Post Your Set Up!

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Registered: Oct 11, 2008
Total Posts: 6614
Country: United Kingdom

There are some inspiring setups here. Having said that, there are some huge flash guns and/or diffusers. I wonder how many insects can be approached with such an intimidating array, not least when they are amongst vegetation whcih can be snagged.

I have more or less finalised my subtitute for an MPE-65:

The zoom lens used has quite a fungus problem and a replacement is on its way to me.

Some results:

At 28mm focal lenght:

At 50mm:

At 70mm:


Registered: Nov 17, 2012
Total Posts: 351
Country: United States

Nikon D7000, Kenko extension tube set on a Nikon PB-6 bellows and a reversed Nikkor 28mm Ai lens.

Cranked out as far as it will go:

I figure it's about 12:1. To scale the above image, the leaf is shown on an SD card:

Todd Moon
Registered: Jun 06, 2009
Total Posts: 78
Country: United States

Dalantech wrote:
This is now my old rig since my MT-24EX died (I haven't decided if I'm going to replace it):

(EDIT: Eek! I didn't realize how old this thread was. This is probably way too late.)

I know it's a stretch that this might be your problem, but my MT-24EX "died" tonight. I turned it on and nothing. I thought I had removed the batteries for charging, but no.

It turns out that one of the battery contacts inside the speedlite (not on the battery cover) had gotten flattened out too much for the battery to make proper contact, even though they looked fine. I reached in there with a wooden chopstick and gently pulled each one upward a bit from the side to give them a more upward bend. Then the unit started right up.

I didn't know that this was the problem, but I did notice that when opening and closing the battery cover it would momentarily turn it on, so I had a hunch. It turned out I was right.

You didn't explain exactly in what way yours was "dead", so I thought I'd share my story.

Registered: Apr 09, 2010
Total Posts: 986
Country: Singapore

Studio setup by kiernter, on Flickr

Registered: Nov 25, 2011
Total Posts: 3
Country: United Kingdom

My first effort at macro flash

Registered: Aug 08, 2012
Total Posts: 129
Country: United States

New setup, probably won't get much use until I head to the Philippines because everything is dead where I live lol. It's going to be a challenge learning this lens compared to the 100L.

Macro_3 by JustinZ850, on Flickr

Macro_2 by JustinZ850, on Flickr

Macro_1 by JustinZ850, on Flickr

Registered: Jun 04, 2005
Total Posts: 218
Country: United States

Since the subjects I usually do needs only a small amount of light, maybe the one from the built-in flash could be enough if I could just direct it in front of my lens setup. Used stack of achromats plus a telephoto lens in front to maintain distance from the subjects. All were hand held and the small sensor size is good for DOF even if limited only to f8. Crude setup is below and I only change the camera body as I go into higher MP.

Some fun usable results from the above setup.

Registered: Apr 07, 2009
Total Posts: 6853
Country: Australia

Not bad for an old FZ30 or 20? Can't remember which was restricted to f8. On the first page of this thread you'll see what snoot/diffuser I use on an old FZ50, may be of some use to you ...

Registered: Dec 22, 2012
Total Posts: 467
Country: Lithuania

kiernter wrote:

Studio setup by kiernter, on Flickr

hello,is it difference how mount teleconverter and tubes beetwen body and lens-body-tc-tube-lens or body-tube-tc-lens?

Registered: Dec 22, 2012
Total Posts: 31
Country: N/A

kiertner, is that a telescope? This thing is pure love for any photographer.

Registered: Jan 02, 2013
Total Posts: 54
Country: Canada

fruitfly 1 edit copyright ernie cooper 2012_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

Hi all,

Above is a photo of a fruit fly (Drosophila) compiled from a stack of images using Zerene stacker that I posted on my blog a few days ago. The images were taken with an Olympus e-620 DSLR using a Cnscope 5X microscope objective mounted on a vintage Olympus auto bellows.

A cropped version of the image is below.

fruitfly 1 edit copyright ernie cooper 2012 crop 3_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

The bellows and specimen were mounted on a macro rail I have been building out of a Carl Zeiss Jena Laboval 4 Microscope Focus Arm. The pics below show the set-up: microscope on its back, camera mounted where the condenser would have been and the specimen is mounted where the microscope head should go. The specimen mount is a mechanical stage (for moving a microscope slide) attached vertically to provide movement of the specimen vertically and horizontally.

macro rail MK I_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

macro rail MK I camera mount_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

macro rail MK I specimen mount_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

macro rail MK I specimen mount 2_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

Lighting is from a Vivitar 283directed through a light diffuser made from a white plastic yogurt container. The specimen was carefully impaled on the point of a needle that had been pushed through a scrap of green foam core.

The pic below shows the lens (covered by a paper lens shade) and fruit fly specimen on the tip of the needle. I removed the outer barrel of the lens and added the shade to reduce the chance of lens flare.

bellows and lens shade_filtered by ernie.cooper, on Flickr

Needless to say, this isnít meant as a portable field set-up.


Registered: Jan 02, 2013
Total Posts: 600
Country: United States

You guys have some amazing rigs and gear. I'd have to save up for life to get so much

Registered: Oct 01, 2008
Total Posts: 8466
Country: Malaysia

Another lightweight, cheap but quality macro rig

This is my friend, Steb1's Macro Rig. He uses a small flash which is mounted onto a Cokin P type square filter holder and square filter lens hood. Steb1 is also the one who started the concave diffuser!

He uses a Polaroid PL108AF flash (a Metz 24 AF-1 clone) but you can use the 270EX /EXII or SB400 , or Sunpak RD2000 light weight flash as well.

Side View with Foam Diffuser by steb1, on Flickr

Sample images:

Messy Eater, Another View by steb1, on Flickr

Male March Fly (Bibionidae) by steb1, on Flickr

More info here:

Registered: Apr 07, 2009
Total Posts: 6853
Country: Australia

orionmystery wrote:
Another lightweight, cheap but quality macro rig

What's the lens on it?

Todd Moon
Registered: Jun 06, 2009
Total Posts: 78
Country: United States

MarkB1 wrote:
orionmystery wrote:
Another lightweight, cheap but quality macro rig

What's the lens on it?

Looks like the Sigma 70mm F/2.8 EX DG Macro.

Registered: Jan 19, 2008
Total Posts: 4
Country: Brazil

This is a great and valuable thread !

This is my current setup (always a work in progress), please excuse the crappy photo quality, it was taken with my cellphone:

Sample images:

Diabrotica speciosa by raulfragoso, on Flickr

Diabrotica speciosa by raulfragoso, on Flickr

Camera: Canon T3i/600D
Lens and tubes: Sigma 150mm f/2.8, Kenko 1.4x teleconverter, Canon EF25 extension tube
Flash: Canon 430EX + OC-E3 cord
Diffusion: Sto-fen omni-bounce + double folded sheet of diffusion material taken from the box of my DasKeyboard (it's really easy to get it fixed to the lens hood with a rubber band)
Bracket: half a circle of those cheap brackets sold on eBay, mounted on top of the Sigma tripod collar, which is attached upwards

The last addition to my rig was a cheap viewfinder magnifier from eBay. This not only helps to better focus using LiveView, due to the higher magnification and light isolation, but it also provides a great level of stability since my face acts as a second point of support.

Registered: Jul 20, 2011
Total Posts: 31
Country: Denmark

I would like to contribute to this thread regarding my set up.

When you live at 76 degrees north, means a lot of hours of darkness, and everything deepfrozen during wintertime. It gives you plenty of time to improve your gear. Some will say it's overkill, but what the h... :-) me, i was just amused during the process.

In September i purchased a Novoflex Castel Q focus rack. Nice device, with one caveat: it's made with a toothed rack, and each turn of the knob that moves the camera is 15mm; far too much for fine-tuning or focus-stacking. The handle i made, has a much larger diameter (90-95mm) leaving space for 90 small "dots", where a steel-ball can rest. Now each "click" will move the camera 0,17mm back or forth. it's still too coarse for the 65mm MP-E at 5x magnification, wide open or not. I'm considering another row with 90 dots in the handle, halve the 0,17mm....could be usefull.........By the way: can any of you tell me, or show me, a calculator for that particular lens?

I'm so inspired by the refracted flowers in waterdrops by LordV ao. It's my plan to use the modified Novoflex for stacked shots like this. I know it takes a lot of practice, and even some of the improved light, many of you have shown previously.

By the way: i made a cradle for my Galaxy Note II, meaning i can control the camera via "DSLRController"............basically everything, including bracketing for focus stacking; of course where autofocus is not the MP-E.

Best wishes Mogens Werth

Registered: Apr 16, 2004
Total Posts: 1361
Country: Canada

^ wow, great setup!

Registered: Jan 04, 2003
Total Posts: 295
Country: Belgium

As usual, my new setup for 2013 to capture insects in-flight. Again as 2D images but with an external VS14s shutter with very short external shutter-lag only 3.5 msec and the Nikon D300 camera. More general specs:

Nikon D300 camera in manual mode.
DIY adaptor to mount the Nikor AF105/2.8D macro lens.
Nikkor AF105/2.8D macro lens.
A DIY external shutter housing has the super fast Uniblitz VS14s shutter.
The shutter-lag is only 3.5ms, the opening time is 4.5 ms or 1/220 sec.
A DIY HT module control the 65V to the external shutter. The high power current for the external shutter is supplied by a flash capacitor 740 uF/330V.
Detector depth accuracy: 0.25mm at 310mm from object to front macro lens, frame = 60mm.
The 2 flashes are SB-80-DX types (or SB800). They works in TTL mode and are controlled via my hardware modules. Via the keyboard all settings can be changed and stored into a flash eeprom. So the flashes are all controlled from the controller and no more individual on the flashes itself.
The hardware core is a FPGA module from terasic, the DE0-nano. Very powerfull and small. All high-speed timings are controlled from this board. More then 81 I/O pins are used.
All modules in this unit can be reprogrammed via an USB connection.

For high-speed in-flight insects capture I use a laser system to know when an insects come in focus. This laser system is very accurate and quickly. In just 50 us I know when an insects stay infocus. Thereafter the high-speed external shutter is activated into 3.5 ms to take a picture. Even super fast flying insects at macro closeup stay in the picture frame with this ultra short detecton delay and shutter-lag.

The detector has a 128 pixel line array to readout the laserbeam. A distance change of only 0.25 mm can be seen by the line array. Each pixel has an 8 bit value. The value, the position and the noise can be set into the parameters for optimal picture capture. Even super small insects of 0.5mm can be detected at 500 mm from the macro lens and this into the super short time of only 50 us (1/20.000 sec)

I use a power-pack module to powerup all the hardware. The racing pack module gives 7.5V @ 4200 mA. Multiple DC/DC convertors converts this to the correct voltage with high efficience. More then 10 hours autonomy is provided.

List of frame versus distance (object to frontside macro lens):

Free Distance ...... Frame
410 mm ............... 80 mm
360 mm ............... 70 mm
310 mm ............... 60 mm . . . Detector depth accuracy 0.25mm
280 mm ............... 50 mm
235 mm ............... 45 mm
215 mm ............... 40 mm
190 mm ............... 35 mm
165 mm ............... 30 mm
147 mm ............... 25 mm
125 mm ............... 20 mm
112 mm ............... 17 mm

A few pictures:

Final high-speed setup with the Nikon D300 camera C1B9390 by fotoopa, on Flickr

Final high-speed setup with the Nikon D300 camera C1B9384 by fotoopa, on Flickr

Final high-speed setup with the Nikon D300 camera C1B9406 by fotoopa, on Flickr

Final high-speed setup with the Nikon D300 camera C1B9409 by fotoopa, on Flickr

For the insects in-flight, I've to wait a few days/weeks the temperature now here in Belgium are exceptionally low and snow prevented any recording.


Registered: Apr 07, 2009
Total Posts: 6853
Country: Australia

Impressive. Awaiting your spring ...

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