Friday, October 14, 2016

Macro perspective on a budget!

If you are interested in getting really close and doing photography of really small things then macro photography is your thing. If you try with your normal kit lens or with a 55-200 mm lens which is in most peoples kit you will notice you cant get close enough. When you do the camera would not focus!!! The reason for this, your lens as a minimum focusing distance of the lens does not allow this. As a result the object is too close or is closer than than the minimum focusing distance. You can find the minimum focusing distance on the technical specifications on your lens manufactures website for the Nikon 18-55 it is 0.28 m and for Canon 18-55 0.25 m. The second option is to zoom in and then take a photo and then crop in to get photo. When you zoom in the photo looks really pixelated. Below is an image I have made at 55 mm using a 500-200 mm lens at f22

(55-200 f4-5.6) 55 mm ƒ/22 ISO 400 1/15
If you can get your hands on a 55-200(Nikon) lens or 55-250 (Canon) mm lens then the result is sightly better. The below photo is with the same setup with me zooming in and the cropping the photo

(55-200 f4-5.6) 200 mm ƒ/22 ISO 400 1/15
There is however a couple of alternatives on the cheap, you could use an extension tube. An extension tube fits between the lens and the camera body on the lens giving you the option to get closer to your subject. This is great except that your camera may not be able to tell you that if the subject is in focus. The extension tube as the name suggest extends your lens so it adds distance. With more distance there is loss of light. With loss of light your camera does not always auto-focus. There are two kinds of extension tubes ones which are manual locus ones and one which have auto focus. The auto focus ones are more expensive. Another option is to use a reversal macro ring. What this does is it attaches itself on the front of your camera lens and then you can mount your lens backwards on your camera there by the part which mounts is actually outside and the front part is on the camera mount. This is an okay solutions but you don't get auto focus and also don't get to control your aperture. This will tempt you to start looking around for macro lenses you will see they are not cheap.

There is however another option - get a Close-Up Macro Filter which attach it in front of your lens. What this is a series of glass attachments which help you get closer to the subject.
Below is a photo made using the same setup but I zoomed in at 105 mm with the attachment. This is the image which fills up the frame. and does not require me to crop in to get the same perspective as above. This is great if you have to really blow up the image the details are preserved and you can really do some amazing macro work.
(55-200 f4-5.6) 105 mm ƒ/22 ISO 400 1/15
What's more is that this setup starts at about Rs 300 and goes up to about Rs 1000. The price varies depending on your lens thread and the quality of glass. You can buy it off your favourite e-commerce site and get started with macro photography.

It is not as good as a dedicated macro lens but close enough.. Below is an image made using a 105 mm f2.8 micro lens by Nikkor. which is way more expensive than this macro adaptor. There is a difference in terms of colour rendition, overall sharpness, compression and lens distortion. Macro lens's can also stop down to insanely small numbers. This Nikkor lens can close down to f45 which is a really small aperture which works great for macro work.

(105 mm f2.8 Mico) 105 mm ƒ/22 ISO 400 1/15
If you are serious about macro photography then renting one would make more sense or you could buy one. Check out Ken Rockwell's website on various macro lenses and how shoot macro. If you are on the fence about doing macro work this is a great way to find out if you are really interested in the subject before you drop a lot of money on the lens.

Below are some examples of me using the macro close up filter on few of my existing lenses

18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 ƒ/13.0  55.0 mm 1/60  250

55.0-200.0 mm f/4.0-5.6 ƒ/22.0  55.0 mm 1/200

18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 ƒ/13.0  45.0 mm 1/125

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