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  #1  
Old 27th July 2016
Walti Walti is offline
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I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

So....

Having decided I want to improve my macro work, the next step was flash...

So I had bought myself an LED macro ring light, but results weren't great (but I bought a cheap "toe in the water trial" one) so next steps:

I want to be able to use flash for macro and flash for general use, so do I buy a ring flash AND a general flash?

So I started with the E-M1 and the supplied master module:



I had taken a step back and looked at every lens and accessory I owned and swapped out the tripod head for an Arca Swiss device, as well as putting a cheap ball head onto my monopod:



So the HLD7 gained an Arca Swiss plate:



Looking at Amazon and EBay I found that long Arca Swiss plates and tiny rig ball joints were available, so after a bit of measuring and sketching I bought a 200mm long Arca Swiss plate, two mini rig flash ball joints and two flash guns and used some of the supplied packaging as professional standard diffusers:



These all mount onto the Arca Swiss plate on the camera:



And by moving the tiny rig ball joints below the plate there's room for hands to get around the camera...



With it all being Arca Swiss it will also mount onto my tripod...



And because I'd started this odyssey I also Arca-Swissed up my macro focus plate so the whole thing takes seconds to assemble and disassemble...

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Olympus: Silver OM-D E-M1 MKi+HLD7, Black OM-D E-M1 MKii+HLD9, 12-40mm f2.8 Pro, 60mm f2.8 Macro, 40-150 f2.8 Pro, 300mm f4 Pro, MC14TC, FL-LM2, 2*FL-36R, FL-600R
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  #2  
Old 27th July 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

and first attempt...


(I'm lying it was about my fifth, but it took a couple of attempts to get the flash exposure correct (ish, the shadow is a bit under illuminated) and work out how NOT to use the camera's default 1/60th second shutter speed.

But a moving bee on a moving sunflower:

E-M1
60mm macro f2.8
ISO 200
1/250
f20
manual exposure


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Olympus: Silver OM-D E-M1 MKi+HLD7, Black OM-D E-M1 MKii+HLD9, 12-40mm f2.8 Pro, 60mm f2.8 Macro, 40-150 f2.8 Pro, 300mm f4 Pro, MC14TC, FL-LM2, 2*FL-36R, FL-600R
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  #3  
Old 27th July 2016
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Graham_of_Rainham Graham_of_Rainham is offline
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

The only thing that matters are the end results.

Which look good
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Old 28th July 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

Very creative construction. Only comment on the shot is that when you are that close the depth of field is extremely thin, its hard to tell exactly where the focus was set.

Did you consider using the focus stacking thats available for the EM1 with a Pro lens on.
I realise that its not possible though if you are hand held.
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Old 28th July 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wornish View Post
Very creative construction. Only comment on the shot is that when you are that close the depth of field is extremely thin, its hard to tell exactly where the focus was set.

Did you consider using the focus stacking thats available for the EM1 with a Pro lens on.
I realise that its not possible though if you are hand held.
I agree fully!

Hand held is a bit of a lottery as far as the focus point is concerned especially when the subject is blowing in the breeze!

I will be trying the stacking again soon, and trying to chase down some interesting subjects, even though we've "bee friendly" planted the garden we're not as lucky as some on here with visitors to the garden! So I will take the rig down the road to the local National Trust gardens at some point...

The main reason for setting this up is to try and get some decent photos from inside Cathy's beehive!
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Old 28th July 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walti View Post
I agree fully!

Hand held is a bit of a lottery as far as the focus point is concerned especially when the subject is blowing in the breeze!

I will be trying the stacking again soon, and trying to chase down some interesting subjects, even though we've "bee friendly" planted the garden we're not as lucky as some on here with visitors to the garden! So I will take the rig down the road to the local National Trust gardens at some point...
Look forward to seeing the results. The other thing to consider is diffraction blur, at f/20 you will certainly get quite a bit.

Good explanation here
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm
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Old 28th July 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

Quote:
Originally Posted by wornish View Post
Look forward to seeing the results. The other thing to consider is diffraction blur, at f/20 you will certainly get quite a bit.

Good explanation here
http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tut...ensor-size.htm
Many thanks

I've been using a fairly arbitrary f9 as a general limit, but have tended to ignore it for macro as the increased DOF makes the trade-off seem worth it at times... though my mind changes on a daily basis!

I'm right at the start of this so will be experimenting on non-mobile subjects to try and understand what I'm trying to do! a LOT of trial and error is about to happen!
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Old 4th August 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

diffraction is probably not the issue but I do not use f20 you missed focus

How sturdy are those ball joints and if they do not move when handholding where did you get them?
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OMD E-M1 OMD E-M5II MMF3 12-40 pro 12-50 EZ 14-42 EZ 9-18 f4.0 -5.6 40 -150f4-f5.6 R 60mm f2.8 macro Sigma 105 f2.8 macro Holga 60mm plastic Holga pinhole lens lens and a XZ-1 Olympus - 35 SP Trip 35 Pen EEs OM2sp

I nice view does not mean a good photograph. My FLickr

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Old 4th August 2016
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Re: I might have gone over the top: Macro flash rig build!

The ball joints are very sturdy, a little too limited on movement, I'd like a little more than they offer, a small adjustment with a file would give a little bit of lateral movement to make it spot on, but I'm quite happy to leave the whole weight of the whole rig resting on them... If I trusted the flash guns were sturdy enough the rig could be picked up by one flash gun.... (I don't trust the plastic is strong enough so daren't put that theory to the test.)

It's a two handed job to use and hold very steady, light enough to swing around with one hand but otherwise superb.

Full shopping list: (probably cheaper through Flea Bay...)

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Olympus: Silver OM-D E-M1 MKi+HLD7, Black OM-D E-M1 MKii+HLD9, 12-40mm f2.8 Pro, 60mm f2.8 Macro, 40-150 f2.8 Pro, 300mm f4 Pro, MC14TC, FL-LM2, 2*FL-36R, FL-600R
Panasonic: 20mm f1.7
Nissin: Di466
Apple: 27" iMac, 13" MacBook Pro
Adobe: Creative Cloud
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