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08-07-2017, 10:15 AM   #1
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Simple flash for some macro/flower shots.

I have never used a flash on a modern digital camera and only recently bought my first macro lens. This is my lens:
smc PENTAX-D FA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro and my camera is a K1.

I understand the more I delve into macro the more gear I will want. Consider this my starter flash setup. I have read about the Vello Off-Camera TTL Flash Cord and will order one of those with what ever flash I get if needed. Almost all my macro flower pictures are done outside with a tripod so holding a flash off camera is doable if that is what is needed; but I also have a cheap 2nd tripod as well. I just want to improve my light by about 2 to 3 stops on these overcast days we get in Ohio.

I have read through this forum and chances are good, I have missed something. But I have looked, which is how I found a reference to the Vello Cord. I would prefer to get the Pentax 201 FG WR but want to make sure this will work for what I want to do. Is this a good option for a basic off camera or on camera flash with the lens I will be using? What might be better and why in the same price range ( $125.00 to $175.00 ) ?

My two basic requirements: P-TTL and I do want the options to use automatic or manual. Thanks in advance for the input.

08-07-2017, 10:34 AM - 1 Like   #2
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While hand holding a flash on an off camera cable is doable consistency and repeatability of getting the same angle and distance to the subject is difficult.

You would do better to combine the flash, cable with a C/O ring flash bracket or using flash grip/bracket with articulating arm. It also leaves you with a hand free to hold any other plants or branches out of the way of you lens.
08-07-2017, 10:52 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
While hand holding a flash on an off camera cable is doable consistency and repeatability of getting the same angle and distance to the subject is difficult.

You would do better to combine the flash, cable with a C/O ring flash bracket or using flash grip/bracket with articulating arm. It also leaves you with a hand free to hold any other plants or branches out of the way of you lens.
Could I get by with this, Vello Universal Accessory Shoe Mount With 1/4" Screw and Knob, and use it on my other tripod?

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/743059-REG/Vello_CS_WN_Universal_Acce...geID/accessory
08-07-2017, 11:10 AM - 1 Like   #4
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You could. You might also look for a crossbar for your existing tripod. I have one, I don't use it often, but it does work.

I use an inexpensive Sunpak DX-8R ring flash in manual mode. You'll quickly figure out how to adjust power based on conditions. I'ts been a boon to my handheld field photography. It makes the rig a bit hefty, but well worth the bulk.

I also have an old L-bracket which has a coldshoe, so if I were so inclined I could do more sophisticated stuff. It does feel great, though, with its walnut grip.

---------- Post added 08-07-17 at 01:11 PM ----------

The 201 FG flash is nice, but its recharge rate is slow. Though in manual pop maybe it would be faster. I like it as a travel flash, it's compact and more powerful than the popup flash would be.

08-07-2017, 11:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
You could. You might also look for a crossbar for your existing tripod. I have one, I don't use it often, but it does work.

I use an inexpensive Sunpak DX-8R ring flash in manual mode. You'll quickly figure out how to adjust power based on conditions. I'ts been a boon to my handheld field photography. It makes the rig a bit hefty, but well worth the bulk.

I also have an old L-bracket which has a coldshoe, so if I were so inclined I could do more sophisticated stuff. It does feel great, though, with its walnut grip.

---------- Post added 08-07-17 at 01:11 PM ----------

The 201 FG flash is nice, but its recharge rate is slow. Though in manual pop maybe it would be faster. I like it as a travel flash, it's compact and more powerful than the popup flash would be.
I am kind of thinking I want something better than a popup flash and more versatile; but now you have me looking at a used Sunpak
08-07-2017, 12:43 PM   #6
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I ordered the 201 FG and Vello Cord. This should help me out; especially just learning how to use a flash and macro in combination. I am sure eventually I will add more; but this is a start and I like the flash is Pentax. Not name brand conscious but I prefer to get things, especially electronics, to be made by the same manufacturer when ever possible. I like that is weather sealed also. Rainy and snowy days in Ohio are pretty common.

Thanks for the input and satisfying my main questions as to this combination working together with my lens!
08-07-2017, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Check out hangman43's rig:

My Technique shooting Macro Insects - PentaxForums.com
08-07-2017, 01:59 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
Reading it now. Great technique and a really nice and inexpensive setup!

08-07-2017, 10:58 PM   #9
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Thomas Shahan is the bee's knees when it comes to macro photography.

He used all sorts of contraptions, including a pop-up flash with a DIY diffuser.

He seems rather happy with the Venus KX-800 Macro Twin flash:


It is noteworthy, however, that the main utility of that flash is to have two light sources for illuminating a big diffuser. In other words, the nice light is still produced by the big DIY diffuser, the flash just provides some convenience w.r.t. holding the diffuser in place and w.r.t. providing a good spread of illumination for a big diffuser.
08-08-2017, 07:37 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Thomas Shahan is the bee's knees when it comes to macro photography.

He used all sorts of contraptions, including a pop-up flash with a DIY diffuser.

He seems rather happy with the Venus KX-800 Macro Twin flash:

Lighting for Macro Photography and Review of the Venus KX-800 Twin Flash - YouTube

It is noteworthy, however, that the main utility of that flash is to have two light sources for illuminating a big diffuser. In other words, the nice light is still produced by the big DIY diffuser, the flash just provides some convenience w.r.t. holding the diffuser in place and w.r.t. providing a good spread of illumination for a big diffuser.
I have watched his video and he does have his technique down to a science. Handheld and shooting things as small as bugs is pretty amazing. I am going to see what kind of diffuser I can put together this weekend for the 201FG. I have been reading do it yourself blogs and looking at videos for a little while now.

I have gathered a few ideas but getting the flash here from B&H will help a lot as far as putting something together and sizing things. I do see a trip to Lowes or Home Depot in my immediate future I may eventually buy a flash softbox and almost bought the Vello Mini yesterday since it is only 7.50. Want to try my hand at making one first; even though it may cost 7.50 or a little more. It looks like a fun project.
08-09-2017, 01:11 PM   #11
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Flash and cord were delivered today as expected. Tested the flash in my hallway with no lighting on a subject about 3 ft away then took some more shots in my somewhat lit living room. The little flash is working perfectly. Later on I will test the cord. I can tell this is really going to help a lot for over cast days and maybe even some night macro. Under 200.00 for both and I think its a pretty good start.

Need to build a diffuser box and/or a bounce card setup for this weekend. If anyone has some links to do it your self tutorials for this I would appreciate it.

Last edited by JamesDCrockett; 08-09-2017 at 01:28 PM.
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