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Author Topic: flash for medium format macro photography  (Read 3455 times)

Christoph B.

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flash for medium format macro photography
« on: April 30, 2016, 04:53:06 am »

I've been thinking about diving into macro photography (or rather micro-photography) and I need a flash.

The only problem is that I have little to no experience with these kinds of flashes and I have no idea which one to pick. There are so many manufacturers I'm a bit lost...

This is for a digital 645 camera so I need a rather powerful flash unit with a PC-sync port with a short flash duration.

I don't need any features like TTL, so a used one would definitely be fine!

Which one would you recommend?
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Ellis Vener

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Re: flash for medium format macro photography
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 01:52:26 pm »

just about any hotshoe flash will do, especially look at the LumaPro LP180 which his strictly manual and as four sync options

http://www.amazon.com/LumoPro-LP180-Official-Strobist-Flash/dp/B00E0L75FI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462038626&sr=8-1&keywords=LumaPro+LP+180

But if you want a modeling light, ability to set the light in 1/10th stop increments,  and AC power, the Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 works very well too

https://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php
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BobShaw

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Re: flash for medium format macro photography
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2016, 02:59:18 am »

Not sure why being medium format has anything to do with it. I assume it has a hotshoe. For micro you really need a ring flash. Any will do. I use Elinchrom. Although you may at f20 the power is such an issue as you will be so close.
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Christoph B.

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Re: flash for medium format macro photography
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2016, 04:22:58 am »

just about any hotshoe flash will do, especially look at the LumaPro LP180 which his strictly manual and as four sync options

http://www.amazon.com/LumoPro-LP180-Official-Strobist-Flash/dp/B00E0L75FI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1462038626&sr=8-1&keywords=LumaPro+LP+180

But if you want a modeling light, ability to set the light in 1/10th stop increments,  and AC power, the Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 works very well too

https://www.paulcbuff.com/e640.php


Hm yeah well PCB isn't an option, I'm outside of the states so no deal ;) hehe


Not sure why being medium format has anything to do with it. I assume it has a hotshoe. For micro you really need a ring flash. Any will do. I use Elinchrom. Although you may at f20 the power is such an issue as you will be so close.

Well MF has a  much higher magnification rate when you're doing macro shots (that's why I said "micro") so more power is required compared to small format...

I can't really use an Elinchrom, it has to be vey very portable and fit inside the same backpack I'm carrying the rest of my equipment so it has to be a small speedlite-type flash unit.  Most of those ring lights aren't really an option, their opening is much too narrow for big lenses and I want to avoid that lighting type.

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Bart_van_der_Wolf

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Re: flash for medium format macro photography
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2016, 06:51:09 am »

I can't really use an Elinchrom, it has to be vey very portable and fit inside the same backpack I'm carrying the rest of my equipment so it has to be a small speedlite-type flash unit.  Most of those ring lights aren't really an option, their opening is much too narrow for big lenses and I want to avoid that lighting type.

Hi,

I agree on the type of lighting, I prefer to not use ring-lighting. However, a lot depends on you working space between subject and lens. On my Canon lenses I use a dedicated 2 flashhead unit with added diffusers, but on a large diameter lens that wouldn't fit. At very high magnification factors, it will become hard to get some semi-frontal light on your subject, and ring-lights may be unavoidable.

For the sake of portability, you could think of 2 very compact modest (depends on magnification factor and aperture used) power flashes on penlight batteries, mounted on a bracket of sorts (e.g. Manfrotto 330B macro flash bracket). It's compact to store and transport, and the whole ensemble can be used handheld if needed, which is useful e.g. if you need to chase insects in the field (BTW 35mm equipment would be more suited for that than Medium format). The 330B is a bit on the flimsy side, IMHO.

If you really want to do this a lot, RRS has several more sturdy yet lightweight solutions, e.g. the WPF-QR2 which is compact when transporting, or the FR-91-QR of which they also have a smaller version if that still fits the lens position/diameter. The benefit of the Ring-bracket solution is that the lights can be moved more to the front of the lens, instead of the camera position. The more to the rear the flash is, the harder it is to avoid the lens from casting shadows on the subject.

You need the flashes in a position that allows to avoid a shadow from the lens barrel/hood getting cast on the subject. Also more distant flashes create harsher light, with lots of specular reflections, so you should aim to add something like diffusers to gain as much from the size of the light emitting surface and/or reflections from the subject's surroundings. Diffusers cost power, so make sure your flashes are powerful enough but not too powerful. Macro magnification costs a lot of light, exposure increases with magnification as (M+1)^2  (so at 1:1 magnification you need 4x as much light compared to infinity focus).

I in general find working with the RRS system, a joy, which also helps the photography by being less of an obstacle to construct a solid solution with components that are already present.

Cheers,
Bart
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Christoph B.

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Re: flash for medium format macro photography
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2016, 07:46:57 am »

Thank you Bart! I have thought of using a similar system but I think I'd actually prefer "only" one flash light - which I would use with a very small softbox from the side of the camera (on a bracket/arm, which I already have).

That should provide me with a soft enough light source, even when I'm not extremely lose to my subject.
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