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270EX II for macro?


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Dec 15, 2011
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I am looking to buy my first flash... and I will probably be using it mostly for macro work. Is the 270EXII a decent option? Cost is only a slight factor, I am more drawn to its smaller size(I hike, backpack and travel alot)... but if the 430ex or 580ex is significantly better(especially for macro) I will go for one of them. I have read lots of reviews on all the flashes, but none seem to specifically address if one or the other is better for macro. Thanks.
What macro lens(s) do you have and do you have the means to fire the flash 'off camera'?

If your macro lens doesn't allow for plenty of working distance, the flash may not be able to illuminate your subject because the lens is in the way. That is why a typical 'macro flash' is mounted onto the front of the lens.
I have a EOS 7D with a 100mm 2.8 macro lens. Yes, it will be firing off camera and I will be mounting the flash near the lens.
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For macro work, you'd be best off with a ring flash.
For macro work, you'd be best off with a ring flash.

You say that, but most of the macro shooters I know don't use a ringflash. Heck I'd actually be willing to say ringflashes are a rarity!
The thing is they are more difficult in some ways. For a start the light can be somewhat flat from them, though better models let you balance the left and right tubes to give some shadowing; then you've the problem that the shape of the flash makes them very difficult to diffuse effectively. You can put layers of cover over the tubes, but you can't really make the area much bigger - at least without being very creative in arts and crafts.

Plus ringflashes are pretty exclusive to macro work (at least regular ones, I'm not including those much larger beauty ring flashes used in fashion work which are a very separate entity) so for a first time flash are far more limiting in a purchase.
The ring light I linked to above isn't a flash. It's a continuous light. It's not just for macro work. It's also good for some portrait work. Also, in low light or for long exposure shots, you can use the light to focus, then turn it off to take the picture. It has an AC adapter for using inside, to save on batteries. It also has six different size adapters, for use with different lenses. In some situations, it's going to be better than a flash. And for about $40, you can't beat it.
I've honestly never tried one of the LED ringflashes nor know any macro shooters using them. They exist in that "I might get one one day just to find out" or just to get the collection of adaptor rings (Something I'll note Canon does not like giving away for free with their macro flash units!)
The one above isn't camera brand specific. If your lenses use the filter size of the adapters, they'll work with them.

6 Adapter Ring:49mm/52mm/55mm/58mm/62mm/67mm

They say that some dentists uses them. I've noticed too that on the tv show "CSI: Miami", the people taking pics of the crime scenes, uses a more expensive ring flash........... :)
Ah but dentists are not photographers ;) Often they do want the simple point and click light combined with a full frontal showing of the light, ie no creative shadowing nor specific desire for a stronger contrast for sharper, clearer edges/colours.

I've even seen ring flashes in use in documentaries where they've been using them to document species as they are collected - again this kind of work is indeed photography, but often slightly different to the more artistic that tend to be hobbyists. Documentation work is typically after a good technical snapshot and for that the frontal and universal light works well (it also helps pick up details in underbody areas on subjects, areas which can oft be shadowed when one works with a more single aspect light source.
Agree with Overread. Use a ringflash if you want shadowless, flat lighting that is perfect for dentist and CSI work :p

Insects Macro Photography: Single flash and twin flash shoot setup
Here my blog with a 270 EX, and twin flash setup i hope it help the jumping spider shot with 270EX
Thanks everyone for all the suggestions! Sorry it took so long for me to respond back. I was trying to get a flash quickly for a vacation I was taking... I was hoping to do alot of macro shooting but I ended up renting a non macro lens and used that most of the trip. I did however get a few decent macro shots with my on-board flash.

What i was hoping to do was make a rig like the ones in the link provided by orionmystery. Something really compact and easy to travel with.... but now that I am back from the trip, I am not in such a rush to get a flash and I am going to look further into the MT-24EX(thx Natalie) and figure out what would be best for me and my needs... since I am pretty new to this I think I will do a bit more studying before spending the money on the wrong setup.

orionmystery and Bennie34... awesome pics!!! Thanks for sharing.

Not so interested in flashring, tho I appreciate the thought.

Here are a couple pics I took on vacation with my on-board flash, no tripod. Was a good time, love taking macro shots... can't wait til I get a better flash and can practice more.(pics are unedited)


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