We all know and love our traditional flash and continuous lights that are perfect for capturing the bigger picture, but what if we want to capture something much smaller than a person or a product? Macro lights are your answer. Much smaller with more focused light, they're a more suitable option for capturing small subjects. Here are our top macro lights:
The Macro MF12 is a versatile little unit, available either on it's own, or in a twin kit. At under 10cm tall, it's perfect for shooting tiny items without getting in the way of the shot or overpowering the image, especially as it only comes in at 12w! Being this small naturally means they are also lightweight, weighing in at approx. 144g each, but don't be fooled! These little troopers can pack in up to 500 full powered flashes on recycle times up to 0.01s – 1.7s, and they have built-in receivers too. You can also buy the set of Adapter Rings separately (or they come with the twin kit) for the MF-12 that features a range of different sizes to fit just about every camera lens.
It comes with small stand adapters and filters and gels in order to help you to tailor the light as much as you need in order to get the perfect shot of your subject. The twin kit also comes with a handy mounting ring, which allows you to attach both macro flashes to the end of your camera and angle them in order to fully frame your subject in a clamshell-esque fashion, to give that wrap-around effect of light.
Looking for something a little more powerful? The MF-R76 packs a little more punch at 76w, and had the benefit of being a full circle of light, unlike the MF-12s which give more focused light. Being a ring flash means that the MF-R76 offers a more diffused and flat light, which is beneficial for photographers who work in the medical or forensic fields, as the flash offers a simple and effective solution to lighting dark subjects evenly. However, you also have the option of controlling both halves of the circle of light separately, which means you can add some dimension to your photos if using it for creative purposes!
Designed to be fitted to the end of a camera lens, this ring flash connects directly to the hotshoe of your camera, meaning it can be triggered easily, and this control also allows you to see and change the settings on your light easily.
This ring flash also has the benefit of running on the same battery as the CITI100, meaning if you already own a CITI100 you can use the batteries interchangeably if you need a spare, and the battery also allows for up to 660 full powered flashes on full charge, with recycle times of 0.1 – 1.5s!
3. Godox RING72
A cheaper ring flash option is the Godox RING72, which functions very similarly to the MF-R76, instead outputting at 8w due to the fact that it is an LED light, and has the option to be powered by AA batteries rather than by expensive, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The RING72 can also be taken off the camera lens and moved closer to the subject in order to angle and control the light further, but doesn't have a dual flash tube, meaning the light from the ring flash can't be tailored in the same way as the MF-R76, though this isn't always necessary for all fields of photography.
For more control over your beams of light, the MacroPod may be more your speed. By using three small lights rather than one, you can get the dimension you need in your macro photography by angling them where you need them around the subject. Each small LED can be dimmed and controlled by individual dials, and the unit can be powered by AA batteries which makes it perfect for on the go.
While the individual LEDs aren't particularly high-powered, they make up for it in their versatility, as the MacroPod comes with filters, mini coloured gels, and focus caps for each head, almost like a mini set-up, meaning they're great for adding dimension to small products such as jewellery.
But what if you're after a more professional and powerful light than any of the above? The RIKO400 has your back. At 400w and pulling in up to 450 full powered flashes on a full battery, the RIKO packs a much larger punch, meaning it is generally used for other forms of photography, but can also be used for macro photography by dimming the LEDs. The RIKO also features a Stroboscopic Flash Mode which makes it perfect for catching those action shots such as splash shots when you're close up.
The RIKO has the great benefit of being such a versatile unit, meaning you won't just be buying it for macro photography if you pick it up, as it can be used in just about any set-up as a great fill-light or backlight.
Still not sure what your perfect macro light would be? Why not get in touch with our product advisor team via email at firstname.lastname@example.org? Our team will be able to help you choose!