Got my W96 LED in the mail the other day along with the velbon monopod and took opportunity of the recent rains to hunt down some fungi. The extra light was a godsend as these guys seem to grow in dim and moist areas and spring up right after the rains. Suprisingly i used the velbon monopod to angle the light moreso than on my actual camera as these guys are far too close to the ground. Luckily with the extra illumination i could bump up my shutter speeds to avoid any blurring. Ive already investing in a ring light now just to take advantage of being able to change the lighting on the fly and really paint my scenes to my liking before clicking off a shot or two.
I learnt a great deal from this site: http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/macro-lenses.htm about depth of field and its relation to sensor size and a load more. The conclusions ive come to are: Ive rarely ever used 1:1 magnification as this affords far too little depth of field - we're talking mere millimeters, so i tend to step back to 1:2/1:4 levels and even take a step back from my subject - knowing that i can crop the picture in post. This is by far the best means of getting a decent depth of field ive run into. Closing down my aperture to F22, at 1:1/1:2 levels is pointless in my experience as the change in the depth of field is barely perceptible at these magnifications - by far the best way to get a greater depth of field is to step back and crop in post.
I think a 50mm macro however would be even better - this would create an even creamier texture in the backgrounds than what i can get with the 35mm, I'd be very reluctant to move upto 105mm - i think this would mean i would be forced to use a tripod and lose the ability to shoot on the fly - quickly reframing, changing composition, it would also mean that i would have to get some sort of stand or something for my lights because of the working distance between the subject and oneself getting larger as the focal length of the lens increases. I'd be keen on using the olympus 50mm f2.0 but it goes for somewhere in the range of $400 AUD, and i really dont think the extra cash i'd have to fork out for a creamier background and little extra working distance (which in my opinion is overrated, even when working with insects - they seem to be rarely as skittish as people make out in my experience - just look at the fly in my previous post - i think i was something like less than 15cm from it and it could not care less - Click Here.) would justify the price difference. Especially since i got the olympus 35mm macro for $175 - by far the best investment ive made in any lens ive bought. Lets you play with lighting without blowing your budget because you're dealing with such small subjects and gives you pretty much everything a longer focal length would, so long as you arent picking at straws or have a very specific shot you're after.
I think ive ranted enough - ill post some pics of my kit and links to the stuff ive bought and would stand behind in short course. Heres some more shots in the meantime.