Yoshizen's Blog

Handmade Flash System (3) — Macro Flash

Handmade Mcro Flash(B)360-001

In the close-up photography, the exposure was a headache before the TTL metering was invented.    Still, the use of flash-light remained yet another headache —– until TTL auto flash-light was developed.    (When the lens was close-focused, effective F-aperture changes logarithmically (= life-size shot darken 2 F-stop, unless the lens was designed using internal flow focusing system) and the flash-light intensity changes in distance also logarithmically ( = brightness on 0.5m is x4 brighter than it was in 1m distance)  Yet still, in practice, even those TTL flash-light was not necessary convenient to use for the close-ups, as they were not designed to be used in such close distance.

In the other hand, lens has been well advanced to have even extreme close-up, almost to the lens front though, in such close-up position, the big lens front block the light to the very subject.

= flash head has to be positioned, close to the subject.

[]As a matter of fact, close-up photography and its equipments are the cash-cow of the camera manufacturer. = The most of the people who “need” to do the close-up photography is the public institutes,  doing scientific research or even police forensic photography etc.

Therefore, they pay the equipments what they were asked —– anyhow it’s not their money.  (hence, they are so expensive, and creating so much profit.)

And in those scientific photographic front, the use of flash-light was much more preffered over other light-source such as tungsten light, because of the flash-light has no heat problem, and the xenon flash-light contain much more UV or near UV light which is often used for fluorescent effect of certain chemical, hence extremely important for forensic and medical photography.

[]But for a poor man on the street, those Macro Light from camera manufacturer is too expensive, even though, structurally they are not so special. =

So here, yet again, comes the same motto, WHY NOT make it ourselves.

(Though, here is a very strong WARNING !   Electronic flash is a Hi-Voltage  lethal device, even if it was powered by batteries, some of the parts, inside are having more than 300V. And in operation, when it was triggered, some of the lines carries 3~4000V ! = Unless, you are very experienced in Hi-voltage circuit, I wouldn’t recommend you even open the housing of flash.

—– before handle, the capacitors has to be completely discharged through 1K, 5W register) ( I got many experiences of repairing studio-type flash, up to 5000WS, which discharges 1200V and handmade 600WS studio flash for my use. —– I’ll show it to you in another post.)

[]This macro flash was made with an easiest straight approach.

Just take the flash-head out and devised it to mount on the lens front that all.

Still, it rotates (and fixed) any position on front of the lens, and the head also rotates in two axis hence it enable the flash-head aiming to the subject, or rotate it upward and a paper stack to its head would make more natural diffused light as well.

The base of this modification was Nikon SB18 hence it works perfect as a TTL Macro Flash with old F3, FEII, F801 etc. etc. though, as Nikon changed the design of their flash control system in their digital camera, this one doesn’t work with such as latest D810.(so, the photo above may be misleading. 😉 ) May be I should make the same using their latest and cheapest flash. (in fact, structure of the flash head is all same, only 3 cables connected to the tube, I can connect this head even to a Canon flash.)  ( So that, the photo above is just an illustration of mechanically “how it was constructed” and no sample photo of how this Macro Light works 😉 )

[]Funny story of this was, when I showed this to the Nikon (UK), their boss Mr. Obara was annoying so much and said “How come, you buy such cheap flash!” but their engineer was burst into a laughing  “Yes, this is what all about the Macro Flash in deed” and said “You got far better skill than our prototyping engineer” —– though, it was 1986, just before my trouble started. Then I gave-up my photography, and most of my possessions were gone to storage if not sold, hence, there was even a single photo done by this flash ever existed. So that, when I found this in the bottom of cartoon box, I felt a bit of amazement and the sadness.  —– One’s life has all sorts of twist and turns in deed.

(Yet still, I’m glad, my fun loving creativity and the skill on my hand didn’t die with it.)



3 Responses

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  1. elenacaravela said, on July 9, 2013 at 19:19

    Though I do not have the skill to try this myself-kudos to you!

    • yoshizen said, on July 9, 2013 at 19:34

      My skill can be learned and get better with practice. (while cut a finger 1000 times. 😀 )
      But the skill (and more importantly the eyes) you got, had to be born with, and beyond the reach of who wasn’t.
      I think, You got rich enough talent for one person’s life. Nobody can have everything anyway.

  2. […] a kind of it in a former post. […]

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