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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎05-25-2018

Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

Hello everybody. I wonder which macro flash rig setup produces the best overall lighting results for macro subjects using the MP-E 65mm & 100mm macro L. One is a twin macro flash unit like the mt 24-ex using small diffusers on each flash head or a single 430 ex ii or iii flash attached to a flash cord on a macro flash bracket (Wimberley) with a medium or large soft box attached to the flash unit. Cost isn't a consideration although the price difference is large.
Andrew
Nature Photography Hobbyist / Enthusiast
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,176
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

The problem with the standard flash units is that you might get shadowing from the lens given the relatively short working distance. I think the macro flash gives you a lot more flexibility.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 338
Registered: ‎10-21-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

Small diffusers are generally pretty useless because they just tend to reduce the light output, I always use a 7" x 5" diffuser on a single flash with a 100mm lens. With most macro subjects you still need a certain amount of directional lighting otherwise the shots appear too flat and dull.

The MPE lens can cause all sorts of problems with lighting because you are working so close to the subject and putting a flash and diffuser into the equation can be quite tricky. I doubt that you will find one flash setup that will work well with both lenses.

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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎05-25-2018

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

[ Edited ]
Thank you so much for your input guys. Do you know which diffusion material(s) can be used in addition to using a 7 x 5 soft box? And I have another question. Is it preferable to use E-TTL or manual mode for macro photography including focus stacking? I know that using a flash for macro work does not require a lot of power since I end up getting very close to my subject. I will use a 60mm macro lens.
Andrew
Nature Photography Hobbyist / Enthusiast
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,176
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

Where did the 60mm come from? In the OP you were talking about the 100mm and the MPE 65!

 

If this is bench to studio macrowork, you might try a light tent to provide diffuse light all around the subject

 

https://strobist.blogspot.com/2006/07/how-to-diy-10-macro-photo-studio.html

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎05-25-2018

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

My apologies kvbarkley. I forgot to mention it in the OP. I first wanted to get info on those two lenses so I could use it for reference when my nature macro photography hobby becomes my career someday. I will do macro photography in the field most of the time, and occasionally in the studio. Would I be better off using a flash or natural/continuous light using the 60mm macro lens on my T6i for starting out? I like to shoot botany and insects often.
Andrew
Nature Photography Hobbyist / Enthusiast
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,176
Registered: ‎02-17-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

Natural light worked for me.

IMG_3411.jpg

Valued Contributor
Posts: 338
Registered: ‎10-21-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography


@AndyMilnePhotog wrote:
 Do you know which diffusion material(s) can be used in addition to using a 7 x 5 soft box? And I have another question. Is it preferable to use E-TTL or manual mode for macro photography including focus stacking?

Parachute silk works very well, or the modern synthetic equivalent which is widely available on that well known auction site. It gives good diffusion without blocking too much light and can be used multi layered if necessary. Some people have tried everything from plastic milk bottles to expanded polystyrene, most materials have their good and bad points.

 

When I use flash for macro then I always use ETTL with the camera in manual mode, that way you have control of both shutter and aperture while the camera controls the flash output.

Better shots can be made in natural light but it is pretty rare to get bright soft natural lighting in the same place as your macro subject especially if you are photographing insects.

Frequent Contributor
Posts: 83
Registered: ‎05-25-2018

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography

I am more of natural light guy myself. I don't like using bare twin flashes for macro because it creates harsh shadows which is not close to natural light unless I am shooting action which I do not for most situations. How does flash duration play a role in macro photography? Most of the time when I do macro, I often trek through the woods a lot where light availability is low in shady/cloudy conditions. I was considering using a continuous ring light, but the lighting again is too harsh and sometimes the color temperature of the light is too cold to be natural. However, I had an idea of using a rechargeable clip-on LED book light with a flexible gooseneck as a source of light because it can be set in any direction and position as desired, and has dimmable settings depending on lighting conditions. With creativity, I can perhaps diffuse it with silk parachute cloth to soften the light.
Andrew
Nature Photography Hobbyist / Enthusiast
Canon EOS Rebel T6i
Valued Contributor
Posts: 338
Registered: ‎10-21-2016

Re: Speedlite Units: Macro Photography


@AndyMilnePhotog wrote:
 However, I had an idea of using a rechargeable clip-on LED book light with a flexible gooseneck as a source of light because it can be set in any direction and position as desired, and has dimmable settings depending on lighting conditions. With creativity, I can perhaps diffuse it with silk parachute cloth to soften the light.

Not sure that a single LED light will be much use as it is a smaller point source of light than a flashgun and a lot less light. The secret of diffusion is to spread the light and create a larger light source so just putting a small diffuser on a single LED will achieve very little diffusion and absorb a lot of the light.

Unless you get the right LED then you will have colour temperature problems and although these can easily be corrected when shooting raw it can be a problem if you are mixing the LED lighting with daylight.

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