Flash and Macro lens

Started 4 months ago | Questions thread
D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 23,699
Re: Flash and Macro lens

Purpledog wrote:

I would say don't worry about AF performance in macro photography, you'll be better off manually focusing anyway for most subjects. Dof will be miniscule and precise focus essential, and with most subjects being static, manual focus is the best option.

A ringflash is a thousand times more usable than a hotshoe flash for macro. The onlt 'normal' flash option that would do the work would be multiple flashes - one either side perhaps - essentially mimicking a ringflash!

Ringflash gives even illumination, so if you want more biased lighting then one or more flashes you can position would be better, but most macro subjects benefit from even lighting, and ringflash also avoids the very real problem of the lens getting in the way of external flash and creating ugly shadows.

Not all subjects benefit from ringflash though - highly reflective surfaces will show the distinctive ring reflection for instance, but generally, it's a hugely advantageous approach.

I don't like the kind of lighting that you get from ring flash, at least for most subjects. It seems to work well for dentistry, where you are shooting into a hole.

Any flash with tilt-and-swivel, usually combined with a home made diffuser, will do fine. TTL is not needed -- just do a test shot and adjust the power of the flash accordingly.

I agree that AF is not essential, certainly not for still subjects. However, manual focus is best done with Live View or a mirrorless camera. I do find AF useful for insects.

As for the choice of lens, the Sony 90mm is certainly good. I don't own one, but I've seen many excellent shots taken with it.

For still subjects, consider a good enlarger lens such as an EL-Nikkor, mounted on a bellows. Or a classic manual macro lens by Nikon or Olympus.

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