Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Macro Rigs

In this post, I will be sharing a few different macro rigs from my friends. Their diffusion works really well and you can see that in the images in the sample shots for yourself. Well, I like to look at other people's macro rigs. You should too. It really gets the creative juices  flowing.

If you would like to check out my macro rig, it's here.

Before we start, let's be reminded that I don't always use flash in my macro photography. I enjoy shooting with natural light as well.

Stephen (Steb1)'s Macro Rig

Stephen uses a small flash which is mounted onto a Cokin P type square filter holder and square filter lens hood. Steb1 is also the one who started the concave diffuser!

A side view of the set-up. It shows a foam concave diffuser with the end folded up, and the flash has additional elastic bands to hold it secure.
Side View with Foam Diffuser

Sample images:

Messy Eater, Another View

Male March Fly (Bibionidae)

More info here.

Melvyn Yeo's Macro Rig. 

His rig consists of Canon 5DM2, Tamron SP 90mm macro lens, Extension Tubes, Raynox DCR 250 closeup filter, 270ex flash, DIY diffuser.

You can check out more of his works on here and here.

270EX on the hotshoe with a reflective board to push the light downward, and diffused by a huge concave diffuser attached to the front of the lens. No ETTL cord needed!

Melvyn's macro rig, more macro rigs 20121217_233132-copy

Sample images:

You can achieve really great light with just really simple setup like Melvyn's :), and it takes only a couple of minutes to set up!

melvyn 78 IMG_0281


More info here.

Hisham's Macro Rig

Hisham Marmin's Macro rig. You can find his blog here, and his Facebook page here.

His macro rigs consists of Pentax K5, SMC Pentax D FA Macro 100mm F2.8 WR3, Pentax AF160C Macro Ring Flash. However, instead of using the ring flash the way it is intended to be, i.e mounted onto the front of the lens, this is what he does. The images here should be self explanatory! 

more macro rig R1014770

Sample images:
hisham's macro rig sample images long legged fly 8029656439_c1d1b6a603_b copy

hisham's macro rig sample images dragonfly 8028967690_c995a55d7f_b copy

More info here.

CW's New Macro Rig

 CW's macro rig : Canon 7D, Tamron SP90 (and extension tubes), 270EX II, FMMB and concave diffuser. You can find some info on FMMB here and here.

270EX II (wireless) on FMMB (Front Mounted Macro Bracket, which allows the speedlight unit to always stay in front even as you zoom and the lens extends out.

concave diffuser on cw's macro rig IMG_4596

Sample images: Canon 7D, Tamron SP90, 270EX II, full flash, concave diffuser.
sample shot concave diffuser fmmb _MG_5057 copy

Nice, soft light thanks for the concave diffuser.
sample shot fmmb and concave diffuser _MG_5062 copy

More details here.

Rob's Macro Rig

Rob's lighting is one of the best I have ever seen! Instead of concave, he goes convex. Not just one but two! Yes, two convex diffusers.

These are the items that Rob uses in his rig:

1. Kaiser Bounce Flash Shoe x 2
2. Gary Fong Lightsphere II Inverted Dome x 2
3.Velcro Sticky-Back Hook and Loop Fabric Fasteners
4. Blu-Tack Reusable Adhesive
5. White Styrene Sheet




Sample shot
7-Spot Ladybird on White

 2010 Damselfly Portrait #22

For more info, click here.

Adrian's Macro Rig

Instead of an FMMB or tripod collar/mount ring, Adrian uses a lens hood to hold the 270EX II.

adrian's macro rig. mothonleaf-7

More info here.

JW's Macro Rig

Snoot_Diffuser_07_heejennwei_ copy

Sample images:


For more info, check out his blog post.

Matt's Macro Rig.

matt's macro rig 5744479843_b1011e078e_b

Sample shots:


More about it here.

Andrea's Macro Rig

Side view. Basically, it's a 270EX speedlite attached to an adapter/bracket that fits onto the lens' filter thread. The whole beauty of this setup is that if your macro lens has no IF (Internal Focus), the speedlite (as well as the adapter/bracket) will move along when you zoom in or out. This may not sound like much to you, but it is a fantastic news for non IF lens (such as the Tamron SP90) or MPE65 users. No more hassle of adjusting your snoot diffuser or ballhead when you change the magnification (thus working distance).
Andrea's macro rig IMG_8516 copy

This is how the bracket/adapter looks like up close. I call it FMMB, Front Mounted Macro Bracket. I use this 270EX on FMMB setup as my backup only. MT24 twin flash is still the best.

 IMG_8549 copy

From another angle:
IMG_8551 copy

Basically, you need to machine a flat piece of acrylic into this shape, then drill a few holes to mount the ball head, then heat up the "magnifying glass" like piece at the point to bend it into shape.
acryllic piece
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

Kingfisher's Macro Rig

Kingfisher's macro rig consists of  D90, Tamron SP90, Kenko 1.4x TC, Raynox DCR250, SB900 and DIY difffuser.

A piece of A4 size tracing paper is placed at an angle in front the diffuser to spread the light more evenly onto the subject.

Click the links to view 1000 pixel images:

Jumping spider                                       Hover fly
2011-02-09--043-Tmn Botanic-copy -Macro Kampar-150151-copy

Ant-mimic crab spider                            Weevil
2010-10-17-Macro Tmn Wawasan Pertanian-021 copy 2010-12-27-Macro Bukit Gasing-075-copy

Chee Wai's Macro Rig

This is what his DIY Diffuser looks like. Yes. it can be fully dismantled to minimize storage space. Cool, eh?
sml_IMG_1231 Chee Wai's concave diffuser, dismantled

Aluminium foil on the inside to bounce light around. Attached to a 270EX Speedlite.
sml_IMG_1235 Chee Wai's DIY Concave Diffuser assembled

Fully assembled and fitted onto a 270EX speedlite, with OCE3 ETTL cord, Tamron SP90 lens.
macro rig all setup sml_DSCN4931

The bracket you see in the image above is a flexible duo arm bracket.
Fotopro DMM-901 QR Plate Arca Compat Macro Duo Dual Flash Mount 2 Shoes

It feels quite solid and well built, but I think it is good only for the lighter speedlites such as the 270EX.

Sometimes, he uses additional layer of diffusion for those extra reflective macro subjects:

Double diffusion
macro rig double diffusion sml_DSCN4933

Sample shots:

Single layer of diffusion. Click links for bigger images:

Jumping spider                                        Hover fly
FB_IMG_9302 FB_IMG_8555

Double layer of Diffusion

Crab spider                                            Katydid
FB_IMG_0777 FB_IMG_0127

KJ Teng's macro rig:

Concave diffuser on a Sigma 150, with SB900 speedlite.
DSC_4284-1 KJ Teng's macro rig concave diffuser

He has upgraded to R1 twin flash but still uses the same concave diffuser.


Bigger image

Bigger image

Sample shots:


Kurt's backup macro rig

I prefer to use my MT-24EX twin flash. It's much more powerful and the built-in focusing light that can be turned on by double tapping the shutter release button (custom function) is really handy! But it's always good to have a backup. My light weight 270EX I is my choice of backup speedlight. 270EX II is good too and enables you to go wireless when combined with newer cameras such as the 60D, 7D and above.

R0011092 copy

Why do I put the 270EX upside down/belly up? This gif animation will explain it all:

270ex upside down b

More info here:

Dennis' Macro Rig:

Again, a light weight 270EX or EX II is used, but this time, no bracket, but rather a tripod collar / mount ring. You don't even need the ballhead. You can just add a flat bracket which you can screw onto the hole on the tripod collar/mount ring, then place the 270EX or 270EX II upside down / bellly up, on the bracket. You want to bring the light as close to the subject as possible.

macro rig RIMG0125 copy

Of course, you can make it wireless too, if you have a 270EX II and newer bodies like the 60D, 7D, 600D.
R0016006 copy

Do note that not all lenses will support the use of a tripod collar / mount ring. Only the Canon 100mm (both the L and the USM version) do. You do need to add at least one extension tube or/and teleconverter so you can swing the base of the tripod collar / mount ring all the way up.

More info here:

Different rigs, but they all share something in common - bringing the light as close to the subject as possible, and big apparent light size. You can read more about these here:

I will be adding more macro rigs to this post as we go from time to time.

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  1. Thanks Kurt! Seeing how others do it is always helpful.

  2. great post Master Kurt!!! it's always a motivation to do something to my diffuser...hehe...i'd put an additional layer of diffusion too!!! =)

  3. Thanks, Adrian, JW. I'll be adding more rigs to this from time to time. It's gonna be a long post:D.

    I have also seen a great DIY lighting setup for the MPE. Coming soon!

  4. what a setup! thanks for sharing sir!

  5. nice info sharing master kurt!!!..tq so much!!!

  6. Thanks,Kurt!Very useful information

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.



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