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SB-900 for macro - newbie question

Discussion in 'General flash photography, lighting, and technique' started by Counter, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Counter


    Sep 18, 2007
    I am primarily a wildlife shooter, either at a max of 300mm with a TC or 60mm macro all hand held. If I shoot indoors then it's usually using a home made mini studio set up with a light tent and directional halogen lights.
    I have never used anything other than the pop-up flash on my D300 when shooting hand held macro and apart from pp'ing some harsh shadows I'm relatively happy with the set up, possibly because I've never had a speedlight so don't know what I'm missing!

    I have been wondering if having more control over diffusion for example and the ability for off camera flash as well as higher shutter speeds would achieve generally better results and I have been looking at the SB-800 for a number of months. Now that the 900 is out I have noticed that the recycling time is faster and that there is some protection against potential burn out which is very attractive. I don't want to use a flash ring.

    Because I am using a 60 mm for macro (with no plans to change to a longer focal length for the foreseeable future) and tend to get as physically close to the subject (insect) as possible I would be worried that the SB-900 would get in the way of the leaves and branches I sometimes have to poke through or would be too top heavy and unstable on the D300 when I'm holding my breath and getting as close to that butterfly as possible while crawling along the ground, viewfinder to my eye!

    Does anyone who currently uses an SB-800 for macro work plan on upgrading to the 900 or is even the 800 too bulky for such close work?

    Thank you
  2. adaml


    Feb 21, 2006
    I do a lot of macro shooting, both in my home studio and in the field, and when I started out I tried to use the pop-up flash on my D70, and then the D200. I didn't have much luck because the light was usually too hard or to difficult to compensate or diffuse. When I switched to the SB-800, I found a different problem, which was overshooting my subject. even with the 7 degree downward pitch.

    For the last three years I've used the SB-29s Ring Flash. I am very happy with it, because the light is so even, and if I want some contrast or sidelighting, I just switch off one of the bulbs.

    It's been replaced by the new Nikon ring flash, which seems even more versatile, but is also considerably more expensive. Sigma has a Nikon compatible ring flash as well.
  3. Counter


    Sep 18, 2007
    Thank you Adam. Isn't the replacement for the SB-29S rather large as well as expensive?
    I know where I can get a second hand SB-29S for under £200 so I might have a look at it on the weekend.
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