Monday, 8 September 2008

Monkey in the family

As I had promised some weeks ago, I completed my flash-holder arms. I would like to share my first experiences and some photos taken with them.

Update: new photos

The story started with a murder. I looked for two strong and flexible arms which have to hold the two FL-36R flashes. It was difficult to find them because the turning-moment is quite high due to the necessary length of the arms and weight of the FL-36R. After some tests I bought a Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom version tripod and I have sawn it into three pieces. I made four aluminium caps onto their ends on turning-lathe. I had to ask for some help from my colleague to make the flash-shoes with a miller into two caps. After preparation of the arms the caps were fixed with two-component epoxy based glue.

the set-up in itself (click to enlarge)

So, there was nothing other to do but make the rack of the arms. I used a piece of an old shelf made of steel. I glued a thick rubber strip into its slot for prevent scratches on camera body and for solid fixation. The Zuiko Digital 50-200mm has tripod collar so I did not make sleeve-nut because I do not need tripod when I use shorter lenses. Due to the specially shaped rack there is enough room to my forefinger, so it is easy to hold the camera in vertical position.

holding in different positions

Last weekend I tried to take some photos of insects and wildflowers with my new equipment. The first experiences are very positive. I used to use two home made diffusors for my STF-22 twin flash when I had it. There was no enough time to make similar ones for FL-36R's but built-in wide-angle panels worked very well.

Wild chicory (Olympus E-3 + Zuiko Digital 35mm macro)

As you can see there are no visible shadows and the lighting is quite soft and natural. Accuracy of exposure is very decent from a flash-system that was not primarily created as a macro tool. The positioning flexibity is better than the STF-22 has, especially with longer lenses or when you use one of the flashes to light the background.

Small heath (Olympus E-3 + Zuiko Digital 35mm macro)

Of course after two days of using the arms I need more time and to have more experience to perfect this tool. There are many unanswered question and many things to do. It is the most important to give a name to this set-up. :) I am thinking about the standardized production but I have to estimate the demand and to calculate the real costs. Stay tuned, and I will share all information soon.

Sample No. 1
Sample No. 2
Sample No. 3

I have not got time to deal with standardized manufacturing so I give all information about this set-up.
photos of project

update II.:
Joby has announced the new Gorillapod Focus which can support up to 5kg. It would offer more stability for my set-up. The only problem is that Focus is too expensive and too nice to saw apart. (..but it is worth considering)


Alberto said...

Congratulations, this is a very interesting method for macro lighting, your photos are amazing.
Can you tell me if you prefer this lighting from two FL-36r or the STF-22 from Olympus?
If i could do those nice caps(i don´t know if you can help me with this) i would go for this solution, very flexible in my opinion.

Krisztián Nagy said...

Thank you, Alberto!

I prefer this "gorillapod based" set-up. The STF-22 is very expensive and I have had serious problems with contacts at sockets and it was basically unusable with original FR-1 adapter ring + Zuiko Digital 35mm lens, because FR-1 is too long for this application. (I have made a DIY adapter)

The STF-22 simply has not enough power to use it with longer lenses and smaller apertures. (for example: ZD 50-200 + EX-25 and >F13, ISO200)

At the end: you can use FL-36R for many other application.

Plese read my previous post about advantages and disadvantages of STF-22 and two FL-36Rs.

another photos

Alberto said...

Yes, many advantages, can you sell me another "gorillapod based" macro flash system made yourself?
Or can you sell me another finished caps to make it for myself?
May be, others in my country are interested in buying your system.


Wolverine said...

May i know how to tigger two FL-36R? Does E-3 built in flash need to rise up during operation? Thanks

Krisztián Nagy said...

Dear Wolverine,

Yes, the built in flash has to be raised up to trigger the FL-36R.