Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Not a Quick Flash Photography Session

Having read about and seen the results from the flash set up that Adrian uses for macro photography on ADRIAN'S IMAGES I decided it was time to have a go as I usually use just an LED ring flash and a LED lamp.

I bought a bracket combination which would hold two flash guns complete with a Y splitter so both could be connected to, and fired at the same time by, the Canon 50D. That was the theory but was almost impossible to get working in practice. Maybe the matched pair of cheap flash guns I also bought kept interfering with each other. Whatever the reason either both would keep flashing like some demented lightning storm or just plain refuse to work. It took a couple of hours faffing about trying all sorts of changes to various settings and a card full of blank or over exposed shots to sort things out.

In the end I dug out my old Canon Speedlight, added an extra short bracket so the Canon was connected to the Speedlight and the ring flash. The remaining flash gun was set up as a slave so it would fire as soon as it saw the flash from the Speedlight. The guns were fitted with their diffusers and all set for minimum light output. Now things were cooking with gas and worked properly every time.


The lens combination is the Canon 70-200mm zoom lens fitted with a Raynox Super Macro Conversion Lens. My patient subject was a juicy 35mm Asda strawberry, now scoffed as part of my tea and very tasty it was too.


The lens was manually set to f10 and lighting adjusted to get a reasonably lit shot. With my old set up the aperture would have been around f4. At least f10 gave a better depth of focus.


  1. Glad you have it sorted. I suspect there is a reason Speedlites are five times the price of an Aldi one. I use 430s and they still misfire if I rely on them triggering each other. The Pocket Wizards cure it but can be a horror to set up. So many little switches not to mention the fact that they all have to be running the same software version which is an hours job with them connected to the internet.
    It looks a great studio set up but may be a bit heavy to lug around.
    I find camera has to be full manual and use the smallest aperture I can. DOF is more important to me than some perceived aberration caused by a less than optimum f stop.
    It looks a fun set up and ought to do a good job. Next stop is a microscope objective on a lens tube. You should have more than enough light and I have seen a rig where focus is achieved with a laser light. I'll look it out for you.

    1. Adrian: I weighed it yesterday - 14lb with the tripod! It is only suitable as a fixed unit. Yesterday I had a session and used f16. I have the camera on manual though it makes no difference what I set the shutter speed to. I think the camera and Canon Speedlight set that between them. Next time I'll use the MacBook for viewing and focussing as the larger picture helps see detail.

    2. My shutter speed has to be about 1/200s which is round about sync speed. It has got High speed sync but I have never had much luck. It should be just the flash duration controlling exposure.

  2. That is an impressive lighting setup, with some impressive results. I see Mondays getting harder ...

    1. Wilma: Sorry about Mondays. I am rapidly running out of ideas.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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