Macro Photography

Nikon Wireless Speedlight Commander Unit, SU-800

SU-800 is a Nikon speedlight commander unit to control other Nikon wireless remote units. It is a very powerful device, easy to use and supports up to 4 Channels and 3 Groups. There is a little switch inside the battery chamber that allows you to switch between the close-up mode and the commander mode. Close-up mode is used for controlling the SB-R200's units and the commander mode is use to control one or more of the Nikon SB-600, SB-800 or SB-900 units wirelessly. Previously, we discussed about how to configure the SB-600, SB-800 and SB-900 units as wireless remote units. In this blog, we will briefly discuss on how to set the SU-800 to control these remote wireless units.

SU-800 Unit

SU-800 Unit

When you turn the SU-800 unit on, it will give you the information about the available Channel groups, their settings (TTL mode and the exposure for example) and the Channel number associated with that group. When you change any of the settings, those settings will be applied to the remote units which are under the same group and the channel as this master unit is. You can use the SEL button to change the values for the Group and the Channel number. Left and right arrow of the SEL button can be used to increase or decrease the exposure compensation value (EV) or the Channel number depending up on which settings you are in. The MODE button will allow you to program the mode of the remote flash unit. Flash can be programmed in TTL (Through The Lens) mode, AA (Auto Aperture) mode, M (Manual) mode and - - (don't trigger the flash) mode. If you want to reset all the setting at once, press the MODE and the ON/OFF together for a while and it will reset the unit to factory default settings.

The Nikon SU-800 unit can only be used as a master unit unlike other speedlight units, SB-800 or SB-900 for example. Nikon SB-800 and the SB-900 can act as a both master flash unit and the remote flash unit which I already discussed in my previous blogs. The SU-800 can control the multiple flash units in four different channels and three different groups and the combination of the SU-800 and the SB-R200 units are popular for a closeup photography or also called macro photography.

Brief Introduction To Macro Photography

Macro photography is also called "close-up photography". It is the photography art to produce very fine details of relatively small subjects like spiders, bugs, insects, flower petals etc. When you do macro photography, you basically magnify your close up subjects using the lens glasses. There are some zoom lenses available for the Nikon D90 and other DSLR cameras as well which have particularly close focusing capabilities, making them macro lenses. When you use that type of lenses for macro photography, you may not get the best results when you go more closer to the subject as you can't get more lights into the censor bouncing through the subject. Camera to the subject distance is the most important factor when you are doing macro photography. So in this case, we can have few other alternatives for macro photography. The first one is getting a dedicated macro lens and the second one is to use the extension tube attached to the regular lens. Depending on the budget and the type of camera you have, you might have to go with either one of the two options I just mentioned above.

If the budget is not an issue for you, the best option would be to get a DSLR camera and a dedicated macro lens which fits into the camera. Nikon, Canon and other camera brands provide a dedicated lens for macro photography which is specifically designed to take a close up images allowing more lights into the subject which then passes to the camera sensor through the lens. Such dedicated macro lenses are built with 1:1 magnification capability.

Macro Extension Tube for Nikon

Macro Extension Tube for Nikon

And the second alternative is to use the extension tube which goes between the camera body and the lens. Extension tubes do not have any optical components. It just extends the distance of your lens to the sensor or the film so that you can shoot in a closer focusing distance and achieve a greater magnification. There are different types of extension tubes available in the market. You can use any one of them based on your camera type and the lens specifications.

There are various other cheaper ways to shoot macro as well. For example, you can also use the filters like diopters that goes in front of the lens. I have read somewhere that you can do macro shot with the reverse filters too.

Personally, I think have a dedicated macro (some brand also says micro) lens is the best option to achieve a crisp, clear and magnified details of small subjects which we called macro photography or close-up photography.