For Christmas this year, my wife bought me two presents – the lovely set of wine glasses I posted about a while back, and the Neewer AD200 flash. One of the features I was particularly keen to test out, is its ability as a light source for UV-imaging with its bare-bulb head. Hence this post, to demonstrate its capabilities for this.
There are many reasons for me to get this flash system:
- This one flash system works with many of the common camera systems to give wireless TTL. You simply need a AD200 flash and the appropriate wireless transmitter for that system e.g. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus/Panasonic. I also bought the Sony and Olympus wireless triggers. This saves on the cost of having to buy a flash for multiple systems – now I can sell off my other flash and thin down my equipment.
- I wanted to be able to use wireless flash with my iPhone X, and the Godox A1 which is supposed to allow for this. Having bought the A1, I wanted to have a flash which could pair with this. So now that I have the AD200, I will experiment with this and post about it another time.
- I thought that having a bare-bulb would allow me to use this for UV-imaging, and perhaps let me try UV-imaging with TTL flash – that could potentially overcome issues with certain parts of the flower being more UV-reflective than others and resulting in ‘hot-spots’ i.e. overexposure. Couple that with it being smaller and lighter and with a built-in rechargeable battery, it is much easier to bring this around for location shooting of UV images.
- This flash is more powerful than a normal flash, being able to emit 200Ws of light. Hence it should be able to cope better than the traditional camera flash in most situations, including outdoor HSS shooting.
- There are plenty of accessories which will work with this system, particularly as it comes with two different heads – bare bulb and the traditional flash head with the fresnel lens.
One thing I was concerned about when I first saw the bare-bulb, was that it looked like it may be coated to block UV. Below is the bulb of the AD200 (left) next to that of the Quantum T5DR (right).
Now my UV-imaging system comprises my full-spectrum Olympus E-M5, Coastal Optics 60mm F4 APO lens, Baader U filter, and now I have added the Neewer Olympus Flash trigger for TTL UV-imaging. The great design of this flash trigger is that it has a hot-shoe, on which I can mount a Nichia torch, to add light onto the subject when there is little UV illuminating it so as to aid focusing.
Below is the Neewer AD200 flash with its fully-charged battery installed in its compartment and ready to use. I have used the same reflector head as my Quantum T5DR since it fits perfectly on the AD200.
Enough of the introduction. Below are the images which I have taken with my Olympus E-M5 and Coastal Optics 60mm F4 APO using the Baader U and my 330AF20 filter. My first test was with the Orchid which was still blooming in my house and the only suitable candidate for UV-imaging to hand. Do note that I was hand holding the camera when shooting these images, and hence they do not look the same; my second test on the next page was more controlled with the camera and flash both mounted on tripods.
The images below have not been processed except to convert RAW to JPEG (only the last image has been processed in Capture One Pro).
First is the unprocessed TTL image of the Orchid. It appears dark, but there are no overexposed areas.
Next is the same orchid but with full power, again the image is unprocessed. This shows that the output has definitely been reduced in the TTL image so as not to over-blow the image. Here there are many areas which appear overexposed on the flower.
I then imaged the Orchid with the 330AF20 filter, just to test out its capabilities at the lower end of the UV spectrum. And as you can see, it does produce a decent amount of lower UV. In have had not use a larger aperture and full power to capture this.
And the final image below is of the first TTL shot which has been processed in Capture One Pro to get the best out of the image.