Nikon R1C1 Close-up Speedlight Commander Kit – 05.22.06
This is so cool! Digital flash photography has just taken a light speed jump forward making macro flash and flash photography in general much easier, more rewarding with amazing results. This is an amazingly well thought out system!
The R1C1 (what a name) is comprised of the R1 close-up remote kit (pictured here), SU-800 Speedlight Commander (unit in the hot shoe) and SB-R200 Wireless Remote Speedlights (flashes on the ring). As soon as you see the box that holds all of this, you instantly know there’s more to this unit than just a couple of flashes. In fact when you purchase the entire kit, there is so much stuff that comes with it, the instruction book has packing information! That’s right, the case that holds all of this gear needs packing instructions. But don’t freak, if you don’t want to carry the huge case around, the kit comes with soft pouches to break everything out for easy travel. As I said, this is one well thought out system!
The main components of the R1C1 are the SU-800 and SB-R200s. These three units provide you wireless macro flash capability. What’s cool, you can simply slap this thing on your camera, place the flashes wherever you want them (they have modeling lights to help you with lighting patterns), dial in lighting ratios with the push of one button, fire and the iTTL system gives you the right exposure. That’s the very basics, it can do one heck of a lot more.
The R1C1 system works with Nikon’s iTTL so you can have as many as EIGHT SB-R200 on the ring working for you, either as one light bank or three banks on five channels. You can add to this mix SB-800s wherever the subject demands and control them all from the SU-800! You can even take the SU-800 and use it with just SB-800s as the Master Unit so you don’t have to sacrifice a SB-800 to the task.
What about the quality of the light? They are flash units which by their very nature are a harsh light. Light modifiers and gels come with the R1C1 which can help. I think once you buy the R1C1 you will more than likely by a third or fourth SB-R200 to lighten up shadows and mellow out the two light sources. The SB-R200s aren’t real powerful, but they can put out 15 feet of light at f/4 at ISO 100. If time permits, I will add images the R1C1 link in Moose’s Camera Bag in the future to give you some better ideas of what it can do.
In the meantime, I would strongly suggest that if you do any type of macro photography, you at the very least check out the R1C1. We have one at all DLWS events for folks, it’s just that amazing and powerful a tool for the wildlife/nature photographer.