July 20, 2018, 08:28:27 PM

Author Topic: MT 26EXRT first impression  (Read 3843 times)

Zeidora

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MT 26EXRT first impression
« on: December 02, 2017, 08:36:27 PM »
Just started playing around with the new Macro flash from Canon the MT 26EX RT. I have used the MT24 extensively for the past few years.

Packaging: same Canon box, comes with pouch with small tab of velcro closure instead of the run around zipper. Access is quick with the velcro tab, but the pouch is less secure when closed. Pouch will go on the closet anyway, so does not matter.

Mounting ring: no changes, except for the labeling as 26EX RT, instead of 24EX.

Main unit: about 20% smaller, which is welcome, making rigs less top heavy. Completely re-designed interface, but main functions are still the same. ETTL vs. manual, ratio control, power control. New also HSS, and RT function. Easy to find my way around without reading manual. Buttons are raised, so easier to press than on 24. This is important in macro, because exerting force on a cantilever (flash unit is high above tripod socket) will cause rig to move and framing/focusing changes. And yes, I use heavy RRS 34L tripod and BH55, all locked down.

Flash heads: re-designed, a tad smaller. The new Canon diffuser have small hooks that secure them onto the heads, so they are unlikely to accidentally slip off. The old Stofen diffusers still fit as well. The canon diffusors are possibly 1-2 mm less tall, so give a bit more freedom in positioning the heads. The Canon diffusers seem to be a bit more opaque, which is good for diffusion, but you lose some light.

Focusing light is brighter and a bit more blue, no surprise LED vs incandescent. The focusing light button is easier to press than on the old unit, as the button protrudes from the black plastic box, and is not sunken in.

In practice, the 1/512 power setting is a great addition, particularly for the z-stackers at f/2.8 on the MPE 65. I went right down to the lowest setting for the first couple of stacks. I can aim the heads right at the specimen, and do not have to use ND gel filters to reduce light output. I hope this will also help with reducing wear on the unit. I completely fried a MT24 after some 20K flashes. Will still keep the 24 around for outdoor, where I generally stop down, but for studio z-stacking the 26 rules.

Bottom line: if macro is your thing, the MT 26EX RT is a worthy upgrade. If not, the 24 will do just fine a while longer.
5D2 full spectrum, 5DsR, a bunch of Zeiss (some other) primes, for documentary natural history, macro, and micro.

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MT 26EXRT first impression
« on: December 02, 2017, 08:36:27 PM »

Zeidora

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2017, 08:59:19 PM »
Update 1: The unit now has overheating sensor and protection. Shot 200 frames at 2s intervals with one head at 1/256 and one head at 1/64 and overheating warning did not come on. Good news for us stackers!

Custom Speedlight control on camera permits double tap of shutter release to activate then focusing lights (as on MT24).
5D2 full spectrum, 5DsR, a bunch of Zeiss (some other) primes, for documentary natural history, macro, and micro.

lexptr

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 04:12:56 PM »
Just starting my experiments with MP-E 65, so may be a dumb question but how this flash better than using two remote controlled regular flashes mounted on arms? I do see some size/weight/handling benefits plus modeling light, but is there anything else?
Current: Canon 5D IV, 100L Macro, 100-400L II, 24-70 f2.8L II, 16-35 f2.8L III, MP-E 65 X5 Macro, 1.4X TC III, Speedlite 600 RT II.
Old: Canon 7D II, 7D, 50D, EF-S 60 f/2.8 Macro, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, Sigma 100-300 f/4, 18-35mm f1.8 Art, 1.4X TC, Speedlite 430EX II.
My website: www.len-lex.com

Zeidora

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 05:43:18 PM »
You hit the two main advantages. For handheld the weight/bulk considerations are important, for tripod work or reprostand not so much.

Please note that with MPE65 at 5:1 and flashes mounted on the official mounting ring, the flashes cannot illuminate the object properly, it is not capable of doing a front illumination, but rather side. This can be useful in some situation (pseudo-darkfield illumination of histological preparation on histology slides), but mostly it is not desirable. Then you can use flexible mounting arms (Wimpely plamps or similar) and position the flashes closer to the lens axis.

Have fun playing with the MPE65
5D2 full spectrum, 5DsR, a bunch of Zeiss (some other) primes, for documentary natural history, macro, and micro.

Sabaki

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2018, 08:03:21 AM »
Hi Zeidora :)

I'm in process of saving up for the MT26, which I hope to purchase come November/December.

What's your take on it now that you own the unit for 6months plus? Is it an improvement and if so, is it a substantial one?

I am particularly interested in how it can be diffused. Does one still need to Frankenstein the MT26 or is the clip on more conducive?

For the record, I will be upgrading from the MR14-EX
Canon EOS 6D | Canon EOS 7D mkII | Canon EF 16-35mmL f/4.0 IS | Canon 24-70mmL f/2.8 II | Canon 70-200mmL f/4.0 IS | Canon TS-E 24mmL f3.5 | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Canon 100mmL | Canon 400 f/5.6 | Canon MP-E65

Zeidora

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2018, 11:50:11 AM »
Improvement yes, substantial no.

There are multiple small improvements, but it is not a leap.
- the unit is lighter, which helps with handheld imaging.
- lower power setting is good for z-stacking with open f-stop. Had to use ND filters on MT24. I also used it as a trigger flash for a UV modified Metz 45 CT1 with optical slave, and there the negligible light contribution from the MT26 @1/512 power is an advantage as well. Now upgraded to a Buff Whitelight 1600 UV and that is radio-controlled.
- The Canon diffusors clip onto the unit, so do not fall off, and are a bit smaller, so less chance of touching specimen.
- Diffusion strength is a tad better, but not by a large factor. If you use the unit for close-up (1:5 to 1:1), then you may still want to Frankenstein the diffusors, or do something else, like fill light, reflectors, indirect lighting, etc. For close-up I prefer using either studio flash with small softbox, or use my 580 on a Flashzebra cord through a Westcott diffusor and reflector on other side.
- I shoot mainly 1:1 to 5:1, and there the reflectors are effectively a "large light source"; see Hunter & Fukua "Light: Science and Magic". For that the stock diffusors are more than adequate.

The MR14 is a ring light. Never liked those as they produce very flat light. Got one back in the OM days as a feebee, but only used it one day for playing, then went on the shelf. The adjustment options on the MT24/26 will take some time to understand: Rotational angle of reflectors, inclination angle of reflectors, overall power and flash exposure compensation, left-right power distribution. For instance, directing flash not directly onto subject, but only hitting it with a peripheral glance, produces much softer light, and helps with foreground/background illumination balance.
Diffusion is important, but the other factors are equal if not overall more important. Take your time playing around with the unit once it arrives. Put camera on tripod, fix everything onto one object, then start taking lots of pictures (2-300) with all sorts of adjustments of nothing but the flash.

Re your question of improvement, the MT26 will be a substantial improvement over the MR14.

Hope that helps.
5D2 full spectrum, 5DsR, a bunch of Zeiss (some other) primes, for documentary natural history, macro, and micro.

lexptr

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 04:59:49 PM »
You hit the two main advantages. For handheld the weight/bulk considerations are important, for tripod work or reprostand not so much.

Please note that with MPE65 at 5:1 and flashes mounted on the official mounting ring, the flashes cannot illuminate the object properly, it is not capable of doing a front illumination, but rather side. This can be useful in some situation (pseudo-darkfield illumination of histological preparation on histology slides), but mostly it is not desirable. Then you can use flexible mounting arms (Wimpely plamps or similar) and position the flashes closer to the lens axis.

Have fun playing with the MPE65
Yeah, I know the lens mounting ring has that limitation. I think Canon states in the manual (of MP-E or the flash) that it is incompatible for magnification beyond 4:1 or even 3:1. I don't understand, why Canon doesn't make a better solution for own very obvious macro flash + macro lens combination. Well, any ways, I will try to get by with my double 600EX + arms + transmitter setup. Despite it is somewhat monstrous.
Thank you very much for the answer!
Current: Canon 5D IV, 100L Macro, 100-400L II, 24-70 f2.8L II, 16-35 f2.8L III, MP-E 65 X5 Macro, 1.4X TC III, Speedlite 600 RT II.
Old: Canon 7D II, 7D, 50D, EF-S 60 f/2.8 Macro, Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, Sigma 100-300 f/4, 18-35mm f1.8 Art, 1.4X TC, Speedlite 430EX II.
My website: www.len-lex.com

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2018, 04:59:49 PM »

Sabaki

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 03:34:56 AM »
Improvement yes, substantial no.

There are multiple small improvements, but it is not a leap.
- the unit is lighter, which helps with handheld imaging.
- lower power setting is good for z-stacking with open f-stop. Had to use ND filters on MT24. I also used it as a trigger flash for a UV modified Metz 45 CT1 with optical slave, and there the negligible light contribution from the MT26 @1/512 power is an advantage as well. Now upgraded to a Buff Whitelight 1600 UV and that is radio-controlled.
- The Canon diffusors clip onto the unit, so do not fall off, and are a bit smaller, so less chance of touching specimen.
- Diffusion strength is a tad better, but not by a large factor. If you use the unit for close-up (1:5 to 1:1), then you may still want to Frankenstein the diffusors, or do something else, like fill light, reflectors, indirect lighting, etc. For close-up I prefer using either studio flash with small softbox, or use my 580 on a Flashzebra cord through a Westcott diffusor and reflector on other side.
- I shoot mainly 1:1 to 5:1, and there the reflectors are effectively a "large light source"; see Hunter & Fukua "Light: Science and Magic". For that the stock diffusors are more than adequate.

The MR14 is a ring light. Never liked those as they produce very flat light. Got one back in the OM days as a feebee, but only used it one day for playing, then went on the shelf. The adjustment options on the MT24/26 will take some time to understand: Rotational angle of reflectors, inclination angle of reflectors, overall power and flash exposure compensation, left-right power distribution. For instance, directing flash not directly onto subject, but only hitting it with a peripheral glance, produces much softer light, and helps with foreground/background illumination balance.
Diffusion is important, but the other factors are equal if not overall more important. Take your time playing around with the unit once it arrives. Put camera on tripod, fix everything onto one object, then start taking lots of pictures (2-300) with all sorts of adjustments of nothing but the flash.

Re your question of improvement, the MT26 will be a substantial improvement over the MR14.

Hope that helps.

Thank you Zeidora

I'll printout the above to read and re-read until everything sinks in.

I've a feeling that moving from the RingLite to the Twin Lite will improve my macro images substantially

Once again, thank you for the feedback
Canon EOS 6D | Canon EOS 7D mkII | Canon EF 16-35mmL f/4.0 IS | Canon 24-70mmL f/2.8 II | Canon 70-200mmL f/4.0 IS | Canon TS-E 24mmL f3.5 | Canon 50mm f/1.8 | Canon 100mmL | Canon 400 f/5.6 | Canon MP-E65

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Re: MT 26EXRT first impression
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2018, 03:34:56 AM »