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Old Jan 2, 2005, 2:34 AM   #11
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The ring flash is heavy, and I am still getting use to it.I am using the Cokin Creative Ring Flash. It should work fine on the FZ20. It is a rig that has three adjustable flashes on it. It has a big huge block that attaches to your hotshoe. There is a thick wire that extends to the bottom of the flash (more on this later). I had to get a P to A adapter (which also gives you three slots to use for Cokin filters...imagine that!), and then anadapter ring to get it to fit my camera. I was surprised to find out that the flash comes with little plastic filters that are difusers, and colored gels. And there is even a flash block gel..which I don't entirely get. The ring itself is more of a square with rounded edges. There are slots on thering casingitself that you can store the gels in when you aren't actually using them. I tend to treat things a little rough and tumble, and would be skeptical of using said slot.

The first thing that scares me about this adapter is that it slides onto a ring that attaches to the end of your adapter/hood/filter. There is no lock or click to it. Gravity is the only thing that holds it on. Now I know there is a cokin polarized filter, but I haven't broken down and got it yet becuase i wanted to experiment with the cheaper filters first. As such, I still use my own circular polarizer filter, and I am really concious of holding the ring straight when I use it.

It took me a while to really get down the settings of the flash vs. the settings of the camera. Mostly because I forgot that camera theory is not always the same as electronic theory, and sometimes it still pays to read the manual.

In theory this is a really cool device. It can be used for macros, potrait shots, product shots..and lots of other things. Themanual even makes suggestions on how to set the positions of the three bulbs according to what you are shooting.

As long as you are working with non-reflective surfaces, this device is awesome. you really have a good deal of control over how much lighting you are using, and what direction it comes from. Reflective surfaces prove to be a bit of a problem. The three flashes are at the center of any reflective surface, unless you position them to be parallel to what you are shooting..in which case they would seem useless...unless you have a screen set up to redirect the light again. I am hoping to work this issue out soon by making some makeshift mini screens.

I've been taking some pictures of Christmas ornaments..I'll upload some good and bad sample soon to give you an idea of the good and bad potentials of shooting with this attachment.

I have a few minor gripes about this camera. I wish they would have attached the cable to the back of the ring instead of the bottom of the ring. They have a tripod adapter at the bottom of the ring, that I wish they would have made flush, instead of sticking out. If both of these issues did not exist, you would be able to sit both camera and ring down on the table and shoot. As it is now..I either have to hold the camera and ring off of my desk, or put it on a mini tri-pod.

The filter portion of this has two little pieces that stick out at the top and bottom...presumably to keep filters in place.. The funny thing is, they don't really stick out enough to do that..so its lucky that the filter tracks themselves are tight enough to keep filters from falling. But today I took a Cokin graduated blue filter out for a spin for the first time..and the first time I tried to remove it...scuffed the plastic with those little "holders".

The one thing I find deplorable about the cokin filters is that they are plastic..no glass, no metal ring..and they cost the same darn price as a regular filter. How does that work?

Even when not using the screw on polarized filter, this flash is heavy, and tends to drift left or right when slightly bumped. I would have much preferred they designed the adapters to this to keep the ring flush in its position, but then allow you to press a button or something to slide it to a new position that locks when you let go of the button.

Real ring flashes are 360 degree circles...so why only three flashes? The unit is square...If even lighting is an issue..wouldn't you want a fourth flash at the bottom?

Overall I think future version of this product can be great...but whoever designed this version, wasn't too bright in the ergonomics or practical applications dept.

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 7:41 AM   #12
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Hi Bobc,

This is a really great shot...you nailed the necessary DOF spot on

Just below the perch of your hawk, one can see great detail in the grains of the wood post.

Theexpression on your hawk is most intriguing.
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