Camera Invention: Attachment for Camera Flash to take shadow-free Macro photos

Discussion in 'Lighting Equipment' started by wilhelm_kaiser, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. Hello to all,

    I have invented a flash attachment to take shadow-free macro photos and I wanted to ask you all what you think of it, good, bad, etc. The invention is patented.

    For more information + photos + video of the camera flash attachment, please have a look at my inpama.com page: http://www.inpama.com/index.php?content=invention&id=236

    Kind regards
    Wilhelm
    Berlin, Germany
     
  2. The only original feature of your device is that it apparently uses light piping from a pop-up flash to power the two light heads and thus (I presume) preserves TTL flash control even with simple cameras. People have for years used two flash heads on home-made brackets to control macro lighting (shadowless or not) and more recently TTL flash units have become available which encircle the lens like a ringlight but have switchable quadrants (90 degree segments) to produce variable lighting effects. If your device is to succeed, it therefore needs to be cheaper than either of these two methods. The light output of your device is apparently not switchable - two very small lighting heads are each going to throw a shadow, and I would be very surprised if the result was shadowless lighting like a ringflash. The only thing would be to have mini softbbox attachments, but these would soak up some of the already low light output of the pop-up flash. Sorry I can't be more positive!
     
  3. I agree, the selling point of this device is not "shadow-free macro photos" -- it's macro photos with multiple off-axis sources.
     
  4. Congratulations on a nice piece of work. Not to rain on the parade, but I believe both Novoflex and Manfrotto have made simple inexpensive flash brackets which hold two (or maybe more) off-axis flashes. Your device is more sophisticated, and it might be useful to scientific and technical photographers. However, I bet the potential market's really small, and I don't think you're going to retire on the income from this!
    I don't know the industry, but if you're looking for a partner to work with, you could contact companies with a record of making similar specialized products. Again, Novoflex and Manfrotto are obvious ones, or the third-party flash manufacturers. Alternatively you could look after the manufacturing and sales yourself, if that's feasible. The photo industry has a history of independents who have made well-respected products in small numbers.
     
  5. Nice idea! Using the pop up flash is very clever. What is missing is the results obtainable with this device. I wouldn't push the shadow-less angle so much as the portability, and cost savings of not having to buy another flash. Hopefully the light fall off from the light pipes is not too great. Macro photographers like to use small apertures. If you are not a photographer, find a couple who will shoot various subjects for you at various close-up magnifications, bugs, flowers, coins, etc. It's the results that will tell people just how nifty/ cool/ useful your device is. Good Luck!
     
  6. Is your invention actually patented? In which countries? The page you list says "Protection: Copyright", which doesn't actually mean anything as you can't copyright an idea.
     
  7. The biggest problem with that invention is all the other people who invented it, first.
    Here's a commercial Olympus "Dual Fiber Optic Cable Adapter" for their point and shoot cameras, in stock at B&H. Holds the ends of two off-the-shelf fiber optic bundles up to the built in flash.
    Some other off-the-shelf systems include the
    • Schott-Fostec and Novoflex systems for tabletop macro and microscopy. These are larger units that let you use a Canon, Nikon, etc. TTL flash, but also add "modeling lights" and standard fiber optic ports for up to four heads.
    • The Tri-Light, with three fiber-optic cables from a flash unit to a ring-light.
    • How about a do-it-yourself approach.
    • And here's someone who invented your particular system. Little head that goes over a DSLR's built-in pop-up flash, and has multiple fiber-optic heads that you can position as you like.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Oh, and here's the Tri-Lite, cause it's kind of cool.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Thank you to all who have responded.
    I greatly appreciate your detailed and thorough comments, feedbacks, and criticism. Especially criticism as this can help within future design processes.
    @David Bebbington: yes, you are correct. The light is piped via fibre optic cable.
    @Mark Sirota: Thank you for the clarification. English is not my first language :)
    @Dave Sims: I am aware of Novoflex and Manfrotto flashes. Yes, you are correct that the product could be used for scientific and technical photographers. However a big concern is for the non-professional photographers who need to take good macro photos. I.e. someone who wants to take photos of their coin collection or jewellery, things like that. Or people who sell such things via the internet. I myself am not a professional photographer, but I needed to take good photos of my coin collection.
    @Louis Meluso: I agree with all of your points. The portability is good because the object is very light and folds up. There are is a compare/contrast on my inpama.com page (http://www.inpama.com/index.php?content=invention&id=236). I will add some more results photos.
    @NK Guy: It is patented in Germany. Thank you for pointing out the error on the page. I oversaw that part when filling out and have corrected it.
    @Joseph Wisniewski: Thank you for your informative links. You are very correct that there are similar products on the market. With the ring flash, as far as I know, the degree of variation in the light source can be limited (?) I agree that the tri-light looks cool.
    Thank you all for your time and feedback.
    Kind regards
    Wilhelm Kaiser
    Berlin, Germany
     
  9. I spend way too much time in the macro forum at FM, but even a quick scan of the stickies there about macro lighting will reveal that lots of macro guys roll their own. My experience has been that this is the result of needing lighting to match an individual shooting style.
    While other posters have mentioned a possible issue with using a weak pop up flash with optical cables that will reduce the light intensity even more when capturing macro images that are commonly shot at f11, f16 or even higher I do not consider this the biggest issue.
    One thing most DIY macro lighting setups have in common is a diffuser of some flavor. It is also common to use the largest light source possible. Often times the diffuser will be in the range of twelve inches by six inches. Here is a link to the FM forum with lots of ideas peeps have come up with.
    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/780820
    My advice would be to try and come up with an idea for macro lighting that is flexible enough to allow various types of diffusers to be easily attached to the largest light source possible.
     

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