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Forums Lobby MASTER YOUR VISION - BY SPECIALTY Micro, Macro & Close-up (Public) topic #50312
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Subject: "HELP! Please help with flash settings." Previous topic | Next topic
bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Wed 23-Jan-13 12:21 PM
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"HELP! Please help with flash settings."


Buffalo, US
          

I have D300 camera, R1C1 kit including SU-800 and two SB-R200 speedlights mounted on a 60mm AF Micro Nikkor lens. I have NO experience with flash photography (I'm an ambient-light sports shooter).

I need to photograph lab mice and rats, close up. The room lighting in our Biobubble is bad and I need reproducible lighting for publication and presentations.

I've set the commander to TTL, close-up.
Camera settings:
A mode, f/5
Single-point AF
Single-servo AF
Spot metering

What other settings should I use in the camera? ISO? Minimum shutter speed? Etc.

Thanks.
Dave

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

Http://bellnier-photos.smugmug.com

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Replies to this topic
Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
bellnier Silver Member
23rd Jan 2013
1
Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
blw Moderator
23rd Jan 2013
2
Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
bellnier Silver Member
23rd Jan 2013
3
     Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
blw Moderator
24th Jan 2013
4
          Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
bellnier Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
5
               Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
blw Moderator
24th Jan 2013
6
                    Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
bellnier Silver Member
24th Jan 2013
7
                         Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
blw Moderator
25th Jan 2013
8
                              Reply message RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings.
bellnier Silver Member
25th Jan 2013
9

bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Wed 23-Jan-13 07:40 PM
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#1. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 0


Buffalo, US
          

Come on, please! Flash has me confused!

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 23-Jan-13 10:04 PM
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#2. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Well, I don't use this unit, but here's what I use:

- matrix metering
- aperture priority, but most probably a MUCH smaller aperture than f/5, since DOF is always an issue with macro work. The closer or more magnification, the more you'll need to stop down.
- single point AF
- I'd use AF-C not AF-S for live or otherwise moving subjects
- TTL mode, not TTL-BL

I use whatever ISO is required to make the exposure work. Usually that's not much of an issue with flash - the main impact is on the background, since the flash is what lights the main subject. If you stop down a lot, the background generally goes pretty dark as light from the flash falls off at inverse square rates.

I don't set the minimum shutter speed; usually for macro work the 1/60th is fine. The time when it might not be is if you have generally more ambient light and thus the flash exposure may not be a large proportion of the overall exposure. In that case, you may need to use the 1/(focal length+50%) rule to avoid flash "shadow ghosts." I usually run into that with the 200/f4 Micro; with a 60mm things are generally much easier.

In general I usually do this with a D2x and a Sigma EM-140 ring light, but the R1C1 is very similar. The notable differences are (a) that the R200s are easily moved relative to each other, (b) you're wireless while my ring is wired, and (c) you could in theory use more than two lights while I'm fixed at two. The first is probably irrelevant as you probably want even lighting. The second is totally convenience and does not affect the end result. (Unless something gets caught in wire!!! Aaarrrggghhhh!!! Don't ask. It was probably funny. To everyone else.) The third item is probably also not relevant unless you actually have more R200's.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Wed 23-Jan-13 10:35 PM
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#3. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 2


Buffalo, US
          

Thanks Brian, this helps quite a bit. The mice will be anesthetized so no motion to capture. But there will be some shallow respirations, so I will leave in AF-C. And I don't see any reason why I can't open my lens as far as it'll go.
Cheers,
Dave

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

Http://bellnier-photos.smugmug.com

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 24-Jan-13 12:18 AM
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#4. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

The reason you won't want to open up the lens is that there is close to NO depth of field at macro distances. We're talking about a quarter of an inch or so. Here's an example:



I couldn't find one with the 60/f2.8 as I almost literally never shoot it wide open. And literally I do not have a single one shot nearly wide open in a macro situation. This one is from the Tamron 90/f2.8 at about f/4, more or less the same sort of situation. As you can see, the DOF is only few millimeters deep, and when it's out of focus, heck, it's not just out of focus, it's bokeh! In this image, that really doesn't work. I have to think that for mice, it really isn't going to work very well at all.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)

  

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bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Thu 24-Jan-13 12:55 PM
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#5. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 4
Thu 24-Jan-13 02:43 PM by bellnier

Buffalo, US
          

I'll experiment a bit. I forgot to mention that I don't need the entire animal in focus, only the surface of the skin which is quite flat when the rodent is anesthetized and laying prone. My intuition was to shoot at around f/5.6 or so, but I can play with it a bit.

But, knowing absolutely nothing about flash, what do I do with my setup and all the various controls in the "e" section of the Custom Settings? And do I use AutoWB? AutoISO?

Thanks all!

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Thu 24-Jan-13 05:58 PM
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#6. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 5


Richmond, US
          

I'd leave the settings alone. I use AutoWB, but then I shoot raw. If you're really worried about accurate color, leave a little piece of white paper in the shooting area. Then shoot raw. Then I use the eyedropper in Lightroom to correct color. I suppose it's not accurate enough for the fashion professionals, but it's good enough for my stuff.

Auto ISO - definitely not. Flash already has two meters going - ambient and flash. You don't want to add another variable to the equation. Just use ISO the way you would any other shot - start at base ISO and turn it up only when you can't get it done. Usually the flashes have an underexposure warning. I don't know about the R200s, but my SB-600, 800 and 900 all beep if they are in TTL or TTL-BL and they have to fire at full power and still underexpose. I'd guess that the R200s are the same way, but I don't know that. If you get underexposure, it means that the flash isn't powerful enough to deal with the aperture and distance combination - so turn up the ISO.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Thu 24-Jan-13 09:57 PM
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#7. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 6


Buffalo, US
          

Thanks Brian. This is incredibly helpful. I'm going to take some photos tomorrow. I have a white ruler laying on top of the animal so I'll shoot in raw and color correct.
Cheers,
Dave

PS. I can't show any pictures...against Institute policy.

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

Http://bellnier-photos.smugmug.com

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Fri 25-Jan-13 09:57 PM
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#8. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 7


Richmond, US
          

One more thing that might help - it's not about flash at all. But if you're new to macro, one MAJOR hint is to try as hard as you can to get the sensor parallel to the subject. That allows you to exploit the DOF to the maximum degree possible. Imagine a dragonfly. If you shoot down from above, the dragonfly is only a couple of mm deep, and f/8 or f/11 can easily keep it all in focus. If you shoot face-on, the same insect is very easily 40mm deep, and no aperture will allow you to keep the whole thing in focus - fortunately in this case you rarely need to do that.

In your case, if you keep the plane of the sensor parallel to the mouse's skin, you'll probably have a fairly easy time with DoF.

Oh- one more thing. After you've got a few shots in the bag, you might consider turning one of the R200's down by a half to a full stop. That will cause the light to be uneven, and it will emphasize surface texture. That may or may not be what you want, but if you try it, you'll know what might be possible in the future.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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bellnier Silver Member Nikonian since 18th Jul 2006Fri 25-Jan-13 10:31 PM
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#9. "RE: HELP! Please help with flash settings."
In response to Reply # 8


Buffalo, US
          

Thanks Brian. I gave it a try today and the pictures came out great. Mice are prone and anesthetized. Camera is on a tripod and the sensor in the same plane as the table that the mice are laying on. I'm angry at myself that I didn't buy this rig earlier.
Cheers,
Dave

"Stupidity is a gift from God, but one mustn't misuse it" - Pope John Paul II

Http://bellnier-photos.smugmug.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

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