For this project, I set off to build a new lighter custom Macro rig that is light and fun to use. To reduce cost, I used some of my older Macro remote heads and SU-800 commander, which are in great working order.
- Create a lightweight wireless macro flash system
- Ensure the light is well diffused and eliminates 99% of the harsh "flash" look - the light wraps the subject softly
- Works with all my Macro Lenses, Nikon 105 MC, Nikon 50mm MC, Nikon 60mm, Laowa 85mm, Laowa 25mm, and Laowa 90mm
- Does not interfere with camera controls or operation
- Removable for other photography tasks.
- Control each flash independently from the camera/commander
- Tripod compatible - Arca Swiss
Rather than continue using the front lens attached macro flash system I had been using for years - the Nikon R1CI I decided to make a hybrid that uses some of the parts but has poseable flash heads. The flash system is attached to the camera frame rather than on the front of the lens, this allows for more flexible placement of each head in relation to the subject.
The Rig also facilitates switching between my Nikon Z6II or Z7II in about a minute, and when I am not doing Macro Photography work, the rig can be removed in whole from the camera body. With this rig, I don't worry about hunting for adapter rings for each macro flash or dealing with the plastic flash holder that attaches to the front of the lens using the adapter.
Parts used for this Rig: Links are provided below.
- Leftover parts from my Nikon R1C1 system, SU-800, and two SB-R200 flash heads
- Joby GorillaPod Arm Kit PRO - for posing your flash heads
- Leftover Really Right Stuff FA-QR200 mounts for the SB-R200 flash heads to mount to the ArmKit
- Leffoto Full Camera Cage for Nikon Z6/7 Z6II/Z7II - A cheaper knockoff of SmallRig
If I were buying the flash system today, I MIGHT consider the Godox MF12 a cheaper solution than Nikon's - One downside to the Godox is they have built-in rechargeable batteries while the Nikon SB-R200 is lighter and uses the funky CR-123A battery, at least you can replace the battery and keep going if it runs dead.
If you are considering building a similar setup using Godox MF12, you should consider the ability to place the Godox commander on the rig. My SU-800 is a straight-up design and fits well, while the Godox uses a forward-facing flash commander. that may get in the way of the posable arms. There are flash brackets that would allow placing the arms further out on the camera, giving room for a Godox solution.
Overall: I enjoy using my new macro rig in the field and look forward to a new diffuser that I have ordered to help with softening the flash lighting even more. That said, in the meantime, I installed foam inside the outer diffusers providing very good results without adding an additional diffuser or weight
Shameless Plug: Use My Nikon Associate Links to build yours
Nikon Z Frame for Z6-Z7 and Z6II and Z7II
Joby GorillaPod Posable Arms comes in a set of two
Build it using Godox: Godox MF12 two flash system or Go Dox One Flash with Cold Shoe Adapter