Show us your macro rig

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Robin
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My latest simple setup, Olympus E-m1 MK1, Sony fit Laowa 60mm f2.8 2x macro lens and Olympus STF-8 twin lite.


Gear
by Ajophotog, on ipernity

A couple of small ballheads to raise the flashheads.

Gear-4
by Ajophotog, on ipernity

Shot using this setup.

Mayfly
by Ajophotog, on ipernity
.... Much as I really like your dark and atmospheric macro photography of live insects Alby, I am not a fan of the homemade diffusers which so many photographers use. For my work which is handheld on walkabout it simply isn't practical as I am also carrying a second body with a telephoto lens mounted - Both camera combos being on Peak Design straps across the chest and always at the ready for a wide variety of wildlife.

So may I ask why you are using extra diffusers on your STF-8 please?

I can see the advantage of adding the mini ballheads - Where did you get them please?

I am inexperienced at any flash photography and bought the STF-8 because I thought it would be very simple to use and because it is so weatherproof but I can't find any video tutorials which explain how you reduce the lighting power in both heads - I have been shooting in TTL mode so far. Any help/advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Robin
 
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Ajophotog

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.... Much as I really like your macro photography of live insects Alby, I am not a fan of the homemade diffusers which so many photographers use. For my work which is handheld on walkabout it simply isn't practical as I am also carrying a second body with a telephoto lens mounted - Both camera combos being on Peak Design straps across the chest and always at the ready for a wide variety of wildlife.

So may I ask why you are using extra diffusers on your STF-8 please?

I can see the advantage of adding the mini ballheads - Where did you get them please?

I am inexperienced at any flash photography and bought the STF-8 because I thought it would be very simple to use and because it is so weatherproof but I can't find any video tutorials which explain how you reduce the lighting power in both heads - I have been shooting in TTL mode so far. Any help/advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
Robin
You can set power in camera if using ttl or on the flash in manual turning the dials accordingly. We differ in the fact that although l have more then 1 camera I tend to go out with just one to do a certain type of photography. I did the carrying of truck loads of heavy Canon gear around when l was younger but now try to be a bit more targeted in what l do due to my aching ageing joints.
I tend to use ttl more these days and when in ttl mode switching the flip switch on the back of the camera and pressing the AF button on the left top brings up the flash compensation screen. Plenty of practice and finding a setup that suits you best. Hope this helps in some way. ;)
Oh yeah the extra diffusion is to soften and flatten the light even more, the setup isn't ideal at the moment but l ran out of glue sticks to make a better diffuser so when l get the new ones done l will post them up on here.
 
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You can set power in camera if using ttl or on the flash in manual turning the dials accordingly. We differ in the fact that although l have more then 1 camera I tend to go out with just one to do a certain type of photography. I did the carrying of truck loads of heavy Canon gear around when l was younger but now try to be a bit more targeted in what l do due to my aching ageing joints.

I tend to use ttl more these days and when in ttl mode switching the flip switch on the back of the camera and pressing the AF button on the left top brings up the flash compensation screen. Plenty of practice and finding a setup that suits you best. Hope this helps in some way. ;)

Oh yeah the extra diffusion is to soften and flatten the light even more, the setup isn't ideal at the moment but l ran out of glue sticks to make a better diffuser so when l get the new ones done l will post them up on here.
.... I photograph a lot of dragonflies/damselflies and often am able to get some first shots in the bag @ 840mm on one body (Olympus E-M1X + 300mm Pro + MC-14) reliably handheld before I slowly move in with my Oly 60mm (120mm equivalent) Macro on my second M1X body if the target is tolerant. It also allows me to quickly grab a shot of a bird on the telephoto - There is a lot of wildlife in my 1.5-acre backyard wilderness (Lockdown therefore not very restrictive for me).

That's a good tip re flash compensation and I can probably customise my M1X for a shortcut.

You're right - Practice makes perfect as always!

But where did you buy your small ballheads please?

Shot handheld at 840mm (equivalent) :

THERE ARE TIGERS AT THE BOTTOM OF MY GARDEN!
by Robin Procter, on Flickr
 
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Ajophotog

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Alby
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I just got off e-bay cheap and cheerful although they are metal. I have had them for years. like you l live in the South Downs in a rural hamlet so have countryside and farmland all around me. We are privileged aren't we? I will try and find the exact ball heads went l return from my dog walk. It is amazing what lens lengths you can handhold with the Olympus system isn't it.
 
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Laurence
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My latest rig, it's the most stable than others I've tried and doesn't revolve like a windmill eventually when used handheld off the geared head/slider assembly!

I usually use the flash outdoors,



for indoors I usually use this Manfrotto Lumimuse on a Joby tripod:

 
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I just got off e-bay cheap and cheerful although they are metal. I have had them for years. like you l live in the South Downs in a rural hamlet so have countryside and farmland all around me. We are privileged aren't we? I will try and find the exact ball heads went l return from my dog walk. It is amazing what lens lengths you can handhold with the Olympus system isn't it.
.... Many thanks Alby - Much appreciated. By the time you return from dog walkies I'll have ordered a pair. I like the fact they are metal.

Now ordered but I have to wait a long time as delivery not expected until "14 May - 19 June".
 
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Alf
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My STF-8 diffusion is very similar to Alby's but I do not have those ball heads I have now ordered some. I finding switching between adaptor rings a pain I would like two new joints as they are called in the manual part number MJ-1

https://download.aws.olympus.eu/consumer/manuals/cameras/STF-8_MANUAL_MULTI.pdf

I use my flash in manual I find the TTL just takes too long and I am missing too many shots. I will photograph my latest rig tomorrow and post it

I am fancying the Laowa 65mm f2.8 APSC lens

https://www.laowalens.co.uk/laowa-65mm-2x-ultra-macro-sony.html
 
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Robin
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My STF-8 diffusion is very similar to Alby's but I do not have those ball heads I have now ordered some. I finding switching between adaptor rings a pain I would like two new joints as they are called in the manual part number MJ-1

https://download.aws.olympus.eu/consumer/manuals/cameras/STF-8_MANUAL_MULTI.pdf

I use my flash in manual I find the TTL just takes too long and I am missing too many shots. I will photograph my latest rig tomorrow and post it

I am fancying the Laowa 65mm f2.8 APSC lens

https://www.laowalens.co.uk/laowa-65mm-2x-ultra-macro-sony.html
.... Hi Alf,
I phoned and asked Olympus Support UK if I could buy a pair of STF-8 'Joints' before the lockdown but Olympus don't sell them separately but they did say they would pass the feedback on to Olympus HQ in Japan.

If only Laowa offered an Olympus mount macro! I am utterly fed up with my Olympus 60mm Macro due to focussing trickery - I lose so many shots which I then easily grab on my TG-6!! It's even easier to shoot close-ups on my Olympus 300mm + MC-14!
 
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Alf
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.... Hi Alf,
I phoned and asked Olympus Support UK if I could buy a pair of STF-8 'Joints' before the lockdown but Olympus don't sell them separately but they did say they would pass the feedback on to Olympus HQ in Japan.

If only Laowa offered an Olympus mount macro! I am utterly fed up with my Olympus 60mm Macro due to focussing trickery - I lose so many shots which I then easily grab on my TG-6!! It's even easier to shoot close-ups on my Olympus 300mm + MC-14!
I use a 58 to 62mm step up filter ring to adapt my STF-8 to my Sigma 105 f2.8.
It dawned on me that a 46 to 58 would work for swapping to the 60mm f2.8.
I think I am selling my 60mn f2.8 to get a Laowa lens at some point.
For now I will stick with the Sigma.
 
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I think I am selling my 60mm f2.8 to get a Laowa lens at some point.
For now I will stick with the Sigma.
.... Is your Sigma a Canon or a Nikon fit?

Here is what I think is some helpful Laowa info which I researched when considering their 100mm F/2.8 Macro lens. I expect that the same applies to the Laowa 65mm Macro lens versions :

- To mount onto a m4/3 body get either an all-singing-dancing but expensive Metabones Adapter or a Novo 'dumb' (no electronic comms) adapter. The Metabones is absolutely the best you can get for both comms and build-quality. Lady Luck took me to WEX and I bought a used one in very good condition for less than half price.

- Several adapter mount connection versions are available and so are the Laowa lens mounts. So you could buy a Canon EF > m4/3 plus a Laowa-Canon mount version or a Nikon mount version throughout. But the Laowa-Canon fit lenses don't have an aperture ring whereas the Laowa-Nikon lenses do have an external aperture ring. If you bought a dumb adapter and the Laowa-Canon you would have no aperture control at all nor any AF for times when/if you may want it.

Be aware that the Metabones Adapters are unable to support Focus Stacking/Bracketing* but everything else including AF and also lens IS etc is supported :

https://www.metabones.com/products/details/MB_EF-m43-BT2

*When I want Focus Stacking I am already always carrying my Olympus TG-6 Tough in my pocket with a GorillaPod Mini tripod which acts like a pistol grip when closed. And it shoots RAW. I take my TG-6 with me even when I just pop outside my front door going no further than my porch because sometimes there are spiders queuing up to have their portrait pics snapped.

All the Olympus, Laowa, Irix, Canon, macro lenses are universally reported as equally as sharp as each other but I already own a Canon EF 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro lens and so that's the route I am taking. I also still have my Canon-fit Kenko 1.4x and so when adapter mounted on my Olympus E-M1X I should have a choice of 200mm or 280mm equivalent reach which keeps me in a more desirable anti-spook zone. For alive minibeasts I definitely want good shooting distance for my macro efforts. My Metabones is scheduled for delivery today.

I use a 58 to 62mm step up filter ring to adapt my STF-8 to my Sigma 105 f2.8.
It dawned on me that a 46 to 58 would work for swapping to the 60mm f2.8.
.... Ideally I would like to keep and use my STF-8 on my Metabones adapted Canon EF 100mm Macro but its filter size is 67mm. Do the STF-8 'joints' (as Olympus call them) securely fit on a step up filter ring? If I am understanding this correctly I would need a 67 to ??mm step up filter ring.

Otherwise I am needing to research a flash alternative. Although I don't often use any flash at all as I prefer natural light whenever possible.

So it looks like I am definitely selling my Olympus 60mm Macro and possibly my Olympus STF-8 as well if I can't buy a step up from 67mm filter ring which mounts the lights securely.

HTH
 
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.... Is your Sigma a Canon or a Nikon fit?
My Sigma is an old 4/3 fit lens adapted with an Olympus MMF3 it has a set of tubes and a Raynox
Here it is with an old set up flash a basic Nissin Di466 4/3 flash fitted with a cable and bracket and homemade flash diffuser

Macro-rig-2
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

Here it is with a more basic set that works well too

EM1 sigma 105 Mk11
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

This is taken with a flash set up like the these probably the off camera version

v
Large red Damsel fly_
by Alf Branch, on Flickr
 
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Robin
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My Sigma is an old 4/3 fit lens adapted with an Olympus MMF3 it has a set of tubes and a Raynox
Here it is with an old set up flash a basic Nissin Di466 4/3 flash fitted with a cable and bracket and homemade flash diffuser

Macro-rig-2
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

Here it is with a more basic set that works well too

EM1 sigma 105 Mk11
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

This is taken with a flash set up like the these probably the off camera version

v
Large red Damsel fly_
by Alf Branch, on Flickr
.... That damselfly shot is superb! That's the kind of shot I want to achieve without all the brackets and diffusers etc. I'm usually carrying my other E-M1X with 300mm + MC-14 mounted ready for action on the same sortie and so brackets etc aren't practical for me to walk around with across my chest. Even the STF-8 can sometimes be an encumbrance in the wilds.

My Metabones was delivered about an hour ago and it delivers absolutely everything except stacking/bracketing and even the Canon 100mm Macro doesn't need its IS switched on because the Olympus IBIS is good enough. Even AF is snappy and can be overridden manually by the Canon's focus ring. When I add the Kenko 1.4x, AF is slower but still locks on fast enough for macro. Focus Peaking in MF works, focus beep works, everything works and I don't have to wrestle with the frustratingly loooong travel focus ring which the Olympus 60mm Macro has and which has killed it for me personally. Physical balance on the E-M1X when handheld is very nice and solid - Just how I like it with a bit of substance and weight. A proper gun isn't lightweight so why should a camera be < Shooting is exactly the same process of hunt, find, steady the aim, and fire.

Having tested it indoors I'm now off out into my backyard wilderness to find those minibeasts and test it in the field (of brambles and stinging nettles and needing my gaiters).
 
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Hi ,basically I like taking pics of Hoverflies, bees , butterflies etc and I thought a simple set up like I have seen posted on here would be what I am after.
My camera is a Nikon D7200 and my lens is a Tokina 100 macro ,so I have no flash as yet and would like some recommendations for a simple to use flash for under £100, thinking more of a single flash rather that a twin set up.
Thanks
 
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Alf
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Hi ,basically I like taking pics of Hoverflies, bees , butterflies etc and I thought a simple set up like I have seen posted on here would be what I am after.
My camera is a Nikon D7200 and my lens is a Tokina 100 macro ,so I have no flash as yet and would like some recommendations for a simple to use flash for under £100, thinking more of a single flash rather that a twin set up.
Thanks
You do not need a fancy flash I was happy with the Di466 but upgraded to a Di40 as it was smaller.
I use my flash in manual as the TTL on Olympus doesn't suit my shooting.
The Di40 has more manual settings and is easier to adjust.
Though any flash that will sync and has manual settings will do the job.
Good diffusion is the key.
 
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Yongnuo yn560 iii are a good flash, plenty of power, wireless capability, slave etc and around £40-£60 on auction sites.
 
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Soeren
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I use a 58 to 62mm step up filter ring to adapt my STF-8 to my Sigma 105 f2.8.
It dawned on me that a 46 to 58 would work for swapping to the 60mm f2.8.
I think I am selling my 60mn f2.8 to get a Laowa lens at some point.
For now I will stick with the Sigma.
Venus optics is bringing out a Laowa 50mm macro for M4/3.
 
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6,825
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Robin
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I use a 58 to 62mm step up filter ring to adapt my STF-8 to my Sigma 105 f2.8.

It dawned on me that a 46 to 58 would work for swapping to the 60mm f2.8.
I think I am selling my 60mn f2.8 to get a Laowa lens at some point.
For now I will stick with the Sigma.
.... Hi Alf,
As you may already know from reading my other posts, I am now shooting a combo of my Canon 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro + Kenko 1.4x + Metabones Adapter + E-M1X which gives me a much preferred 280mm equivalent focal length.

But my Canon 100mm is 67mm filter size and so I need some advice please if I am to successfully and securely mount my STF-8 Twinflash on the front of my Canon lens.

EDIT : I think my brain has finally got it! If I get a 67mm (to fit my Canon lens) to 62mm (to attach my STF-8 ring) step down ring, it should all fit! As I would be reducing the lens front by a diameter of 5mm (2.5mm all around circularly) might I expect some vignetting? But perhaps it wouldn't matter as I'm shooting a telephoto angle.

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/kenko-67-62mm-step-down-ring-1643733/

I am having difficulty working out whether I need a step up or a step down filter ring and it needs an adequate profile for the STF 'joints' to grip very securely and still be adjustable. So can you advise a source please?

The mini ballheads you previously advised have now arrived - Thanks again!

Thanks for any help.

Meanwhile, here is an example of one of my first shots on my Canon-Olympus combo, handheld, no flash :

BANDED DEMOISELLE
by Robin Procter, on Flickr

I could have gone in closer but wanted to include the legs stance.

P.S.- WHEN I HAVE FINALLY SETTLED MY MACRO RIG AS DISCUSSED ABOVE, I WILL POST PICS OF IT IN THIS THREAD.
 
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Alf
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.... Hi Alf,
As you may already know from reading my other posts, I am now shooting a combo of my Canon 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro + Kenko 1.4x + Metabones Adapter + E-M1X which gives me a much preferred 280mm equivalent focal length.

But my Canon 100mm is 67mm filter size and so I need some advice please if I am to successfully and securely mount my STF-8 Twinflash on the front of my Canon lens.

EDIT : I think my brain has finally got it! If I get a 67mm (to fit my Canon lens) to 62mm (to attach my STF-8 ring) step down ring, it should all fit! As I would be reducing the lens front by a diameter of 5mm (2.5mm all around circularly) might I expect some vignetting? But perhaps it wouldn't matter as I'm shooting a telephoto angle.

https://www.wexphotovideo.com/kenko-67-62mm-step-down-ring-1643733/

I am having difficulty working out whether I need a step up or a step down filter ring and it needs an adequate profile for the STF 'joints' to grip very securely and still be adjustable. So can you advise a source please?

The mini ballheads you previously advised have now arrived - Thanks again!

Thanks for any help.

Meanwhile, here is an example of one of my first shots on my Canon-Olympus combo, handheld, no flash :

BANDED DEMOISELLE
by Robin Procter, on Flickr

I could have gone in closer but wanted to include the legs stance.

P.S.- WHEN I HAVE FINALLY SETTLED MY MACRO RIG AS DISCUSSED ABOVE, I WILL POST PICS OF IT IN THIS THREAD.
Well worth a try on the step down ring
 
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Robin
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Well worth a try on the step down ring
.... The step down ring works!! At least it does physically and is all a very neat and secure fit. The Olympus designers have been very thorough by including the second thread on the front so you can add or change a filter without detaching the circular rail for the twin lights. I am leaving that rail with Hoya UV filter and twin light joints mounted on my Canon Macro so that all I have to do is mount the actual lights and hot shoe control unit.

No hint of any vignetting in camera viewfinder or screen but any vignetting would only manifest itself in the RAW file (not JPEG) after uploading to an editor. Such vignetting is very common in all extreme zoom lenses, regardless of brand, which are wide angle but with a long telephoto capability. For example a prime brand 24-105mm lens will be free of vignetting throughout its focal range but a 24-200mm, even if a prime brand, will have vignetting from about 32mm wider < Only in the RAW files and only visible after RAW conversion in your chosen software editor.

The lens manufacturers accept this as inevitable due to optical physics and will tell you to crop in post-processing as their only solution.

I'll go out later today and test my rig by shooting some minibeasts.
 
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Alf
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.... The step down ring works!! At least it does physically and is all a very neat and secure fit. The Olympus designers have been very thorough by including the second thread on the front so you can add or change a filter without detaching the circular rail for the twin lights. I am leaving that rail with Hoya UV filter and twin light joints mounted on my Canon Macro so that all I have to do is mount the actual lights and hot shoe control unit.

No hint of any vignetting in camera viewfinder or screen but any vignetting would only manifest itself in the RAW file (not JPEG) after uploading to an editor. Such vignetting is very common in all extreme zoom lenses, regardless of brand, which are wide angle but with a long telephoto capability. For example a prime brand 24-105mm lens will be free of vignetting throughout its focal range but a 24-200mm, even if a prime brand, will have vignetting from about 32mm wider < Only in the RAW files and only visible after RAW conversion in your chosen software editor.

The lens manufacturers accept this as inevitable due to optical physics and will tell you to crop in post-processing as their only solution.

I'll go out later today and test my rig by shooting some minibeasts.
Remember your lens is designed for a much bigger sensor so any vignetting may not reach the sensor
 
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Robin
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Remember your lens is designed for a much bigger sensor so any vignetting may not reach the sensor
.... Yes I think it extremely unlikely indeed that vignetting will be introduced but it's as well to be aware of the possibility and to look out for it. Afterall, how many others do we know to ask who have the same macro combo as myself.
 
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Alf
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My latest macro rig

My Olympus OMD E-M1ii with MMF3, Olympus EX-25 extension tube, 4/3 fit Sigma 105 f2.8 and STF-8 flash with added diffusion the filter mount is 58mm on the lens so I have to use a 58-62mm step up ring to fit the flash mount ring

E-M1ii macro rig 1
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

E-M1ii macro rig 2
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

E-M1ii macro rig 3
by Alf Branch, on Flickr

Here is my M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 fitted this time with a 46-58mm step ring to prevent the need to swap the mount ring

E-M1ii macro rig 4
by Alf Branch, on Flickr
 
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6,825
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Robin
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My latest macro rig

My Olympus OMD E-M1ii with MMF3, Olympus EX-25 extension tube, 4/3 fit Sigma 105 f2.8 and STF-8 flash with added diffusion the filter mount is 58mm on the lens so I have to use a 58-62mm step up ring to fit the flash mount ring

Here is my M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 fitted this time with a 46-58mm step ring to prevent the need to swap the mount ring
.... Good idea to use another step ring so you don't have to faff around swapping the mount ring and particularly the fiddly twin light 'joints'.

Why do you keep both macro lenses? Because one setup does Focus Stacking and the other doesn't? Do you carry both on walkabout in the field?

And have you given up using the mini ballheads?
 
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Robin
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My macro rig consisting of :

Olympus E-M1X + Metabones Adapter + Kenko 1.4x + Canon EF 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro + Olympus STF-8

Although shown on my tripod, as a wildlife photographer I do not take a tripod with me when hunting minibeasts but I often take a Gitzo GT2545T monopod in case it helps.

The reasons I have stopped using my Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro are my dislike of its over long focus ring travel and lack of weight and substance when mounted on my E-M1X. Also, I much prefer the longer reach (280mm equivalent) which my Canon lens offers.

macro rig_TG210910.jpg

macro rig_TG210916.jpg
 
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Alf
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.... Good idea to use another step ring so you don't have to faff around swapping the mount ring and particularly the fiddly twin light 'joints'.

Why do you keep both macro lenses? Because one setup does Focus Stacking and the other doesn't? Do you carry both on walkabout in the field?

And have you given up using the mini ballheads?
Robin
The step ring makes it easier to swap and I was thinking of more testing with the 60mm as I thinking early morning stacks would be easy. I don't shoot that type of thing often so maybe I should just sell.
I do worry about the old Sigma failing.

I will try the ball heads as I reckon they will improve the lighting.
 
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Ajophotog

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Alby
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My macro rig consisting of :

Olympus E-M1X + Metabones Adapter + Kenko 1.4x + Canon EF 100mm F/2.8L IS Macro + Olympus STF-8

Although shown on my tripod, as a wildlife photographer I do not take a tripod with me when hunting minibeasts but I often take a Gitzo GT2545T monopod in case it helps.

The reasons I have stopped using my Olympus 60mm F/2.8 Macro are my dislike of its over long focus ring travel and lack of weight and substance when mounted on my E-M1X. Also, I much prefer the longer reach (280mm equivalent) which my Canon lens offers.

View attachment 279946

View attachment 279950
That looks a weighty bit of kit Robin. How are the twin lites coping with the extra reach you have with the 100mm effective 200mm lens? Does the Metabones Adapter add or remove any magnification?
 
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Robin
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That looks a weighty bit of kit Robin. How are the twin lites coping with the extra reach you have with the 100mm effective 200mm lens? Does the Metabones Adapter add or remove any magnification?
.... Yes it's nice and weighty and about the same weight as my Canon EOS-R + Battery Grip + Kenko but lighter weight than my Canon 1DX-2 with the same lens, but I haven't done any weight calculations and I am happy with the balance.

I have shot a few on this rig without flash but not with the STF-8 flash yet as my step ring only arrived a couple of days ago. I don't anticipate any lighting problems due to the 280mm equivalent reach but I'll report either way in due course. I don't think Alf @alfbranch has any STF-8 problems with his Sigma 105mm (210mm equivalent) rig.

I don't know if the Metabones Adapter adds or removes any magnification - All I know is that it adapts the Canon lens very well and I just do my best to capture what I see through the viewfinder. I don't take any notice of whether something is 1:1 etc.

I'll post some images with the TwinFlash in the Oly thread when I have hopefully taken some in the next few days.

Sorry if I can't be more helpful yet.
 
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