Macro flash vs. multiple TTL on brackets : LUSENET : Canon FD : One Thread

I have been pursuing an interest in macro for several months and I'm now at the point where I need to use flash.

I've read everything I could find in this area, especially all the books by John Shaw and George Lepp, and I'm still haven't been able to decide whether I should go for a macro flash (Canon ML-3), or a multiple TTL flash on brackets (e.g Kirk or Lepp) system.

It's clear that the multiple TTL flash system is superior to anything else, but that the macro flash is logistically more convenient.

My question is this: Is the macro flash system good enough for the serious amateur, or do I need to go for a multiple TTL bracket system?


-- Allan Passmore (, April 17, 2002


Hi, Allen. I got your kind direct reply to my disparaging comments about ring lights (see thread: "FD 100mm macro and ML-3 macro ring lite," below), so I'll pick up here.

You seem to ask 'is a TTL/bracket strobe necessary or can I just get by with a ring light?' I think it's more the other way round: 'Should you bother getting an expensive piece of dedicated gear that produces lacklustre results (the ring light) or just pick up the cheapest compatible TTL flash and stick it on a bent piece of aluminium (a la Shaw) for better images? Since you're shooting Canon, that would be a 200E ($US55 -- B&H price) or 200EX ($US120) if you wanted E-TTL.

The bracket needn't be anything special. (Kirk makes a bracket that emulates Shaw's bent strip but looks a helluva lot nicer if you want to spend money.) You'll need a Canon off-camera flash cord ($US50; or the relevant components of their modular system) but with the whole package you'll possibly still save money over the $US270 ML-3 and you gain a lot of flexibility -- AND your pictures will look better. There's no overpowering need to add a second strobe (I'm partial to a small white card on a gooseneck as a reflector to throw some fill from a single flash.)

K.I.S.S. is a great guiding principle in all things. The ring light appears to embody simplicity but it's stealth-gismoism with few benefits. [Okay, Big Full Disclaimer: I've never used one, so take my comments salted.] If you see the video of Shaw using his "Butterfly Bracket," you realise at once how compact it is because the small flash is perched just at the edge of the lens.

-- Robert Segal (, April 17, 2002.

Sorry I misspelled your name, Doc!

-- Robert Segal (, April 17, 2002.

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