Practical lighting for close-up photography

spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
edited March 2013 in Nikon DSLR cameras
I want to get some lighting together for a truly portable rig for hand held close-up work I doubt I will need to go as far as 1:1 - probably 1:5 more likely (flowers and insects mainly). I have toyed with the idea of a ring light, but have seen some flat lighting with that kind of set-up, and I cannot go to the dedicated Nikon gear (SU-800 etc). I was thinking my SB700 and soft box to go with my 60mm macro or perhaps buying a cheap pair of small manual flashes to mount close to the end of the lens.

Anybody here have any experience to share in this area?

Always learning.
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Comments

  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I use the SB-800 and Lumiquest soft box, one I do not think is made now. But, here is a nice one from Adorama, similar to what I have

    http://www.adorama.com/LQSB2.html

    I agree the flat lighting from a ring light is not to my desire.

    I have a flash holder which attaches to the camera via ARCA Swiss connections, However, I am working on a bracket which will allow some flexibility to adjust the angel of the head/softbox so it is right at the front of the lens.
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    You might try a single SB-R200 ( ~£145)
    you do not need a SU 800 to fire it
    the R200 can be fired by your SB800
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    Orbis ring flash - I have a love hate relationship with it (mainly due to it's bulky size a little awkward use) but the darn thing just works, and is durable as well. It does light like a ring flash for sure and your don't get shadows as will traditional soft-boxes or even shooting flashes on either side of the subject. Hot spots are minimal as well. The only thing I have found is the light falls off quickly. I have sometimes set up a second flash above or some ware at 1/16 power just to fill the rest of the scene in depending on the time of day.

    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    I lit this image with a £40 00 cheap ring flash and a pair of white reflectors on both sides
    V2 Testing the WU-1b transmitter

    I try and use natural light as much as possible, the reflectors just pick the light up and magnify the reflection.
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    @paulr - Interesting. What kind of ring light do you get for £40 - LED permanent? A make and model would be handy. Looking at your exif it seems to be very low power - I need to get to f22 but up close so it may still work - what distance was that pic taken at? That style of lighting does have some advantages but can be boring too. If I can get one cheap enough, I'll give it a try.

    @Seven: I'm still leaning towards two small manuals or one and my SB-700 as per your suggestion, but I think I will go manual and use an optical slave unit to trigger the second - both in manual mode. It will not cost much to try that set-up too.
    Always learning.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    A little inspiration for bug macro shooters; Shahan -
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    d'oh!! other post was flagged for moderation.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited March 2013
    I am not pro at it, but I either don't use a flash at all or use my SB400, and I never have a problem with my 105...but I would see it being more of a problem with a shorter lens.

    But then again I always shoot mine handheld...so what do I know ;-)
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I will post some...here is with SB400...
    DSC_0362-1

    DSC_0123-1

    and with no flash...
    DSC_0069-1

    DSC_0186-1
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    @msmoto: I am interested to see your bracket as that is part of my plan too.

    Maybe two SB700's off camera at 45 degrees to the lens axis set to different manual powers..... :-?
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    edited March 2013
    After trying a LED ring light from aputure, I ended up with a combination of DÖRR "COMBI "P" TTL Blitz für Nikon" which comes together with a ring holder with two small flashes to be mounted with adapter rings on a lens. Each can be switched separately. The main flash can also join this flash group or stays switched off. Besides of TTL it has also 3 power modes but is not made for bouncing portrait shots.

    Then, 2 flat flashes from eLectra or something like that with a small GN sometimes help to get more broad lit macros.

    Artificial light becomes expensive if it doesn't have to look like artificial light. And I'm really no experienced flash user, I admit. I could solve some problems I had with lighting machinery, here are some samples
    Post edited by JJ_SO on
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,268Member
    edited March 2013
    ah, out of moderation -

    For brackets see here - (Craig Gerard's post at bottom of this page)
    http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13590&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=15

    I tried the Manfrotto style magic arm and found it a bit flimsy for my SB-400, but a slightly longer Noga arm (B&H # NODG6145CA) seems sturdier and provides more options for positioning the flash around the front of the lens.

    other flash rigs I've seen -
    http://orionmystery.blogspot.com/2010/12/more-macro-rigs.html
    Post edited by dissent on
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Spraynpray

    As I said this is a budget LED Ring Flash, The model is a Meike FC100 I tend to just use the light rather than the flash, I find that i have to turn down the power but if your shooting at f22 you may need it all
    The Kettle shot was taken from about 2 foot away I have seen the Meilke FC100 on ebay for less that £40 00, usual story after you have bought one
    Link
    http://www.mkgrip.com/en/products-look.aspx?id=107
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Thanks guys, interesting possibilities there. Cheers paulr - I've considered that meike before. Maybe wirth a try for 40 quid.

    I seem to remember that some flashes circuitry are hostile to modern DSLRs - anybody know how I can be sure not to buy one of those? Obviously if I trigger them with radio poppers or similar they will not damage the camera, but I'd like to be sure I know what to avoid.
    Always learning.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    With radio or by flashing the camera strobe and syncing by it. I would not use the flash socket with an elder flash and it's sync cable. Direct electrical contact with camera only with modern strobes. I'm too scared to burn the circuits.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @dissent

    This video demonstrates a good point.....the reversed lens, home made flash box, and a lot of patience can get some great shots with reasonable cost. My home made softbox is almost complete. I will use an SB-800 and will post a photo of the unit once completed.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    That guy must be really supple. By the time I had struggled down for a shot of those lil' critters they would have been long gone!
    Always learning.
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    I am not pro at it, but I either don't use a flash at all or use my SB400, and I never have a problem with my 105...but I would see it being more of a problem with a shorter lens.

    But then again I always shoot mine handheld...so what do I know ;-)
    Handheld is what one needs to use so that is good, but the SB400 is too low to mount on the hotshoe with a lens like the 60mm macro tcole. The 105 gives a greater working distance so you aren't working in your flashes shadow but with the 60 you would be. That vid shows the way to go I think by making a softbox that works off one flash. The results seem excellent. With the 60 it would give a similar large soft light so I think I'll make one. I'll worry about getting my old body down to actually shoot when I've made it.

    Thanks to all!

    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    Over the years I tried all sort of cocktails to try and get Macro results Some were rather strange looking but got interesting results The flash guns could be be moved in any direction
    Macro Work with Nikon
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Ber-limey paulr! Tripod = essential!
    Always learning.
  • paulrpaulr Posts: 1,176Member
    This is one of many attempts I played with,Some worked but some were total rubbish
    Camera, Lens and Tripod and a few other Bits
  • mk2popmk2pop Posts: 80Member
    I am not pro at it, but I either don't use a flash at all or use my SB400, and I never have a problem with my 105...but I would see it being more of a problem with a shorter lens.

    But then again I always shoot mine handheld...so what do I know ;-)
    Handheld is what one needs to use so that is good, but the SB400 is too low to mount on the hotshoe with a lens like the 60mm macro tcole. The 105 gives a greater working distance so you aren't working in your flashes shadow but with the 60 you would be. That vid shows the way to go I think by making a softbox that works off one flash. The results seem excellent. With the 60 it would give a similar large soft light so I think I'll make one. I'll worry about getting my old body down to actually shoot when I've made it.

    Thanks to all!

    i can use the sb400 on the hotshoe with my 40mm micro without getting the lens in the way

    another cheap solution is to use the 400 on swiveling bracket by the front of the lens with an sc-28, wont get in the way like an sb700/900
    D300 | D90 | D40 | F65 x2 | F75 | 10-24mm | 18-200mm | 35mm f1.8 | 50mm 1.4d | 40mm Micro | 70-300mm Tamron | 100-300mm f4 Sigma |1.4x Sigma tc | Sb400 | Sb900 x2

    Awaiting a DX D400
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    "i can use the sb400 on the hotshoe with my 40mm micro without getting the lens in the way"

    Sure, it may not cast a shadow on most subjects but as you get closer to 1:1 it does because the working distance is so close. The bigger problem of having the flash back there though is the quality of light. I am going to try a softbox up close like in the vid above which gives great light. When I started thinking of a macro rig I was kicking myself for selling my SB400. ~X(
    Always learning.
  • mk2popmk2pop Posts: 80Member
    edited March 2013
    i can use my sb400 at 1:1 aswell, its the hood that causes most shadowing so i just remove it
    Post edited by mk2pop on
    D300 | D90 | D40 | F65 x2 | F75 | 10-24mm | 18-200mm | 35mm f1.8 | 50mm 1.4d | 40mm Micro | 70-300mm Tamron | 100-300mm f4 Sigma |1.4x Sigma tc | Sb400 | Sb900 x2

    Awaiting a DX D400
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,089Moderator
    Got any pics to show us? I don't doubt you, it would be interesting to see the final result of your combo.
    Always learning.
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