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  #1  
Old 04-10-2007, 08:51 AM
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jayhan jayhan is offline
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DIY : El-cheapo MACRO RING LIGHT

Yes'sir! You didnt hear me wrong... I've successfuly DIY an El-cheapo Macro Ring Light... Now you macro shooters/fans out there would definitely thank me for this (especially you CM!! *grin*)

Well el-Cheapo attacks again, and for this time, we are basically using back almost the similar raw materials as that of the DIY Light Box. Construction wise is a bit tricky though, but to save something like RM1500, and have this done within a budget or RM10?? Heck you can try this for 150 times to get it perfect! Without wasting time, here's what you need :

1. The all time favourite carton box (shoe boxes would be perfect)
2. Aluminium foil (those used in kitchen)
3. Plenty of cellotapes & double sided tapes
4. Marker pen, razor blades & scissor
5. Mahjong paper or A3 sized white printer paper *optional*
6. A flash gun that can be fired off from the hotshoe of your camera - either via ETTL cable or any other wireless methods.

COST : Considering you can find the items from 1-5 readily in your house, this should not cost anything more than RM10.
TIME TAKEN TO DIY : Approx 1-2 hours, depending on how intricate you are.

List of items. I left out the white paper cuz I'm kinda lazy to use it... but you'll get the idea of what is it for later on.


HOW TO DO IT YOURSELF :
1. Firstly you will need to know what is your favourite Macro lens that you wanna use with this awesome product (Hey anyone gonna pay me royalty fees? ;P). From the diameter of the choice of your lens, say 77mm, add another 5" to it, thus making it something like 214mm. Draw 2 concentric circles on the carboard. One approximately 80mm and the other 214mm. The reason why we take 80mm as the measurement is becuz this will be the hole that your lens is gonna slide into. Check out the image below.

Draw 2 circles like this use your flashgun to get an idea of how it would sized up.


2. Also draw a square box that would fit your flashgun's head dimension (width). Make sure the flash panel sits somewhere about 1" away from the outer most line of the circles. Then cut out this imprint you have done.

Careful with usage of knives and also scissors. A trick to core the middle part of the cardboard is to cut it into triangles from the center of the circle, then slowly peel one by one of the "petal" off.


3. Once you have done the cutting process of the main body of this cool DIY project, you would wanna cut a strip of straight cardboard measuring something like 12"x2". Fold and roll the strip so it curls up for easier attachment. We are gonna build the inner wall of the eC:MRL (el-Cheapo : Macro Ring Light). Now with the cut out strip, mark the width 1.5" and draw a straight line across its length. We are gonna cut some tabs which can be later used as adhesive surface to the body.

TIP : Cut the cardboard in perpendicular direction to the way its being weaved for ease of rolling it. You would wanna curl it based on the weaved direction.


Once the Wall part is done, it should look something like this.


4. Stick it up...! I mean to the body of the eC-MRL. You should be getting something like what I've obtained in the following picture. Its always good to start with a length that's longer than what is required, and slowly trim it down as you try to fit it into the circular hole. Please dont stinge on the cardboard for pete's sake! This project is already dirt cheap!!


Last edited by jayhan; 04-10-2007 at 09:35 AM..
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:51 AM
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5. We are now gonna build the outer wall of the eC-MRL. Similar process to that of the inner wall. Just a repeatation. Remember! It is important to always keep a look out on the fitting of the flashgun. We dont want a completed project that cant fit the flash head into it!

Build the outer wall like this. You can always join two strips if one is not enough.


Check for flash gun head fitting to make sure the project goes well. Measurement and approximation is crucial in this project.


6. Ok. Now that the walls are in place, it's time for the most challenging part of the project. I call it the sticky-finger process. You will need to lace the inner surfaces of the eC-MRL (marked as brown surface in the pictures) with double sided tapes. When this is done, get some aluminium foil and crumple it up. DO NOT USE SMOOTH ALUMINIUM FOIL. Dont ask why. Just do it. *im lazy to explain the details*

Again, stick it up - oh yeah!! With double sided tapes of course


Slowly cover up all the inner surfaces of the eC-MRL with crumpled aluminium foil, and make sure every single inch is covered. Took me some time to do this, so patience is key. Once done you should have something like in the picture below.

An almost finished super cool and super cheap eC-MRL


7. Now the last thing to do is to cover up the bottom part of the body, with another piece of cardboard. I advice to cut it out in a "n" shape (inverted u) so that you will get tabs on both sides to be used as adhesive surfaces. I found this out the hard way, and it took me until 3am before I could get this whole thing done. Again this is a crucial point where you need to make sure the flash head fits snugly into the eC-MRL "base".

Make it fit snugly with the flashgun's head


So there you have it!!

An El-Cheapo Macro Ring Light!! For less then just RM10! (again - where is my royalty fees??)

TAA-DDAAA!!! I present you the El-Cheapo Macro Ring Light in its functioning form!


Now we are done, I can then explain the usage of the white paper. If you do not like straight flash due to its harsness produced, then simply lace a layer of the plain white paper (must be cut into a fitting dough-nut shape with adhesive tabs of course!) and cover the front of the eC-MRL. This will give you a softer quality of light just like its more expesive breathrens. However, I find the quality of light from the existing make is good enough for me, as you can see in the sample picture shown. Then again this is subjective and an optional item you can continue on to add in.

Last edited by jayhan; 04-10-2007 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:52 AM
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I know some of you guys would ask me how does it perform and the technical bit concerning macro photography. So I did a quick test shot with this new "gear" of mine. There are some downsides of this gear (duuh! you paid less then RM10 for it, what do you expect?!), and one of it is that you have to handhold it if you didnt dimension and construct the middle hole properly to fit the lens body. So basically, I had to shoot with my right hand holding the camera, and my left holding the eC-MRL. Considering that, and I was shooting late (or early) in the morning... pls eacuse the blurriness of the image.

Here's the shot I have captured. This shot was taken with my SIGMA 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 MACRO lens, and zoomed in to about 70mm. The subject was about 5" away from the front element of the lens, while I placed the ec-MRL with just about 0.5" of the front element of the lens protruding out through the hole. I think I need not go into the details of how to use this cool item, as I am sure all of you guys would have known by the the time you read up till here



So... job done! Pheww!!

Well, I sincerely hope this product will help your macro shots in future. Have fun and good luck in trying it out!

ps. I just helped you save loads of money!!

Last edited by jayhan; 04-10-2007 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:47 AM
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siew siew is offline
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Where can I order this?

A custom bracket and a diffuser would be great.

Last edited by siew; 04-10-2007 at 09:50 AM..
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:20 AM
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lanatir lanatir is offline
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good job! thanks for sharing!
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:50 PM
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qqmeng qqmeng is offline
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jay..you master in science ka? you reminded me of a guy called "McGyver" ...
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Old 04-11-2007, 06:10 AM
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jayhan jayhan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by siew View Post
Where can I order this?
A custom bracket and a diffuser would be great.
Wait la... when I start to get them manufactured in China... hehe... then you can order directly from me. It will be then fitted with a custom bracket to fit any lens up to 80mm filter diameter, and also be able to fit any new/current Nikon and Canon flashgun's head

*ah jay day dreaming liao


Quote:
Originally Posted by lanatir View Post
good job! thanks for sharing!
No probs Lanatir. Hope you'd have fun attempting it when you decide to. Cheers!


Quote:
Originally Posted by qqmeng View Post
jay..you master in science ka? you reminded me of a guy called "McGyver" ...
McJayver can or not?? Hehehe... nola me "engineer chai" only. QQ next time if you ever attempt to build this DIY, make sure your kids dun use it to play ping pong while you leave it to go do some big business! Hehe!!


Anyway, here are 2 other sampler images taken with the usage of this DIY kit. Done these just over the evening while there was some hint of light from the sun. All done in RAW, and adjusted Levels, added text and resized to post.



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Old 04-11-2007, 11:50 PM
KenaTembak KenaTembak is offline
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thanks.. is a good idea...
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:52 AM
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leslie leslie is offline
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This idea will save all of us a lot of $$ and being less gearheads rushing off to buy an overpriced piece of crap which you might regret buying. Isnt it true whenever one see's something new, WE Tend to have the Impulse Purchase and Need. Why caused our inherent human perception of "hey if i get that i can be as good as him" - Pure Utter Nonsense - Typical GearHead Thoughts.

So before u even think of splurging on some nonsensically priced gears, do this approach. Self Interest and Creativity as it speaks and its results proven here. So if you just spare say a couple of hours during your free time, grab a few of the items which Jayhan has mentioned and try to replicate what he has done.

Once you are comfortable with what you have and the outcome of something like the above, then you can be sure that the inherent gearhead perception of you will tell you to head to the nearest shop and place an order for the nonsensically priced item

What Jayhan is doing here is saving all of us from being sucked up in the realm of spending too much but shooting to little only to regret it later.
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Last edited by leslie; 04-12-2007 at 12:56 AM..
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  #10  
Old 04-12-2007, 01:23 AM
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Caveman Caveman is offline
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lol, you should post this ealier. Save my money on R1C1 micro flash.

Well done, Jay. it is a cheapest way of making a micro ring flash. darn...
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