Seemolf Panasonic DMC-FZ5, Sanyo Xacti VPC-E6, Canon A70, Nikon FM-2

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Let  there be light

Searching for a light can be a fight, especially with macros.
There is no external flash connector at the FZ5!
Slave flashes don't solve all problems, because they don't prevent the onboard flash from destroying our pictures.

I have won the fight with my onboard flash.
My  lightbox provides adjustable diffused and bounced light with the onboard flash.

Let's start with an example:

I wanted to have such light conditions with the onboard flash.
### Just click: All pictures can be enlarged in separate windows ###

Light from any direction: left, right, below, behind or simply diffused (right corner) - or any combination in the macro region!
(These examples were take with the onboard flash, size of the puppet: 2cm)

This is how the story started:

The well known transparent fuji film container story: enough diffused light for distant butterflies.

Next step: Getting closer to the lens

Adjustable diffused light in the macro region.
Olympus distributed non adjustable diffusors with their excellent macro lenses.
There is enough light from now on. Shadows are reduced, the object looks like being quite "flat".
(material: US - milkbottles, GER: AHK Spiritusflasche)
As single layer diffuser, this part helps with close portraits and wide angle pictures too.

The vignetting in the corners can be removed too- see addon lenses DCR6600

Next Idea: There has to be a ring light/(flash?)


This was my minimalistic solution: 3*AA - no resistors
I am using it in low light situations now, just to see the early darkening viefinder in such conditions.
The pictures are extremely "flat", shadows are removed.
This is a light for dentists, I don't need it for my bugs.

A big step forward: my balloon diffusor


A bigger diffusor - adjustable!
There is a valve in the cutted and drilled film container. A cheap and fast solution.
I am still using it, as long as nobody is watching me......

A comparison:

Larva of a dragonfly: natural light, onboard flash, ballon diffusor onboard flash

Quite nice, but still far away from the results I expected.
Users of external flashes will laugh with these pictures. They bounce against some printer paper, far away from the object.
You can get such results with slave flashes too, if you dimm the onboard flash of the FZ5.
But I wanted to use this onboard flash alone. I paid for it and the FZ5 deserves "light weight" solutions.

There has to be bouncing: a toys story again


left pictures: diffused light   right examples: bounced/reflected light

A mirror to the left


Diffusing and Bouncing, combined

left: diffused light   right: combined light
I have reached my aim, there is only some work on design left!

The lightbox is enough

All parts of my solutions have to fit into this altoids box and a fuji film container.
The container is a diffusor too, the box can be used as reflector and will contain a mirror to look at the lcd from "unusual" direction (my lcd can't be twisted).

These are the "final" versions:


All parts are still in the box. There are three different mirrors for the bouncing version.
  Diffusing and bouncing can be combined with the right version. This one is no longer camera specific.
The diffusing part can be reduced.
The reflector can be split into separate parts.
The bouncing design was influenced by Francesco R.
The flash reaches the extreme macro region too. The peacock series was taken with this device.

Using the new universal mount for the RDS

This is a leightweight reflector, but there might be "stress" for the onboard flash or the diffusor. This new attachment removes the reflector from these critical points. The next picture shows the setups for all three light conditions mentioned above.

Lightbox: Examples


..but all that did not help with my last difficult macro session:
The blind endemic crab of Jameos del Agua / Lanzarote. It is very small and shots have to be taken in a dark environment through the surface of the small lake.
I had to add two LED beams (2*6LEDs) to my equipment:

The new "lightbox" is a CD-container with all that bouncing, mirroring and reflecting parts in it
I have added coloured papers now for artificial background. The white and golden cards can be used as reflectors too.

a different setup:

External flash connector: FZ5

The missing link of the FZ 1,2,3,4,5,7!
This is an embedded 5$ flash sensor. The flash intensity reaching the sensor is reduced to that point, that only the main flash and not the measuring preflashes (I am not talking about red eye reduction!) trigger the external flash. Additional flashes can be cheap slave flashes. Finally I "killed" the onboard flash.
Reverse 50mm lens, remote release and bounced flash with flash bracket:


These are my personal solutions for a light problem.
If you like them, please drop a line in the guest book.
Let me know, if you have better solutions for the onboard flash.


Professionals use many kinds of reflectors and diffusors
I felt the urge to have suchs things too, for less money as usual...
This is my solution:
- foldable sun shade for car windows
- the cloth is covered/replaced by silver/golden foil on both sides
(this foil is a part of the rescue pack in all cars here)

I am using these two version:
- white cloth for bouncing and diffusing (flash or sun light)
- silver/gold reflector - big enough to cover a face

collapsed view (size of a hand, weight: next to nothing)

expanded view:

This is an easy job for my sewing-machine
Without sewing the foil can be attached with sticky velco on top of unaltered the sun shade

Thanks for visiting my pages! Have a nice day - Sven

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All images are copyrighted by 2005-2007 Seemolf  last update 05.may.07 20:00