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Photography Question 
Robert Green

Flash Equipment for Macro Work using Nikon D80

I wish to purchase flash equipment to use in macro work using my Nikon D80 camera and Sigma 105mm macro lens.
I have been looking at the on-line data concerning the Nikon SB600, SB800, and Nikon R1 set up. Sorry to say my mind is in a whirl as to which is best for my purpose.
I do not have an external flash unit at all (only flash facility is that on the D80).
One of my concerns re the Nikon R1 is whether this is suitable for my Sigma lens?
I assume I could do macro work with the SB600 using an extension arm/support fixed to the bottom of the camera?
Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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3/10/2008 3:23:15 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The R1 set can be used with the Sigma 105 f/2.8 EX Macro, but with a couple caveats. First, this lens extends/retracts with focus. The added weight of the R1 on the lens barrel can stress the AF system, so manual focus is recommended. Second, the R1 attaches via the lens filter threads, and comes with adapter rings for 52mm, 62mm, 67mm, 72mm, and 77mm diameter filter threads. The Sigma's filter threads are 58mm, but this is easily and cheaply remedied by using a 58mm/62mm or 58mm/67mm step-up ring.

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3/10/2008 7:19:52 AM

Robert Green   Thank you very much for your prompt response, Jon - appreciated!
I take your point re the weight of the R1 on the Sigma lens barrel. From the brochures the R1 looks a weighty device.

I have also been considering the Nikon R29 "ring flash". One of the reviews on this device mentioned it would only work in manual focus on the D80. This point I do not fully understand but, perhaps, this is also due to the weight problem?

What would be the pros and cons of the R1 compared with the R29 or even a simple SB600 mounted on and extension arm?

Thanks for your help.


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3/10/2008 11:20:16 PM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/18/2000
  The SB-29 ringlight has the same caution wrt autofocus: "Nikkor lenses having a ring that rotates or moves forward or backward during AF operation may not autofocus correctly or may damage the lens or camera’s autofocus mechanism due to the weight of the main unit. Therefore, do not perform autofocus operation, but use manual focus instead."

The biggest advantage of the R1 set is i-TTL compatibility with the digital SLRs. The TTL of the SB-29 is for traditional film cameras and will not work with digital bodies. The SB-29 can be used with digitals only in its manual output level settings (M and M 1/4).

Re the SB-600: It is more versatile as an all-around speedlight. For macro, however, you'll only get light from one direction and thus heavy shadows where this can be better controlled with the 2 heads of the R1. Plus, the SB-600 is much more powerful and is harder to regulate if it is mounted close to the subject. The specs for the SB-600 give a minimum distance of 2 ft. for use in i-TTL. For macro work it might be better to mount it farther away on its own stand rather than on a bracket on the camera.

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3/11/2008 5:55:22 AM

Robert Green   Thank you so very much for your time and interest, Jon.
I now understand about the SB29 focus problem - weight, lens rotation and not really appropriate for digital bodies.

Good points re the power from the SB600.

It looks as though I shall be settling for the R1.

Again, thank you for your response. When all is up and working I shall send you a sample or two of my work, sir.


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3/11/2008 11:56:07 PM

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