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10-08-2021, 01:47 AM   #1
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Advice on cheap kit for macro/proxy

Hi all,

I would like to do some proxy or macro shots, for documentation/description purpose only, no artistic purpose at all; and I want to be able to light them up.
Examples? The lenses I want to list for sale; my kids' teeth for the dentist (true story).
Currently I am using a K-1 with D-FA 100mm macro WR, and I already have a PTTL cobra flash (Metz M400) that I'm not using very often (usually I work in natural light) and cannot directly be used for that purpose due to the placement on the camera's hotshoe.
I would like to spend less than €50 (ideally around €20): again, this is only for punctual situations and not aiming for "fine pictures".

The way I see it I have 2 completely different options:
- generic (Neewer or equivalent) 48-led ring light (e.g. Neewer Macro 48 LED-Bague Anneau Lumineux (4 x diffuseur Transparent/Clair/Bleu/Blanc) - pour Canon/Nikon/panasonic/Olympus/pentax Appareil Photo Reflex : Amazon.fr: High-Tech). Can be found for €15-20
- using a RF transmitter such as Yongnuo RF 603 II or equivalent (Yongnuo RF 603 II /N3 (version II) sans fil déclencheurs 2.4GHz pour flash avec càble pour Nikon D90/D7000/D7100/D5000/D5100/D5200/D3000/D3100/D3200/D600 : Amazon.fr: High-Tech) to place my current Metz flash in the most useful place/angle. Can be found for €20-30

Now my questions are:
- any arguments for/against these ideas for my intended use?
- any other alternative I haven't though of?
- bottom line, what is best for my planned use?

Thanks for any input

10-08-2021, 03:29 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Another alternative is cheap LED work lights, like from a hardware store. I have a couple battery powered mini lights that cost under $5 each that I use with my cheap light box. I’m using my phone and can’t post a decent link, do a search on “led light 830356” and they would come up.
10-08-2021, 04:21 AM   #3
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OK, yes, I see what you mean. Thanks for the tip, that could also work I guess!
Not as easy to set up as the ring light but more flexible...
10-08-2021, 04:50 AM - 1 Like   #4
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I use the conservatory as a light box, perfect when the sun is shining. On dull days I have a Opteka 116 LED light to provide more illumination but its still not as good. Light box and strong light is the way to go. Check out YouTube...
Lenses wise I mainly use my "A" 50mm f1.7, a 28mm for larger items, one of my macros for small items.

10-08-2021, 06:23 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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Why not use a hot shoe extension cord with the existing flash?

Last edited by UncleVanya; 10-08-2021 at 09:54 AM.
10-08-2021, 06:43 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Why not use a hot shot extension cord with the existing flash?
Simply because I can't seem to find one cheaper than the wireless system; but maybe I'm doing my research wrong
But indeed that would work about the same!
QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
conservatory as a light box
Thanks but that would set me back more than €50 I'm afraid
10-08-2021, 08:26 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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Why not an articulated arm as outlined here:
My Technique shooting Macro Insects - PentaxForums.com

If you can find a P-TTL cable within budget you could use that in place of wireless triggers.

10-08-2021, 10:01 AM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
Hi all,

I would like to do some proxy or macro shots, for documentation/description purpose only, no artistic purpose at all; and I want to be able to light them up.
Examples? The lenses I want to list for sale; my kids' teeth for the dentist (true story).
Currently I am using a K-1 with D-FA 100mm macro WR, and I already have a PTTL cobra flash (Metz M400) that I'm not using very often (usually I work in natural light) and cannot directly be used for that purpose due to the placement on the camera's hotshoe.
I would like to spend less than €50 (ideally around €20): again, this is only for punctual situations and not aiming for "fine pictures".

The way I see it I have 2 completely different options:
- generic (Neewer or equivalent) 48-led ring light (e.g. Neewer Macro 48 LED-Bague Anneau Lumineux (4 x diffuseur Transparent/Clair/Bleu/Blanc) - pour Canon/Nikon/panasonic/Olympus/pentax Appareil Photo Reflex : Amazon.fr: High-Tech). Can be found for €15-20
- using a RF transmitter such as Yongnuo RF 603 II or equivalent (Yongnuo RF 603 II /N3 (version II) sans fil déclencheurs 2.4GHz pour flash avec càble pour Nikon D90/D7000/D7100/D5000/D5100/D5200/D3000/D3100/D3200/D600 : Amazon.fr: High-Tech) to place my current Metz flash in the most useful place/angle. Can be found for €20-30

Now my questions are:
- any arguments for/against these ideas for my intended use?
- any other alternative I haven't though of?
- bottom line, what is best for my planned use?

Thanks for any input
If you go the RF603II route, you will need two of them -- one mounted to the camera's hot shoe as the trigger, the second mounted to the flash as the receiver. Also, this set-up does not allow for PTTL operation, only manual triggering of the flash and you will need to adjust flash power at the flash itself.

As someone else suggested, a PTTL compatible cable is the easiest solution -- here's one that is well within your budget -- Meike DSLR Camera TTL Flash Remote Cord Sync Cable PT-01 3M | MeiKe Store -- Found this one using the search criteria "pentax pttl cable."
10-08-2021, 10:40 AM - 2 Likes   #9
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I will third the PTTL cable idea. I ordered one on Amazon for $18 from the brand Vello. I have used it with PTTL to good results with my Metz flash and my K1.

I wish, tho, that I had ordered an extra arm and hand at the same time.
10-08-2021, 11:49 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Not a Number Quote
Why not an articulated arm as outlined here:
That is a very interesting thread! Setup seems overkill and over budget for my plans though.
QuoteOriginally posted by West Penn Quote
As someone else suggested, a PTTL compatible cable is the easiest solution
Well that seems right. I had only found the Pentax brand previously and those are seriously costly (all things put in perspective). I need to research under what trademarks these are sold in EU and I'll likely do that.
QuoteOriginally posted by wadge22 Quote
I wish, tho, that I had ordered an extra arm and hand at the same time.
Thanks for the advice and heads-up. I'll keep it in mind and try to avoid to "pay twice".
10-08-2021, 11:58 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by victordeamorin Quote
Thanks for the advice and heads-up. I'll keep it in mind and try to avoid to "pay twice".
Just to make sure I have been understood, my line about the "extra arm and hand" was a joke. I got the cable, and it works great. But it is hard to keep the camera and the flash pointed at the subject (spiders in my case) all at once to take the shot.


If I had 3 hands to hold everything, it would be easy! I have resorted to having my girlfriend hold the flash for me a few times to solve that problem, but she's not always around/interested.
10-08-2021, 12:15 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Oops, right, I thought you were referring to the articulated arm cited before. Read too fast and got confused... It's Friday everning here now, and well my brain isn't the sharpest at this hour
Anyway the "assistant" idea is nice (and cheap), my wife will "have to" help for the kids' teeth! as for the lens/stuff listings I guess I'll have to provide a compelling set of arguments (money coming in, big time; much more space in drawers and cabinets; ...)
10-08-2021, 01:10 PM - 1 Like   #13
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Ahh yes, and I too had read too fast and didn't see that post. I see now how my use of "arm" was confusing.
More importantly, thanks for drawing my attention to that post, because that is exactly what I need! I will be sure to refer to it when I want to upgrade to that setup.

I have tried using the little stand that came with my flash. Between the top heaviness of the flash (mine is the Metz 64, the big boy, usually with a small diffuser on it taboot) and the 'spring-action' of the cable, I have found no success that way. With even the most careful setup, it seems that at the last second before I can press the shutter I always make a false move: I inadvertently pull or brush the cable, the flash falls over and points right at my eyes, I panic and flinch and point the camera at my foot, and wind up with a blurred shot in my camera and a blurred spot in my vision.
The spiders just laugh at me. They've got eight arms, this wouldn't be a problem for them.
10-12-2021, 01:28 AM - 1 Like   #14
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Well I ended up buying (used like new) the ring led light kit for a grand total of €20 shipped.
I was not able to find a PTTL cable cheaper than that (can't find used; new is €30-35) and I figure it has other advantages:
1) keep the possibility to use in tandem with my Metz flash
2) avoid the need for additional members graft surgery
I'll try to remember to give feedback here or in the reviews section in a few weeks!
11-22-2021, 07:57 AM   #15
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So as said earlier, I bought a generic (mine is branded Excelvan) 48-led ring light, second hand and very cheap.
Well now I can explain the low cost. The materials are not very pleasant or reassuring. And the light is not very strong (reasonably effective at macro distances but basically useless at 1m). OK, that was to be expected.
On the "plus" side, the kit is complete with many ring sizes, 3 color "filters"... And the light temperature is close to an actual flash, which helps setting the WB.
Usually I use it in "continuous light" mode, allowing to meter correctly (it is obviously not PTTL). However in that way the batteries get drained quite a bit. I find that it can also be useful together with a regular flash (especially in bounce at relatively low power) for some filling. Of course the complete kit becomes then quite big around the K-1

All in all, basically meets but does not exceed my (low) expectations. I mean, €20!
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