Questions about Flashlight

Have questions about the equipment used for macro- or micro- photography? Post those questions in this forum.

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magom
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:37 am
Location: Aachen, Germany

Questions about Flashlight

Post by magom »

Hey guys,

its been a while since my last topic but I kept reading your articles and I've learned a lot. Some open question are still present.

1. When I'm using my 580 Speedlight: Which configuration is the best for the camera. Should I use Timeautomatic or Appertureautomatic or should I do it all manually? If it is so, which is the best configuration?
Maybe you have some good links oder topics here in the Forum?

Unfortunately I recognized, that my 580EX2 Speedlight is too heavy for using it outside in nature. I tried some gooseneck variants but no gooseneck is strong enough to hold it the way I want or even hold it the way the gooseneck should. So I'm planning to buy the 270EX, because of its small and handy size. I saw the rig of Morfa and I liked a lot his way of using and diffusing the light. He also uses a small Flashlight that seems to be better for field work.

Maybe you can help me with a porfolio of links for this topic, that would help me a lot!

Thank so much in advance!

Best regards, Magom

enricosavazzi
Posts: 1294
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2009 2:41 pm
Location: Borgholm, Sweden
Contact:

Re: Questions about Flashlight

Post by enricosavazzi »

magom wrote:Hey guys,

Unfortunately I recognized, that my 580EX2 Speedlight is too heavy for using it outside in nature. I tried some gooseneck variants but no gooseneck is strong enough to hold it the way I want or even hold it the way the gooseneck should.

Best regards, Magom
I did not have much success with gooseneck arms, either.

If stiffness is required, a Manfrotto friction arm should solve it. It can easily hold 5 kg or so in position. I have used these arms to hold large lamps and studio strobes, and also in the field to carry a large strobe (attaching the arm to a tripod leg with a universal clamp). Actually, one of the Manfrotto miniature hydrostatic arms should be quite enough for a relatively small flash unit like the Canon. It is easy to build one or two of these arms into a macro bracket.

There are much cheaper dial/gauge/indicator holders that seem to be built in the same way as a Manfrotto hydrostatic arm. I have not tried this solution because I have quite enough Manfrotto arms for now, but I might do it in the future. Perhaps someone else in this forum has experience with this alternative.
--ES

augusthouse
Posts: 1195
Joined: Sat Sep 16, 2006 1:39 am
Location: New South Wales Australia

Post by augusthouse »

Magom wrote:
1. When I'm using my 580 Speedlight: Which configuration is the best for the camera. Should I use Timeautomatic or Appertureautomatic or should I do it all manually? If it is so, which is the best configuration?
When using the 580EXII on the Canon 50D in-the-field I usually set the camera to 'M' mode and the flash to 'ETTL'; but there are situations where it is preferable to set the flash to 'M' mode.

Some good info written by LordV at the link below:
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... p?t=807056

Here is a quote from Brian's article (link to full article above):
1.2 Lighting

Natural light

Natural light is fine for macro shooting upto 1:1 magnification but past this becomes increasingly difficult. I tend to use natural light where I can for flowers and often larger bugs such as butterflies and dragonflies. I prefer shooting natural light on slightly cloudy days as this avoids the high contrast and ugly specular highlights you can get with full bright sun. Typical camera settings I would use for handheld work would be ISO200-1600, 1/200th, with the aperture around F6.3 to F11 adjusted using the ISO with the camera in TV mode. I normally dial in some negative Exposure compensation (around -.3 or -.6) to avoid blown highlights but this does vary with camera body. Obviously if you have a static subject and some form of stabilisation (eg tripod or bean bag) you can drop the shutter speed.

Flash

Flash has a number of advantages for macro work , you can always get enough light with small the aperture values that are often used to get reasonable DOFand it helps provide very high effective shutter speeds (the flash duration) which helps stop motion blur (either you or the subject). It becomes a necessity for most shooting above 1:1 simply because there is not normally enough light.
I use standard flashguns (430Ex) mounted on a bracket with a diffuser. You can obviously use macro flashes but I would avoid single flash tube ones and ones where you cannot move the flash heads which only really leaves the rather expensive MT-24Ex. Single tube macro flashes tend to give very flat looking shots and dual tube macroflashes are just rather hard to diffuse adequately.
Typical camera settings for full flash shots upto 1:1 magnification - camera in M mode, F11,1/200th, ISO 100/200. Above 1:1 you may need to start opening up the aperture more if you want to avoid diffraction softening, I tend end up around F5.6 at 5:1.
Flash in ETTL mode but the FEC (Flash Exposure Compensation) will need to be adjusted depending on the shot brightness. I have to adjust mine down to -.66 for dark backgrounds or no close background and upto + 1.66 for a white background from a normal setting of 0 FEC (note the normal setting for good exposure of a grey card may not be 0 FEC on some setups).
There are some situations where you may want to shoot mainly natural light but add some flash to light the subject a bit more- this often occurs if the subject is significantly backlit. Typical camera settings as for natural light shooting but with EC probably at -.66 and FEC set on the flash around - .66 to -1

Flash Brackets and Diffusers

I either use a DIY modded vidcam bracket which has a ballhead fitted on the top or a Manfotto 330B flash braclet with one arm removed and a Jessops medium ballhead fitted to it. The DIY bracket is similar to a Hakuba LH-1 ballhead bracket (EBAY) but again might need the supplied ballhead replaced with a larger cheap generic 1/4" male fitting ballhead. Obviously you also need a canon fit off-camera flash cord to use these brackets. I use coke-can diffusers on the front see http://www.flickr.com/groups/macrovi...7594312315664/ but a similar diffuser like a lumiquest mini softbox would be fine.
Craig
To use a classic quote from 'Antz' - "I almost know exactly what I'm doing!"

magom
Posts: 30
Joined: Mon Jan 25, 2010 6:37 am
Location: Aachen, Germany

Post by magom »

Thank you guys so much! Your reply helped me a lot!

Best regards, Magom

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