Journal archives for October 2020

October 11, 2020

Macro diffusor comparison

In an ongoing fight against harsh light, too many highlights and too high contrast i have been trying to make my own diffusor out of black cardboard, matte transparent plastic, silver, black and transparent duct tape.

Here are 4 images of the Nezara viridula Nymph for comparison.

  • The first was made with a cheap Ring Flash from Neewer. (Only 67 Euros an Amazon!)
  • The second with my own diffusor, but with a somewhat transparent Plastic front.
  • In the third image i replaced the front with a two layers of milky transparent Plastic.
  • And the fourth is with a beauty softbox from Amazon.

All image where shot with ISO 200, f/9 @ 1/200 sec. Direct out of the camera.
Flash Exposure compensation is +2/3, but with the Neewer Ring Flash it is +1.

Image 1: the Neewer Ring Flash is surprisingly good at removing shadows, better than just having a standard flash on top of the camera, but it is simply too dark with strong highlights on the pronotum.

Image 2: My old diffusor, at the time, had a very transparent front plastic part, so the light is not that diffuse as i suspected. Although the light is right, the contrast seems too high, Black is very black and the highlights are too bright. Shot in RAW - you could save it in Photoshop (PS).

Image 3: I replaced the front of my diffusor with a milky white matte semi transparent plastic. The light is right and the contrast has been cut way back. The highlights are still there, but way smoother. In my eyes the best result.

Image 4: Why bother doing it yourself, when you can buy a Beauty Softbox on Amazon from around 10 Euros. the Result is quite similar to image 2, my own diffusor, but not as good as image 3. Still a bit high on the contrast, but the size of the Softbox is almost twice as big as the diffusor use in image 2 and 3, which isn't something you walk around with that easy outdoors.

One thing to keep in mind, the diffusor works better the closer you get with the diffusor to the subject. Not all live insects likes that and most will try to escape.

I always use an external flash battery pack. This will provide extra power to your flash for really fast recycle times. Mine has 8 AA Batteries, but nowadays there are models with 12 AA Batteries.
The Neewer Ring Flash as well as my old Canon 550EX Flash both have connectors for External Batteries.

Equipment


This is the Neewer Ring Flash for Canon, they do come for Nikon, Pentax, Olympus. For Sony you might need an adapter.


This is my homemade Diffusor on Camera.


And this is the Softbox on Camera with my 18 years old Canon 550EX Flash.


It actually was made for upright use and not for horizontally. It's a bit of a challenge to mount it on the flash, if you are in a hurry.

Notice the white patch? On the inside this is a reflective material to spread and soften the flash highlight.

What do you think?
What about a diffusor for Ring Flashes? Well they do exist. See Link below.

Cheers
Per

Links:
Ring Flash from Neewer: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Neewer%C2%AE-Macro-Flash-Cameras-SL1-T3/dp/B00AEL23PA
Softbox: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Lighting-Portable-Speedlite-Diffuser-Recording/dp/B07XCXN3HR
Diffusor for Canon MT-14EX Ring Flash: https://www.macrodiffuser.com/shop/canon-mr-14ex-ii-macro-ring-lite-diffuser-sd6dk
External Flash Battery Pack: https://www.ebay.de/itm/114141476778

Posted on October 11, 2020 10:33 by per-hoffmann-olsen per-hoffmann-olsen | 1 observation | 1 comment | Leave a comment

October 12, 2020

Neewer Macro Ring Lite 14EXT - Review

I have never used a Ring Flash, mostly because it is way beyond my budget, but also because i have seen those ugly ring reflections on Ladybirds and Leaf Beetles. They do produce a rather harsh light.

Recently i discovered a very cheap Ring Flash on Amazon, the Neewer Macro ring Lite 14EXT. It's only 67,- Euros for the Complete set and no, it isn't a LED Ring lite as you might read somewhere else. It actually has two Flash Tubes - one left and one right. They are not as long as the ring unit might indicate, but for that kind of money - no wonder.

And it is not weather sealed - do not use it with wet hands, outdoor in the Rain etc. etc.

Quality

The build quality of the main Unit is in my opinion, extremely good compared to the price. It is made out of a good Plastic, feels very solid - no squeaking noises when working with the unit.


(The Velcro was added be me, to attach a diffusor - see below)

The Informative LCD Display is green back-lit, very practical when shooting in the dark.

Often the battery lids of flashes are the first thing to break, but the Neewer battery lid is metal hinged and reinforced with metal. Makes a good impression.

It even has an External Battery Pack Connector, just like the Pro Canon 5XX and 6XX Speedlite series. This is great for reducing the flash recycle time.


Connections and even a metal hot-shoe!

The ring unit is much lighter, but build with same quality, very solid.

On the ring there are two Focus Lamps, which are bright enough to photograph in complete darkness. One downside though, they are only activated for a short time when pressing the lamp button on the main unit. Some online reviews explains that these two lamps lights up when you press the shutter button halfway down. On my camera (Canon M50) this unfortunately doesn't happen.

I have the impression, that it would survive a drop on the ground. And if it doesn't i can always buy another one.

Mounting it on your lens

In the box there are 8 adapter rings.

  • 77mm, 72mm 67mm, 62mm, 58mm, 55mm, 52mm and 40,5mm.

These are all of a very cheap quality. Careful when you screw them on you metal-threaded lens, if you twist them too hard, you might ruin the plastic thread.

The ring clicks easily onto the adapter, but unfortunately it doesn't have any grip on the adapter. I used an elastic band in the adapter groove which makes the grip rock steady.

Testing

On my balkony we have the Nezara vidirula - Southern Green Stink Bug. The first 3 or 4 instar's are mostly shiny black which is good for testing the harsh light and the ring reflections.

This one i found sitting on our Wine.
First image is the Ring Flash alone.

The light is harsh with some highlighting. Even the antenna has two shadows - not the best.

So i quickly build a ring flash diffuser out of cardboard and milky white matte transparent plastic sheets. Used some duct tape to reinforce it. To mount it on the ring unit I used Velcro.

Here is the same animal again with the ring diffuser.

Much better, no double shadows, contrast is lower. Not that harsh.

And here it is 1:1 portrait.

Same image scaled to 100%.

Nice! I am happy.

Conclusion

Simply, if you have 67 Euro loose in you pockets and you always wanted to try a ring flash, go for it.

I really like it - with my diffuser on, that is. If you're all thumbs and don't wanna waste your time with duct tape, scissors and cardboard, soon you can buy a off-the-shelve ring flash diffuser at:

https://www.macrodiffuser.com/shop/canon-mr-14ex-ii-macro-ring-lite-diffuser

I contacted the owner and he told me he will soon start working on a version for the Neewer 14XTR.

Cons:

  • The adapters - i'm scared to break them every time.
  • No grip in the adapters - the ring just turns and turns. Elastic band saves the day.
  • The focus Assist light doesn't light up - would be great if it did.

I really highly recommend this Ring Flash.
Bought this one with my own money.



The ring diffusor

Here are some images of my diffuser:

You can see the inside of the diffuser. I made a cone out of the plastic.


Here it is mounted, well it is not a beauty contest, but it helps a lot.


I used these kinds of Plastic Plates from Tamiya 0.5mm







What do you think?

Cheers
Per

Posted on October 12, 2020 20:00 by per-hoffmann-olsen per-hoffmann-olsen | 7 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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