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Diy Macro Ring Light for Macro Photography - Macro in a budget series - Part IV

Lighting your subject is the most difficult thing when it comes to macro photography. Ring lights and ring flashes are the most effective lighting solutions to light up subjects for macro photography, photographers at the diy community have been busy at work and have designed quite a few alternatives for expensive ring flashes, here is one method of building your own diy macro ring light.

Materials needed to make our diy macro ring light

  • One general purpose PCB
  • One filter ring (the size of your macro lens filter)
  • Two AA 1.5 volt batteries
  • One battery holder / clamp
  • One micro switch
  • 30 white led
  • Some wire, soldering lead and paste

Costs involved for the project are pcb Rs 35/-, batteries + holder Rs 25/-, switch RS 5/-, 30 led's Rs 45/- so total RS 110/-. I had with me soldering iron, led, paste, some thin copper wire and a 58mm filter.

First step is to find out a pcb of right size for the project, remember it should be able to fit the lens filter, led’s, batteries and the switch. And there should be some space between the filter ring and the led’s otherwise it will touch outer lens case and damage them. The pcb I chose was of size 150mm * 100mm.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

My Vivitar Series 1M 90mm f2.5 macro lens has a 58mm filter size, so firstly I removed the glass from the filter and using the ring and a marker sketched the inside of the ring on the pcb.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Next cut out the inside of the circle we drew. And also cut out a hole for the switch.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Once both the holes for the filter ring and the switch are of the correct size glue them both firmly on to the pcb.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Next step is to organize the led lights. You should arrange the led’s on the periphery of the filter ring (not too close so as it will touch the lens case) try to maintain equal distance between the led’s and arrange them in as circular manner as possible and when doing this make sure that led’s are arranged in such a way that all of the longer legs are on one side, that is either on the inside or on the outside ring. This will make it easy to wire them into a parallel connection.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Note the distance of the led's from the filter ring.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Using a bare wire (you may strip a small wire and use it) connect all the short legs together and then all the longer legs together. Bending all the outer legs towards the outside and all the legs on the inside towards the inside of the circle will make your job easier. Once you have finished soldering then cut off the excess lengths.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

The battery holder / case for two batteries is widely available and only costs about Rs 10/- so if possible get one, you will find it useful for many other diy projects. Else you may directly stick the batteries to the pcb using double side tape. Basically you are connecting the two 1.5 volt AA batteries in serial so that the output is 3 volts. If you could not find a holder then place the two batteries in reverse positions and solder one end (positive) of the first battery to the negative end of the second battery. Now you may solder one wire to the other end of the first battery (negative) and another wire to the free end of the second battery (positive).

Try testing the circuit by touching one wire (positive) to the outer ring and second wire (negative) to the inner ring. If it works fine, remember the setting, else reverse the connection. Need not worry you won’t damage the circuit by checking it this way.

Now that we know to which ring the positive wire connects, we start out by connecting the negative wire from the battery directly to the negative ring and then connect the positive wire to one leg of the switch and connect the other end of the switch to the positive ring. So when the switch is set to ON position, the circuit is complete.

Once you are sure everything is working as per plan use apply some adhesive tape over the led legs that we soldered. To me it serves two purposes one is to hide my clumsy solder job and the other is to protect my lens from scratches.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Congratulations you have successfully completed your diy macro reverse ring project. Now attach it on to your macro lens and do a test shoot.

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

Here is the setup attached to my macro lens

diy macro reverse ring for macro photography

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