Monday, May 1, 2006
Nikon Wireless Close-Up Flash
Wireless is a great way to go for using flash with macro shots
Recently, I had the chance to work with Nikon's new wireless close-up flash kit. The R1C1 breaks new ground, offering ease and convenience in close-up flash that we've never had before. The kit includes an SU-800 flash controller, two SB-R200 flash heads and a mounting bracket to fit the front of a lens (a macro, for example).
Until you've experienced wireless flash, you can never really appreciate how great of a tool it is. Not having cables all over the camera, lens and flash bracket is a huge benefit for close-up photography. Besides the limitations that come from having to keep these cables connected, there's also added weight and swinging cords to contend with.
With the R1C1, you have none of that junk on and around your camera. You can move the flash heads anywhere you want, including popping one off the lens bracket to handhold a unit where you need light the most and having it work instantly.
Plus, Nikon has done an outstanding job in making the controller and flash heads work together in an easy-to-set way. There are no complex menus to go through. Simply set up your units with quick-to-use, intuitive dials and knobs; then you adjust the controller to tell each unit how strong it should be in relation to the other. A bar graph shows you the relationship of power from one unit to the other.
Then start taking pictures. I put this unit on a new Nikon D200 and I had perfect flash exposures for close-ups immediately. Shooting digital, I could decide where I wanted more light and where I wanted less. Then I quickly adjusted the controller and shot another picture for immediate review on the LCD. I found I could get the light I wanted very quickly.
In addition, I loved snapping off a flash unit and holding it in position for new angles of light. The units are small and light—no problem to hold over, under, behind or to the side of your subject. With no cords to worry about, you can really look for better light and see it quickly.
My only complaint is that Nikon engineers have chosen D-123 batteries for the flash units. These are camera batteries and aren't as widely available as AAs, and there aren't rechargeable versions. Obviously, this isn't something you can change, but it's worth keeping in mind so you can carry extra batteries with you.
Contact: Nikon, (800) NIKON-US, www.nikonusa.com.
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