Macro Flash Solutions – I

I was looking for a light-weight flash unit to supplement my Canon MT-24EX flash, one that I could also use for macro when going into the field equipped ultra-light, or to use handheld for backlighting or for other lighting effects with the twin flash. One of the less well-known features of the Canon MT-24EX flash is it’s ability to act as a master to wirelessly trigger other flashes in the  E-TTL wireless auto flash system. The lightest E-TTL flash in the system is the new ultra-lightweight Canon 270EX II, and it can be used handheld or on a stand as a wireless slave flash.

So guess what I got for Christmyth?

While I do have a number of brackets to utilize for macro flash, I wanted the 270EX II to be a ‘free-spirit’: a flash that I can quickly adapt for new situations, and different lenses, without locking it down. I also want to use this as a single flash with my Canon EF 100mm USM macro when I was doing a two camera project. I remembered that OrionMystery had done a post earlier on how he was using the older model 270 EX, so I went over to his blog to see his setup. I found out that he was now using the flash up-side-down on a lens-mounted bracket that attached to his MP-E65mm macro lens. Would a similar solution work for me on the 100mm macro?

After a bit of thought, and visualizing the placement by laying it along the lens hood, I realized their might be a simpler, more light-weight solution. What if I attached the flash to the lens hood itself? I rushed off to get the drill, a hammer, nails, staple-gun, epoxy, duct-tape  the adhesive-backed velcro strips I keep handy, and settled down to do some adapting. I added two strips of velcro to the top of the flash and four strips to the lens hood. With some quick snipping of diffusing material, and the cutting of a bounce card, it was soon whipped into shape as a macro flash unit.


"Canon 270EX II with diffuser on 100mm macro lens"


For a more detailed look at the set-up, and a special feature of the 270EX II flash, please continue overleaf…

(Each image below can be clicked to enlarge)

Now I realize that using velcro to attach a $130 flash unit may appear somewhat risky, but the flash unit is lightweight (it only uses 2 AA batteries), and it stays tightly attached at all camera angles. Of course I would not leave it on while walking, but it detaches easily and can quickly be removed and stowed in a pocket. Placing an elastic or two around the lens hood and flash would help secure it for those who doubt the velcro. (Still, use at your own risk!) The flash head has a bounce feature that allows you to change the reflector angle according to the distance from the subject. It is a quick, light solution that allows the flash to be detached quickly for handheld use.

Insects are sparse in Alberta in January, but I did find a subject in a bunch of imported vegetables recently, so I’ll show some photo samples in an upcoming post.

And note: a cool feature of the new 270EX II flash is that it can act as an IR transmitter to trigger your camera. You can set it up so that there is a two-second delay, so you can use the flash remotely to initiate a shutter release and re-position the flash before the camera flash goes off. This opens up a whole world of possibilities.

Now ain’t that dandy?


(Gallery Note: the first image is from the Canon website. The camera is the Canon T2i with Zeikos battery grip and mounted with the Canon EF 100mm USM macro lens)


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One Comment

  1. Kurt 14 May, 2012 at 3:46 AM #

    Great idea using the lens hood and velcro to hold your 270EX II, Adrian!

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