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bruceterrill

Help with the Z-22 "Ring Flash"

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Hi Guys,

I own and use a Nexus housed Nikon D70S. I also have the Inon Z-22 ring flash that I am determined to get to work properly or I will probably end up in the 'Looney Bin'.

Location for use is temperate, green waters of southern Oz. Lots of tidal flow and backscatter...

I have had a custom port for the 60mm micro made for me by Peter Laddell; excellent workmanship!

I have tried using this strobe manually with and without the diffusers and via TTL with the S&S mk I converter. I have consistently produced very bright, to the point of over exposed, images. I am trying to achieve a softer lighting and am ansure as to which way is ahead for me? I would really appreciate that anyone with experience with this system, if they could guide me in the right direction, then that would be great... I think that even at 1/4 power the strobe is 'too' much power? I am not an expert and it would really

great if you can help me out with the tricks you have learned about this strobe??

I was even thinking along the lines of making a custom tube that screws into the front of the housing, so that the lens has to look through a longer tunnel before being affected by the 'edge' lighting from the ring flash. I am completely unsure as to how this would work, but I am willing to try anything physical to the strobe or any 'favored' camera settings for the set-up?

Thanks guys for taking the time to help out on this one,

Regards,

Bruce

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i used mine for one trip... then sent it to eBay heaven...

 

Whilst not constructive to say this, sell it and but two small strobes :)

 

I think with the 60mm lens you are going to be too close to the subject. I used mine with my 105mm and 70-180mm and it was ok on f16+ at low power with the diffuser.

 

However going for anything but a black background was almost impossible, it's just too powerful for balanced light images. I felt using is was creatively stifling hence i got rid. Would be perfect if you could find a way to get it down to 1/16 or 1/32 though.

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i used mine for one trip... then sent it to eBay heaven...

 

Whilst not constructive to say this, sell it and but two small strobes :)

 

 

:P:P:P That was my next option...

I thought that I remembered reading that there were quite a few of these units in use around England etc.,

and I thought that their conditions would be similar to mine, so I was kinda hoping that they would bite the bullet and relay some of their experiences; either good, or bad...

 

Bruce

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I am currently reading Martin Edge's book "The Underwater Photographer" Third Edition.

 

It's a great book and has given me lots of useful tips.

 

I find it very interesting that he is a fan of the ring flash and uses it a lot for macro shots.

A number of the images in his book were taken with the ring flash.

 

Makes me wonder why Martin Edge likes it and uses it yet others don't care for it at all. I would definitely call him one of the most successful and well known uw photographers around these days.

 

Cheers,

 

Ellen

Edited by ornate_wrasse

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My wife has a CANON ring flash (from UK-Germany) and loves it greatly.

We hope to give it a real workout in April at Wakatobi.

 

Really curious to see the flash tubes in the critter's eyes :)

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The UK one is a true ringflash... they took apart a canon one and housed it, whereas the Inon z22 is actually 4 normal flash tubes set 90 degrees apart.

 

It's great, but its just too powerful. Sometimes to get a nice blue background i need to drop down to f/8 and its too powerful for that at an acceptable macro working distance. I believe some people have managed to take it apart and mess with the circuit board inside to lower the power, but that was beyond me!

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.

I believe some people have managed to take it apart and mess with the circuit board inside to lower the power, but that was beyond me!

 

I can certainly understand why :)

 

Which ring flash were you using? The UK one that I'm guessing Martin Edge uses or the Inon z22?

 

Cheers,

 

Ellen

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I can certainly understand why :)

 

Which ring flash were you using? The UK one that I'm guessing Martin Edge uses or the Inon z22?

 

Cheers,

 

Ellen

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I use the Z22 with a nikon D2x. I fit a diffuser (which was supplied with it) to reduce the power by one stop.

I use it in manual or aperture priority, minimum ISO and close the aperture down until the exposure is correct. It can mean going down to F22 or 32 sometimes.

 

Colin

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Hi Bruce

 

Martin used an old syle Ken Sullivan ring flash they created jointly.

I Dive with Martin quite regulary despite the distance between us and the newer style was too powerful with digital so he is waiting for Ken to modify the existing ring flash with more power settings or a ttl convertor.

 

Mark Webster in the UK uses the Inon Z22 very succesfully and I believe Pete Mooney in Cairns does as well.

 

Shannon

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It won't get you a blue background, but if the problem is too much light, you could always put a neutral density filter on your lens.

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Hi Guys,

Thanks for your responses.Seems that everyone agrees that the strobe has to be stopped down by 1 Fstop.

I was also reminded by Peter Laddell that the minimum ISO of the Nikon D70S is 200. That means that I have to remove at least 2 Fstops before I can start using the power controls on the strobe. No wonder my images were bright... :):D:D

I have ordered some ND filter and I will experiment with it and decide which is best. A more permanent option would be to get a wire scrim fitted to the strobe and see how that goes??

Does anyone know if the Z-22 can be easily disassembled so that I could mount the ND filter internally so as it doesn't come in direct contact with the water every dive???

 

Could some one please explain the, if any, short comings of mounting the ND filter to the camera lens instead of mounting it on the strobe???

 

Thankyou for taking the time fellas,

Bruce

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A thicker diffuser could be a good choice. I know for other strobes Inon does a -1.5 diffuser... not for the Z22?

 

Another option is to build a -2 or -2.5 diffuser for the strobe yourself. if you already own one diffuser, building a new DIY thicker one should not be a big problem...

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Hi Guys,

Well after talking to one of the ND filter suppliers in Oz, I found out that the wire scrim is made from stainless steel and is a sort of 'cross hatch', honey comb arrangement that when fitted is a far more rugged/reliable unit than just ND filter sticky taped to the outside of the ring flash.

Big BONUS is that it available as a circular unit, and measuring 14.5cm diameter, which is the exact diameter of the Z-22 unit. It gets better! It is also available in 1 stop and 2 stop variations...woohoo.

 

I will let you know how in water tests go, after my close friend tries it out for me. I'm still on the disabled pile/list... :angry:

 

Bruce

Edited by bruceterrill

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Bruce,

 

As someone in the mail string above has said I have been using the Inon Quad flash for some years and for me it provides the perfect macro lighting. I think that the root of your problem lies with the minimum ISO 200 of the D70. This applies particularly if you are using it with a 60mm lens as you will be closer to the subject.

 

I am currently using my quad with a D200, mostly on ¼ power and without diffusers and get great exposures but the minimum ISO is 100. I mostly use it with a 105mm, but occasionally the 60mm and 180mm. Previously I had used it with a D100 (which also has a minimum ISO of 200) but I had a L&M Titan housing and ROC which allowed me to turn the power right down.

 

I have not used the unit with any of the converters and shoot only on manual, although a workshop client of mine sent her unit to Heinrich Werkamp to have one of his converters installed inside the quad. It seems to work well – she was shooting with a D70 and Subal. I understand that the quad will also operate in TTL with the Sea & Sea converter.

 

I suggest that you make yourself some additional diffusers to go behind the Inon supplied one to reduce the power output and run some tests (in the UK plastic milk bottles are ideal for this!). If you are using the 60mm the other problem you may find is that at maximum magnification (1:1) you are so close to the subject that you cannot light it without shadows. This unit was designed with the 105mm and longer macro lenses in mind.

 

I noticed another comment above regarding balanced light – no problem, just select the correct aperture for the flash exposure and then slow down your shutter speed. I regularly shoot at 1/15th in temperate waters.

 

Hope that helps a little.

 

Mark Webster

www.photec.co.uk

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Hi Mark,

Thanks for your reply.

I have been using the 60mm micro in an effort to "hedge my bets" a little. When I use the ring flash, I am usually chasing small critters like seahorses, etc., and whilst doing so quite often come across octopii on the night dives. The 60mm gives me the flexiblity to get a 'whole' shot of the octopus. I usually have a Nexus wet diopter with me for increased magnification. I note also that I have on quite a few occasions come across lighting difficulty due to the close proximity of the subject to the port...

However, I realise more and more that I need to be more target specific and use the 105mm Nikkor lens.

As I said previously, I am going to try and use a 1stop wire scrim, and use this in conjunction with the Inon supplied diffuser. If this works, then I will try the 2stop wire scrim and check the results again.

I am interested in the idea of the Heinrichs TTL comverter being placed inside the Z-22 body. I will contact Matthias and ask his advice/recommendations.

Thanks again for taking the time,

Bruce

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I have been using the Z22 with a Matthias converter on a Canon 20D in a Subal housing. Works OK at F16/F22 using a Canon 100 mm macro. Don't forget that you can use the black metal ring to block half the tubes (top and bottom) if you need to get real close without a lot of effect on the lighting on many macro subjects.

I have had relatively few over exposures, but for shooting on white sand where you get lots of reflections, I have made a second thicker diffuser from polystyrene that is about a 2.5 stop diffuser.

Bill

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