Sunday, 4 September 2016

Using the Nikon R1C1 Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit

A few months ago I was fortunate to pick up a second hand Nikon R1C1 Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit from Harrison Camera. I’d always wanted this kit for macro work but the price at £550+ is prohibitive.  However buying second hand brought the kit within my budget.

The kit comes complete in a carry case and contains;

2 x SB200 speedlights
1 x SU800 Speedlight commander
1 x Selection of adapter rings.
1 x Holder

Plus a selection of accessories.

The beauty of the R1C1 system is that it can be as simple or as complex as the user wants to make it.

For the purpose of this blog post I used the system in its simplest configuration as follows.
A suitable adapter ring was selected from the kit and attached to my 105mm f2.8 macro lens.

The SX-1 attachment ring was attached to the adapter and the two SB200 speedlights were attached to the attachment ring in a 9 o’clock 3 o’clock configuration.

The SU800 was placed in the hot shoe of my D800 and set to TTL. The SB200’s were switched on with one set to Ch1 Group A and the other set to Ch1 Group B.

In this configuration the camera looks after the exposure whilst the controls on the SU800 allows for the ratio between the two SB200’s to be adjusted by the simple press of a button. 

I’d got a few bedding plants in bloom in the garden so I decided that these would be good as a subject to try out the system. 

I set up my D800 on a tripod with my Nikon 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Although this lens is equipped with Virbration Reduction (VR) I knew from past exxperience that it is almost impossible to take sharp macro images using the camera hand held especiall when the R1C1 is fastnened to the front of the lens. 

Nikon D800 equipped with the R1C1 Close-Up flash system    
 As I was using flash in TTL mode and the camera was on a solid tripod I knew I would be able to use a small aperture to gain a reasonable depth of field. I set the lens to f20 and the shutter speed to 1/200th sec. Using a cable release I took the images below. 


All in all I was extremely pleased with the performance of the entire system especially the way in which the individual speedlights could be controlled to either emilinate or introduce shadows. 

I'm looking forward to trying more macro photography as I get more involved with the R1C1 set up.


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