Godox MF12 Macro Flash Review: Reliable Performance and Compatibility

The Godox MF12 has been released for a while and continues to maintain its popularity in the macro photography industry. First, let's take a look at the contents of the box and see what equipment it includes. Inside the box, we will find two light kits, two flash heads, an adapter that can be attached to your lens, filters, diffusers, a charging cable, and more.

 

Now, let's take a closer look at the flash head. It features a convenient on/off button and an excellent menu system that offers versatile modes, allowing you to easily switch between TTL and manual settings. We also have the option to adjust different channels.

Godox MF12 review

Additionally, there is a button to activate the focusing LEDs, providing enhanced focus assistance. On the side of the Godox MF12 camera flash, we'll find a USB-C charging port, enabling you to charge it from a USB battery pack or main power source. Additionally, to trigger this Godox Macro Flash, you will need a separate Godox trigger, which needs to be purchased separately.

When comparing these flashes, one notable difference between Godox and Yongnuo is that the Godox MF12 comes with a built-in battery, which means you cannot carry spare batteries separately. But I don't like that I can't replace the battery when the Godox MF12 runs out of power in the field. Whether you like or dislike this aspect depends on your specific use case.

However, it's worth noting that there are decent batteries available on Amazon that can provide alternative power options. To start off our first impressions, let's remove the diffusers and observe the light output straight out of the box. This will give us a better idea of the initial lighting quality.

I'm going to attach it to my Canon EOS R with the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. I'll take the adapter and the flashes, and you can see there's a small notch right there for alignment.

The flash simply clicks onto that notch, allowing you to easily move it around the ring for adjustment. The process is straightforward and user-friendly.

These flashes are particularly useful for technical photos, such as documenting species or similar purposes. However, it's important to note that they may produce harsh shadows and may not result in highly artistic images.

Godox MF12 review

Nevertheless, if you're primarily focused on capturing pictures of insects or other subjects in the field for documentation purposes, these flashes will effectively serve their intended function by providing accurate records of their location and timing.

 Godox MF12 review

One notable feature of these flashes is that they can fold all the way in or almost all the way in, ensuring that the light reaches your subject regardless of your working distance. This is a convenient feature that eliminates the need for purchasing separate add-ons, as was the case with the Yongnuo flash. One drawback of the Godox MF12 macro flash is that they cannot be easily twisted like the Yongnuo flash.

In the case of the Godox MF12, the flash heads are fixed in a forward-facing position. This may be a limitation for photographers who prefer to bring their flashes up and twist them slightly to ensure both are pointing in the same direction on the diffuser.

 

Similar to other flashes, the Godox MF12 also utilizes a small adapter that can be easily attached by pushing it onto the ring. To activate the flashes, you need to press the on button and then turn the dial clockwise. This design ensures that the flashes won't accidentally turn on while they are stored in your bag, which is a helpful feature.

First, we will test the flashes without any diffusion, using TTL mode to see how they perform. While focusing or pressing the focusing button, it's worth noting that the Godox MF12 does not have automatic LED lights that come on like the Yongnuo flash. In the case of the Godox MF12, you would need to manually activate the LED lights if you require additional focus assistance.

 

I understand your preference for having the option of the LED lights automatically coming on when half-pressing the shutter, as opposed to having to manually activate them. It's possible that the limitation you're experiencing with the Godox MF12 could be due to wireless transmission constraints.

As a result, you may need to either turn the LED lights on and off in the field as needed or leave them continuously on until you have finished shooting.

 

In TTL mode, you can set your desired f-stop, such as f/14, and ISO to 100. It's worth noting that in this scenario, the shutter speed may not have a significant impact since the flash itself is responsible for freezing the action.

 Godox MF 12 review

Let's capture a shot of the jumper to see how it looks in their eyes. One advantage of mounting the flashes in this way, as opposed to using a large flash on top, is that you can easily switch to a portrait orientation while still maintaining side lighting. This is one of the benefits of using this type of flash setup. Indeed, it appears that the flashes are performing well and effectively fulfilling their intended purpose.

We can adjust the position of the flash heads to have the flash come from directly above if desired.

 

As expected, the flash performs as intended out of the box. This characteristic holds true for most flashes. If you examine the reflections in the spider's eyes, you'll notice a small, pinpoint light source with harsh shadows. This is a common outcome with flashes, resulting in a harsh lighting effect.

 

To mitigate the harsh lighting and create softer shadows, the manufacturer has included some diffusers. While the effectiveness of these diffusers is uncertain, it's worth giving them a try. Photography enthusiasts understand that achieving soft shadows often requires a large light source relative to the subject's distance.

 Godox MF12 review

I took another shot of the jumper, and in this case, I could reposition the flashes so that they are placed at the top. As you can see, the light is no longer directly in the spider's eyes. By adjusting the position of the flashes, such as dropping one flash down and keeping the other at the top, you have the flexibility to achieve different lighting effects.

 Godox MF 12 review

If you prefer a simpler setup with just one flash, you have the option to remove the second flash from the Godox MF12. This flexibility to use a single flash can be quite useful in certain scenarios. In contrast, with the Yongnuo twin macro flash that is connected via cables, you do not have the same ability to easily detach one flash and use just a single unit.

 

As demonstrated, having the convenience of one light can result in a darker underside of the spider. However, the ability to use two lights provides more balanced lighting. Nevertheless, the option to remove one flash and not use it is indeed convenient. Additionally, with this system, you have the flexibility to expand your setup by adding up to six flash heads, allowing for even more lighting possibilities and creative control.

 

Now, let's experiment with the gels included in the pack. The pack contains two MF11T gels, which are color temperature adjustment gels, and two MF11C gel sets, which are color effects gels.

Now, let's use the blue and red gels, which are our typical choices for b-roll shots. It's worth noting that these gels won't affect the LED focusing light. Sometimes you can get a surprising image just like the one we've taken and with the magic of editing we can make it look like this.

Godox MF12 review

Godox MF12 review

The Godox MF12 flash performs excellently without missing a beat, capturing shots flawlessly in TTL mode. The battery life is quite impressive, although it's uncertain if it would last an entire day of shooting. During a test period, the battery level reduced by approximately one third while continuously using the focusing lights.

As anticipated, the light remains harsh even with the diffusers attached, as evident from the examples provided. The beetle shell exhibits a noticeable hot spot and specular highlight, which can be visually unappealing.

In summary, these flashes, while being of high quality, benefit from additional diffusion to achieve a more artistic look in macro shots. They outperform Yongnuo flashes and are the best flashes the user has used so far. The smaller footprint of the twin macro flash is appreciated, making it easier to carry in a backpack. Overall, these flashes deliver good, consistent lighting and work well with mirrorless cameras, leading to a high level of satisfaction.

Source from: Stewart Wood

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