The Nikon R1C1; A Close-Up Speedlight Commander Kit Page 2

One of the great advantages to the R1C1 "macro studio" is the ability to remove one or both of the flashes to hand hold for precise placement. On the first image, the camera was set on a tripod with both flashes set at a 1:1.5 ratio. As you can see, the flashes created nice texture and attractive lighting. But, on the second image, one flash was removed and placed above and behind the subject to create the backlit effect.

After the previous image, I began to think about spotlighting a subject. What would happen if I underexposed the entire scene dramatically and then spotlit a specific part of the scene? The first image was shot underexposing 1.3 stops with the Commander turned off, disabling the SB-R200 flash units. As you can see, the resulting image is too dark, but was great raw material for the subsequent image.

On the second "spotlit" image, I didn't change the underexposure, but turned the Commander back on, dialed back the flashes to -1.7. I then removed the flashes from the SX-1 and handheld them to light up the sunflower only.

These images exemplify the visible difference between "dead-on" flash and sidelighting. Although the first image is sharp and evenly lit throughout, the feel is cold and flat. It has the appearance of being shot in a studio setting. On the second image, I removed one flash and held it off to the side at varying distances and angles to achieve a much more natural look. Although this is shot in my studio, it has the appearance of shells that I've shot on the beach with morning sun sidelight.

One last experiment was to shoot wide-open for maximum sharpness using the flash. The second image is a bit warmer, even though it was shot using the R1C1. In order to add warm to balance out the cold light created by the flash unit, I dialed in to the color temperature setting and increased it to 5900K. The increased color saturation is a bit more attractive than the image made in natural light.

Sun Glow
The setting sun through the window was the setting for this image. Shooting wide-open kept the sun as a large, round orb. But I had to dial back the flashes to -1.7 and hand hold one of the flash units to light up the inside of the flower.

The R1C1 Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System comes in two configurations: The R1C1 with the SU-800 Commander has an MSRP of $819 (Street approx. $680-$700), while the R1C1 without the SU-800 Commander has an MSRP of $519 (Street approx. $430-$450).

For more information, contact Nikon Inc., 1300 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville, NY 11747; (631) 547-4200;

Tony Sweet is a Nikon "Legend Behind the Lens" photographer, workshop instructor, lecturer, and author living in Eldersburg, Maryland. Visit his website at: