XOTOPRO’s QMM1; When A Ringlight Just Won’t Cut It Page 2

Macro Apps
Using the QMM1 and lights is simple: you thread it into the camera’s tripod socket onto the QMM1’s mount screw and tighten until it’s securely attached. To move the camera forward or back for balance, slightly turn the camera mount screw to loosen, move the camera to the desired position and turn the camera mount screw in the opposite direction to tighten again. Mounting the QMM1 on a tripod is simple but the whole assembly can seem awkward depending on the camera model and lens in use. The secret is not to rush through the process.

Then slip the flash unit’s foot into the camera’s hot shoe and slide the lock setting on the flash to secure it. The QMM1’s flexible arms can be bent to move the flash into any position within that arm’s reach. To change the flash angle or position, loosen the locking knob at the side of the ball head and turn or rotate the flash unit to the desired position and tighten the lock knob. Tip: The QMM1 is not designed to be disassembled and ball heads are permanently attached to the ends of the arms. Attempting to remove the ball heads from the arms or the arms from the base plate could result in damage and will void the warranty.

This photograph was made using only one of the small TUMAX flash heads with a Sto-fen diffuser held in front of the flash. Exposure was 1⁄60 sec at f/14 and ISO 100.
© 2009, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Here is where the QMM1 system shines: you can light from above, from the side, one side, both sides, from below, using whatever kind of light best complements the subject; the QMM1’s American-made flex arms bend to give you the angle to light it right. On-camera the main TUMAX light and controller acts as fill light and you can place the small lights where you want and the QMM1’s arms remain in position for repeatable results. With a guide number of almost 20 in feet, the TUMAX TTL twin flash set has the power to operate close-up with small apertures for good depth of field, even at 1:1 (life-size) reproduction. Tip: Depending on your camera’s TTL system, you may find that the optimum exposure may be obtained by using an automatic setting to get you close to the final exposure that can then be tweaked using the camera’s Manual mode.

If one word describes the XOTOPRO system it is flexibility. If you need a little more light in one place, you can easily move one or more of the TUMAX flashes into place. Photographing flowers with backlighting plus directional lighting has never been easier. I did macro flower photography using one light, two lights, and three lights because it’s easy to turn any of the lights on and off to suit the mood you are trying to achieve. I also liked the fact that the system works with or without the on-camera flash serving as main or fill light.

All three TUMAX flashes were used to photograph this red flower: the on-camera flash and both small TUMAX lights were placed at an approximately 45? angle; one left, one right, with one placed slightly higher. Exposure was 1⁄60 sec at f/14 and ISO 100.
© 2009, Mary Farace, All Rights Reserved

The TUMAX heads are smaller than traditional on-camera flash heads from Canon, Nikon, and Olympus so it’s difficult to add standard flash accessories, but I handheld a Sto-fen (www.stofen.com) diffuser over one of the small TUMAX flash heads to achieve a soft-lighting effect. You could also have fun with colored gels to create additional effects à la the Bogen Light Modulator. The entire contraption can be cumbersome, but once you get past that, you can have fun with macro lighting. Tip: Watch your flash cords; when making changes in lighting setup they can easily fall in front of the lens, so make sure all connections are tight, especially your camera on the TUMAX base unit.

While not inexpensive ($439.95), XOTOPRO’s price is competitive and is less than many dedicated ringlight and twin flash units but is far more versatile because of the extraordinary flexibility of the QMM1 mounting system. If you are serious about macro photography, you should also be serious about the lighting you use and XOTOPRO’s QMM1 provides a unique lighting solution.

For more information, contact XOTOPRO Photographic Equipment Ltd. at: www.xotopro.com.