macro lighting

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by KyleB, Aug 27, 2010.

  1. KyleB

    KyleB TPF Noob!

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    i really like macro photography and am getting more and more into it. so far i use a home made table to do stationary objects to practice with. but this wont work int he field and i love small animal/plant/fungus photography.

    I am not opposed to 2 tripods, one for body one for flash...and i am also ok making diffusers and such.

    But i am not sure what would be the best bang for the buck (using single light source if possible).

    i use Cannon kiss bodies and lenses will change to suite my needs. so if xx flash is best with xx lens, i am into hearing it.


    i am leaning towards Canon's MP-E 65mm Macro. but not totally sure. anyway, will be thinking on lenses in the future....for now i use ex. tubes.


    i like the MT-24EX, but to come clean its rather expensive for my current budget, especially if i buy a nice lens like the mp-e.

    soi am wondering if there may be a cheaper lens around that can be made into something better....not opposed to to modifying things at all.

    Thanks :)
    Kyle
     
  2. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    While the MT-24EX is nice, it's really not needed in my opinion. You can get away with a single 430ex or 580 (think I've got my numbers right) and get some beautiful light. I personally prefer macros from a single light sources as it gives more depth than having light coming from both sides.

    Click into my site if you want and view some of my images (or even just my slideshow on the main page). All of my images were taken with a macro lens and an SB-600 (430ex equivalent). All were done handheld as well. You do not need a tripod if shooting macros with flash. All of my shots were done handheld and many near the 2:1 range. Flash will stop motion negating the need for a tripod (assuming you can have a super steady hand....which takes practice). A tripod is only useful in my opinion if you are shooting with natural light and no flashes.

    Don't be fooled by the haters either. The MPE-65 is also very capable handheld. Honestly, some of the most impressive shooters of that lens that I've ever seen shoot theirs handheld and with a single flash.

    Edit: If you would like to see my setup (though I'm using a slightly smaller diffuser now), click below and go to Macro Rig at the top right.
    http://sidersphoto.wordpress.com/
     
  3. aadhils

    aadhils TPF Noob!

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    The mp-e65 is difficult to use but if you take the time to learn and do not get frustrated easily then it can be very rewarding.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Tripods can indeed work for macro photography and there are those who do the majority of their macro work with tripod setups - however tripod macro is slow macro so if you plan to work with insects you have to be prepared. That means selecting times of the day when the insects are more likely to be slow and sluggish (eg early mornings and just after rainstorms - cold times when insects cool and slow) so that you have time to setup your tripod. Using more tripods can help, though if your camera is on a tripod then a cable quick release and a flash can be held in your hands to position the light.

    If you get a very still day (ie no wind) and bright light you can even use natural light and just a reflector to control the light a little. However remember slower shutter speeds means more chances of insect or wind motion disturbing your shot so it does come with some risk.

    If you want to be more mobile though then a flash setup is going to be the most practical and controlling the light from a flash can get quite interesting as people develop different methods of controlling and softening the light.
    A simple approach which is effective is the one NateS mentions and is also used by a variety of other macro shooters. And is my current approach as well using a bracket to hold the flash.

    You can get some other ideas here:
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=807056

    I would also recommend checking out the concave diffuser idea here:
    http://www.juzaforum.com/forum-en/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=12633

    It's aimed at the twinflash, but even with a single flash it will produce some very good soft lighting.
    The twinflash is an interesting and versatile flash, but horribly expensive whilst something like a 580EX2 or 430EX2 can do the job very well and have uses outside of the macro world.

    As for macro lenses my advice is to start with a regular macro lens or alternate setup and then use diopters (eg raynox DCR250); extension tubes (eg kenko AF tubes); or reverse lens mounting methods to get beyond 1:1 magnification first - these approaches are a lot cheaper than the MPE65mm macro. It is a fantastic lens but it is a big challenge to use - it also won't work on anything further off than a 1:1 macro shot*. So its very limited to macro work.
    A regular macro lens is thus not only a good place to start, but will also keep being used even after you invest in something like the MPE


    * unless you put a 2*teleconverter infront of it (on the end of the lens rather than between lens and camera) and then you can get some quite long range shots with it - though its not an ideal setup.
     
  5. KyleB

    KyleB TPF Noob!

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    very good thanks guys. i saw some posts on juza forum, and was thinking of making things like that. thats why i hinted at willing to do some DIY as those guys did great work.

    and the savings on flash will help a lot.

    giving what you guys mention some though, and reading up on different lenese/reiews etc...i am down to the mpe or the cannon 100mm macro. like you guys say the mpe is limited to macr which the 100mm isnt so much, so ia m thinking going that route and get the mpe later on if macro really is my true calling :)

    as is i am using more or less regular lenses with extension tubes to ge tup close, but htey have their fall backs. i will admit on cheaping out and not getting the kenko af version hehe.


    quick question. anyone experience problems using the 430ex with teh eos kiss 4x?
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    There shouldn't be any problems using a canon flash on a canon camera body at all so you should be perfectly fine to use a 430EX on your camera.

    Also I do think you are making the right choice in going for a regular macro lens first and then the MPE - not just because of the fact that the MPE is highly specialist and hard to use, but also because having a maximum frame cover of 1:1 can be limiting - you can't get dragonflies, butterflies and many flowers in their entirety, so having a lens that lets you back off a little is a very good thing
     

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