Lester Dine Macro Ring Light

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by Matthew Currie, Jul 25, 2020.

  1. Just a little heads-up. Today at my favorite local photo bargain bin I got a "Dine Auto-Exposure Macro-light," which is a rather nice ring and direct lignt combination, made for closeups. It has TTL capability for older cameras if the right module is used (it's apparently shared with some older Sunpak). Anyway, with a little research I found that it's based on a Yuzo Auto Macro-flash unit, and with a little adventurous slicing with a thin sharp knife I discovered that underneath the Dine label one finds not only the Yuzo label but extended positions for a couple of the switches, allowing for higher ISO in Auto mode, and for plain manual mode, as well as a fixed 1/16 power manual mode.

    So if you have (or know the location of) one of these units, and have found that it is too bright or powerful for a lot of modern macro use, you might want to peel off that label.

    Butkus.org has the full Yuzo manual on line too.
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Administrator Staff Member

    Unless I am mistaken, the Lester Dine equipment was intended for dental use. Has / had quite a good rep.
  3. Yes indeed, Lester Dine has a good reputation (still around), and I think many people like their macro equipment. Which is why I jumped at this ring light, figuring it would be a good one, and it is. But Dine's setup for dental macros with older film cameras makes it less versatile for general use now, especially because its single ISO setup requires F16 or F32 apertures for macros, which are not ideal for a DX camera, since those apertures are above the limit for noticeable diffraction. The extra capabilities under the Dine label make it more versatile in manual and Auto mode, which make it useful even if you find one dedicated to some other camera. Recent Nikon digital cameras do not support the older TTL anyway.
  4. Sounds like a job for an ND filter, or some ND gel over the ringflash.

    FWIW. I've picked up a couple of 'Centon' or 'Starblitz' branded ring-flashes (same maker - different branding). They work well, except the auto mode sensor is positioned too far away from the flash ring for real macro use. Been thinking of butchering one to re-position the sensor, but haven't got round to it yet.

    Just looked at that Yuzo manual. What earthly use is an auto sensor on top of the hotshoe, and blocked by the flash head!?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  5. I agree that the placement of the sensor seems less than perfect, presumably because the whole unit is adapted from a one-piece flash. But it seems not to be too much of a handicap in actual use. Most of what i do is not super-macro - more likely to be bugs and flowers, so path from subject to sensor is not blocked. I'm not sure whether the Auto mode will put the flash below 1/16 power anyway, so one might do better just to switch it to that for macros. I haven't experimented much with it yet.

    I had figured an ND filter would help a lot, but found that for most uses, it's possible to fudge the ISO in auto mode, since increasing ISO by a stop is equivalent to darkening the flash by a stop.
  6. That's a bit more useful than the Starblitz/Centon flashes. They only have full-power or Auto modes, and as I said, the auto sensor is positioned quite badly.

    However, they're not thyristor controlled and any excess flash energy is dumped by an internal thyratron tube. This type of circuit usually allows an extremely short flash duration.
  7. Well, I may have to take that backl Last night it appeared that the when I raised the ISO in the Auto setting, it made larger apertures possible, but today I tried it again and it doesn't. Durn! Still handier having that 1/16 manual setting, but I guess if I want anything like Auto in macros I'm going to have to go to filters after all.

    The placement of the sensor doesn't seem to be the factor, because it doesn't help to have it further away. More experimentation is called for, I think.
  8. No, definitely not.
    I was thinking about placing it right on the rim of the flash ring, but making sure it doesn't get direct light from the tube.

    Purely as an aside. I've dismantled a few cheap auto flashes for spares, and the sensor used seems unique to flashguns. It's a photoconductor - obviously much faster than a CdS cell - but polarised. I.e. it only conducts in one direction; like a diode except there's no photocurrent generated. Very strange. Maybe a small photo-FET?
  9. SCL


    When I had one I encountered a variety of unexpected exposure problems so I finally sold it.

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