Show: Your DIY macro flash diffuser

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Here is my current set-up (three days old). It replaces a simple toothpaste-tube cap with foam inside. I have a piece of veterinary dog-collar as the screen, and a smaller cap with foam inside on the tiny FL70 flash.

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It's a very inexpensive system, and seems to do what I want it to do for now, though no doubt if I eventually buy the Oly 60 I will need to change things around. I do need to keep a spare battery for the GX8 in my pocket though, as the FL70 eats through the power. Below I've included a couple of photos from yesterday to illustrate the light I am getting with this set-up. Typically I set the shutter speed at 1/250, and use the ISO to change the light levels. Anywhere between an aperture of 5.6 and 11 seems to do the trick, depending on how much DOF I want. I hasten to add that I am a complete novice at this compared to you all, so take what I say with a pinch of salt :D

It should also be taken into account that at present I only have the Panasonic 30mm, so need to keep the diffusion system short as I have to get very close on occasion. I also shoot my insects in a very different habitat to Hayath, for example, often right in amongst flowers and branches, so I also need to keep the diffusion system small as well. The dog collar product is the proverbial dog's you-know-whats, too; it's easy to cut, rigid enough to keep it's shape, and in my case - free (or second-paw, if you wish to look at it that way). Did I mention I'm on a budget? :D

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retiredfromlife

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@Macroramphosis
Very good results, no hot spots on the fly. But I suppose the flash is small.
I like that little bug under the grass hopper adds a nice touch.

Never heard of that dog collar plastic, have to look that up.
If you take a shot of a shiny bit of fruit on max power does it give any shiny spots?

I am like you and have to get right in and around the plants so only small diffusers work so interested in that collar material.

You wont regret the Oly 60mm, hunts a bit but I like it. The only thing I do not like about it is the manual focus, sometimes it just not seem to work well.

Edit;
One little flash I purchased last Christmas was the Metz 26AF-2 for Mu-43. It only has TTL but the power is so low I can use it like a manual flash using the cameras exposure compensation for flash.
It lilts up and down and can get is really close to the front of the lens even when nearly flat against the camera. Here it is an my EM10.2 with the hinged filter holder for the Oly MCON-P02 close up filter

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Panolyman

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Great shots Roddy.
To be perfectly honest I'm surprised at the amount of light you're actually getting through that set-up, especially at those apertures.
And if you're a complete novice at this, then in comparison I must still be in the womb!
 
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@Macroramphosis

One little flash I purchased last Christmas was the Metz 26AF-2 for Mu-43. It only has TTL but the power is so low I can use it like a manual flash using the cameras exposure compensation for flash.
Now that looks like a perfect fit what I do - thank you! I have plenty of Eneloops, so power is not a problem. I've been looking at the next stage for me, and that might be just the job indeed.
 
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Great shots Roddy.
To be perfectly honest I'm surprised at the amount of light you're actually getting through that set-up, especially at those apertures.
And if you're a complete novice at this, then in comparison I must still be in the womb!
I wouldn't know any difference in light output, Brian - it's the only flash I have! And I'm really not that technical - I just like that clicking sound the shutter makes when I press the little button :D
 

Hayath

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Here is my current set-up (three days old). It replaces a simple toothpaste-tube cap with foam inside. I have a piece of veterinary dog-collar as the screen, and a smaller cap with foam inside on the tiny FL70 flash.

View attachment 832586

It's a very inexpensive system, and seems to do what I want it to do for now, though no doubt if I eventually buy the Oly 60 I will need to change things around. I do need to keep a spare battery for the GX8 in my pocket though, as the FL70 eats through the power. Below I've included a couple of photos from yesterday to illustrate the light I am getting with this set-up. Typically I set the shutter speed at 1/250, and use the ISO to change the light levels. Anywhere between an aperture of 5.6 and 11 seems to do the trick, depending on how much DOF I want. I hasten to add that I am a complete novice at this compared to you all, so take what I say with a pinch of salt :D

It should also be taken into account that at present I only have the Panasonic 30mm, so need to keep the diffusion system short as I have to get very close on occasion. I also shoot my insects in a very different habitat to Hayath, for example, often right in amongst flowers and branches, so I also need to keep the diffusion system small as well. The dog collar product is the proverbial dog's you-know-whats, too; it's easy to cut, rigid enough to keep it's shape, and in my case - free (or second-paw, if you wish to look at it that way). Did I mention I'm on a budget? :D

View attachment 832585

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Simple and effective..very well done!

you could look at adding a reflector at the bottom to fill in some shadows
 

junkyardsparkle

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One little flash I purchased last Christmas was the Metz 26AF-2 for Mu-43. It only has TTL but the power is so low I can use it like a manual flash using the cameras exposure compensation for flash.
I remember looking at those back before there was much in the way of 2xAA flashes on the market... the form factor seems like it would be really good for some short-focal-length high-magnification stuff, but the lack of manual control is a deal breaker for me, can't stand preflash delay when doing handheld focus-by-movement... then the Meike MK320 came along, and eventually the Godox TT350... spoiled for options now. :D
Never heard of that dog collar plastic, have to look that up.
For anyone actually ordering material specifically for this purpose, I strongly suggest a sheet of Lee Zircon diffusion if it's reasonably obtainable where you are... particularly the 812, which is the lightest diffusion... it has good efficiency (many household materials don't, really) allowing for lower power, and the surface is smoother and more durable than any other diffusion gels I've ever used (including the other two strengths of Zircon). Just right for double-diffusion lashups, and the polyester backing is sturdy, but can be creased for fold-up designs (something I'm working on right now).
To be perfectly honest I'm surprised at the amount of light you're actually getting through that set-up, especially at those apertures.
It's because he's getting really close. :D Distance is a big factor in how much power you need... if you change the subject-diffusor distance from 10cm to 20cm, you need four times the power for the same exposure... something to keep in mind for this kind of mad science...
 

retiredfromlife

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Wow - just been to have a look at those, very nice. I love the dreamy feel in some of those shots, too. Are they all taken after dark?
Sorry missed this question.
No taken in the middle of the day at F11 SS of 250 second. That leads to a slightly under exposed image and the little flash gives a bit of fill light for the frog. I use the in camera exposure compensation to reduce the flash output so it does not light the back ground [flash compensation, not normal exposure compensation]

I then try to crush the shadows in SnapSeed, that is why my macro shots have poor quality back grounds as my post processing skills need a lot of work and I only spend max 5 mins on any image.
 
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Sorry missed this question.
No taken in the middle of the day at F11 SS of 250 second. That leads to a slightly under exposed image and the little flash gives a bit of fill light for the frog. I use the in camera exposure compensation to reduce the flash output so it does not light the back ground [flash compensation, not normal exposure compensation]

I then try to crush the shadows in SnapSeed, that is why my macro shots have poor quality back grounds as my post processing skills need a lot of work and I only spend max 5 mins on any image.
Well, whatever it is you're doing, the results are pretty good :)
 

retiredfromlife

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Hmm - I like the idea of adding something for shadows, Hayath, can you tell me more? I can't quite picture what you're suggesting...
I think he means use a reflector of some sort below your lens / subject to bounce some light back up from the bottom. Could also do the same from the sides. I have seen small reflectors that you can twist up to store like car windshield sun guards. They can have two sides one silver one gold to give different coloured reflected light.

If I am guessing what @Hayath meant see below, if I am wrong disregard

Something like the below, but these are a little big for getting close in the plant follage

https://www.photoequipmentstore.com...x_VpXltBDNQqVSBdto4GpOrmo0xAHU9BoC7BgQAvD_BwE
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junkyardsparkle

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Something like the below, but these are a little big for getting close in the plant follage
Yeah, at the distances we're talking about, probably more like some added white material at the bottom front of the lens, angled outward/upward to catch some of the light from the flash and bounce it towards the subject... like the fill card discussed here... only with the polite difference of not asking your subject to hold it. :D

That said, I don't personally think the pictures presented so far suffer from too much shadowing... but I tend to prefer more directional shadowy lighting to shadowless "ring light" types; it's all pretty subjective.
 

=BY=SERG

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I think he means use a reflector of some sort below your lens / subject to bounce some light back up from the bottom. Could also do the same from the sides. I have seen small reflectors that you can twist up to store like car windshield sun guards. They can have two sides one silver one gold to give different coloured reflected light.

If I am guessing what @Hayath meant see below, if I am wrong disregard

Something like the below, but these are a little big for getting close in the plant follage

https://www.photoequipmentstore.com...x_VpXltBDNQqVSBdto4GpOrmo0xAHU9BoC7BgQAvD_BwE
View attachment 832799
Ah - okay. I have one of those but I'm not sure it would fit into my modus operandi. I think I'd find it too big and too much of a hassle for the way I shoot, and the subjects I shoot. It would certainly alter my way of taking photographs and I suspect dramatically decrease the number of opportunities I could take advantage of. I must admit i assumed Hayath was talking about something at the camera level, a small 'something' under the lens, for example. But thanks for the idea.... :)
 
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Yeah, at the distances we're talking about, probably more like some added white material at the bottom front of the lens, angled outward/upward to catch some of the light from the flash and bounce it towards the subject... like the fill card discussed here... only with the polite difference of not asking your subject to hold it. :D

That said, I don't personally think the pictures presented so far suffer from too much shadowing... but I tend to prefer more directional shadowy lighting to shadowless "ring light" types; it's all pretty subjective.
I'm pretty sure that the use of the 30mm lens precludes anything that sticks out in front of the lens - because for close work I am nearly always touching the perch my subject is sitting on :D

I'm pretty sure that the Oly 60 gives the photographer a better opportunity to use different stuff. One day I'll find out.
 

Stanga

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I use one of those flexible flash brackets. The below image is from the company I bought mine from, and it gives a good indication of how it can be used for fill in from the bottom, or any other direction for that matter.
I normally have the bracket screwed onto my camera if I am in the field. The Panasonic FL360 is connected via a flash sync cable to the camera hotshoe of the G90. The Meike MK320 is set up as a slave and is triggered by the FL360.
But I sometimes also use the inbuilt flash on the G90 to trigger the FL360 and the MK320 for more complicated lighting needs.
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I use one of those flexible flash brackets..... The Panasonic FL360 is connected via a flash sync cable to the camera hotshoe of the G90.
Hi Stanga, I've always wanted one of those flexible flash brackets (or something similar), so I could put the little FL70 I use in another position relative to the subject - but i can't find one online. Does it go by another name? The term 'flexible flash bracket' doesn't return any results on Amazon, for example...
 
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