User Tag List

Thanks useful information Thanks useful information:  7
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Macro - advice on equipment

  1. #1
    Member Liney's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Mar 2014
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    143
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Macro - advice on equipment

    Oh great and wise forum,

    I've been reading up on macro photography and fancy giving it a try. I have a decent selection of zoom lenses at the moment but don't want to splash out on a dedicated macro lens if I don't follow through.

    So the two cheapest options currently on the table are in dollar order: A reverse adaptor to make use of the lenses I currently have, and a set of macro filters to add to the lenses. I suppose a third option is both of these at the same time, but I wanted to ask opinions and see if anyone out there had tried either option.

    I currently own a 2 x teleconvertor which gives passable results in some conditions but can give the image an almost dreamlike feeling in others.

    Bonus question, at what point does "macro" start? Most of the wonderful examples on the forum are very detailed shots of very small creatures which seem an impossible task at the moment.

    I look forward to your comments.
    Millenium, hand and shrimp!
    Pentax K100D Super, Sigma 18-50, Takamur-A 28-80, Pentax DA 50-200, Sicor 80-200, Tamron 2X teleconverter

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    18 Oct 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    194
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Macro is supposed to start at a 1:1 ratio, that is the image on your sensor is the same size as the subject, but most people would call a close-up of a rose a macro shot. Lens manufacturers play very fast an loose with the term. Cheap zooms that say MACRO, probably really aren't even close to a real macro lens.

    Close-up filters are OK, but for about the same price you can get extension tubes. These have no glass in them, but make any lens capable of focussing closer. They work really well for telephoto lenses for getting high magnification on flighty subjects like dragonflies and butterflies. I have since bought dedicated macro lenses, but am still glad extension tubes are in my kit, to make those achieve higher magnification.

    My first real macro lens was a 60mm f/2.8 EF-S (crop sensor only lens). Not very expensive, very sharp and fast. I got me hooked on macro, and works really well as a portrait lens. If you have a full frame camera, get a 100ish mm equivalent. These are great in a kit, even if not used that often.

    Have fun.
    Gear monkey and proud. Brisbane.

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    19 Apr 2014
    Location
    Sydney
    Posts
    30
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    You've got everything you need bar 1 thing.. A Raynox 150 and 250 Dioptre macro converter. When i put the 250 on a 300mm lens.. i can take a picture of a flies earwax.. They are about $90 on ebay.. If you don't believe it can be so good with so little money..

    Here's one a took a while back granted it was in the early days so it's not a wonderful shot but you can see what you'll be able to work on as i have not 100% sure but i think this photo was with a Nikon D40


  4. #4
    Member
    Threadstarter
    Liney's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Mar 2014
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    143
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the feedback folks, it's given me some ideas. I've been searching the internet and found a couple of cheap reverse adaptor rings which will fit my manual focus lenses, I reckon I'll give that a try first and see how it goes.

    Jace, the Raynox lenses sound interesting, but I'll have to check with my accountant first and see if I can get an extension on my pocket money.....!

    Many thanks

  5. #5
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    8,188
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by strictfunctor View Post
    ....

    Close-up filters are OK, but for about the same price you can get extension tubes. These have no glass in them, but make any lens capable of focussing closer. They work really well for telephoto lenses for getting high magnification on flighty subjects like dragonflies and butterflies ...... .
    The section of the comment I underlined should be qualified with a more accurate description of it's meaning.

    They work really well could mean that the quality of the images is super duper ...

    or

    do you mean work more effectively?

    Either way, when using extension tubes, a shorter focal length will generally produce more efficient results, if magnification is important.

    That is, if your focal length is shorter, the closer it allows the lens to get and hence produce higher magnification than if the focal length is longer.

    For longer focal lengths much longer extension is required to produce the same or similar amounts of magnification compared to a shorter focal length used.
    This makes it more unwieldy to use extension tubes on longer focal lengths and accomplish a decent increase in magnification(compared to what the native lens is capable of).

    To answer the "bonus question":

    Macro is a range from 1:1 (or as strictfunctor said actual size reproduction on your sensor) ... up to about 6x(or 6:1), where the image on your sensor is 6x the size of the subject.

    If you are unsure of what this means, then consider the most simple macro subject .. a ruler!
    If your sensor size is 24mm(across) x 16mm(high), then if you can get the lens to focus down to a point where you can only see 24mm of length of the ruler on the sensor, then you are 1:1(macro) reproduction ratio.
    This is a very easy and basic way to test how much you have magnified a subject, and what your lens is capable of reproducing as well.
    If you do try it to see how your lens, or any other gear you acquire can do, be sure to keep the subject(ie. ruler) parallel to the camera .. that is, don't take the photo of the ruler at some weird angle as is commonly done.

    FWIW: more than about 6x magnification is known as microphotography (oops mistake: actual terms is: micrograph)(ie. as in the same thing as using a microscope .. only with a camera on the end of the eyepiece).


    NOW!!!
    Now that you know all of that, discard it as a rule of any sort.
    because the industry can't be bothered to set out clear definitions of what's macro or not, the other(more commonly used) notion of macro in photography is that the finished photo is one of life size or larger.
    The major difference between the former description and the latter is that the use of the term finished photo, as opposed to image on the sensor.
    Because finished photos are almost always larger in size to the actual sensor used to capture the image, this is where the more common, but sometimes considered inaccurate, use of the term macro lens comes into use.

    I remember reading that some industry group settled on the point that in producing a finished photo of about 4x6(or maybe 5x7) ... doesn't matter exactly which! .. because the finished photo is so large it appears to be that the subject shot at 1:3 magnification is subsequently rendered at life size on the larger finished photo.

    So while strictfunctor said it almost perfectly that manufacturers are rather loose with the use of the term macro for their lenses .. they are actually within their rights to use that term.
    Even tho scientifically, it's actually wrong.
    Won't bother waffling on why it's considered to be wrong .. just know what's what when it comes to the term macro, and look for certain specifications when deciding what gear is good or accurate .. or not!


    On the topic of what gear to get to get you going .. it really depends on what type of macro (or closeup) photography you want to do.
    Do you want to do really really close ups of small insects(eyes of a fly type).
    Do you want to do close ups of bees in flight. etc, etc.

    Some you can do cheaply, other types may cost a bit more money to achieve effectively, and will minimal frustration.

    The cheapest way to see how you can get closups to begin with: using your most commonly used lens(I'm guessing the 18-50 Sigma), take it off the camera, and holding in one hand, turn it around, facign backwards, and hold it up against your camera(so the front of the lens is facing inside your camera).
    Hopefully you can do this without touching any glass elements against any camera body part. Holding the two parts as well as you can and together as you can, look for something to 'focus on' and get closer and closer to it whilst looking through the viewfinder.
    If you haven't ever done this, quick and easy subject is your monitor. At some point in your moving inwards/outwards, you will see the individual RGB sub-pixels that make up a single pixel on your monitor.

    IF .. you try this,, something to note. The shorter the focal length, the larger the magnification .. but this is not without side effects and drawbacks.
    if you try this with the 18-50mm lens, and initially try it at 18mm, you may never see anything in focus. This is because the lens will need to focus so closely, the the subject may have to be inside the lens!
    Most wide/normal zoom lenses will do that! Try it at 50mm, and work your way back if you are curious. you may get results down to about 30ish mm of focal length.

    if you try this with your longer zoom lens, you may still get some magnification, but probably about as much as you can crop too with a normal lens.

    That's the cheapest way to do macro right now!

    You can purchase reverse adapters of ebay for about $5 or so to make this easier to do than having to hold the lens to the camera. You focus by getting closer to/further from your subject .. so this method is more restrictive than a proper macro lens, or extension tube, or close up dioptre(as Jace mentioned).
    The biggest problem with them is that they're harder/really hard/almost impossible to use on the more modern lenses that don't have aperture control rings!
    Last edited by arthurking83; 21-04-2014 at 5:02pm.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


  6. #6
    Member
    Threadstarter
    Liney's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Mar 2014
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    143
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Arthurking83, My thanks for a very descriptive post, very enlightening.

    I found the technique you mentioned on a youtube clip yesterday, tried it out with the lenses I currently have and was quite impresed with the results. Mind you I almost put the lens through my screen at one point trying to get a focal point....

    Juggling the lens and camera in this way made it difficult to get more than one focus point with a zoom lens, with an 18 to 50 lens and the zoom and focus rings against one set of end stops I can get it to work, your post implies that I can juggle zoom and focus to get other levels of magnification, guess I'll have to invest in the reverse adaptor rings so I can have a hand free.

    For the moment I'm going to look at subjects that don't move but give me good images, if I get the technique off pat I'll expand the subject matter.

    Thanks again

  7. #7
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
    Join Date
    04 Jun 2006
    Location
    the worst house, in the best street
    Posts
    8,188
    Mentioned
    2 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Liney View Post
    .....

    ..... your post implies that I can juggle zoom and focus to get other levels of magnification, guess I'll have to invest in the reverse adaptor rings so I can have a hand free.

    .....

    Not so much the focus ring.
    Focusing the lens when used like this doesn't achieve much difference in getting the subject in focus.

    Zooming does tho.

    So if you have the lens reversed, concentrate firstly on setting a specific focal length, usually best to start long. You may find the front of the lens(which will be the physical rear of the lens tho!) about 1-2cm from the subject.
    From there, your next option is to either move yourself(and hence the camera lens) back-forward OR to zoom a little bit out(say to about 30mm or so).

    I'm fairly sure that any wider than about 30mm and you will be right up against the subject matter with the lens.

    Of course this is just guesswork, and each lens type may have different characteristics on how it works when reversed.

    If you do end up getting a cheap reverse adapter, you'll probably find that it'll be for a 52mm lens fitting(maybe 49mm). Doesn't really matter too much.
    If your lens has a 77mm filter ring, you just need a 77mm -> 52mm adapter to fit onto the reversing ring which you then attach to your lens.

    The 28-80 lens(listed in your sig) sounds like the lens more likely to work better, as it'll most likely have an aperture ring you can control manually.
    (Is Takamura correct, or is it actually TAKUMAR-A?)

    Aperture control is important if you want better quality images. Wide open the images will usually produce hazy detail rendering.
    Closing the lens down a bit gives better contrast, and hence better definition. Note tho as you close the lens down when mounted in reverse, you may see mechanical vignetting in the resultant image.

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    23 Nov 2009
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    3,086
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    The other thing I think is important for macro photography is a tripod without the centre column as you may need to get it as close to the ground as possible or atleast at the level of the subject. Unless you are happy with hand held shots and it depends on what you are shooting as well. A tripod is desired where its practicle.
    Dwarak Calayampundi

    Canon 5D Mark II, 7 D Lens Canon 24-105mm L Canon 16-35mm II L Canon 100mm Sigma 10-20mm Canon 50mm 1.8
    http://www.wix.com/dwarak/landscapes

  9. #9
    Member
    Threadstarter
    Liney's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Mar 2014
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    143
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Dwarak, good point I will have to give it some thought now you mention it. My standby tripod has always been an old bean bag (real beans not the polystyrene beads, they tend to shift rather easily) or sandbag, but if the focus plane is very narrow this may not be the ideal solution.

  10. #10
    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
    Join Date
    25 May 2010
    Location
    Hunter Valley
    Posts
    5,351
    Mentioned
    3 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Yes, a very stable platform is most important.

    If I wanted to try macro I'd be looking at something like a Sigma 28mm f2.8 Mini Wide which should give you around 3X magnification whereas a 50mm reverse mounted will only give you around 1:1. It doesn't matter what camera it was for because you are going to reverse mount it as described above. Add a set of cheap macro tubes and you will be amazed at your results.

    This is a shot taken with my Pentax K5, 50mm Pentax f1.2, ISO400, 1/500s, reverse mounted, with el cheapo macro tubes, on a tripod.

    The 4 dark blobs (seeds I think) would be smaller that a grain of salt.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Cheers
    Kev

    D600 : D7200 and too much stuff to list

  11. #11
    Member
    Threadstarter
    Liney's Avatar
    Join Date
    26 Mar 2014
    Location
    Adelaide
    Posts
    143
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Cage, Thanks for the advice, the shot is great.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •