Latest iteration of my macro lighting rig

crimbfighter

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So I have gone through three versions of my macro lighting rig over the last couple years, each time making changes to suit my needs. This is my latest version, and likely the final version. My criteria were probably a little different than some. I wanted to make a macro rig which could utilize my existing speedlights, would have a detachable diffuser, and would allow for easy lens changes while the rig was in use. I trigger the speedlight with the BIF in commander mode. I may chose to use a wired connection at some point, only because some bugs are so fast to react that the preflashes from the BIF can scare them away before the shutter and speedlight have a chance to fire.

For this version, I drafted up blueprints for an aluminum block that would serve as both a bracket to hold the speedlight(s) and also could easily mount to a tripod. I took them to a local machine shop and they produced me a pair of them for $60 each. Not too bad a cost. Though I was careful in my design to make them easy to produce with large tolerances, which kept the machining time down. The resulting bracket can be screwed to the tripod mount on the camera and it has three 1/4-20 threaded holes to mount the bracket arms for more versatility.

The next obstacle was the diffuser. I wanted something that could be easily affixed to the speedlight (or any speedlight for that matter) and would offer good diffustion. I drew up a template based on the coverage I wanted and cut them out. I made the diffuser with two layers of diffusion for extra softness. I also took into account the ability to add gel filters to one of the layers if I wanted. I also wanted the diffuser to be able to lay flat for easy storage. It is easily attached to the speed light with a simple rubber band.

Here's what the rig looks like when attached to the camera. I only put it on the tripod for easier photographing with my cell phone. It actually balances very well in hand. The arm I made can easily support the weight of my SB-910 and is very adjustable. In the future, I also plan to make another arm and use that to hold either another speedlight or a reflector.

Here is a view from the rear.


A view from the side


And from the front.


And an angle.


A better look at the diffuser on the speedlight.



And here is how the diffuser lays flat for storage when not in use.


Here are some photos from my first test run with it. I still need to figure out my technique with it a little bit, but that will come with more use. I'm also thinking about selling them as a kit if it works out well after some more testing. I'm in the process of putting together the needed items to apply for a patent.

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crimbfighter

crimbfighter

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