Macros and Close-ups FAQs


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megaweb

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1. What is Macro and Close-ups Photography ?
It refers to taking close-up pictures of small things.


2. What is difference between Macro and Close-ups Photography ?
Macro refers to 1:1 or beyond.
Close-ups refers to the object looks closer but larger than 1:1


3. What is 1:1 Macro Photography ?
The image projected on the "film plane" (i.e film or a digital sensor) is the same size as the subject. On 35 mm film (for example), the lens must have the ability to focus on an area at least as small as 24×36 mm, as this is the size of the image on the film. This is known as "life-size magnification" or simply 1:1.


4. What is 100% crop ?
It is viewed or displayed at the original resolution. Usually displays part of an image in 100% crop.


5. What is the recommended macro camera equipment setup ?

a. DSLR/SLR camera
Type of Setup:
- Camera + Dedicated Macro lens
- Camera + Extension tube + Macro lens (for macro > 1:1 )
- Camera + Telezoom lens + closeup filter (e.g. +2, +4)
- Camera + Extension tube + Telezoom/prime lens
- Camera + Extension tube + Telezoom/prime lens + closeup filter
- Camera + Normal lens + Coupling Ring + Reversed prime lens (for macro > 1:1 )
- Camera + Reverse Lens Adapter + Reversed lens (for macro > 1:1 )
- Camera + Bellows + Macro lens (for macro > 1:1 )

Recommended Add-on:
- External Flash (if camera comes with hot-shoe) with Diffuser (provide soft lighting effect)
- Tripod (good for still life)

b. Prosumer (10X or more) digital camera
Type of Setup:
- Camera + Lens adapter + closeup filter (e.g. +2, +4)

Recommended Add-on:
- External Flash (if camera comes with hot-shoe) with Diffuser (provide soft lighting effect)
- Slave Flash is camera does not come with hot-shoe
- Tripod (good for still life)

c. Point & Shoot (3x Zoom) digital camera
Type of Setup:
- Camera + Lens adapter + Coupling Ring + Reversed prime lens (e.g. 50mm f1.8)

Recommended Add-on:
- External Flash (if camera comes with hot-shoe) with Diffuser (provide soft lighting effect)
- Slave Flash is camera does not come with hot-shoe
- Tripod (good for still life)

Some Examples of the camera terms

Camera
- Canon SLR/DSLR
- Nikon SLR/DSLR
- Fujifilm DSLR
- Olympus DSLR
- Pentax DSLR
- Sony / Konica-Minolta DSLR

Telezoom/prime lens
- Canon 100-400mm L, Canon 70-200mmL, Canon 70-300mm, Canon 300mm
- Nikkor 80-200mm, nikkor 70-200mm, 80-400mm, Nikkor 300mm
- Sigma 70-200mm HSM

Normal lens
- Kit lens
- General purposes from 28mm to 70mm

Reversed lens (any SLR/DSLR lens with big aperture)
- 50mm f1.7 or 1.8 or 1.4 (cheap)

Reverse Lens Adapter
-Novoflex Reverse Lens Adapter for Canon EOS
-Nikon BR2A


6. What is a dedicated Macro lens
It is specialised lens for macro photography and capable to take up to real life size (1:1). It also can use as normal focal length lens.
e.g.
- Canon 50mm macro, Canon 100mm macro, Canon 180mm macro
- Nikon 105mm macro, Nikon 200mm macro
- Sigma 50mm macro, Sigma 105mm macro, Sigma 180mm macro
- Tamron 90mm macro, Tamron 180mm macro


7. What is a close-up filter ?
It is an add-on lenses, works more like a magnifying glass which you can screw it onto the end of your lens on the filter threads. Such filter allows you to move much closer to a subject than you normally can, permitting macro photography at the cost of some image sharpness. Cheap closeup filters have only one glass element and thus are very vulnerable to chromatic aberration. Better closeup filters have two elements.

The focusing distance is mainly depend on the diopter value of the close-up filter and not the focal length of the lens. See below focusing distance calculation:
+2 close-up filter will give about 1000/2 = 0.5m
+4 close-up filter will give about 1000/4 = 0.25m
+5 close-up filter will give about 1000/5 = 0.2m
+10 close-up filter will give about 1000/10 = 0.1m

- 100mm with +2 close-up filter
- 200mm with +2 close-up filter
- 300mm with +2 close-up filter
- 400mm with +2 close-up filter
All above setups will have same or similar focusing distances but the magnification increases when focal length increases.

e.g.
- Hoya Closeup +2 or +4
- Canon 250D or 500D (expensive but give better quality and lesser distortion)
- Nikon 4T, 5T or 6T (expensive but give better quality and lesser distortion)
- Raynox DCR-250 (expensive but give better quality and lesser distortion)


8. What is an extension tube ?
It is a hollow tube (no element) which mounts in between the lens and camera body. The purpose is to move the lens farther from the film or digital sensor. The farther away the lens is, the closer the focus, the greater the magnification, and also the greater the loss of light. When a lens is focused at infinity, its maximum magnification is the length of the extension divided by the focal length of the lens.

The focusing distance is depend on the focal length of the extension tube and the focusing distance of the lens.

e.g.
- Canon, Nikon or other brand original extension tube
- Kenko DG Teleplus Extension Tube Set, 12mm, 20mm and 36mm


9. What is focusing and working distance ?
Focusing distance is the distance between the sensor plane to the object.

Working distance is the distance between the lens front element to the object.


More FAQs soon ....
 

megaweb

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Jan 17, 2002
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#2
Which dedicated Macro lens should I get ? 50mm, 100mm or 180mm ? Original or 3rd party ?

It depends on your budget and the kind of macro photography you are interested in.


General Differences between these lenses are as follows:
  1. Quality, Build and its performance
    All dedicated macro lenses produce sharp images. Usually original brands will feature good contrast, distortion and sharpness in most apertures. In addition, original brands have better build and faster focusing speed than 3rd party brands.
  2. Cost
    Longer focal length macro lens are more expensive. For the cost-conscious, try 3rd party brands or shorter focal length lenses.
  3. Focusing Distance
    Short or long focal length has its own advantages. Shorter focal length is useful for still life photography. It allows you to handhold the lens at flexible angles during shooting. Long focal length is useful for nature photography especially to for insects that are sensitive to movement. These allow you to approach the insects at a greater ‘safe’ distance that does not disturb the insect yet allows good magnification to see the insect’s details. Such lenses tend to be heavy and you need to use a monopod or tripod to support their weight.
  4. Perspective
    Shorter focal length will give wider perspective in the background, thus showing more things within the frame. However longer focal length will show narrower perspective to avoid distractions in the background.
Type of macro photography:
  1. Still life
    If you are shooting closeup or macro of still life indoors (e.g. studio) or outdoors (e.g. flower), I would recommend that you get a shorter focal length macro lens like 50mm or 100mm. For indoor, wider perspective is not a factor. It is not advised to use long focal length macro lens if the room space is limited and extreme magnification is not required.
  2. Nature
    Factors:
    • Size of Object
      * Very Small (< 1:1) - Need additional add-on accessories like closeup filters, extension tubes or bellow to achieve magnification beyond 1:1. Remember to check the lens for extension tube support. Beyond 1:1 macro photography will result in shallow DOF.

      * Normal (life-sized) (> 1:1) - all macro lens is capable to achieve 1:1 magnification. Remember that longer focal length can produce narrower perspective to avoid more distracting things in the background.
    • Sensitivity of subject
      Longer focal length macro lens has its advantage to take insects due to longer focusing distance. Depending on the terrain, if you are unable to deploy any support like tripod/beanbag, medium range macro lens like 100mm is more flexible. Thus However you will need to learn tactics on how to approach closer to the insect.
 

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