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Being relatively new to photography I want to try some macro photography of flowers in my garden. I've bought a set of macro extension tubes and a ring flash (both unbranded and cheap to start with). I'm using a Canon 50D camera, the few test pictures I've taken so far have all been totally burnt out (white).

I assume the issue is that the camera is metering on ambient light, is there a way to calculate the correct exposure settings so that the exposure is correct or do I just have to use trial and error? I have been using the macro setting on the camera, but think I may have to use manual. The flash unit instructions are externally brief and poorly translated from Chinese but include guide number but no units.

  • You might want to give a little more information about the ring flash - is it an actual flash or LED? Is it intended to communicate with the camera at all, or completely manual? What, if any, manual control does it offer? – junkyardsparkle Jul 5 '16 at 19:00
  • Its LED and does not communicate with the camera (at least I don't think so). I was hoping to use it in flash mode but it looks like the simplest approach will be to use it as a permanent light source as suggested in the answer below. – James Screech Jul 6 '16 at 9:21
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First step: Practice macro without the ring and get used to the extension tubes.

Second step: Your camera will not be aware there is a flash fired, so it does not calculate this into the exposure settings. You have a couple of options (and probably more):

  • You need to correct the metering manually, either by using the camera in manual mode (M) and do it all yourself
  • or by using the exposure correction when in AV (TV would not make sense normally).
  • For the case you have a LED macro ring, there might be an option to enable a permanent light. When this is on, the camera will do the metering correct

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