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Posted by chrish on March 31, 2003 at 23:15:59:
In Reply to: Camera advice posted by Scott Eipper on March 29, 2003 at 20:58:22:
What would be a good flash for this sort of camera I was thinking a Metz with a minimum guide No. of 45....any better options?
I assume you are giving this guide number in meters (the F55 on camera flash has a guide number of 39 feet by itself - of course, that is only 12 meters). So I will assume we are talking meters since you folks down under had the sense to switch over in the mid 70s.
The trick with guide numbers is to figure out how much power you need. If you want to be 2 meters from an animal and use 100 speed film and use f/16, you need a guide number of 32. If you plan on doing the same thing at f/32 you need a guide number of 64! (GN = f/stop x distance).
Frankly for macro work, you don't need that much power usually. You are usually within a meter or less of your subject and so a GN of 22 will suffice. Most small off camera flashes can supply that power.
As for brands, I would suggest sticking with a completely dedicated TTL flash for you camera. Metz make good flashes and the newer ones are dedicated and TTL, but you can get a decent flash for less money in other brands. By the time you buy a module for the Metz flash and get the flash head you want, you could buy one of Nikon's dedicated Speedlights of the same power and probably get an off camera cord as well! Or maybe two smaller Speedlights and a flash bracket for more photo options.
The other thing you sacrifice with a non-camera brand flash is some of the bells and whistles that the system flashes provide. For example, with my camera (Minolta Maxxum), I can use up to three separate flashes off camera without sync cords. The Metz flashes don't offer that compatibility.
And was also looking at a 1 to 1 macro lens any suggestions? I basically want to be able to fill the photo frame with something that is the size of a circle 10 mm in diametre....so I can photograph things like small Crinia (tiny frogs) and head shots of small elapids like Pseudonaja modesta etc.
1:1 should be adequate for your needs. I doubt you would ever want the 10mm circle touching all edges of the frame (but if you do, LAF's advice is right on track). The only concern (as mentioned below) is that you would want to maintain adequate subject to lens distance. A 50mm lens would require you to get too close. Usually a macro lens in the 80-110 mm range is a good lens for working with herps.
As for brand, I don't know. Of couse the Nikon lenses are great (but overpriced). Lenses from Tamron, Tokina, and Sigma are pretty good as well (in that order of preference, IMHO). I would avoid companies like Phoenix whose lenses are awful.
Fortunately, we live in the information age and I am sure you could find dozens of test reports and reviews of macro lenses online.