Group 95 Bulletin Board

2 threads - 10 total comments

This page is dedicated to discussions about our theme (Macro) that are outside the scope of our monthly images.

Thread Title: How to Achieve True Macro

Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
For those of you in this group using a macro lens that's capable to achieve 1:1, it's important to set your lens to 1:1 and leave auto-focus off in order to capture a true macro image. If you adjust the focus using the focus ring, you will no longer be capturing at 1:1. Once you have set the lens to 1:1, either move the camera or your subject until it is in focus before taking the shot.

New to Macro but not wanting to invest in a macro lens? There are some inexpensive alternatives: 1) Extension Tubes - these fit between a lens and the camera, allowing you to get closer to your subject; 2) Diopter Lens - this attaches to your lens like a filter and acts as a magnifying glass to get you closer to your subject; 3) Reversing Ring - this attaches to the filter threads of a lens allowing it to be mounted backward on the camera. All three of these alternatives require you to physically get the camera closer to your subject, as well as adding additional lighting to compensate for light lost in their use. Using extension tubes or diopters on a macro lens will allow you to get closer than 1:1.

Let's start a dialogue about what it takes to achieve true macro photography. d:¬{D   Posted: 06/25/2020 13:28:54
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Yes, I'm happy to participate as the reason I joined this group is to force myself to do "true" macro as opposed to "close-up".

During lock-down I've been trying all sorts of set-ups. I have an Olympus macro lens but it stops at 1:1. Some macro lenses do go higher, but none for micro 4/3 as far as I know `(which I use). I've recently found a good setup which can get to 5:1 (5x magnification) and similar setups with different camera systems should be possible.

I've done experiments with dioptre lenses, reversed lenses, extension tubes, using a reversed lens as a dioptre lens, combinations thereof, all with varying degrees of success - happy to discuss these.   Posted: 06/25/2020 14:00:24
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
So, Stuart, what're the specs of your 5:1 setup? Do tell! d;¬{D   Posted: 06/25/2020 14:08:02
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
OK, Tom.

It goes -
Camera - 16mm extension tube - 1.4x converter - 36mm tubes (2x10 and 1x16) - macro lens on 1:1 - Raynox M250.

The Olympus 1.4x converter was designed for the 40-150mm pro lens and has a protruding front element which ends up in front of the mounting plate of the 40-150. So it won't fit any other M4/3 lens (well I think it fits a couple of more recent ones) and the extension tube immediately in front of the converter gives the macro lens space to mount. It seems different makes of tubes differ slightly as my Meike tube wouldn't fit on the front of the converter and I had to mill out a little plastic on the back of the first 10mm tube to clear a thing (don't know what it does!) on the front of the converter; whereas the guy who invented this on the Olympus Forum didn't have that problem but used a different make of tubes.

Anyway, only this first tube is necessary due to that protruding lens. I can play with the others and get different magnifications. Could get more with another set of tubes, I guess, but 5x leaves me searching for subjects. Without the Raynox I get about 3.5x magnification. The Raynox is distinctly better than the "close up filters" I bought some time ago - a set of 5 glass uncoated lenses in a wallet from 1 dioptre to 10 dioptres. They were ultra cheap but are a bit soft. The Raynox is about 8 dioptres and optically much better. An example will be in next month's DD! They do stronger ones up to 25 dioptres which presumably will further increase the magnification.

The biggest problems I've found is with reflections in my extension tubes (long story) and with aiming the camera using a ball head. The latter was ameliorated a lot (I won't say "fixed" as it's not perfect) by buying a Benro geared head. It's very good but still a bit jerky in its movement at this scale. The reflections caused an awful lot of softness in some photos, Initially I found some matt black masking tape which improved it. Recently someone pointed me to some self-adhesive velvet sold by a telescope vendor for doing the same job in a telescope. This just arrived yesterday, so I've not tried it yet, but it looks excellent.

I've also been trying a Novoflex "retro" adapter - with it I can mount my m4/3 lenses in reverse and still retain control of the diaphragm and auto exposure. However the working distance (from what is then the front of the lens to the subject) becomes very small even at 2x magnification. I've got it to work up to 3x but this problem makes it impractical to me.   Posted: 06/25/2020 15:24:27
Barbara Asacker   Barbara Asacker
Hi Tom
Could you recommend artificial lighting for tabletop macro? Presently I have two adjustable desk lamps with 60 watt household light bulbs. I diffuse the light with a white cloth. I can't seem to get the proper lighting when I shoot inside. Your advice is always helpful.
Thank you
Barbara   Posted: 11/30/2020 15:01:49
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
I started with window light and a couple of cheap clamp-on dish lights, but found the lights were often clumsy and I didn't always have a good place to clamp them.

Below is a snap of my current rig for tabletop macro. It includes a pair of adjustable LED lights on flexible arms for positioning light as I need it. There are numerous continuous lighting solutions available that can get pretty pricey. The lights in my setup are: CeSunlight Clip on Reading Lights ( ), that are adjustable for color and intensity. The arms are long enough I can pretty much place the two lights anywhere I want, including back-lighting. They work very well for $15.00 each.

Many well-established macro photographers use one or more diffused flashes and the setups can get kinda pricey. They typically avoid LED lights for other than general scene lighting.   Posted: 11/30/2020 15:44:53
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Barbara Asacker   Barbara Asacker
Thank you Tom. I ordered two lights and a tabletop tripod too. Amazon is the best. I wish I could buy more patience.   Posted: 11/30/2020 17:48:55

Thread Title: Macro vs Close-up

Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Richard States, administrator of Close-up group #6, passed the following for us here in #95 to consider: - What Is the Difference Between Micro, Macro and Close-Up Photography?   Posted: 06/25/2020 10:00:23
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Hi Tom,

Anyway, I think it's a fair article for beginners but I don't think it presents a complete picture. It implies that macro is only 1:1 and above, which I don't think is helpful. If most macro lenses went up to 2:1 or more, I'd be less unhappy, but most only go to 1:1 so we are stuck at maximum magnification to be true to this definition. Is 0.99:1 not macro, then? I think practically, it is. Of course, that sets out on a slippery slope, and so is 0.5:1 macro? Hmm, probably not. 0.1 to 1? Definitely not, it's close-up. I think a hard definition is handy, but not helpful to apply it too rigorously. Pictorially, if 0.9:1 yields a good photo but 1:1 is over-cropped, then why throw out the baby with the bathwater?

The article has some good links. I'd love to be able to mount a lens like that Canon MP-E. Might be worth buying a used Canon body for!   Posted: 11/30/2020 17:21:00
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Odd, some comments I placed here last night seemed to be lost, then some others were saved, and now, this morning, those last ones have gone and a comment that had been "lost" is now here. Computers !!!   Posted: 12/01/2020 02:49:50
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