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The best macro ring flash for Canon reviewed and compared

Updated on April 6, 2013

The best macro flash units to improve your macro photographs

What is the best macro ring flash for Canon? The world of macro photography is awesome and capturing levels of detail you can't see with the naked eye is amazing and being able to see individual hairs on a fly's leg, a dragonflies beard and individual specks of pollen in a flower is something else.

Lighting in macro photography is difficult and in order to illuminate the subjects correctly you are going to need a flash. You can use a standard flash gun for macro photography, however if you want to get the best illumination you are going to need a specific macro ring flash, which is a flash light that sits at the end of the lens which avoids unsightly shadows.

If you want to know the best macro ring flash for your Canon digital SLR camera make sure you check out the macro ring flashes below.

Canon MT-24EX macro flash light for Canon cameras

The Canon MT24-EX macro twin light flash is the best macro flash light currently available for Canon digital SLR cameras. It simply is awesome and you have to see the images you can get with this macro flash to fully appreciate just how good it is.

This is a professional grade macro flash, and like all professional gear made by Canon, the MT-24EX is built to last. It is tough, durable and will take some serious abuse yet still work perfectly. One of the best features of the MT24-EX is the ability to remove each flash light independently and place it exactly where you want it in order to achieve the desired lighting effect. The Canon MT-24EX can be used as either a master flash or as a slave flash, enabling you to easily use multiple flash guns to light the subjects.

This macro flash is easy to set up however it will take a bit of practice to get awesome shots each and every time. That said, it shouldn't take too long and the results are well worth it in the end.

The Canon MT-24EX is not a cheap macro light for Canon digital SLR cameras however if you are serious about macro photography and want to get the best macro images possible the Canon MT-24EX is the macro flash light to buy.

Canon MT-14EX macro flash light for Canon cameras

The Canon MR-14EX is a traditional styled macro ring flash, obviously made by Canon. Being a genuine Canon product the MR-14EX is a pricy piece of kit, however it is tough, durable and will provides many years of service. The MR-14EX is a top quality bit of kit.

The MR-14EX has full manual controls and variable power output, which means you can adjust it and tweak it in order to get the perfect exposure. The through the lens metering technology also helps to nail the exposure first time, every time. You can also adjust the power output of each line of lights, which allows for even more creativity.

If you want the best traditional styled macro ring light the Canon MR-14EX is an excellent purchase. It is not cheap, but if you are serious about your macro photography and want to capture the best images possible this is the tool with which to do it.

Sigma EM-140 macro flash for Canon cameras

Sigma are well known for making some high quality flash units and the Sigma EM-140 DG is no different. This is a typical ring flash design, like the Canon that is tough, durable and built to last. This is one sturdy macro flash that will take a lot of abuse.

The Sigma EM-140 DG offers full manual control and you can set the power at a number of different stops in order to manipulate the light and achieve the effects you want. Variable power is a nice feature, so it's a big thumbs up for the Sigma here.

The Sigma EM-140 DG is cheaper than the Canon branded, however it is just as good. The Sigma is adjustable, offers through the lens metering and is capable of capturing some awesome images. If you don't mind using not using a genuine Canon branded macro flash on your Canon camera and want to save some money the Sigma EM-140 DG is an ideal macro flash for you, and it is awesome value for money.

Overall, the Sigma EM-140 DG is an excellent macro flash that offers the best value for money and is the best buy if you don't mind not using genuine Canon products.

Metz ring flash for Canon cameras

The Metz ring flash is a good ring flash and one that is definitely worth considering if you are in the market for a ring flash.

Compared to other ring flash units the Metz version is small, light and compact and being wireless it is pretty much hassle free. This ring flash accepts two AA batteries, which are readily available anywhere should you lose power during use. One thing to note is that two batteries won't last a long time, due to the power of the Metz ring flash therefore you need to make sure you have plenty of spare batteries with you.

The Metz ring flash offers through the lens metering, which is great if you aren't too comfortable with a fully manual flash gun. The Metz also has a slave mode so you can set it off with your pop up flash or any other flash gun you may have. This is a very useful feature. The Metz ring flash is made up of two separate rows of lights which can be adjusted, making it easy to vary the lighting conditions for even more effects.

The build quality of the Metz ring flash is excellent and it is a tough and durable and will last a long time. Overall, the Metz flash ring is a good macro ring flash.

Phoenix Ring Flash for Canon cameras

The phoenix smart flash RF46C, which is identical to the Marumi ring flash, is a cheap and cheerful ring flash that is aimed at those who do not have the cash available to buy a top of the range Canon MT-24EX.

The Phoenix ring flash feels very cheap and nasty against top of the range ring flash units, but given the cost of this ring flash this is to be expected. The Phoenix is not as tough or durable as the Canon branded ring flash or other ring flashes, however don't let this put you off. As long as you look after the Phoenix ring flash it will provide years of service.

Using the Phoenix ring flash is very easy and all you do is load it on the camera and start shooting. The through the lens metering is a great help in ensuring you get great exposures each and every time. Unfortunately, you can't adjust the power of the flash head and this is the Pheonix's biggest drawback, yet despite this it is more than possible to capture some awesome images.

Overall the Phoenix ring flash is ideal for those on a tight budget but still keen on getting the best macro images possible.

Books to improve you macro photos

If you want to improve your macro photography skills I highly suggest buying a good macro photography book or two. Macro photography books are jam-packed full of help, advice, tips and tricks that will take your macro photography skills to the next level.

"Understanding Close-up Photography"

In the quest to improve my macro photography skills I have read many different books, some of which were simply awesome and others, which turned out to be a total waste of time. Out of all the macro photography books I have read the one I found the most useful is "Understanding close up photography: Creative Close Encounters With or Without a Macro Lens" by Bryan Peterson.

This macro photography book is simply awesome and packed full of tips, advice and techniques. There are also a lot of sample images that are not only stunning but also inspire, so overall it is a great book. This macro photography book is popular and gets rave reviews on Amazon, and this is the reason I decided to buy it, and boy am I glad I did. It truly is an awesome macro photography book that will help take your macro photos to the next level.

For even more top rated and popular macro photography books available to order from Amazon click here

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    • Edwardjames81 profile image

      Edwardjames81 5 years ago

      @KathyMcGraw2: You can use any flash for macro but standard guns are a bit too powerful and need a lot of diffusing. When using a standard flash you often find the lens casts an unsightly shadow because it is so close to the subject. A macro ring flash is less powerful and since it screws in to the end of the lens there is no way the lens can create a shadow over the subject.

      IMO macro ring flashes are an essential bit of macro photography kit and I would never use a standard external flash gun again, even off camera.

      Glad you found the lens useful.

    • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

      Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

      I found this interesting as I never knew there were flashes/lights just for the macro shots. Thank you.