Saturday, May 21, 2011

270EX for Macro - improved version.

As mentioned in my previous post on using a single 270EX for macro, there were two issues that needed to be addressed. The two issues were:

1. shadow on the lower part of the subject
2. very dim catch light in subject's eyes.

In my opinion, these two issues were caused by the fact that the 270EX was too far out and as a result, the light would come down from a higher angle.

In this post, I will show you the solution. You will not believe how simple it is. I don't even need a ballhead anymore!

This animated gif will tell you everything you need to know!
270ex for macro upside down

New vs old method:

Left: 270EX upside down/belly up        Right: 270EX in normal position (upside up?:D)
270EX upside down vs old method
The 270EX was on an FMMB (Front Mounted Macro Bracket) mounted onto the front of the lens. This is extremely convenient for lenses with no IF (Internal Focus). The bracket and speedlight will move along when you zoom in/change magnification. (Edit: i still love my MT24 though and use this 270EX on FMMB as backup only)

If you are not sure how to make an FMMB, here are your alternatives:

1. Lens hood based flash holder.
2. Mount Ring / Tripod collar

I was playing with my 270EX, extending the head out, tilting it at different angles when the idea struck me - turn the 270EX upside down (belly up)!

As can be seen in the gif animation, at its lowest flash head position, it can handle the MPE65's working distance at 5X (1.6 inches). With this improved setup, now I can just tilt the 270EX's flash head to take care of different working distances/magnifications of the MPE65! Sweet! Now, if only the 270EX comes with focusing light as well like the MT24EX does! But you can't have the cake and eat it too though.

The MPE65's working distances at different magnification are as below:

1X - 4 inches; 2X - 2.5 inches, 3X - 2 inches; 4X - 1.7 inches; 5X - 1.6 inches

Sample images taken with this new setup. I used the same concave light tent diffuser that I use for the MT24EX.

270ex upside down on FMMB and MPE65 R0011092 copy

Blue tiger beetle (Neocollyris formasana?) with red socks.
blue tiger beetle with red socks Neocollyris formasana IMG_2892 copy

Grey ant,  Diacamma sp.
Diacamma sp. grey ant IMG_2946 copy

A female Bathippus sp.(?) jumping spider
female Bathippus sp. jumping spider IMG_2978 copy

A tiger beetle with an ant's head
tiger beetle with phoretic mite IMG_3010 copy

Check out this post for more macro rigs.

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  1. OMG!!! So Smart!!! So simple yet brilliant!!! :)
    the light is great!!! very big catchlight on the js!

  2. Thanks JW. The idea of flipping the 270EX upside down just struck me while i was playing with my 270EX. I too couldn't believe how simple yet effective the solution was! Really pleased with the lighting too. Now if only the 270EX comes with focusing light like the MT24EX does! :D

  3. Oh my, so simple. I have just sold my Sigma ring flash and bought a 270EX, and a C-bracket and cullmann ball head, so am looking forward to trying my new setup. I use with a Sigma 105mm macro, so I think one of those lens brackets will be better. Thanks for your great blog! Les.

  4. Thanks Leslie. I think the Sigma 105 is just like the tamron sp90: non IF, which means the lens will extend as you zoom in/increase magnification. Therefore i think FMMB will be a better choice for bracket.

  5. Is there any place that sells something that could be used for fmmb for us non-industrial types?

  6. FMMB, someone could earn some small money making these. Yep, the Sigma is non IF. The C-bracket looks like it might be easy to adjust forward/back, just loosen screw below and slide. Should arrive tomorrow. Having said that, I don't envisage to much problem as I'm at 1:1 most of the time, so flash will stay put. I'll see. Top stuff Kurt!

  7. Thanks for your guide kurt, i will try this weekend.



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