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armin de hooge

built-in macro ringflash

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Armin,

 

I've used several of Nikons pre-ttl ring lights, nothing modern though. Very soft shadow free images. What is is that you are photographing? My guess is that if such a beast existed for u/w back scatter would be a serious issue, and resulting images would be very low contrast, flat looking (but no shadows).

 

Doug

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They do exist. Inon make one and there are several small producers making 'custom' ones as well. The results I've seen don't exhibit those problems you've commented on - though that would be my initial thoughts as well. Martin Edge has a chapter on this in his revised book. And I'm sure that an older issue of the UWP has an article as well.

 

They've been in use at least for the past three years but they don't seem to have found a huge following - unless they're being kept a secret ;-)

 

Andy

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Andy,

 

I found the articles you mentioned in UWP (issues 1 & 2) about the Inon Quad Flash, not a true ring light but very close. It looks as if it were designed to fit around the outside of a Subal macro port, and offers TTL flash capability and a focus light. Sounds interesting but I have never seen this in person (not even at the Inon booth at DEMA). Might be worth following up on. Inon America's website is not up and running in full so maybe someone can track this down on the Inon Japan site.

 

I personally think that the right shadow can add depth and interest to a photo and help draw the viewer into the image. But what do I know. We should investigate further.

 

Doug

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The custom ringflash's I've seen (albeit pictures only) have been based around an existing ringflash manufactured by a third party (the exact one escapes me though). Heres the link to one of the aforementioned third party systems made by POP's along with some sample pics.

 

Personally, I strive for even lighting but inherrently you always have some inbalance between strobes/subject distances whether you plan it or not, so you normally always get some shadow. Perspective & focus leads to as flat images as that caused by lighting - I try to capture a subject with some 'depth' and neg space behind it to avoid a flat picture - rarely that easy to do though.

 

So i'm not a huge fan of this and find that two small comparable strobes (YS30's) placed either side of a port can give a pretty consistent and even light as well as not being too cumbersome. However, I think that a ringflash may well have a place in a gearbag, but not mine when i have to carry it and pay for excess :P

 

Andy

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Thast may work a little better, but not convinced until I see images of fish without red eyes and then there is possible retinal damage with constant bombardment.

However, getting the shot is more important right?

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Bob, are you thinking about damage to the subject's eyes? I would have thought a quad flash would reduce the likelihood and extent of any retinal damage. Whether using this or conventional strobes, you'd still be aiming to have the same amount of light arriving at the subject. But with this ring flash it would be coming from 4 sources instead of 1 or 2, and in addition the sources are probably alightly closer to the subject meaning the flash tubes subtend a greater angle at the subject's eyes, and for both these reasons the intensity of light at any one point on the retina should be less. Or did I misunderstand? it has happened before...

 

-David

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Unfortunately I'm not sure there are many photog's these days concerned with 'retinal damage' apart from their own :P

 

I'm kinda glad I only have 36 shots on any one dive after reading another thread on here recently where the photog seemed quite pleased to have shot over 500 frames of pygmy's on a single dive! Not much consideration for your subject there.

 

Better not get going on this subject.......

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Well, I for one would be interested in the number of flashes considered acceptable. Does it vary by critter? How many for say, an Octopus? Or a Pygmy Seahorse??? What about Nudibranchs? I'm told even they have eyes. :freak:

I know my own personal limit is one. B) (When someone takes my picture)

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I think that being considerate and minimising flashes (=stress) is at least a reasonable guideline? In most instances over the years with a camera, I can *usually* get what I want from a dozen frames (that is a generalisation I know). I just deplore the attitude that 'now I have a limitless amount of frames, I can shoot regardless and pick the good ones out afterward'. I'm not saying that all digi users are like that as I myself wouldn't be. But that's what I seem to read from some posters here. A little more thought, care and patience would go a long way.

 

Off my soapbox now :P

 

Andy

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I have an Inon Z22 Quad Flash, and I'm very pleased with it. I believe it's the only one in the US right now. I had to buy it from Ocean Optics in London UK and import it. Then I had to customize a port to fit my Aquatica housing. I did this by buying a Sea&Sea port made by Ocean Optics for the Z22 and grafting it onto an Aquatica extension ring.

 

I'll post some images, both of the Quad Flash & Port, and some results.

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I'm curious to know how one determines an animal's sensitivity to strobe. Do you ask them? Perhaps the animal considers it rude of you to take even one picture.

 

I believe that taking 500 shots of a single subject is quite excessive (not to mention impressive considering strobe life) but I don't understand drawing the line at 1 or 5 or any set number really. There are many forms of stress that we subject critters to.

 

I think the ring flash is cool, but it isn't flexible and it's not clear that it does anything much better than pulling your strobes in tight to the port. I've been tempted to try one but I can't honestly justify the extra travel weight and am not sure it would improve the quality of my shots. It's true that if it blinds a particular creature then you won't have any option to change it. I am interested in seeing the install and the results with it.

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Rectal damage !!!! - maybe its a stobe aiming problem. :freak:

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I think the ring flash is cool, but it isn't flexible and it's not clear that it does anything much better than pulling your strobes in tight to the port

 

I agree, which is why I think they haven't become more mainstream in the past few years. Though I would say the few shots I've seen taken by Martin Edge using a ringflash have a different (intriguing) lighting quality to them.

 

I believe that taking 500 shots of a single subject is quite excessive (not to mention impressive considering strobe life) but I don't understand drawing the line at 1 or 5 or any set number really. There are many forms of stress that we subject critters to.

 

Yes, but it's the attitude of lack of care or respect that saddens me. Maybe it's having recently experienced exactly that at KBR recently. Numerous 'experienced' photographers showing neither to the animals and environment on a majority of dives. Minimising stress and/or damage certainly wasn't on their agenda. I do wonder why some people dive / take photographs sometimes.

 

Andy

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In the UK (particularly in the London BSoUP crowd) ring flashes are very popular. Both the INON quad and Ken Sullivan's POPS flash are everywhere. There is always a strong sheep effect in BSoUP! I can quickly think of 10-15 people who have them.

 

I have seen some wonderful images taken with the ring-flash/quad and those who have invested in them really like them. Although most of them are pretty handy with a camera and would probably be getting some half decent shots anyway.

 

One of the most popular advantages people mention is that it makes the camera rig much smaller and this seems to make fish easier to approach.

 

There seem to be certain subjects the ring flash really suits and others it does not.

 

Alex

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I for one would be very interested if you could expand on this, Any chance they might supply example images Alex?

 

Cheers,

 

Bob

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As promised, here are is a link to some images of my Inon Quad Flash and the custom port I made to fit my Aquatica housings. Also some sample images shot with the Quad using my N90S with Nikon 60mm. I haven't had an opportunity to use the Quad with my S2 yet. That will come next week in Bonaire.

 

http://helixcamera.lifepics.com/common/alb...03&viewType=Old

 

Things I like about the setup:

It is very compact, and lets me get into tight corners that would be impossible with conventional strobe arms. The Yellowline Arrow Crab is a good example.

It does seem to let me get closer to skittish subjects.

 

Things I don't like about the setup:

It is about 2.5 pounds negative, and makes my wrists ache. The automatic aiming light is not really bright enough on its own. The strobe, port and external 2:1 diopter cost close to $1,500.

 

Bruce

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