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10-25-2019, 06:18 PM   #1
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Looking for recommendations for a reasonably priced ring flash for macro work

I'm wondering what reasonably priced ring flash users with more macro experience than me would recommend. Are they even necessary? I would be using it with the DFA 100mm but I don't envisage doing loads of macro work (at least at this stage) so it just needs to be reliable, easy to use and not cost an arm and a leg. Cheers.

10-25-2019, 06:57 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I like this type. Manual flash mainly but also possible auto mode with onboard sensor.

Sunpak Auto Thyristor DX-8R Ring Light Macro Flash Set 4960436001674 | eBay
10-25-2019, 06:59 PM   #3
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I would also be interested to hear opinions on this, as I've considered getting a flash ring to do macro with. Doesn't seem to be a lot of PTTL options around, but plenty of generic solutions.

I recently tried getting around at night with a cage mounted to my KP, and arm on that with a Yongnuo speed light on it. Was actually not a bad arrangement, though I think a second flash unit may have produced a better result.

Also, I haven't put the effort in to learning how to drive the Yongnuo, and I had way too much power.

Here's a cropped pic of a tiny little spider (seriously, it was smaller than my little fingernail) taken on that night. Not sure if I should have gone for a different focal point, but it seemed the best of the bunch I took. I didn't actually find very many bugs on that night. This was using the 100mm Macro.
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10-25-2019, 08:16 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
I'm wondering what reasonably priced ring flash users with more macro experience than me would recommend. Are they even necessary? I would be using it with the DFA 100mm but I don't envisage doing loads of macro work (at least at this stage) so it just needs to be reliable, easy to use and not cost an arm and a leg. Cheers.
G'day mate, a couple of years ago I was where you find yourself now, but for me , macro is probably my favourite type of photography. My research led me to both RING LIGHTS and RING FLASHES. Very different devices. The screenshots below show, the 1st ( which I found during my research, not my words ) explains quickly the differences between the types, and the 2nd is of my review of the Sigma DG 140. RING LIGHTS definitely have their uses, but for me, the flash is much more versatile with being able to use both tubes or only left or right, and also being able to control light output from both or either. Good luck with which ever way you go.

Edit - I purchased the flash second hand and I'm very pleased with it.

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Last edited by pjv; 10-25-2019 at 08:34 PM. Reason: added edit
10-25-2019, 08:52 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by DamienW Quote
I would also be interested to hear opinions on this, as I've considered getting a flash ring to do macro with. Doesn't seem to be a lot of PTTL options around, but plenty of generic solutions.
I would avoid ANY ring flashes or ring light. I own the Pentax ring flash but am constantly annoyed by the telltale ring reflected in the subject.



Better to use a large diffuse source of light, often achieved by members here using the Pringles can setup.
DIY TTL Macro Flash! - PentaxForums.com

Last edited by BROO; 10-25-2019 at 09:37 PM.
10-25-2019, 10:59 PM   #6
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I have the Sigma EM-140 DG (P-TTL). It works well. You can even set the ratio of left and right, or use one side only, if you want to avoid that flat look. Furthermore, it can act as a P-TTL controller if you want to use another flash off to the side for more 3D rendering.

The model seems to be discontinued, but you could keep an eye open for a used copy. It is typically not very expensive.

Even though I don't do much macro work, I will keep mine for its rather unique capabilities.

Another option is the Metz 15 MS-1. It looks great, though I've not used it. Wireless and more modern than the Sigma. US$420 at B&H seems a reasonable price.

Last edited by Paul the Sunman; 10-25-2019 at 11:22 PM.
10-26-2019, 09:49 AM   #7
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Yet another variant is the "roundflashTM" -- a ring softbox illuminated by one's speedlight mounted on the camera. It might be best used with a longish lens to gain some distance. At 17-inches diameter, the fill on a small object should be fairly diffuse. Very close photography, such as the spiders above might not be the best use, but for lens to subject distances of 1 - 2 ft, it should be useful. Otherwise, at greater distances, it can fill a round flash role in portrait photography.
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