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Flash/light for macro

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Ted, Feb 2, 2015.

  1. Ted

    Ted Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    Tasmania, Australia
    Theo B
    Hey guys, I've got the Oly 60mm macro lens (my first macro) and I seem to be struggling a little bit with light unless I'm outside at midday. When I bought the lens the guy in the shop suggested the little LED Oly lights on bendy sticks (that's the technical term), but I didn't pick them up at the time. Do you guys think these are the best option or should I look for a cheap ring flash? I don't want to spend too much here as macro is just for fun, but it wasn't a cheap lens either so I'd like to get the most out of it. Looking for that happy middle ground I guess!

  2. Ted

    Ted Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 10, 2014
    Tasmania, Australia
    Theo B
    I've tried the flash that came with my EM5 but as I'm sure you lot already know it doesn't really work for macro :rolleyes: 
  3. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    • Like Like x 1
  4. You don't say what body you are using, but the LED bendy sticks won't work with the E-M10. Most reviews that I have seen aren't too favorable of them any way.

    I use the FL-300 with my 60 macro. It has worked well for me and its light weight. I also occasionally use the FL-600 with a flash diffuser. It's much bigger than the 300 but does a great job.

    Ideally the flash would be off camera, but this only works well for slow bugs and static flowers.
  5. Sammyboy

    Sammyboy m43 Pro

    Oct 26, 2010
    Steeler Country
    ...... the FL-300 works very well .....
  6. With regards to macro, are you into bugs, or static things? For static stuff a cheap manual flash will work - I like using my YN560s for this as I can completely control the light and not really worry about ambient too much. A continuous light like OzRay mentioned will also work well, you can just expose longer. For moving stuff I'm using the relatively expensive but compact TTL Nissin i40. I would like to try a continuous light, but have yet to find one as good as OzRay's.
  7. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I think that for macro/close-up photography both continuous light and flash have their purpose. I don't have any experience with the LED flashes and how effective they are, but I think that we're headed towards a hybrid system where the one light panel will offer both continuous and flash capability. I think this will have enormous benefits of low weight, low power consumption and much greater flexibility overall. We sort of have this in some of the macro flash units that are LED powered, with separate lights for illumination and flash, but these are still in a fairly crude state.

    I'm still experimenting with my Cree light to see how and where it's best suited but, I'm constantly somewhat surprised at what I can use it for and how well it works. Some clever individual should take advantage of this type of light and start producing these in a studio light style combination. The separate power pack is one thing that I really like, as it offers much better configuration than built-in battery style lights.
  8. edmsnap

    edmsnap Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 20, 2011
    Edmonton, Alberta
    I don't mind the bendy Olympus LED antennas, but at best they can help just a very little bit. The LEDs are just not bright enough to compare with a real flash.
  9. banj911

    banj911 Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 12, 2014
    NSW Australia
    This is the solution I use for my macro shots at the moment, It's a cheap (read - old model bought from a secondhand market) macro ring flash with two small led lights attached for focussing etc.
    I find that as it attaches by a pc sync cord, it can be held at any angle to the subject for lighting just the way you want. I use it at full power and vary the aperture and distance to subject to suit.
    E-500    ---    30mm    f/5.0    1/60s    ISO 200
    Macro Set-up by banj911, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 2
  10. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
  11. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    For use with my 60mm.

    I was lucky, I managed to pick up one of these beauties, as new for under half RRP.

    Picture from Google Images.
    15917343018_bd04f7e0aa_c. RF-11 by Dave in Wales, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 3
  12. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Last time that I checked, that was somewhere in the vicinity of AU$1500.
  13. Dave in Wales

    Dave in Wales Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 5, 2011
    West Wales
    It's a beaut....I had a bargain.
  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    Depending on time frame, that could equate to around $750. Currently, the Olympus Oz site lists it at a RRP of $1399.
  15. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014

    Here is my bodged together Macro Flash Gear.



    View attachment 407052


    It uses a lumix 220 flashgun connected via Canon TTL Lead for full TTL Control a Home made softbox made from a small ice cream pot and a few bits cobbled together from ebay brackets.

    Its been modified since these were taken replacing the bracket that holds the hotshoe and flash with a sturdy ball joint.

    It does work very well though.

    • Like Like x 2
  16. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator; Photon Wrangler Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    FWIW, I sold my Olympus SRF-11 set with FR-1 Adapter (like new in box) for $425USD on eBay recently. I had it listed here for a long time as well.

  17. zensu

    zensu Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 8, 2012
    Alabama USA
    Don't bother with the Olympus Macro Flexible Arms LED they are helpful with focusing but not strong enough to effect exposure IMHO. I use an Olympus 36R Flash that I got on ebay for less that $100. It works great off camera with the Olympus TTL Flash extension cord. I've also read many times that Canons TTL Flash extension cords work well too. The little pop up flash can fire the 36R with TTL Wireless Flash but you've got to have a good line of site for the flash sensor to read the little pop up but it does work. For macro work however I like using the Extension Cord much better.
  18. biomed

    biomed Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2013
    Seattle area
    This was what I used when I had Canon cameras. It worked very well and was very adjustable. Also had modeling lights. Now I use either wireless flash or a TTL extension cable. I will give OzRay's lighting a try.

  19. thenextpage

    thenextpage Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 13, 2014
    I really enjoyed reading through this macro article by MarkB1. His work is beautiful, and he's written a very nice detailed description of his gear/process. I'm actually also in the process of expanding my macro components; I have the Oly 60mm on EM1 - and am now also searching for a flash. So I'll follow this thread!
  20. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    I had been using the FL-36R off-camera, triggered by the E-P5 popup flash. It works great but as Zensu mentioned above needing to have line-of-sight to the flash sensor can be awkward, so I just picked up a generic Canon flash cable and it works perfectly. I think any voltage-safe flash should be fine, you just want to get it diffused and close to the subject.
    • Like Like x 2
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