1. Ploddles

    Ploddles

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    I keep thinking about giving Extreme Macro a go, i.e. greater than 1:1, say up to 10:1.

    Had a look into rails, lenses, tubes, bellows, stacking software etc but have pretty much hit a brick wall on lighting.

    Plenty of people saying things like 'just use a flash', but would that realy be feasible when you are taking hundreds, if not 1000+, shots to stack.

    I couldn't imagine that a pair of flashes like the Speedlight 600EX or the MT24-EX could cope with that many shots in a row in a short(ish) period of time without either blowing/melting the bulbs or quickly running out of power or simply just knackering them after a few days use.

    There must be a few people on here that enjoy this type of thing so any suggestions, tips etc would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. Phil V

    Phil V

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    Bear in mind the flash to subject distance, so the flash needs to only be low powered, at 1/16 power a speedlight will fire continuously for Lon enough for you to get bored.
     
  3. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    At 10x magnification? Er, no. 1x or 2x maybe but very few people go beyond that.

    If you over-drive a flash, the overheat protection will kick in - first slowing down the recycle time and then if you persist, shutting down for a few minutes. The handbook will outline the limitations, but as Phil says when you're at macro distances you're usually at quite a low power setting and that means a lot of flashes before meeting any problems.

    At big magnifications like 10:1, you'll be needing more power (not to mention various other severe difficulties, this is extreme macro, very specialist) but since you haven't got any options other than flash - and likely ring-flash as you'll be so close it'll not be possible to get any other kind of light in there - you'll just have to suck it and see.
     
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  4. Derek897

    Derek897

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    http://www.extreme-macro.co.uk

    Might be worth having a look there.
    What were you thinking about shooting?
    And where. Lighting a studio setup may be different than in the field .
    Diffusing your light becomes an issue as you increase magnification and get closer. Even getting light onto your subject gets tricky, as HoppyUk said.
    If it's bugs you're thinking of shooting, your not likely going to get close enough or them still enough for hundreds of shots for stacking in the wild. Nearly all of that type of shooting is of dead bugs, with sonic baths for cleaning them and chemical rehydration to help make them look alive.
    It gets really tricky really quickly
    I'll follow this thread, as I'd be interested to see what tips pop up
     
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  5. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    I am one of those few, in fact using specialised objectives I can still manage up to x25 on the sensor, up until I retired it was my living...

    You don't indicate where you intend to carry out this photography or what your intended subjects are, I shall assume studio or under controlled conditions, higher magnifications really are not suited to anything but a controlled environment.

    As Hoppy points out there are a myriad of obstacles that will get in the way, but to answer your question Flash is the way to go, my current setup is based around the MP-E65 and the MT-24EX, the main unit is connected to the camera with an off camera cord and the heads have added third party diffusers and are not mounted to the lens, this is important as during stacking if the heads are mounted on the lens the lighting will alter, it is only slight but can have an effect. Plus always used in manual for consistent output.

    Chances are btw you will not need 1000+ shots.

    One thing to bare in mind as the magnification increases you will need ever shorter flash durations, at higher magnification even the minutest of subject or 'camera' shake become evident, even when using flash, this becomes more problematical because as you increase magnification your effective aperture gets ever smaller so are battling duration and power... (I used to work with a Leitz macroscope on an optical bench in the basement of a museum office block and had to time things to avoid the trains at South Kensington Tube Station)
     
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  6. HoppyUK

    HoppyUK

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    Cheers Phil :)

    Just for interest, what were you shooting in a museum at that magnification? Must have been a very small exhibit!

    ps When I worked in London, it was quite common to put your ear to the wall listening for underground trains :eek:
     
  7. PhilH04

    PhilH04

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    LoL... Not exhibits as such, I was a science photographer with the Natural History Museum, photographing museum specimens for research and publication, the museum is one of the primary research organisations with a large number of research staff and fellows behind the scenes (people only see the shop front so to speak).

    So mainly very small specimens and details of ornamentation... it is great fun when you have to orientate a snail shell correctly for 5 scientific views and the shell is smaller than a pin head, having a delicate touch was almost as important as being able to produce high quality work...:eek:
     
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  8. Ploddles

    Ploddles

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    Thanks for your responses. It definitely would not be 'out in the field', I'll stick to the Canon 100mm macro or just acquired Laowa 60mm for that.

    Due to ill health, where one week I can swing a 1DX and 500mm prime around pointing and tracking flying swallows and kestrels and the next month hardly able to pick up a 5D and 50mm for more than 15 mins, I need something challenging to try when at a very low ebb.

    I wouldn't purposefully go around killing insects to photograph but there are always the dead flies and wood lice in the shed, to say just get a 5 or 10x stack of an eye or antenna, plus other very small things.

    Possibly even doing an X, Y and Z axis stack of a beetle for example. Just something to take my mind off the pain and keep the brain active.

    Ta.
     
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  9. Ploddles

    Ploddles

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    No doubt your better half is grateful as well ;)
     
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  10. PaulBa

    PaulBa

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    I’ve been trying macro stacking for a couple of years and lighting has been a big issue. I have two Canon 430EX flashes which were great for small stacks of up to 40 shots but any more than that caused overheating issues.


    I asked the same question on another forum two years ago where one responder suggested studio flash. I wish I had listened to their advice as it would have saved me a lot of hassle and frustration.


    I’m not qualified to give advice but what worked for me was the recent purchase of two studio strobes. I’ve successfully completed stacks of 120 shots with no issue.
     
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  11. Derek897

    Derek897

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    Would love to see the results
     
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  12. Ploddles

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    Cheers Paul. I had thought about that but wondered if it was overkill. Do you use softboxes on them or just the bare strobe and diffusing close to and covering over the subject?

    As above, do you have any results you would care to share?
     
  13. davholla

    davholla

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    Ditto
     
  14. davholla

    davholla

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    I have done a bit of stacking, if it is studio surely you can leave it for a second per shot between shots which means that the flashes should be fine.
     
  15. PaulBa

    PaulBa

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    Hi Ploddles, I’ve attached a picture of two wasp heads crated from a stack of 100 shots. as you can see I’ve still a lot to learn so I’m not suggesting studio strobes will improve the quality of your stacks just solve the lighting issue …. :). I was also convinced it was overkill especially when I saw the size of the softboxes.



    I bought an Elincrom D-Lite 4/4 Softbox to go set, not the cheapest but I’ve found spending a little extra, if you can afford it, often works out cheaper in the long run.

    Hope this helps.



    Two Wasps Head to Head_.jpg
     
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  16. PhilH04

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    They are good Paul, looks like you may have a touch of diffraction just softening your result slightly...

    I am not saying studio strobes are not the way to go but they do bring with them their own difficulties. Depending on your set up positioning the lights can be difficult, they also tend (not always) to have longer flash durations and believe it or not you can still get camera/subject shake at higher magnifications. As the light/s will be further away you will need to add further diffusion near to your subject.

    A method I use involves a white plastic drinking cup, simply cut the top off for your lens and place so that the white cup covers your subject. and use a standard speedlight pretty close, you should be able to dial the power down quite low so shortening the flash duration and you should be able to get away with a single speedlight....
     
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  17. Ploddles

    Ploddles

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    Like most things, there are a number of different ways to achieve the same result.

    In due course I will be trying with the speedlights first, as I already have a couple, and just take it from there.
     
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  18. Scooter

    Scooter

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