Macro Ring Flash

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by dan_brown|4, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. I shoot a lot of table-top and technical stuff, frequently with the 60 Micro. Lately, the small softboxes and mods are too cumbersome. So I bought a Stellar STL-80R LED ring flash.
    OK, the Stellar works, but it is disappointing. Obviously no TTL, but the "flash" power is not adjustable (although the 'modeling' power is). And the 'flash' duration is so long, that shutter speed controls exposure as it would for ambient light. No way to meter (flash meter no worky), so it trial and histogram shooting all the way. Even when I get it dialed in, the subject distance greatly affects exposure, so more trial and error.
    It has gotten old, although I do like the ring-flash light source for small technical subjects, and out in the lab/shop.
    So here is my question: What are some quality alternatives form camera mounted ring flash products, espectially TTL metered? What has worked for you?
  2. I was personally really tempted by the LED ring lights, but I asked around, here and elsewhere, and the past experience was pretty much like yours.
    So I gave it a pass, hoping for technological improvements.
    IN the meantime, it may be hard to find anything really working better than the two Nikon "Close-up Speedlights" - but they aren't cheap. An actual ringlight from Sigma is not much less.
  3. Well the linky went to a most unhelpful page that seems to be totally useless. No info about the flash at-all. One bit says it works on 4 x AA and further on 4 x AAA
    Does it go FLASH? It says 'Flash & Continuous Light', but there's no GN...where's the flash-tube? LED's only go flash once in my world!!
    Equally, Effective Range of 1.00 m (Amazon says 2m) f/ 4.0 @ ISO 100) is going to get you NOWHERE...Oh and what shutter-speed?

    Years ago I got a Sunpak auto DX(nothing to do with FX or DX) 12R, not TTL, but with suitable Auto and a bit of histo use it's great. Manual is full to 1/16th.
  4. Well, the Stellar did not come with a user manual or anything. The box states 440 lumens output.
    Operationally, there is an on-off switch and a brightness potentiometer. When it is off, the unit does nothing. When is it on, the potentiometer adjusts the brightness of the LED's, which go from dim to fairly bright. If the battery pack is on the hot-shoe of the camera, the LED's flash brighter when the shutter is fired. There is no control of this brightness. And, the flash duration is fairly long, longer than 1//30 second. So, the flash does not stop motion. I need to keep the shutter speed up about 1/125 for handheld shooting. I use aperture and ISO to place it in a reasonable functioning range.
    For example, a shot at about 12" from the lens would be well exposed at 1/125 sec., ISO 200, f11. Which is usable at macro distances.
  5. Does anything go FLASH?? ie very high output over a very short time??
    So, no 5 kiloton blast to freeze the motion of a dragonfly at 75cms?.. Dump it!
    Interesting use of trying to kill an LED at high speed!
  6. Nikon R1C1.
  7. A few years ago at a camera store that was going belly up, I picked up a Promaster Macrolume ttl unit. I've used it haltingly with a D200 and now my D7000. While it is wonky with 'auto' as it isn't i-ttl, it still can be controlled simply with reliance on the histogram. It has plenty of power (purported guide number of 32/feet) and the two flash lamps are adjustable (both with power settings and independently movable shutter curtains). You can dial down left or right or both, or can cause just one to fire. It also has two modeling lamps. I love it mostly cuz it works and I paid $30 for it.
    I see they now have i-TTL capable units too. Look around on the web, it may prove to be an alternate option. Not cheap, but if it is like my old unit, they do work well.
  8. Lame example follows ...
  9. I use a 150W Nikon fibre optic light source for macro work. The focus lens attachment also allows adjustment of light spread which comes in handy, and being fibre optic an object is not heated under continuous lighting. There is also a ring light attachment available which I don't have.
    Depending on object size I might also zoom from some distance and use an SB-600 on or off camera, with or without the fibre optic light. The ability to control light direction is sometimes important.
  10. Because I already had two SB-600 strobes, I rigged up this macro unit. The strobes are infinitely adjustable on the mini ball heads. I use it with my Tamron 60mm f/2 and D300s triggering the strobes with the built in flash, all in commander mode, so it's fully TTL/CLS. It does not show the Lumiquest diffusers I add to the strobes. (The prices are Adorama about a year old.)
  11. Michael K. that is awesome and looks like something out of the movie Serenity!:)
  12. +1 for the R1C1. Found a used one in perfect shape, already had an SU-800. TTL/CLS/AWL. Can use 1-3 flashes. Diffusion gels on the flashes and BYU.
  13. Oops, I actually forgot that I bought an SU-800 recently and have not even tried to use it with the
    setup... dohhhh. Never did see Serenity, but I do like rigging up devices to get exactly what I want.
    Just took up the ukulele and didn't like the electronics in it, so I ordered a new preamp with better
    controls to replace the one that came with it.

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