Outdoor headlamps as light sources for macro?

Discussion in 'Lighting and Hardware' started by macbes, Nov 24, 2017.

  1. macbes

    macbes TPF Noob!

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    Hello everybody,

    I use Canon EOS 6D and I'm soon buying Canon 65mm 1-5x Macro lens.
    I did take some macro photos before and I want this particular lens because
    it will enable me to take some really unique shots in this incredible
    magnification. Essentially, my largest macro interest are still "nature"
    objects, most importantly: water in all the forms (water drops, snow
    flakes, etc.), but also others such as grass, leaves, etc.

    Now, I did a lot of investigation and it seems to be that for this Macro lens
    and my future usage, some external light source is a must. Initially, I
    thought of getting the Yongnuo YN-24ex twin Canon replacement (has
    positive reviews and is much cheaper than the original Canon Twin Lite
    MT-24EX).

    However, I'm wondering if it would be a better idea to simply use my current
    outdoor headlamps. I have several ones, including Petzl Tikka and Black
    Diamond Icon Polar (they give up to 320 lumens), and I'm also planning
    to get one more that gives even 1500 lumens. They are really powerful and
    have one more advantage: I sometimes take shots in VERY low temperatures
    (for example -40 C) and these headlamps have a great advantage: their
    accumulators are detachable and can be stored in a pocket, thus they do not
    discharge quickly.

    However, I have no idea in practice how the "quality" of light differs between
    such headlamps and dedicated twin light. Headlamps give you a lot of flexibility
    (I don't have to wear them on head of course, I can put them anywhere near
    the object), but still having a light source attached to the lens seems like
    something that may be much better in lighting up a given object.

    Any thoughts and advice? :)

    I could in principle get this twin light as well, but hey, it's always better to
    minimize the stuff you carry (if reasonable), and if this headlamp would
    give me the same "light-power" as this twin, then why even bother taking twin...


     
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    My first thought is what is the color temperature of the light? If it's not near the ambient light you'll be shooting under, you're going to have problems unless you're going to shoot in the dark.
     
  3. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As a Nikon shooter interested in macro I have only watched a couple of videos of people using that particular super macro lens. I think you do need a strong constant light source just to be able to see the subject when using the upper magnification settings of that lens. I often find with macro that even though I am outdoors the object is so small that natural light just does not reach the subject with enough intensity to allow easy focus - and that is just at 1:1 magnification.

    I would try a controlled test indoors using a tripod with varying ambient light levels to see at what point you need more light just to focus, and then see if you can set up the flashlight to provide that light. Then check if using two flashlights will give enough light to give decent exposure settings. I would be tempted to use a flashlight to help with focus and then the flash units for the actual picture.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A few thoughts:

    1) Canon has (finally!!) released a new version of the twinflash unit. Money no object that would be my choice for this lens. It gives you compact easy to use flash lights that also have a built in focusing light that helps you with focusing (honestly beyond around 3:1 a focusing light becomes very very helpful).
    I also didn't realise it earlier but the twinflash also now works with Canon's wireless control as well so you could pair it with other current Canon radio compatible flashes for a simple radio setup
    Canon Macro Twin Lite MT-26EX-RT - Cameras - Canon UK

    2) The old twinflash is still out there and a good choice, its recharging speed is slower and I've found a simple Pixel Battery Pack makes a serious improvement on the recharging and recycling speed. Pixel pack isn't very expensive and much more affordable than the official Canon one.

    3) I've not used the 3rd party options so I can't comment on them specifically.

    4) I read an interesting bit by another photographer about light spectrum and for LED lights that are non-photographic their light output is varied. That is to say that they might well muck up your white balance if you're using them as your primary light source.
    That said if you use a lighting setup (flash) that hasn't got a focusing light then a cheap LED torch (single bulb) should be ideal to mount forwrad to give you a focusing light.

    5) Another important aspect is handshake. For sharp shots you want to avoid handshake, and in macro its a bit like shooting with long telephotos in that tiny motions are amplified. So you'd need very fast shutter speeds, or use flash dominated lighting where the splitsecond of flashlight gives you a sharp shot as result of the fact that its the only light contributing to the exposure.

    6) Finally there's exposure control. If your light source is constant in its output then the only way to vary its output is to change the camera settings or to change the distance of the light to the subject. The former isn't too bad unless your settings are already limited by the situation; the latter (distance) is trickier as it means mucking around with the setup all the time - not ideal if you're out in the field.


    Overall - LED head torches could be used, but in practical terms it wouldn't be what I'd choose unless I were doing video work with the camera. However even then I'd want to have dedicated LED setups for photography work rather than any old general use LED.
     
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  5. macbes

    macbes TPF Noob!

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    Thank you guys a lot for your answers and time!
     
  6. jeffW

    jeffW TPF Noob!

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    At times I use an Led battery powered light that I bought at the local hardware store, not as a main - just for fill, I've taped a 1/8 magenta gel over it to cut the green spike some. I feel 1/4 magenta was a tad too much for that light.

    Just a though if you try the headlamp. I keep the gel on there all the time it doesn't effect my use of the light.

    (I understand this is not a perfectly correct solution for absolute perfect color)

    hope this helps
     

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