View Full Version : what ring flash to get

12-28-2007, 03:33 PM
Well I have tried to find a ring flash on ebay but I can find one that I can be sure is the right one for my cameras.Right now I have two cameras,a Konica t3 and a Nikon n70.I need one that will work on the t3(my macro gear is all Konica)If it could also work on the Nikon it would be nice but not a must.:confused:Any ideas?

John Koehrer
12-28-2007, 05:17 PM
If you want ot go cheap(comparatively) Check out some of the aftermarket units. Sunpak made a couple that used series adapters to fit various lenses. I don't believe any were ttl but were thyristor controlled with manual over ride.
Other brands were available but not as sophisticated as Sunpak. I've got a Starblitz brand.

Dan Fromm
12-28-2007, 07:22 PM
Bob, not to belabor the obvious but the minimum requirement is that it can be attached to your lens of choice's filter threads. Your T3 doesn't control flash through the lens so TTL-auto is irrelevant. Self-quenching flashes don't know about compensation for magnification, so aren't easily used for closeup work.

Coupla not too obvious considerations. Here's an exercise that will illuminate them: Choose the film speed you want to use. Choose the range of magnifications you're going to work at. Calculate flash-to-subject distance for the lens of choice and a couple or three (lowest, highest, middle) of the magnifications you expect to use. If you don't know exactly where the ringflash will sit, assume that it will be 1" in front of the end of the lens' barrel and 1" outside it. Decide the effective aperture(s) at which you want to work. Then use GN arithmetic to determine what GN the flash has to have to give good exposure at those apertures. Finally, calculate the worst-case (high noon, no shade) effective aperture wanted with your desired film speed and your T3's top sync speed (1/125, isn't it?). With ISO 100 film, effective f/16 or so. At 1:1, that's f/8 set. Contemplate what diffraction will do, then ask whether you wouldn't be better off with a camera that syncs flash at a higher speed and curse EKCo for discontinuing KM. Also do some searching to find the GNs of ring flashes you're likely to encounter. Use GN arithmetic to find the effective apertures they imply at your intended magnifications with your film of choice. Curse again.

One of my solutions to this little headache is an FM2N or N8008S (sync speed 1/250) and a Spiratone Macrodapter with two little flashes and ND gels as needed on the flashes. The Macrodapter has been called the poor man's ring light; it holds two little flashes alongside of and a little in front of the lens. The Macrodapter has one advantage over ring lights; it gives better modeling while a ring light gives rather flat illumination.

The other is to use a 2x3 Graphic with a Copal #1 shutter (sync speed 1/400) and a variety of approaches to lighting. Just got another Macrodapter to try on it this spring, if it comes. There's also a Jones of Hollywood bracket that's functionally equivalent, in some ways a little nicer.



Sorry, I'm a modeler. And you need a model to decide what you can get away with ...

12-28-2007, 11:28 PM
I am sure you are right in saying those two Nikons are better suited for macro work the problem is that I have allready bought a kino 55mm macro,a80-200 telephoto a macro bellows and a lens reversing ring.all konica.What I will do is look at (following your advice)getting a newer than forty year old konica with its 50mm hexanon.As a matter of fact the only reason that I went with a camera that old (eg,simple)is I want to learn how to take photographs and my digital camera was not satisfying enough.I need more control/creativity.point and click just wont do it for me anymore.
John you gave me a good idea, a couple of cheaper flashes slaved and mounted on a home made bracket mmm...

Dan Fromm
12-29-2007, 09:24 AM
Bob, pay attention to the exercise I set for you. The world has changed since I was young, also since you were young, and not always for the better. Closeup work with flash out-of-doors really does need ISO 25 film.

BTW, when I started shooting flowers and such I used a little Kalt bracket that attached to my camera's tripod socket. It held two little flashes, each about 6" from the lens' axis and at a 45 degree angle to it. I used it with tiny Honeywell flashes that died after around 1k pops. Worked very well with my 55/3.5 MicroNikkor and my Nikkormat and Kodachrome 25. Nowadays I use Minolta 14s and 20s, which last forever.

You can make a version of the Kalt bracket out of a piece of scrap plexi (or angle molding as sold by most lumberyards), two flash shoes (hard to find cheap since camera shows have died, I think Henry's will have them), two very small flashes, and a slave. With the flash-to-subject distances these rigs work at, very little flash power is needed. IMO a ring flash is very much second best.

Since you're a beginner -- your avatar should have been a tipoff -- do yourself a favor and buy a copy of A. A. Blaker's book Field Photography.

12-29-2007, 06:47 PM
I have re-read your exercise and the part I am good at is yes,you guessed is cursing :D.seriously tho I have picked up that book by blaker and am wading my way though slowly.As most of my shots will be outdoors I am wondering how limited I will be with my Konica setup.If I do go Nikon How much better of will I be with an 8008s over the n70 that I have now?Iknow I am asking rookie questions,things that you no doubt have learned many moons ago but Im a little frustrated with my lack of sucess so far.It seems that the only good choices I have made are the book by Blaker and the sekonic light meter(L-308s)

Dan Fromm
12-29-2007, 08:15 PM
Bob, swearing is good for the soul even though it annoys wives.

There's nothing inherently wrong with your Konica set up. Konica ARs are good cameras and your macro lens has a good reputation even though it isn't a Hexanon. In my experience, working with a bellows in the field is a pain (tripod required). A macro lens that will go to 1:1 on its own mount is enough for most purposes.

If you do the effective aperture calculations, you'll find that at 1:1 f/8 set is effective f/16. With ISO 100 film, Sunny 16 wants your T3's sync speed. So there's no point using flash in broad daylight with fast film. I've dodged the problem a little by using my N8008S at 1/250, and that often works ok with ISO 100 film at f/11 set (at least two stops down with ambient, but effective f/22) in shade. I often shoot at f/22 set, f/45 effective; that's stopped down too far for acceptable image quality in the plane of best focus, never mind about out of it.

Now that I know that you have a 55, I know that you don't want a MacroDapter. My wife's dowry included a 55/3.5 MicroNikkor so after we married we tried the MacroDapter I'd been using on it. It put the flashes behind the subject at 1:1. Oops! Not a problem with focal lengths >= ~ 100 mm. So I dug out a Jones bracket and gave it to her. But these things are very hard to find. I asked the company that bought Jones about 'em; they told me that Mr. Jones had made very few and that they didn't plan to make more.

So study Blaker, do your GN arithmetic and cobble up a bracket that will attach to your camera's tripod socket. And curse EKCo for discontinuing KM.



Christopher Walrath
12-29-2007, 08:30 PM
I'm not buyin' a ring. OHHHH. You meant, I get it. (Sorry couldn't help it. View signature to get it)

Jim Bradley
12-30-2007, 01:07 AM
While it is a 99.9% D*g*t*l camera site www.strobist.com has a lot of great info including several "cheap" ring flashes or at least a reasonable facsimile.

12-30-2007, 05:42 AM
I bought a Sunpak DX12R ring flash a while ago. I'm not sure they still make/sell this model. I think they still make/sell the DX8R. Anyway, this flash has works fine with my Hassey, F4e/s' and D1X/2X though I have no idea what I'll do if/when the tube blows.

Regards, Art.

12-30-2007, 11:33 PM
Would this help you?

http://cgi.ebay.ca/Macro-Ring-Light-Flash-for-Canon-EOS-10D-20D-30D-5D_W0QQitemZ150198690450QQihZ005QQcategoryZ107931Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


09-05-2008, 09:42 AM
I've been using my medical nikkor since the 70's still working great. There are two available, I have the older one. None better for extreme macro. My Metz potato masher works great for middle macro with my 55mm nikkor with the head next to the lens and a white card on the other side.

Ralph Javins
09-08-2008, 06:39 PM
Hey, Dan!

Can we also curse EKCo for dropping Panatomic-X?

09-09-2008, 12:54 AM
Here's a book I'd recommend picking up:

The Nature Photographer's Complete Guide To Professional Field Techniques, written by John Shaw. ISBN # is 0-8174-5006-8 . There's a section in this book that discusses ring flashes and other closeup rigs. Specifically John Shaw's homemade "Butterfly" bracket. Well worth the read.


Robert Liebermann
03-17-2009, 04:22 PM
I /severely/ reccomend a Yashica Dental Eye (I have a III. I got one a year or so ago for $50 from a dentist, hadn't been used more than a few times. Has an amazing 100mm f4 lens with ringflash; 2 or all 3 elements (or none) possible to fire for various effect. You can get them on ebay $75-150; they come in a real cool case, too.

Only drawback is the thing's pretty automatic (not focus of course!); only adjustments possible are +- 2 stop exposure; the shutter and aperture are auto. Fixed lens. Plus film speed is DX only. But with the high light you get a pretty good DOF, plus a real interesting 'chromium' relief look that has to be seen to be appreciated. (I shoot stuff like leaves, mosses, plant parts with this).

Farthest focus is about 2m - there's youtr infinity for macro! I think it might make a decent portrait lens, actually (flash off!).

I don't feel the need for any other ringflash setup with this; it's perfect for me.

04-22-2009, 01:56 PM
Dental Eye II is excellent for Macros and good for portraits too.

04-22-2009, 09:07 PM
For the do it yourselfer: