Flash for building interiors for RC

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30 comments

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    You got to take many pictures with many different angles. If you use flashes on tripod it will be your problem. You must change positions of two tripods with flashes every 3-5 minutes. It is a hard workflow.

    Only powerfull mobile flashlight will help you. In absolutely dark cave I using oncamera ring flashlight. Same device with differnent names:
    Grifon WISTRO AR-400
    Godox Witstro AR400
    Flashpoint RF-400 Ring Li-On 400ws Ringflash

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    Thanks for experienced advice.

    You reckon 2 flash/tripod rigs not 1? Is that essential for more diffuse multi-direction light, or just so that more is lit so can take more photos before having to move the tripod(s)?

    That ring-flash is awesome - is it about power, so hand-held is possible in any size interior - or about larger-size (not point) source? that source size is really enough, being much less size than an umbrella or big diffuser?

    Is ring-flash what makes on-camera flash feasible?

    You don't mean to use it in continuous video-light mode?

    Hoping to find my way to what exactly is important for RC in interiors.

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    Maybe it's enough to use one rig with umbrella. Depends on size of room. You must capture in RAW and then correct shadows in Lightroom\Capture One. 

    This oncamera ring flash gives you freedom. You don't think about position of your tripod with flash, don't think about your shadow from this flash. You can change power of flash depending on environment lights so you can captore in any size of room. This ringflash is what you need. You can use it not only fixed with camera. You can take ringflash to one hand, camera to another hand and point ringflash up for example to make diffuse light.

    But you can capture without flash at all. Just tripod...

    The problem of interier reconstructions is 1) shining\reflective objects 2) windows 3) complex thin objects like curtains, clothes, glasses on table.

    To understand right techprocess you can read this: https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Destinations/Advanced_Indoors_Photogrammetry

     

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Interesting thread!

    I am also considering to upgrade to some ring-shaped lightsource.

    Although I was rather leaning towards a constant light as opposed to a flash, simply because I wouldn't need to go through the process of finding the right settings all the time. With a constant light, I can pretty much anticipate the result. The only reason I'm still hesitating is because I am not certain if those ringlights will provide enough illumination so that it is sufficient in a dark-ish room at 2-3m distance, ideally without a tripod (wishful thinkig?). What I am looking at provides 2-5k lumen (depending on size) which equals 150 to 400w halogen lamps and that whould be enough for 250 to 600 lux at 3m distance, 500 is a normal office environement.

    Did anybody use such a ringlight for photography before?

     

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    I using it almost on every project last 3 years. And 2 projects was in fully dark big cave. Without this ringflash I can't do such projects.

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    Do you use the ring flash as a flash, or on constant?

    Not expert about flash, but doesn't TTL (if you have it) automatically adjust flash output for each shot?

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    I use it like flash always. Static LED lights have different color temperature and it's hard to correct it. I don't change settings of flash often, maybe 2-3 times per scene capturing. 

    With Sony a7RM2 I connected ringflash with cabel and use it oncamera or in hand.

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    With TTL (like auto-exposure for flash) or manual light output?

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    There is no TTL in AR-400 ringflash. 

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    Hm, I was assuming TTL wd be important.

    I'd like to understand - AFAIK the aim is to have light coming from several directions, or at least from a single large light source, for best chance of illuminating any given shaded 'hole' and to cancel strong shadows. That's why I thought an umbrella as source, or even two.

    So the ring flash - not a point source, but from 2 3 or 4m range it's not far off that - must look pretty concentrated, seen from the target area. Or is something else happening? Not thinking to rely on reflection from walls, floor, ceiling.

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    5 m range for this flash is not a problem. A taking a picture mostly at 1\128 1\64 exposure of flash, if I change it to 1 i will blind)) If you use static light you will get shadows. If you use mobile light you will get texture mixed from different pictures and shadowed parts on one picture will mixed with illuminated part from another picture. Finally you will get uniformly illuminated texture.

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    Aha - that is good thinking. In that case, what is the benefit of ring flash vs a single-source flash? Is it about (slight) dispersal/diffusion or is it about raw power, from so many bulbs? Thanks for the answers - it's getting clearer.

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    For me it's about power. I capture many objects in absolute darkness.

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Hi Aleksandr,

    thanks a lot for sharing all this. I must admit that the flash you use looks much better than everything I have seen so far (which is not too much, I must admit). But especially in terms of cost-benefit ratio it seems like ther can't be much better.

    What kind of lens are you using? I guess more than 50° which is what I gathered the flash has - from what you said I hear that darker areas on the margins will be equalized by other shots.

    Also, did you ever need to replace the bulb? Because some similar flashes had replacement bulbs for about 75 €, which I find quite something. Not a problem if it needs replacing after 100.000 flashes, but very different if it only lasts like 2000 or so.

    Finally, how hot does the surface of the flash get with continuous shooting? I am thinking about using some sort of plastic foil (for polarizing) - I guess it would be too hot for that though...

    So you never used a special continuous ringlight that I described? There has been some developement and a few of them seem to be comparatively powerful...

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    And about TTL. If it isn't on board, I figure one has to shoot with all manual settings, right?

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    Yes, all manual. Camera and flash.

     

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Cheers!

    And what kind of exposures and iso are you using?

    I suppose a tripod is neccessary in absolute darkness, right?

    Any idea about the temperature of the diffuser glass?

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    And what kind of exposures and iso are you using?
    ISO100
    Exposure 1/125...1/250
    Aperture 4...8 - depending on first test. I making series of test shots with all aperture steps of my lens. Then select best results and use only this setting of aperture. For my lenses best result from 4 till 8 aperture steps.

    I suppose a tripod is neccessary in absolute darkness, right?
    No, I don't use tripod.

    Any idea about the temperature of the diffuser glass?
    Don't understand whats you about.

  • Avatar
    Heiko

    That’s really interesting.
    I think what Götz means is how ‚hot‘ the flash get while continuesly shooting -

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    Tempereature of flash is not a problem. Sometimes I see sign "Overheating" and got to wait 1-2 minutes. Most of time I shooting 1\125-1\250 exposure of flash. So it's overheating few times per working day (5-6 hours). And I use 1 battery for all day.

    But If I use exposure of flash = 1 it will overheat often and I need 3-4 battery for full working day. 

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Ok, thanks a lot!

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    Aleksandr, would appreciate more of your thoughts around

    "If you use static light you will get shadows" I think I understand - you mean shadows all from same direction?

    If you use mobile light you will get texture mixed from different pictures and shadowed parts on one picture will mixed with illuminated part from another picture. Finally you will get uniformly illuminated texture." You mean still shadows. but any given object shadowed from a different direction in each of the overlapping shots? I can see that a bit of shadow must help with flat nearly smooth surfaces like plaster, esp finely textured like paint brush marks on plaster.

    "You must capture in RAW and then correct shadows in Lightroom\Capture One." I thought that kind of messing with image was not liked by RC - or is that just about optical messing, like cropping or distortion removal?

    In general, I thought there's a danger that RC may mistake a shadow for a feature, esp getting confused if that 'feature' seems to move.

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Hi Tom,

    Raising shadows is not too bad in my experience.

    And the problem with shadows seems to be more a problem for competitors. At least I don't have any problems using an onboard flash. Also, I think it depends a lot on the object. If you have a largely flat plaster surface, changing light directions should be fine. If you have a really coarse and bumpy plaster, changing light direction will more likely affect feature detection. Then again, if it changes gradually, it might not be so bad. It all depends...  :-)

  • Avatar
    Tom Foster

    All good - spent this rainy day researching flash - Godox looks unbeatable http://flashhavoc.com/godox-flash-system-overview.

    Close to ordering a TT600 basic manual flash, would pay a bit more for a TT685 with TTL but then you have to buy the dedicated Canon/Nikon etc variant and I expect one day to give back the borrowed Nikon and get that Fuji!

    Ring flashes and suchlike will have to wait.

    Looking forward to hearing more of Alelsandr's experience, seemingly making a virtue of shadow at varying angle. Would be great to not have to think any more about umbrellas etc.

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Hi Tom,

    if you're eyeing the X-T20, then you might be interested in reading this:

    https://admiringlight.com/blog/fuji-x-pro-2-vs-sony-a7-ii-noise-comparison/

    I am pretty sure it's the same sensor in the X Pro 2. Bottom Line is noise level about equal - what more do you want?  :-D

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    There is no quoting on this forum, hard to structurize text(

    To Tom Foster

    "If you use static light you will get shadows" I think I understand - you mean shadows all from same direction?
    - Yes, with static tripod-umbrella-type flashlight you will get static shadows. We don't want static shadows.

    If you use mobile light you will get texture mixed from different pictures and shadowed parts on one picture will mixed with illuminated part from another picture. Finally you will get uniformly illuminated texture." You mean still shadows. but any given object shadowed from a different direction in each of the overlapping shots? I can see that a bit of shadow must help with flat nearly smooth surfaces like plaster, esp finely textured like paint brush marks on plaster.
    - Nothing will help you with flat\untextured surfaces. It will be reconstructed very bad. You must correct it in postprocessing - pretexturing workflow. I use Geomagic Wrap for this work. After I get mesh from RC I correct it in Geomagic and then return to RC for texturing. 

    "You must capture in RAW and then correct shadows in Lightroom\Capture One." I thought that kind of messing with image was not liked by RC - or is that just about optical messing, like cropping or distortion removal?
    - You can use postprocessing of RAW, but carefully. No cropping, No undistortion. Just make your picture uniformly lighted and correct colors, uniform it. I use ColorChecker Passport.

    In general, I thought there's a danger that RC may mistake a shadow for a feature, esp getting confused if that 'feature' seems to move.
    - No. This technology is not depending on shadows. It's more complicated. Surfaces must be textured well, your shots must be excellent quality and all will be fine. 

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    For all about Fuji. Just look for this absolutely exact comparison: LINK!
    You will see how clear and sharp are Sony shots (I don't sell sony))) I just use it for last 4 years. It is excellent camera. I will buy last Sony a7RM3 becouse it's worth every cent. Few years ago I used Nikon d700 for all my work and I was happy. And than I tried Sony)))... Even my lowend (for this days) NEX7 is useful in many cases.

    About GODOX flashlights, it's very depends on your case. TT600\TT685 looks good for evironmental reconstuction of rooms\houses etc. 

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    This is like saying a Porsche Turbo has a better acceleration than a VW Golf GTI.  :-)   

    Of course the a7r2 (or 3) is better than the X-T20. But with the best available lens it's also 3-4 times as expensive. And I am asking - is it also 3-4 times as good? I think not. So if you have the budget, go for the alpha, or better even Nikon 850. But if you don't, then I argue passionately that the X-T20 is one of the best you can get at the moment.

    I'm also a bit confused - didn't you suggest the ring flash for caves? Cave = round interior, room = angular interior...

    As I said, I also use a mono flash for interiors. With complex geometry, you will inevitably get unwanted shadows though and not always will you be able to expunge them with more images from other angles. And especially with wide angle lenses (like my Fujinon 10-24) it is hard to avoid any shadow from the lens.

    That's very different with a ring flash I assume. There will also be some shadow by complex geometry, but it will be softened down quite a lot. But I never used one before, so please correct me if I'm wrong...

  • Avatar
    Aleksandr Gorky

    Porsche Turbo is good
    Fujifilm X-T20 is good too as I see:

    As I said earlier I chose this ring flash because of:
    1) Power
    2) Mobility
    3) Long battery life
    4) Possibility to close capture objects in full dark, 30 cm infront of object.

    Ring flash exampe of use:
    1) When I capture geometry inside old church on the edge of the earth without electricity.
    2) When I need to capture ancient vase directly on archeological site I just place it to lightbox, take ring flash and do it.
    3) When I capture petroglyphs in sunny day hanging on a rock at an 10 meters from ground. It helps me to compensate sun shadows but it's hard to hold it in one hand due to weight.
    4) In cave I can capture both at close range and from afar.

    On camera flash pros and cons:
    1) - You can't capture close to object becouse of shadow from lens
    2) - Lower power than ring flash 
    3) + Lightweight
    4) + TTL, in this world there is no good ring flash with TTL!

    For example - same power:


    Götz Echtenacher, can you show 1-2 photo from your Fujinon 10-24 with 10mm focal length?

     

  • Avatar
    Götz Echtenacher

    Hi Aleksandr,

    thanks again!

    Glad you agree about the X-T20!  :-) For whatever reason, the sample at ISO 200 is less sharp than the ones at 400 and above. Not sure if there was some focusing issue. The F-stop is the same...

    Anyways, of course I can send you some images. What are you interested in? Just contact me by mail since they exceed the limits of the forum by orders of magnitude. Just browse my name and you should be able to find my "adress"-page...

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