Nikon CLS and SU-800

Strobes (flashes or speedlights) can be quite confusing when multiple units are to be used. Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS) is the easiest way to deal with this confusion. This is a system which does remote triggering of speedlights, high speed sync, flash color correction, and advanced i-TTL fill flash…. everything wirelessly. Nikon launched the Nikon SU-800 as a control unit for its CLS system. The communication happens over infra-red. Over the last many years, this commander unit has remained unchanged and now there are third party options available that also work with the CLS. Recently I was in the market searching for a commander unit to control my speedlights remotely. This article is a summary of what I learnt and a short review of the Nikon SU-800, that I finally bought.

su-800

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Boxtudio – Studio in a Box!

When I started doing product reviews, one of the challenges I faced was with photographs. For most products, I was using two umbrellas with speed lights and a neutral backdrop. Things were fine but they occupied a lot of space. I had to set up things in my living room and then pack everything back after finishing the photo-shoot. Not a very comfortable idea considering the fact that I sometimes do product shoots every alternate day.

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Yongnuo flash – 568EX

I have been using Nikon speedlights for quite sometime now. My favorite one is SB600 which is small, powerful and supports CLS. Recently I felt the need for two more flash units but my pocket did not permit buying two. Sadly SB600s were no longer available. The models that were available in the market from Nikon were beyond my means. I then started looking for third-party units.

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Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AI-s

I do macro photography once in a while and have tried various lenses. One of my favorites is Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AI-s. Nikon calls its macro lenses as ‘micro’. Its specifications are easily available on internet. Nikon introduced this lens in 1983 and was based on their similar micro-Nikkors of varying speeds. It is a manual focus lens.

Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AI-s

(Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 AI-s)

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Zeiss 135 Apo Sonar or Nikon AF 135 DC

I was recently faced with a tough choice. I wanted to buy a 135mm lens for a full frame camera body. Purpose was for an all-rounder lens to carry around. I wanted a lens to do portraits, sometimes click pictures of butterflies, street photography as well as occasional family pictures from vacations. 105mm lenses were a little short for the kind of portraits I had in mind so I did not look at those options. 135mm is the ideal focal length for portraits according to me. The flattening  is almost perfect and the angle of view ideal. I did a lot of research on 135mm lenses and tried out a few.

After searching around and trying various optics, I was left with two choices –

  • Zeiss 135mm f/2 Apo Sonnar T* ZF.2
  • Nikon AF 135mm f/2 DC

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Fujin D Cleaner

I recently came to know about a lens shaped vacuum cleaner for camera called Fujin. It seemed like a very nice innovative idea so I went ahead and got hold of one. The Fujin cleaner (D version for Nikon mount) was shipped to me from Japan and reached my door steps in a few days. The company had packed it very well. On opening the parcel, I found a very neat looking box, similar to the kind that comes with lenses.
The box contained instructions in different languages, a set of filters for use with the cleaner and the cleaner itself in a velvet bag similar to the ones shipped with Nikkor lenses.  The whole package looked very impressive. The finish of the product is good. It is expensive considering the built quality and components used.

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