I have been doing macro photography for several years and I am always looking for ways to improve my setups.
I tend to devote a lot of my time and efforts to my stationary setups because they are great for large focus stacks.
In addition – every now and again I do take macro photos handholding the camera,
and for those situations I like to have a LED ring light that fits around my camera lens.
But the lighting wasn’t even, the light kept twisting and moving about and I had to constantly
support it and adjust it with my other hand, which after a while get’s quite inconvenient.
I do have a LED ring flash light which is powered by 4 AA batteries and it is a bit bulky.
I was always curious about the selfie led ring lights and whether they fit around a camera lens,
so I got one of them and I made slight adjustments to it so that it can fir around my reversed lens.
MY DIY LED ring light cost me only $18 🙂
Here are the photos from my test – few are mini focus stacks, no additional editing.
As you get closer to your subject and the higher your magnification becomes, the more light you need.
You can see that in the photos above.
When working on stationary setup you can keep a lower ISO and easily allow more light
to get to the sensor by using slower shutter speed.
When you are handholding the camera, the shutter speed can’t be to slow
because you will get a lot of camera shake.
This is when you can and you should increase the ISO.
A lot of people are still very worried about using higher ISO.
I even had comments from people confusing camera shake & vibrations with
– digital noise, which is commonly associated with using higher ISO.
People don’t seem to get that newer cameras handle higher ISO just fine.
When you are focus stacking – higher ISO is the least of your problems.
It doesn’t decrease the quality of your final image when working with most subjects because one
additional process happens when focus stacking is done and that is – noise reduction stacking.
If your final image is lacking details, the most common causes are:
camera shake / motion blur / vibrations.
not enough frames – some details were simply not captured in certain areas.
uneven light – no details where the harsh shadows are.
I personally have never experienced any problems related to higher ISO when focus stacking.
I am not saying that you must increase the ISO every time
– but just don’t be afraid to do it when it fits the situation.
About the Author
Esther White • Photographer • Photo Editor • Graphic Designer
7 years experience.