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on July 2, 2004
This flash unit is by far one of the best camera accessories I've purchased...macro shots are much easier with this flash and I don't have to worry so much about blurry pictures. The bulbs can be set to fire at different ratios and it's possible to turn one side off completely, allowing for nice shadows that give your images more depth. The ring itself can rotate, so the flash can highlight any side of the subject. It has two small focusing lamps that illuminate your subject while you focus, which makes it a lot easier to see what you're doing. It even comes with a nice padded carrying case. This flash gets a lot of use and it's now a major asset to the rest of my gear...it's definitely worth the money.
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இ Fuzzy Wuzzy's Summary:
ѾѾѾѾѾ Highly recommended with warm fuzzies!

Canon packages their macro ring lites with an EOS camera and macro lens for use by dentists for good reason: for close-up macro photography inside someone's mouth where you want to be able to either avoid or control shadowing effects, this is an indispensable flash that provides better close-up illumination than you can get with just a hot shoe flash. I am using this on an EOS 30D (updated posting: and also 40D) with their excellent Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras and Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens for Canon SLR Cameras along with a Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C for Canon G2, G3, G5, G6 & Pro1 Digital Cameras

Even though the "Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C" says that it is for G2-G6 cameras, it fits their 65mm and 100mm Macro Lens also due to its 58mm size. The flash secures onto grooves in their 100mm Macro Lens, but if you prefer to leave a UV-haze filter on that lens, the filter covers up the groove. Therefore, to not have to remove the protective UV-haze filter lens in order to attach the ring lite, you need to screw the "Canon Macrolite Adapter 58C" onto the end of the filter lens, which then provides the grooves that the ring lite then attaches to. Yes, $15 is still a bit pricey for a skinny little ring of plastic adapter, but comparable to how Canon prices their lens hoods also... and it is the only way to attach the ring lite to the macro lens while still leaving a UV-haze filter screwed on (without resorting to black duck tape :-)

I use this ring lite for both indoor and outdoor nature macro photography and it is the perfect flash when the natural lighting is less than optimal. A macro ring light like this is optional equipment if you use Canon's 50mm, 60mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lenses. But either this flash or the more expensive Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash for Canon Digital SLR Cameras macro flash is really absolutely required equipment if you use the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens for Canon SLR Cameras lens, especially if you do not always use a tripod. The diffuser plastic that is on this flash gives it a nice soft warm light that is not too harsh. You can adjust the "ratio" so that one of the half-circle ring's flashes are brighter than the other half-circle flash, to get better shadow contrast (when zooming the MP-E 65mm between 3X to 5X, I like to use a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1). The MT-24EX does have a distinct advantage over this MR-14EX when using Canon's MP-E 65mm at magnifications of 4X or 5X because the MT-24EX's two flash heads can be positioned and angled more directly at the subject. But I find the MT-24EX's light to be more harsh than this MR-14EX, unless you create your own diffuser setup for it.

July 22 2010 update: Since my original writing of my review, I sold my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras and bought the newer Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras. In order to use this new version of Canon's 100mm macro lens with the MR-14EX, you need to also purchase the pricy Canon Macrolite Adapter 67.
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on March 19, 2013
I bought the Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite to go along with my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens to be used on a Canon EOS 7D 18 MP CMOS Digital SLR. I really haven't explored extreme macro photography before, so I thought I might as well see if it is something I could love. So as I do with most things I get interested in, I went a little nuts and bought a ton of equipment, including the Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite. Note, I am an amateur photo enthusiast, so my perspective is offered from the point-of-view of an enthusiasts who just loves to go out there and capture as many nifty exposures as I can for fun, not necessarily a perspective for the pros.

Observations: Even though the f-stop for the Canon 100mm Macro lens is a 2.8, you still need a ton of lighting to get good shots without cranking up the ISO or slowing down the shutter speed to something that will invariably lead to a blurry picture even when using a tripod. This Macro Ring Lite offers a fairly reliable solution to the problem. You could also invest in the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro Lens since the L-series comes with image stabilization and is very well reviewed, but there are many situations where I could see needing the Macro Ring even with the L-Series w/ IS. That and the L-series lens is almost $900. But that upgrade will probably come in due time. Until then, I will continue to use the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM Macro lens, which is also very well rated.

On to the Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite

Pros:
Nicely built with a heavy feel to the unit, especially the cord
AA batteries make it easy to power
Communicates with the camera's E-TTL
The guide LEDs are a very helpful for quick focus
Takes nice pics without too much washout like other flashes can cause
Very useful for inanimate object closeups
Helpful with living subjects that aren't afraid of the flash's guide lights or noises
Makes your camera look kick-ass

Cons:
Adds quite a bit of overall weight when loaded with batteries
I would have liked it to also work with Canon batteries
It is on the higher end of the price spectrum
Really doesn't work well on human subjects (from my own experience, you make have different results)
Not perfect when trying to get spontaneous shots since there is so much fiddling with the flash settings
Guide LEDs and noise seems to startle the more jittery of my small subjects like anoles & skinks, spiders and winged creatures
The exposure color tends to be too white (5400K) and the lite doesn't come with filters for color offsetting (but I am a dirty cheater who loves PhotoShop and uses it shamelessly, I solve many of the filtering issues in post)

But after using the flash for a week or so, it has its unquestionable benefits and works perfectly in most of the situations I have used it in. But there are a few drawbacks that hold the Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite form being a perfect addition to the macro photographers arsenal. I would still highly recommend the Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite for the more serious enthusiast who won't mind spending a little time with it to learn its strengths and secrets.
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on February 29, 2008
Im a dentist and i need to take around 20 intraoral pictures each day. I used to have a point and shoot camera, it was worthless. I decided to take the SLR big step, and i bought a Canon rebel Xt, a 2.8 100mm usm Macro, and this ring flash, I LOOOOOOOve my ring flash. You dont want to have the camera and the macro without it, taking pictures now its fun and fast. The set up its kind of heavy, and you need an assitant to hold the mirrors and the retractors (dentist stuff sorry about that) and thats why i think its better than the TWIN FLASH also by canon because the twin itsheavier and bulkier. For those like me who have a point and shoot camera, and think that upgrading to an SLR wit macro and ring flash would be hard because of all the options , BELIEVE ME its WAY EASIER with my current set up. The ring flash works perfect i would recomend it even better than the twin flash version (and its cheaper). I hope this helps to all the slr newbiees like me.
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on April 3, 2013
After using my Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens for a year without this flash, I was pleasantly surprised at how many more successful photos I can get with it. The flash enables me to use a fast shutter speed, small aperture and low ISO to freeze the movement of the petals when it is slightly windy outside. I can also use it handheld where I normally would only consider using a tripod. I found though, that you don't want to take photos of reflective objects straight on because there will be a reflection of the flash in the photo of the objects. If you shoot at an angle, however, the reflections won't show up. Also, if you shoot non-reflective objects, this isn't a consideration at all. All in all, I am enjoying this flash. It is easy to set up and easy to use at the default settings. I haven't tried adjusting the lamps to flash at different ratios just yet, since it works so well at the default settings.
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on April 3, 2013
If you are a serious close-up or macro photographer, sooner or later (but probably sooner) you will need an illumination source to make up for the falloff in light transmission that occurs with close focus at short distances. If you can't do all your macro photography outdoors in bright light, or if you don't have the luxury of building a macro stage with flood lights, you will need a flash attachment -- or perhaps even a primary flash and a couple of slaves to illuminate complex macro scenes. For general purpose illumination on close subjects, the Canon MR-14EX is one of two macro flash units that are just what the doctor ordered. More about the other one below.

An ordinary camera-top flash won't help much with macro photography. Even if you can angle the head down far enough to illuminate your subject, you will cast unwelcome shadows below and behind it. A lens-mounted flash like this ring light will push illumination straight forward on your subject, minimizing and in some cases completely erasing unwanted shadow effects. There are two light sources in the ring, and electronic controls allow you to balance the light to be stronger on one side of the field of view than the other if you are looking for an effect other than intense flat-field lighting. Secondary flashes can be slaved to this unit for more complicated close-up scenes, but in many cases this flash will be all you need to take properly illuminated photographs. The dashboard puts as much control in the photographer's hands as he or she may want. Completely automatic illumination, programmatically determined decrease or increase in light output, manually determined light levels -- all is possible. This is a wonderful device that will either calculate and produce solutions to your illumination problems after you have set your camera preferences, or it will grant you as much control as you desire or demand.

Not all macro lighting is appropriate for all circumstances. While a ring light is a good general purpose solution, sometimes you will be so close to a subject that you need greater control of illumination direction. For that kind of photography, Canon makes the MT-24EX, another lens-mounted flash but one that puts the two light sources on short adjustable arms to either side of the lens. With this flash one can angle two different illumination sources at a close-in subject. Subtle modeling effects can be achieved with the direction and intensity of each tiny light source. The MT-24EX is more expensive than the ring light; for the most serious macro photographers the additional money may be worth it. I suspect the ring light will be sufficient for most of the macro photography I wish to do, but if I run up against limits at some point I will probably acquire the other design as well. I suspect the adjustable twin-flash unit might be a better choice for the limited purpose MP-E 65mm macro lens, which cannot be used to take pictures of objects further than a few inches away from the front of the lens. The ring light may be the better choice for Canon's longer prime lenses that include a macro function.

If you plan to use either the MR-14EX or MT-24EX on Canon's superb 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, you will need a threaded adapter that permits attaching the flash to the lens. The adapter is sold separately. The dedicated 65mm macro lens needs no adapter. The front of the lens is designed with a flange to which either flash head can be directly attached by a pinch-lock mechanism.
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on January 22, 2010
The Canon MR-14EX Macro Ring Lite is a great flash unit for use at fairly close range. As the model number indicates, it has a guide number of 14, which means that its effective range is about 14 meters (or 46 feet). This is only slightly more powerful than the built-in flashes in Canon's low-end DSLRs (which have a guide number of 13), and considerably weaker than Canon's other external flash units (the effective range of which varies from model to model, from 22 meters to 58 meters). But the low guide number is not really a problem for the intended use of the MR-14EX, which is close-up and macro photography. By mounting the Macro Ring Lite on a lens, the subject of a photograph is made to seem to be illuminated equally from all directions. This avoids the harsh shadows that are commonly seen in pictures when a single flash unit was pointed directly at the subject.

The MR-14EX allows each of its two semi-circular lamps to be adjusted individually, allowing one side of the subject to be illuminated more strongly than the other if desired. It also provides two smaller lamps to aid auto-focusing in dim conditions. It can even serve as a master controller for off-camera Canon Speedlite flash units. It is powered by four AA batteries; rechargeable NiMH batteries are recommended.

The MR-14EX mounts easily on the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens (now discontinued), and the Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5X Macro Lens. To mount it on the new Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM 1-to-1 Macro Lens, a Canon Macrolite Adapter 67 is required. To mount it on the Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM Lens, a Canon Macrolite Adapter 72C f/ML-3 is needed. On some other lenses, it can be mounted with reasonable stability simply by attaching an appropriate 58mm step-up ring to the lens. I have done this with a Tokina AT-X 100mm f/2.8 PRO D Macro Lens using a Kenko 55mm Step-Up Ring to 58mm. Other lenses will probably require different rings to step up from their native filter size to 58mm.

Canon also offers the somewhat more expensive Canon MT-24EX Macro Twin Lite Flash, which also mounts two lamps on the lens, but instead of a ring the MT-24EX provides two small lamps that can be positioned independently. I have not used it, but it seems to be well regarded.
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on August 11, 2013
the unit comes with a nice case and installs easily on the camera. No additional setup was required on my Canon t4i. The unit is sized to fit on a 58mm lens and requires a 67mm adapter (not included) to fit onto the canon 100mm macro lens. The clip on latch for the flash clips on directly to canons 65mm 1-5x macro lens without any adapter.
With this unit, I am able to produce professional quality macro shots with a minimum of fuss.
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on June 3, 2009
The Canon MR-14EX was a perfect addition to my macro photo equipment. It snaps onto my 50mm compact macro lens quickly and easily and illuminates extreme closeup subjects that a regular on-camera flash could not reach, and it saves futzing with an off-camera extension flash.

My only beef is that the inside diameter of the ring is too small to fit larger diameter lenses (I often like to use my sharp Canon 24-70mm lens with macro rings for extreme macros). There is no easy way to mount the MR14EX on this lens. I have sometimes hand held it in place, but this risks wiggling the rig during exposure. The ring is specifically designed to snap onto only the 50mm and 180mm macro lenses. That said, the small ring diameter does allow you to deliver light onto smaller, closer subjects.

The diverse selectable features of this flash unit allow you to tailor the results to your specific macro needs. The price tag is an eye-popper, but if macro photography is an important part of your photographic repertoire, the MR14EX will expand your creative possibilities considerably and give terrific results.

UPDATE: A caution about taking macros of reflective subjects, especially with water droplets: you will see little parentheses ( ) in every droplet - reflections of the two flash tubes. I have since updated my equipment to include the Macro Twinlite (MT-24EX) and Canon's new 100mm hybrid IS Macro lens -- a dynamite combination. The ring is less complex to rig up, but the Twinlite is more versatile. Both items are pricey. The 100mm IS requires an adapter ring (another $40!)to fit either of the flash setups.
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on December 12, 2012
After spending four months in Asia including the opportunity to visit the Gardens in Singapore, I quickly realized I needed a dedicated macro lens and flash to capture the beatiful orchids. I got some good shots, however, after practicing taking shots of the dying roses in my garden with this flash, I realize I will now be able to get some great shots.
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