Which flash(s) & tripod best suit for MACRO photography with R8

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First I'd like to thank Steve, Ray, Jay, Mohummad, Ivan and Martin for they have contributed a lot of their comments and suggestion to my previous question - lens for Macro photography with R8. And after their help, I have bought the 60mm Macro Elmarit-R lens already. Now I have a further question. Which flash(s) & tripod best suit for the Macro photography with R8? How many? And Which brand and model should be considered? I have almost finished purchasing the equipment except the above items and next will be my skills development & practices. Thanks in advance.

-- Parker Ten (unieric@ctimail3.com), July 03, 2001


Depends on your chosen subject. For most macro subjects a ringlight produces too flat lighting, but with the 60mm the subject distance is sometimes a problem with other types of flash. You can't buy a TTL ringlight for the R8 but you can get the inexpensive Vivitar 5000 Macroflash and use the R8's "F" mode to determine the correct aperture. If you want aperture flexibility you'll need TTL. For that purpose I'd recommend an SF20, and a Nikon SC-17 off-camera cord and flash bracket from www.kirkphoto.com. If you really want to get fancy, get Kirk's double-macro bracket, a second SF20 and a Nikon AS- 10 and SC18 cord.

For a macro tripod, *nothng* beats a Benbo. The standard model is best, the "trekker" is a bit too lightweight for a full macro setup.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), July 03, 2001.

For life macro with Macro-Elmarit 60, such as flowers, butterfly I hand hold the camera

For macro photography of stamps, coins, Murano paper weight etc I use a column and base board copy stand. I seldom use tripod for macro, as I find it not as easy to to fine tune the camera distance.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), July 03, 2001.

Good point Martin. I forgot to mention that an essential accessory is a focusing rail. Again, Kirk (www.kirkphoto.com) makes the nicest one I know for field use--very compact. This allows precise fine- tuning of the focus while on a tripod.

-- Jay (infinitydt@aol.com), July 03, 2001.

Parker, Macro-Elmarit R 60/f2.8 is one of the best Leica lens. Compare with 100 mm macro, 60 mm macro lens is general purpose lens, and has broad range of application.

For photographying insect, flower, 100mm does offer the advantage of longer working distance.

However, if your macro photography is not limited to insect or flower, but include antique books, collector plates, and documents than the longer working distance of 100mm becomes a disadvantage. For example if you want to photography an 8" book pages, then the requirement macro is about 1:8, and the camera to object distance would be 9 times focal length. If you have only 100mm then the object distance would be 90 cm, nearly one meter, to far for turning book pages comfortably. Or suppose you put the 100mm macro on a copy stand, it would be near the top of copy stand column, not convenient at all. On the other hand, if you have a 60 macro, then the object distance is 54 cm, that is a more comfortable distance for turning book page, adjusting necklass etc

Unless you specialize in macro photography of insect, flowers, and small jewellery, otherwise, Macro-Elmarit 60/2.8 is far more useful.

-- martin tai (martin.tai@capcanada.com), July 10, 2001.

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