Show: Your DIY macro flash diffuser

junkyardsparkle

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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
Honestly, even with the 60mm I wouldn't be able to deal with any protuberance there... I actually go out of my way to make sure there's nothing keeping me from getting the lens axis as close as possible to the substrate... but that's partly because I find so many of my subjects on walls and other large planar surfaces, and I like low-angle shots. :D

If you do feel like you need more shadow fill, another approach would be to add some "enclosure" between your primary and secondary diffusers, with some reflective material on the inside, in an attempt to direct more light towards the lower areas on the secondary diffuser... maybe even make one with more pronounced "lobes" towards the sides... but again, I don't personally think what you have now is at all bad in that regard. Many of the rigs people use emphasize the upper "key lighting" much more... yours seems pretty well balanced to me. Another reason for some enclosure would be to try to bounce some of the "wasted" light radiating at strong angles from the primary diffuser back towards the secondary one, if you need to milk as much light as possible from a tiny flash...
 
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I'll go with your remarks for now and assume what I have is good enough. I'll revisit the subject when I either change lens or flash, but I'm done tinkering for a while, I think :) Thanks for all your help so far, and that's a 'thank you' to everyone for any comments addressed at my set-up. It's been very educational...
 

Stanga

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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...
I am an eBay person myself. You can find it at https://www.ebay.com/itm/293017356731
It's possible to use up to three flashes, namely the inbuilt one on the camera, plus two that can be triggered by the inbuilt flash. Sometimes I stick a diffuser ( which is a 35mm film canister cut to fit over the flash) on the inbuilt flash in order to damping the light from it down. That's if I use the G90. When I use the GX8 or GX80 I use the Olympus FL-LM3 flash mounted on the camera to trigger the other the other flashes. Why the FL-LM3? Because I can swivel that one and don't need to worry about a diffuser on it.
 
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Thanks for that, Stanga - I wasn't quite sure what you'd bought but now I understand. ! I was actually more after one of those flexible arms so I could put my little flash away from the camera - something with a male hot-shoe at one end and a female hot-shoe at the other. I can't find one anywhere, and i assume it is because I'm not using the correct terminology. Any ideas for that? Thanks for trying to help - much appreciated.
 

Stanga

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Thanks for that, Stanga - I wasn't quite sure what you'd bought but now I understand. ! I was actually more after one of those flexible arms so I could put my little flash away from the camera - something with a male hot-shoe at one end and a female hot-shoe at the other. I can't find one anywhere, and i assume it is because I'm not using the correct terminology. Any ideas for that? Thanks for trying to help - much appreciated.
When I need to do exactly the same thing that you would like to do, I just use a m43 flash extension cord. One end goes into the camera hot shoe, and the other end goes into the hotshoe on that flexible arm, with the flash then going into the hotshoe of the extension cable. That way I can maintain flash sync between camera and flash.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263575496423
 
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When I need to do exactly the same thing that you would like to do, I just use a m43 flash extension cord. One end goes into the camera hot shoe, and the other end goes into the hotshoe on that flexible arm, with the flash then going into the hotshoe of the extension cable. That way I can maintain flash sync between camera and flash.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/263575496423
Hah - I'm not explaining myself very well. What I'm looking for the bendy Gorilla-po like arm in your photo, with a male hot-shoe at one and and a female at the other - the cable runs through the arm, as it were. Does such a thing exist? Thanks for bearing with me, I'm not trying to be obscure :D
 
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Hah - I'm not explaining myself very well. What I'm looking for the bendy Gorilla-po like arm in your photo, with a male hot-shoe at one and and a female at the other - the cable runs through the arm, as it were. Does such a thing exist? Thanks for bearing with me, I'm not trying to be obscure :D
I have one like @Stanga , and there is no cable, just dump hot shoe brackets. I doubt there is such a mount with a cable.
 

junkyardsparkle

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What I'm looking for the bendy Gorilla-po like arm in your photo, with a male hot-shoe at one and and a female at the other - the cable runs through the arm, as it were. Does such a thing exist?
I did manage to find this in one of the dark, nameless corners of the 'bay once upon a time:

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It's wired for Canon TTL, which generally works with Pany/Oly stuff with some caveats... but a quick search doesn't turn up anything like it now. Not too surprising, since putting that kind of leverage on a camera shoe is somewhere between dodgy and downright stupid... not that a good mad scientist has ever let that slow them down. On the occasions when I used it with my little PL7 and the very lightweight 60mm macro, I ended up holding the upper part of the gooseneck in my left hand; it's stiff enough that it actually made for really steady camera control... half of a Fig Rig, basically. I wouldn't try this with any kind of heavy lens/body, though... :rolleyes:

EDIT: Found one, using some oblique search strategies... price is pretty steep, though... pretty sure I didn't pay more than US $20... anyway, I also now remember that I needed to file down the front edge of the foot on mine a little to get the lock pin to seat. Anybody considering one of these should approach it as a mad science project; I hereby disclaim all responsibiliity! ⚡
 
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I did manage to find this in one of the dark, nameless corners of the 'bay once upon a time:

View attachment 832881

It's wired for Canon TTL, which generally works with Pany/Oly stuff with some caveats... but a quick search doesn't turn up anything like it now. Not too surprising, since putting that kind of leverage on a camera shoe is somewhere between dodgy and downright stupid... not that a good mad scientist has ever let that slow them down. On the occasions when I used it with my little PL7 and the very lightweight 60mm macro, I ended up holding the upper part of the gooseneck in my left hand; it's stiff enough that it actually made for really steady camera control... half of a Fig Rig, basically. I wouldn't try this with any kind of heavy lens/body, though... :rolleyes:

EDIT: Found one, using some oblique search strategies... price is pretty steep, though... pretty sure I didn't pay more than US $20... anyway, I also now remember that I needed to file down the front edge of the foot on mine a little to get the lock pin to seat. Anybody considering one of these should approach it as a mad science project; I hereby disclaim all responsibiliity! ⚡
This showed up in an ad on the item that you posted, but they are dumb hot shoes, and it is made to mount on the bottom of the camera using tripod screw hole.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dual2-arm-...noa=1&pg=2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100623.m-1
 

junkyardsparkle

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This showed up in an ad on the item that you posted, but they are dumb hot shoes, and it is made to mount on the bottom of the camera using tripod screw hole.
Yep, that's really the right way to do it, as long as you can still trigger the flash in some way... I've made a couple brackets like that... you can just use a long QR plate, and bolt whatever kind of articulating arm you want onto it. I've just never spent enough time in the right place to make much serious use of anything that elaborate, sadly. Maybe some day... :rolleyes:
 

Mike Wingate

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I was getting rather interested in the remote cable idea. Then I remembered that I use the Pixapro/godox ST-IV trigger and a pair of Manfrotto clamps, plus I screw one of the articulated arms into the Manfrotto tripod.
 
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I have to add a little finding. I have two vet's dog collars, but the other I had not used as it is made from clear material - which is a shame as it is firmer and seemingly more robust.

However, on a hunch yesterday, I turned the clear one into a decent diffuser material by simply sanding one side with some 600 Wet&Dry sandpaper. In fact, after repeated sessions, I was able to approach something of a perfect diffusion. Emboldened, I tried the same technique on a piece of clear 2mm acrylic I had in the workshop, and lo and behold, that worked too. So my selection of diffuser materials has suddenly got somewhat larger!
 

junkyardsparkle

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However, on a hunch yesterday, I turned the clear one into a decent diffuser material by simply sanding one side with some 600 Wet&Dry sandpaper. In fact, after repeated sessions, I was able to approach something of a perfect diffusion. Emboldened, I tried the same technique on a piece of clear 2mm acrylic I had in the workshop, and lo and behold, that worked too. So my selection of diffuser materials has suddenly got somewhat larger!
Nice... I guess boutique hand-scuffed diffusion is really the only direction left to explore... Bob in marketing will be thrilled. Conveniently, I'm about ready to start playing around with some random materials for the large hot-swappable secondary diffusion in my new set-up... this is the primary box I'll be hanging it off of:

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It's an origami-style construct, cut from a single piece of the Lee Zircon 812 mentioned earlier, attaches over the semi-permanent AAA LED light on top of the Godox TT350, weighs pretty much nothing, and collapses flat for sliding into a bag pocket. The gray stripes are aluminum tape on the inside, for added reflectivity there and more opacity towards the unsuspecting user... I'll probably add some more, since it seems to handle the bending ok. For attaching sheets of secondary material I'm considering adding small magnets, at the top of the box and the top of my custom "hood"... but I've regretted putting magnets on things before, so... probably just the usual gaffer's tape for now. Anyway, the lighting from this thing by itself isn't anything very special, so I won't post examples of that until there's some with the extra diffusion in place for comparison...
 

Mike Wingate

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Magnets, sparked an idea.
are you one of those photographers that likes to make your own accessories, do you want a flash diffuser that costs less than the £5.00 ebay, velcro type.
I have just made an outdoor flower booth wind protector/diffuser. I saw this on an online photo magazine post. 3 white/opaque 2 ring A4 folders. Double sided taped together, one flap cut off.
So I have a whole A4 piece of diffused bendy plastic to play with. Cost £4.50 plus tape.
 

archaeopteryx

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I guess boutique hand-scuffed diffusion is really the only direction left to explore...
If one's buying acrylic P95 is an easy starting point, though I found it useful to sand the other side much like @Macroramphosis described. My setups are continuous light but I tend to use augmented P95 up to 1x, changing over to 1.6 mm 2447 acrylic at higher magnifications as the P95 gets a bit too directional. 2067 is similar to 2447 but a bit warmer. Not all manufacturers or sellers will use those numbers but most offer something they call a translucent white, transparent white, or something like that. All cheaper and more readily available than photography specific materials and more robust than gels. (No sanding needed with the translucent whites, either.)

Bending acrylic with a heat gun is easy too. The actual bending process is as trivial as all the videos make it look. As usual, the work is in setting up the form to get the desired shape and hold the piece of acrylic in place until it cools. I would say somewhere around 3x curving the diffuser around the subject becomes rather helpful to efficiency, though the importance of that depends on how much light one's working with.

For more complex shapes there's also the moldable thermoplastics.
 

junkyardsparkle

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All cheaper and more readily available than photography specific materials and more robust than gels.
Well, unless you happen to live in a town where every other business is related to supplying the media industry... :rolleyes: But yeah, acrylic is great for any purpose where you aren't trying to keep things as lightweight as possible (and particularly if you have light power to spare). At the other extreme, this sheet of protective foam (came on the front of a monitor) is virtually weightless, and nice and flimsy for when it needs to push out of the way a little bit... hang it from the mast and she's ready to sail!

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BTW, digging around in my box of salvaged clippy things, this is what I selected for attaching at the front of my sliding "hood thing":

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OMG don't they look totally PRO?! It's really important to keep your gear looking totally PRO to impress the prospective models, you guys.

I took a bunch of random shots at 1x to test this setup on shiny/transparent/diffuse objects... I'll put some of those in a spoiler box below (mostly for less cluttering of the page, but also because it includes a spider... it's a really nice, classy spider, though):
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The shadows are a little harder and more directional than what I like for many purposes, but the speculars look ok to me, so I'll add the foam sheet to the "keepers" stack and try a few more things...
 

Mike Wingate

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Small A4 sized photo cube. Wind protection, some shadow relief, has the ability to have backdrops clipped in from 3 sides. 3 folders. 4 magnets. A bit of white gaffer tape. Portable, I made it to shoot flowers. The top will flip over.
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