Developing a compact flash diffuser for macro.

Started Apr 4, 2020 | Photos thread
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Developing a compact flash diffuser for macro.

For ages I've used a simple translucent plate (from a plastic chopping board) as a diffuser for macro photography with the 60mm. It works well, with a fairly nice diffusion effect. However, one significant limitation is the reflection of the diffuser in things like a jumping spider's eyes.

Example of the diffuser patter in a spider's eyes.

I looked at the diffuser reflection pattern in many other examples to figure out what worked well. The pattern that seemed the nicest and most unobtrusive was one with a flat 'horizon', just above the lens, with a flash that diminished with distance from the lens – essentially mimicking a sky box.

Example of nice diffuser reflection from Thomas Shahan. (

This is achievable with a large diffuser setup, but is very difficult to achieve with a small flat panel, and I needed one that I can tuck into a pocket on my camera bag. This limits the dimensions to around 18cm by 10cm by 1cm thick.

Messing with the FL300 and 60mm macro revealed that with the diffusion panel of the FL300 set to off, the light was focussed enough to naturally dissipate towards the edges of a 18cm wide panel. To further enhance this effect I designed a diffusion panel that thickens towards the edges to further limit light transmission.

Original diffuser.

Original diffuser

Revised panel.

Illuminated panel showing the decrease in light transmission towards the edges.

To make it fit within the available space, I also developed a small bracket to attach the panel to the lens using magnets. This bracket can tilt the diffuser by 30º and attaches to the bayonet mount.


With diffuser panel

At an angle.

Very compact.

The end result looks pretty promising. The diffuser setup is never going to achieve the really flat light that large overhead style setups can achieve, but I think it will work very well for a compact diffusion panel. Now to find some jumping spiders.'s gear's gear list
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Panasonic Lumix G Fisheye 8mm F3.5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ +7 more
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