Three Ways to Macro – Part One

A friend of mind from 20 or so years ago at work and I were talking the other day about photography during lunch.  We were having a general conversation when the subject of macro photography came up.  He told me that he was having trouble with the technique and as he didn’t have a macro lens, he was having trouble getting close enough.  I asked him if he had any of the “standard” Nikon 50 or 55 mm lens as if he did he could use a reversal ring for 1:1 macro shots.  He was quite puzzled when I mentioned a reversal ring so I tried to explain with limited success.  So, I next mentioned close-up filters (+1, 2+ +3 magnification strengths) as well as a close up extender that could be used with zooms, and other lens.  He was amazed that these other alternatives existed as his only reference was a dedicated macro lens.

This got me to thinking and I checked with some of my other photo friends at work and almost to a person they had not heard of the reversal ring trick or that you could use an close up extender with a large telephone (80-200).

So, this weekend I picked up some yellow roses, set the lights up and shot photos of the three different techniques and I thought I would share them with you in case you’re curious.

The full image first:

80 mm, minimim focus distance (80 inches) 1/250 @2.8

80 mm, minimim focus distance (80 inches) 1/250 @2.8

The following series were taken with and with out a close up extension tube.  With the tube on, the minimal focusing distance is shortened and the closer you get to the subject, the more dramatic the close up effect.  You may wonder if you achieve the same results with the zoom yes and I would say yes, but minimally.  The zoom can only do so much – even from the minimal focus distance; with the extension tube, you can really get in close to the subject.  The next series of images begin with the zoom at 200, then switching to the extension tube from minimal focus distance of about 64 inches down to approximately 10 inches.  I also took a shot of the set up for the last one – after all, seeing is believing:

Zoom at 135 mm, 95 inches minimal focus distance:

Zoom at 135, 95 inches minimal focus 1/250 @2.8

Zoom at 135, 95 inches minimal focus 1/250 @2.8

200 mm, 64 inches minimal focus, 1/250 @ 2.8

200 mm, 64 inches minimal focus, 1/250 @ 2.8

Extension tube: 64" minimal focus distance, 200 mm, 1/250 @ 2.8

Extension tube: 64″ minimal focus distance, 200 mm, 1/250 @ 2.8

Extension Tube, 45 inches minimal focus, 200 mm, 1/250 @ 2.8

Extension Tube, 45 inches minimal focus, 200 mm, 1/250 @ 2.8

Extension tube, 25 inches minimun focal distance, 185mm, 1/250, 2.8

Extension tube, 10 inches minimun focal distance, 185mm, 1/250, 2.8

Next post….the next two methods: The reversal ring and the true macro lens.

Oh, here’s the iPhone image of the 80-200 approximately 120 inches from the flowers.

IMG_4234

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