View Full Version : Foam ring flash and results

03-12-2009, 02:53 PM
I created the foam ring flash last year for use with the 35mm due to the fact that the entry optic was so much smaller than the barrel. Getting light on the subject was easy from the sides or top, but frontal illumination was impossible.
The foam ring flash fixes this by placing the diffuser all the way around the opening while a FL 20 is fired directly into the ring. The bottom of the ring is dimmer than the top but still transmits light on the subject.In Daves picture above you can see I was using a piece about a half inch wide although all that is needed is a width big enough to cover the emitter on the FL 20.
So here it is.
This newly hatched mantid nymph didn't mind sunning itself while I shot.
I find that the way damsels perch, that it is hard to get facial shots.

Some results

I'm lucky that this one was busy building her nest but she wasn't staying still either.

This newly hatched mantid nymph didn't mind sunning itself while I shot.
I find that the way damsels perch, that it is hard to get facial shots.
Dragonflies are more co-operative


more in next post


03-12-2009, 03:16 PM
Wow! Some great shots. Also an interesting ring flash.

03-12-2009, 03:18 PM
This old girl stayed for 8 or 9 shots before I finally bumped her accidentally.


This crab spider stayed in the yard for a while and I even got to shoot her molting.


She was gone soon after this much smaller crabby paid a visit to her marigold.


But by far, my favorite subjects are the mantids. I had a pair in the house until December. This is soft, I didn't look at my iso first. :rolleyes:


These are all 2-1 macro with the E 3, 35mm, EC 20 and the Foam ring flash.

I don't use a tripod as it is much too restrictive, I do use a mono pod but my preferred method is handheld. All the butterflies in the last post were handheld.

I also adapted the FRF to the 20mm f2 I recently got. I'll put the first set up in the next post.


03-12-2009, 03:35 PM
The 20mm got here a few weeks ago and I'm still collecting stuff to create a stacking rig. So this is a crude set up for test shots.

You can see I reversed the FL 20 since I wasn't dealing with living bugs. You can also see the size of what I'm shooting


Here are the test shots.

The lace wing

The eye of the sphinx moth

The jumping spider

Wing detail

These are soft due to diffraction. Once the stacking rig is done, they will look better.


03-12-2009, 03:49 PM
I like the neat economical solution of the foam ring Jim - excellent.

20/2 isn't cheap though - enjoy it. I can't justify it. I may get the 80/4 at some point but the magnification I can get already with bellows and 50 is reasonable.

Just wish I had your 'knack' with the insects. they run a mile when they see me coming!

03-12-2009, 04:22 PM

It has to be cheap, I spent all my money on the 20mm. :doh:

I've always been the type to use what I have at hand. It's always crude but does the job.

I hope to adapt the FRF to fiber optic next. Getting rid of the FL 20 will make it cleaner, easier to handle and allow the foam to be thinned. That will let more light in for focusing.
I'd love to have a extra SRF-11 head so i could remove the lamps and put the in a hard plastic ring. That would be the deal.

The 70-300 is great for those that want to shoot insects but don't have the knack.


03-12-2009, 05:02 PM
Jim you sure know how to light up the macro bug with your set ups!:)
Excellent plus , hmm come to think of it have you done a print of one? I bet just as excellent. Cheers pete

Jim Flinchbaugh
03-12-2009, 05:15 PM
Thanks for the showing the set up!
That jumping spider shot is AWESOME and I would print it big and hang it on the wall.

03-12-2009, 05:17 PM
That's extremely interesting! Hmm....I happen to have an old FL-20 laying around here. Once warmer weather gets here again, I think I'll do some experimenting with this. Thanks very much for all the info, Jim. What do you use for flash settings? Is it pretty much trial and error, or do you have a formula worked out?

03-12-2009, 05:30 PM
Very Excellent. Definitely deserves to be a Keep thread.

03-12-2009, 06:07 PM
Thanks everyone, I have a lot of fun with it.

Since I don't crop, the prints come out much better than you see here. I have had a customer for the bug prints for a few years now.

I use the flash +/- on the E 3 and the shutterspeed to control exposure.. The aperture is always up around f 8-11 unless I'm using the EC 20, then they are 22-25. (still around f 11 but the light loss is registered as double the aperture.)
I try to keep the iso to 100, maybe 200 if needed.

For shutterspeed, I'm often down to a 30th of a sec to leave back ground color unless its a nervious bug, then i need higher ss to freeze movement.

The 35mm/ EC 20 combo handles higher F stops well. The Dragons above are at f 25.

It is a lot of T and E though, every shoot is different.


03-13-2009, 08:58 AM
Jim -

These are extremely impressive. You are the MacGyver of digital-macro-strobe photography - Good goin'!!!

I'm looking forward to more - especially with Spring and Summer coming.


09-05-2011, 12:09 PM
with that much range I would have to agree with both MJ and Brian. you will want regular old camera mounted flash, not a ring. if you want to get creative then grab the 580 and a off shoe cord so that you can move your flash closer/above your subject.
this might depend a little on what you are shooting at that range, dragonflies? poisonous snakes? flowers?

Have fun,