Olympus MAL-1 Macro Arm Light

Here’s a new accessory that definitely falls into that “Why didn’t I think of that?” category. Olympus’s MAL-1 Macro Arm Light is a pair of bright LEDs attached to the end of flexible, gooseneck arms. They connect via the camera’s accessory port/hot shoe, and are powered by the camera (no extra battery needed).

Everyone knows how difficult it can be to shoot close-up images using flash or artificial lighting because of the shadows. Each arm of the MAL-1 is 17 cm (6.7 inches) long and can be freely positioned. That means with a little practice you can make shadows disappear—or exaggerate them to emphasize texture.

Great for food photography (I did get some strange looks at the pizzeria) or for photographing jewelry and other tiny items for online auctions. I recommend that you use a tabletop tripod so that you can compose the image first and then get the LEDs pointed in the right direction.

The wall anchors in the image above were shot using an Olympus XZ-1 (also shown above).

The Olympus MAL-1 is available for under $60.

—Jon Sienkiewicz