Adorama has it here: 4804 Nikon R1 Wireless C.u.speedlight System

That one is used.... and I didn't check used when I bought these! Probably should have! That explains the price too...
 
That R1C1 and R1 setup are way over priced IMO and can give flat lighting similar to a ring light.

If its giving you flat lighting you're not using it correctly (assuming you don't want flat lighting). If you keep the flashes on opposite sides and at the same power, then yes you'll get flat lighting. However if you shift them around their rotational mount and if you vary their outputs the variations are very wide indeed with what's possible. You can, at its simplest, vary the powers to have one stronger than the other to cast a shadow; you can also shift them to around a 10am and 1pm positions on the ring mount (00:00 taken as middle top of the circle when mounted) which gives you an "above subject" light source similar to the angle of the sun (And thus an of desired angle for the lighting).

Your lights are still going to be restricted to being directly in front of your lens. If you plan on ever pulling back from your subject, your light is just going to get flatter the further you get. You've got very limited 'XY' positioning of your light and zero 'Z' positioning relative to your lens/sensor. Regardless, I can still get better more diffuse light out of my single speedlight with DIY diffuser, not to mention a whole lot more power at way less money to boot.
 
True, but if your focusing close the twinflash is a very versatile option. That said my experiences with it are more with 2:1 to 5:1 magnifications (where it really shines over heavier larger flash units). For 1:1 work I agree that the market is much more easily open to using regular flash units.
 

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