fotobug guide to macro photography

Download Fotobug Guide to Macro Photography

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Introductory guide to macro and extreme close-up photography for photographers using digital cameras. Learn what equipment you need and techniques to capture amazing closeup images.

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Revealingtinyworldsanddetailstoosmalltoseewiththenakedeyeisanaspectof photographythatcanbetrulymagicalandamazing.Tinyinsectsappeartobegiant monstersdetailonfeathersandwingsofbutterfliescontaincolorfulstructuresthat borderontheabstract.Bestofall,youdontneedtogoanyfurtherthanyourbackyardto locatefascinatingsubjectsandyourstudiocanbeacornerofasmallroom. Aswithanyphotographicspecialty,macrophotographyhasitsownuniqueequipment requirements.Italsohasitownissuesaswellascertainskillsthatneedtobelearned. However,itisntdifficultandtheneededaccessoriesdonotneedtobreakthebank.This guidewillhelpgetyoustarted! WhatisMacroPhotography? Manufacturersandevenphotographersoftenconfusethesubjectofmacrophotography. Truemacrophotographyiscapturinganimageonthefilmordigitalsensorthatisasbig asorlargerthantheactualsubjectbeingphotographed.Inotherwords,ifyouaretaking apictureofabeetle,theimageofthebeetleonyourcamerasensorshouldbeatleastthe samesizeastheactualbeetlethatisa1:1macro.Anythinglessthanthis1:1ratiois actuallycloseupphotography,eventhoughlensmanufacturersoftenrefertothisas macro.Ratiosthatareevenmorethan1:1areoftencalledphotomicrography.However, dontbetooconcernedaboutthesedefinitionsorterms.Closeisstillclose! Essentially,formacrophotography,wewanttocreateanimagethatallowsusto capturethefinedetailandtexturesoftinysubjects.Itdoesntmatterifthatsmallsubject isasmallinsect,orapostagestamp.Italsodoesntreallymatterifyourefertoitas macro,closefocus,orextremelyclosefocus,orHolysmokes,thatsscaryclose! Equipment Macrolens.Thisisactuallyanicetohaveitemandisnotessential.Truemacro lensesallowyoutofocusonyoursubjectarounda1:1ratioandcomeinavarietyof focallengths.Focallengthsof50mm,100mmandeven180mmarequitecommon.You canevenfindtheselensesatapremiumfromthirdpartymanufacturerssuchasTamron. Theadvantageofthelongerfocallengthmacrolensesisthattheyallowyoutoworkat longerdistancesfromyoursubject,buthaveashallowerdepthoffield.Widerlenses requireyoutoworkcloser,buthaveadeeperdepthoffield. Hereisatablesuggestingusesforthevariousfocallengthmacrolenses: Continuouslyvariableorzoomlensessuitableformostmacrosubjects 4565mm productphotography,andsmallitemssuchasstampsandcoins 90105mm insects,flowersandsimilarsmallobjects 150200mm insectsandsmallanimalsthatrequiremoreworkingspace

Somemanufacturesalsomaketruemacrolenses,suchastheCanonMPE65mm f/2.8or MinoltaAF3x1x1.72.8Macro,whichcanachievehighermagnificationthanlifesize 1:1,enablingphotographyofthestructureofsmallinsecteyes,snowflakes,andother minusculeobjects.Beawarethattheselensescanbeexpensive! 1

Finally,beawarethatmanymanufacturerspromotetheirlensesasmacrowhenthey reallyarenot.Inmanyinstances,theselensesarejustlensesthatcanfocuscloserthan normal,butarenotcapableoffocusingcloseenoughtoreallyqualifyasmacrolenses. ExtensionTubes.Whileactualmacrolensesarereallynicetohave,whenyoufirstget startedyoucanactuallyusethelensesyoualreadyhave.Inordertoallowthemtofocus closerthantheynormallydo,youcanpurchaseasetofextensiontubes. Therearetwotypesofextensiontubes.Thefirsttypeyoucanpickupforunder$10on websitessuchaseBay.Thesearebasicallyjusthollowtubeswithacameramounton onesideandalensmountontheother.Thedisadvantageoftheseinexpensivetubesis theydontprovideanelectricalconnectionbetweenthecameraandlenssoyourfocus andexposurewillhavetobeadjustedmanually.Focusisusuallynotaproblemaswe willseelater,butbeawarethatyouwilllikelyhavetoshootinmanualmodeoraperture prioritymode.Youmayalsohavetouseyourlenseswideopen,whichreducesyour depthoffield. Thesecondtypeofextensiontubehastheelectricalconnectiontothelens.TheKenko brandofextensiontubessellforaround$200foraset.Mostofthemajorcamera manufacturersalsohavetheirowntubes,butthepricewilllikelybemuchhigher.

KenkoExtensiontubes

Extensiontubesnormallycomeinasetof3differentlengthtubes.Theselengthsare usuallyaround10mm,25mmand35mm.Youcanalsostackthetubestogether. Stackingwillallowyoutogetcloser,butforeachsectionyouuse,thesloweryourlens becomesaperturewise.Asyouaddsections,theapertureispushedfurtherawayfrom thesensorandsoiteffectivelybecomesasmalleraperaturewhichadmitslesslight. Therefore,thereisanadvantagetousingfasterlenseswithlargermaximumworking apertures,suchasf/2.8,whenusingextensiontubes.Also,thelenswilllosetheabilityto focusatinfinitywhenmountedtoanextensiontube.Whatyougaininclosefocusing, youloseondistantfocusing!Thisreallyisntaproblemasyouarentinterestedin focusingatinfinity.

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Keepinmindthattherearenoopticsinanextensiontube,sothereisnoparticular advantageinspendingagreatdealofmoneyforaset.Findagoodqualitysetthatwont breakthefirstcoupleoftimesthatyouusethem. Dontconfuseextensiontubeswithteleconvertors.Ateleconvertordoescontainoptics andessentiallyincreasesthefocallengthofyourlens.Althoughthesewillallowyouto appeartobeclosertoyoursubject,theydonotchangetheabilityofthelenstofocusany closer. Bellows. Abellowsislikeavariableextensiontube!You mountyourcameraonone endandputalensontheother.Thelensandcameramountsareusuallymountedona railthatallowsyoutoadjustthedistancebetweenthem.Thelongerthedistancebetween thecameraandlens,thecloseryoucanfocusand,likeextensiontubes,thelesslightit admitsforanygivenaperture.Also,yourlenseswilllosetheabilitytofocustoinfinity, justlikeextensiontubes. Bellowsunitswillcostmorethanextensiontubes,buttheyaremoreflexible.Also,some modelspassthecamerasignalstothelensandsomedont.Ipersonallydontfindthis thatimportant.ImusinganolderOlympusbellowswithmyCanonDSLRsusingan adapteronthecameratomountittothebellows.Ihavean80mmflatfieldOlympus macrolensmountedtothebellowswhichhasnoelectricalconnectiontothecamera.I merelyopenitwideopentoframeandfocus,thenstopitdowntomydesiredf/stop beforeItakethepicturewiththecameraonmanual.Infact,thislensissimilartoan enlargerlens.Itworksfine!Theimageofthescarabbeetleattheendofthisguidewas photographedwiththiscombination.

CanoncameraonanOlympusbellowswithan80mmZuikomacrolens

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Closeuplenses. Closeupfiltersareanotherapproachfortakingmacroshots.Justasa personcanputoncorrectioneyeglassesorreadingglasses,youcanaddanoptical correctionfilterorfilterstoyourexistinglenses.Oneadvantageofusingacloseuplens orfilteristhefactthattheaperturedoesntchange.However,youstillwilllosethe abilitytofocustoinfinity. Closeuplenses(filters)normallycomeinmagnificationsmarkedas+1,+2,+4,etc. Whenyouscrewthemtogether,addupthenumbers.So,a+1anda+2togetherwould bethesameasa+3.Thisnumberisthediopterunitandindicatesthepowerofthelens. Thediopterratingisdeterminedbytakingthefocallengthofthecloseuplensand dividingitinto1000(1000/d).Assuch,afilterwithafocallengthof500mmwouldhave adiopterstrengthof+2(1000dividedby500). TheDiopterisalsoisafunctionofthereciprocalofthefocallengthinmeters.Inother words,thatmeansthatthefocallengthofadiopteris1/Dinmeters.Thereforea+1hasa focallengthof1meter (justover3feet),A+2is.5meter(19inches),anda+4,.25 meter(910inches).Withtheselensesinplace,thesedistanceswillbethemaximum distancefromyourcamerathatyoucanreach. Dontbetooconcernedaboutthissince somecompanies(CanonandNikon)dontevenputthediopternumberontheirlenses. Dofollowthisguide:ifyouaregoingtostackthelenses,putthestrongestone(onewith thehighestdiopter)closesttothecameralens. Thereareseveraldisadvantagestousingcloseupfilters.Thefirstisthefactyouwould needadifferentdiameterfiltertofitthedifferentfiltersizesoneachofyourlenses.One wayaroundthisistobuyonecloseupfilterforthebiggestdiameterlensyouown,then buyreductionringstoallowittobeusedonyourotherlenses.Forexample,ifthelargest filtersizeonyourlensesis77mm,thenbuya77mmcloseuplens(filter)andthenbuy the7772mm,7758mm,etc.reductionadapterstoallowthatfiltertobeusedonyour otherlenses. CloseupfiltersoftencomeinsetsofdifferentdioptersThehigherthe diopter,thecloseryoucanfocus. Anotherdisadvantagetoacloseupfilteristhefactyouareaddinganotherpieceofglass toyourlenses.Thiscanaddopticaldistortions,suchaschromaticabberationtoyour images.Youmayalsofindthatthecenterisinokfocusandthenasyoumoveaway fromthecenter,theimagelosesfocus.Theseopticalissuesareespeciallynoticablewith cheapercloseupfiltersandaremadeworsewhenyoustackthem.Iwouldadvisedoing yourresearchandbuythebestsetyoucanafford. Anadvantageofcloseupfiltersisthattheycanbestackedtoallowyoutogetcloserto yoursubjects.Becarefulthough,becausewhenyoubegintostackfilterswithwide anglelenses,youmaybegintovignettetheimageasthelensbeginstoseethefilters, sothecornersoftheimagebegintodarken.Also,stackingwillmakeanyoptical problemsevenworseandyourresultingimagesmaybesomewhatsoftorcontainoptical distortions.Also,asIpointedoutearlier,youshouldstackwiththehighestdiopternext tothelens. Reversingring. Ifyouturnapairofbinocularsaroundandusethembackwards,they canfuncationasaquickanddirtymicroscopetoviewsmallitems.Thesameprincipal canbeusedwithcameralenses.Ifyoucouldsomehowreversethem,theywouldallow youtofocusmuchcloserthannormal. 4

50mmlensonareversingringonaCanonDSLR

Well,thereissuchadevicethatallowsyoutodoexactlythat!Itiscalledareversing ring.Itworksbyscrewingtheringintothefilterthreadonthefrontofthelensandthen mounttheothersideoftheringtoyourcameralensmount.Thiscanallowyoutogetup toa4xlifesizeimagewithgreatquality.Bycombiningthereverseringwithabellows orextensiontube,youcangetincrediblycloseandstillmaintainhighopticalquality! Disadvantagesofthismethodarethefactyouwouldneedadifferentoneforeach differentfilterthreadsizelensoryoucoulduseanadapterasImentionedearlierwith thecloseupfilters.Also,youwilllosetheelectricalconnectionbetweenthelensand camerasoyouwonthaveanyaperturecontrol. Iveseenpricesforreverseringsforunder$10.Sincetheringsaresimliartoextension tubesanddonotcontainanyoptics,thereisnoneedtooverpayforthem. Youmayalsowanttoconsiderbuyinganoldermanuallensthathasamanualaperture ring.Itdoesntmatterifthelensmountisforyourbrandofcameraornot.Justbuy a reverseringthatfitsyourcameraandfitsthefilterthreadsontheolderlens,thenyou canstoptheaperaturedownmanuallybeforeyoutakethepicture. AtrickthatworksonsomeCanoncamerasandlenses,andmayworkonsomeother came