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Photobooks

Ringflash with bellows



Small ring flash units are ideal for macro, especially when using bellows as it’s the most effective way to get light onto tiny subjects. Another way is to mount flashguns on brackets at either side but this makes the rig more cumbersome and sometimes not flexible enough when shooting subjects in tight spaces. The smaller the ring unit the better. The vintage Doi (reviewed here: Doi Auto Circle Flash ) was perfect for this kind of photography.

To the right is a typical bellows set up with the Doi Auto Circle Flashand was used to take the photo below. The shot is of an English five pence piece. Notice how the ring light has accentuated the etchings in the coin, making it have a more three dimensional surface. This is one of the key benefits of ring flash illumination at

 

When using bellows you have to take into account a loss of exposure caused by the extension and distance of the lens from the film plane. More modern ring flash systems have TTL (through the lens) systems that automatically compensate for the exposure change.

In this set up the auto sensor of the Doi is on the flash head in front of the lens and is designed for use with a 50mm lens so, unless you have access to exposure tables and can work out the exposure factor of the bellows extension, you need to switch to manual and do a series of tests. This is necessary with film-based set ups, but for digital users you can just take a shot and preview the exposure on the LCD re-adjust and take again until you have the correct exposure.

 

With flash it’s perfectly okay to hand hold, as this shot, the rig. Although you still have to be still to avoid moving out of the plane of focus as the shot is taken.

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