My Macro Story
Welcome to my macro story which began back in 1968 in Brisbane, Qld, Australia. I had a 35mm Pentax Spotmatic at that time, with a bellows, and a 50mm f/2.8 lens mounted on a reversing ring, and that was my macro kit. I played around with this for quite some time, and then my new passion of Scuba Diving got in the way. Little did I know then that my obsession with underwater photography would take over my life for many, many years to come. Underwater Macro was my big thing. I couldn't get enough of it.
This continued for a long time until I opened my own Scuba Business in Brisbane at Manly in 1986, and then later on (1987) at Point Lookout, North Stradbroke Island. That was about it for the U/W photography. Running the business took most of my time, and I had other things on my mind. I didn't get back into photography until 2009, when I purchased a Nikon D90 and a Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 macro lens. As I had been using Nikonos U/W camera gear in the past, it was a natural progression to Nikon for my new foray into macro.
That didn't last very long. I couldn't get the Nikon macro gear to work for me at all. Results were very hit and miss. All of my friends at that time were using Canon, and were having none of the issues that I was having, so, I swapped brands to Canon. I bought a Canon 600D and a Canon 100mm f/2.8L IS lens. Over the next few years, and many thousands of dollars later, I had an arsenal of Canon lenses and bodies that were the envy of many. I had most all of the best Canon macro lenses.
Then age became a factor. As I got older, the results were just not there, so I sold off all my macro lenses bar the original 100mm macro , as it at least had some image stabilization. Keeper rate was still low, and I was getting annoyed with myself and my resulting images. Then along came Olympus, purely by accident.
I had purchased a kit of camera gear from a friend in 2016, and in the kit was an Olympus E-410 four thirds camera, and a couple of kit lenses. I played with this for a while, thinking after a little while that this thing takes quite a nice image for such a small unit, so I contacted Ken, a long time mate of mine from back in the early scuba days. (1972) Ken had been using and recommending Olympus cameras to me for some time, but bigger is better, right? I needed to ask him what model his Oly camera was. After chatting with him at length, I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera, and a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, and started playing.
I was amazed with this unit, and the resulting images I was getting. They were way better than those I was getting with my Canon macro gear, and I didn't even have a flash for the system yet. So I sold all my Canon macro gear and concentrated all my efforts on Olympus macro, and there began my blossoming interest in macro photography once more.
I toyed with different Olympus camera bodies and different flash units over the next year, and ended up buying an Olympus STF-8 macro twin flash while I was on a trip to Japan, photographing the snow monkeys. I couldn't wait to get home and try it out. These had not yet been released. (Jan 2017) I was fortunate that Bic Cameras in Tokyo were prepared to sell me one.
People used to comment critically about the twin highlights in frogs and spiders eyes that the twin flash caused, so I started trying to prevent that happening, but to no avail. It was about May/June 2017 that I decided to go to a single flash unit, so the hunt was on for a small lightweight unit, that was in keeping with the small form factor size of the Olympus gear, and discovered the awesome little Meike MK-320o flash unit, which I still use today with my original Oly 60mm lens I have had since 2016.
The biggest part of macro for me at that time was to have soft, subdued, even lighting, over the whole subject, so the experimentation began to design and make a diffuser that would achive this result. Thirty different designs later, and I had finally hit on a design that worked for me. That was the birth of what was then called the old KR-30 Macro Diffuser, and then to the very successful KR-32. Many mods were subsequentially made to that design over the next few years resulting in the final KR-39 model. The exterior design remained the same all through the range of updated models.
I used my old KR-32, with all the major updates to KR-39, for quite some time, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth and there was nothing i could do to modify it further, so I purchased another well known brand of diffuser made here in Oz, rather than radically re-designing mine. It was a very popular unit in the marketplace, and still is. I used it over the next month and decided it just wasn't doing it for me. The main failing for me was the fact that it wrapped around the lens, which creates a 'Fake Pupil' effect in spider and frogs reflective eyes, and secondly, I couldn't get into places like I used to be able to with my old KR-32, so that was it. I sold it!
As I felt I had no other choice, all the others were so similar in design, I decided to redesign the old KR-39 to this totally new model, using the same basic shape as the KR-39, but now renamed the KR-60. Initially, this was the only model I was going to make. A situation developed, and some baseless accusations were forthcoming, so a decision was made to make not just the one model diffuser but three different models, called the KR-30, KR-60, and the KR-90, to reflect the lens size they were designed for. Design improvements have been made along the way to this latest model design, of which I am very proud.
So, due to all those 'accusations', I decided that instead of just making them for myself and close friends, I was going all out to design different models to suit different kits of gear, mostly to suit the three Olympus macro lenses, with a variety of the smaller flash units up to the Godox V350 and Olympus FL700WR, and to sell them at home and abroad to all comers. There are now 8 different options available, (24-8-23) in a large variety of different coloured vinyl wraps, 15 in all. Go colour I say! The bugs and insects only see the white diffuser face anyway! It doesn't have to be black to work successfully!
Those of you who know me will know how I would react to derogatory comments. They were like waving a red flag at a bull! There are now eight different models, so move over competition! There's a new macro diffuser in town. KR Macro Diffuser Systems is here to stay!
To date, this venture has been very successful. Thank you all!