A few questions regarding Macro

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dmatsui, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. dmatsui

    dmatsui TPF Noob!

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    I've been browsing these forums visiting the links given on here to look for a good macro lens that would satisfy what i want and would still fit in my budget. I ended up deciding the Nikon 105mm F/2.8 ED-IF AF-s VR micro would probably be the best option. I'm probably going to have to look for more options as i'm purchasing this in singapore and if they dont have it i'm in trouble.

    Anyway my question is what other accessories do you need for Macro photography besides the Lens? I've heard that lighting was very important for macro photography and it seems that a ring light is the best option. I'm curious as to how they work? How do they fit on your camera and how much would i have to pay for a ring light?

    As far as i've heard i would also need a tripod for Macro photography, that i have so it's no big deal, how necessary is a tripod for macro photography though?

    Lastly a light tent i'm guessing this is only necessary for when taking macro shots of say your figurines inside your house. How does it work and what would one need it for?

    Is there anything else i need to know? I dont want to get an expensive Macro lens only to hear that i'm going to have to spend another 500 euro's worth of equipment later. If i have to, no problem i'd just like to know before hand. Or well yes slight problem but it just means more saving.
    Thanks for the help :)


    now that i look at it this should probably have gone in the equipment section.
     
  2. Alfred D.

    Alfred D. TPF Noob!

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    It is.

    Have a look here.

    Depends: for a new A-brand ringflash a couple hundred. Less on Ebay. For a D-I-Y ringlight still less.
    And the cheapest I've seen (technically not a ringlight of course, but for the same application and remarkably effective):

    [​IMG]

    Very.

    Light tents are used to create shadowless images for small objects. Say smaller than a football, but larger than small jewelry. But not as small as macro sized objects, e.g. coins, bugs, or individual flowers, at 1:1. Besides: shadowless macro images are flat and featureless. Shadowless lighting is generally not desirable for macro since it makes details and textures hard to see.

    Plenty! You haven't even begun to scratch the surface of macro yet. Use TPF's search function or Google, type 'macro', hit Enter, and start reading up on it.

    Good luck!
     
  3. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    In order (more or less): The Nikon 105 is a great lens, you won't be disapointed. However, if you're buying it in Singapore, but live elsewhere, check on the warranty to ensure that there are no international issues.
    Lighting is critical to macro; ring likes work well for some situations and you can expect to pay anywhere from $50 US for a generic LED model to $300+ for a top of the line manufacturers model. Next up is the ring flash, which gives you TTL flash capabilities at macro distances; this moves into the $500 - 1000 range. For most of my lighting I use reflectors and diffusers to get what I want out of natural light. I also have a couple of calibrated sunlight lamps which I use (They run about $100/each).
    I've never had a use for a light tent in macro work, but I can see where it might be beneficial. A lot of this is dependant on exactly what sort of things you will be photographing.
    A tripod is very important, especially if you're dealing with very small subjects or very close up. Another beneficial accessory is a focusing rail; a type of tripod head which uses (usually) a rack and pinion to allow for very precise focusing. Remember when you're dealing with macro distances, you're talking aobout depths of field which may be only a few mm.
     
  4. Ben-71

    Ben-71 TPF Noob!

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    Great lens choice.

    Tripod –
    With Macro (and Tele), pictures are easy to blur by movement or vibration.
    A really steady tripod is quite helpful.

    I use series 5 Gitzo, either a tripod or a monopod, but, most of the time,
    that's overkill.
    Aluminium tripods are somewhat less shaky in wing gusts (an umbrella
    can be used to block much of the wind gusts from the camera/tripod).
    Carbon fiber tripods overcome vibrations much faster.

    The less leg sections there are, the steadier the tripod is.
    Using no center column, or using it at its lowest position, is steadier.

    A tripod that can get the camera to – or near – ground level is quite useful.
    For that, I bend the rule and attach a horizontal column under the center
    column.
    If you want to go all the way towards max' steadiness, use different tripod
    shoes for different circumstances (e.g.: long spikes for soft sand or grass).

    For stability, the head is as important as the tripod.
    Use one that's made to carry at least 2~3 times the weight of the heaviest
    equipment that you intend to mount on it.
    I use the Gitzo low profile 3-way head. I don't like ball heads, but that's a
    matter of personal preferences.
    Many people do like them, and there're some superb ball heads.

    With the load right above the apex of the tripod, there's minimum vibration.
    The further away the camera is to the side of the apex, the more vibration
    there is.

    Weight adds to the systems' stability.
    Hang a weight from under the tripod's apex.
    If the camera is off to one side, add weight on the opposite leg, so the
    camera doesn't fall over on the flower that you're picturing
    (This is important, as other people want to enjoy that flower ;) ).

    A step further towards minimum vibration would be to eliminate mirror vibration.
    Lock the mirror up and wait a bit before releasing the shutter.
    If a train, or a truck or whatever passes near by (=vibration), wait it over
    before taking the picture.

    However, there're situations where a tripod is unnecessary.
    If ambient light allows a fast shutter speed, it can be taken hand-held.
    If a flash is the main lighting, the flash would freeze movement.

    A ring light is good, but it's not a necessity.
    Marvelous pictures can be made with an on-camera flash with some
    softening adapter.
    A off-camera flash can be an improvement. It can be hand-held, or on
    another tripod/monopod, or mounted on a bracket beside/above the
    camera on the same tripod/monopod.

    Yes, you could get more equipment, such as extension rings or
    a remote shutter release. This can wait...

    Oh – one more thing that you may want to try, but I'd suggest that you first
    master the basics, is a polarizing filter. It helps bringing out more saturated
    colors in insects (not always).

    Don't count on the VR at the Macro range.
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    good advice in there from Ben - there are several tripod makes that will go down to very low heights (8-10cm) however check how they do it - some of the latest from Manfrotto eg: 055XPROB, do this by setting the centre colum to the horizontal - which means the head of the tripod and camera also end up at the horizontal - this can be a problem with many heads - there are 2 solutions:
    1) a rightangle adaptor that manfrotto sell that you can attach - good if you know you will be working low for a long time, but a little fiddly if you are just walking about and not always at the low heights

    2) the 322RC2 head can adapt (twist) to return your camer to the normal plane without any alterations to its attachment to the tripod or camera - its a ball head grip and works wlel
     
  6. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    If you are using some form of flash to light your macro subject, don't automatically assume you need to be using a tripod. Check out some of the insect photos round here and you'll find that most if not all were done hand held. The short duration of the flash itself does the work of freezing any movement, what it won't do though is ensure that your subject ends up in focus - something that's quite hard to achieve when getting really close, even breathing will make you move enough to lose it.
     
  7. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  8. dmatsui

    dmatsui TPF Noob!

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    wow thanks allot for all the help. It's going to take me a while to read all this through.
    Either way it looks like this might be a little much to handle for now. I dont think i'll have the funds to do all of this. I'll think about it but it looks like i might want to try something else before getting into macro photography.
     
  9. Chris of Arabia

    Chris of Arabia Herding cats since 1988... Supporting Member

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    Hey! Don't give up that easy on us. :hug::

    Get the lens (maybe try the Tamron 90mm or Sigma 105mm instead of the Nikon - they're around half the Nikon price), get a flash gun, go shooting and try it out. Learn as you go along, all you have to do is get close to things and focus, the rest is just practice and refinement.
     
  10. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    If you are taking pictures of static objects you can use bellows with enlarging lenses. These are very cheap for the quality. The drawback tends to be that they don't stop down quite as far as macro lenses.

    You don't need flash for static subjects - in fact I prefer not to use flash.

    Here is an earlier thread, with an illustration taken in natural light, about 1:1 macro on the cheap: link.

    What sort of magnification ratio are you looking for?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  11. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes.. don't give up so easily. Lack of funds just means more patience in finding good deals. I don't do much Macro so I rather not invest in macro (I do elsewhere). My "budget" macro setup which includes lens (tamron 90mm f/2.5 macro) and ring light (Vivitar 6000) cost me about $200 bucks. I recently found a converter specific to the tamron which gives me more working distance as well as 1:1 magnification for another $35. Before the tamron, I was using 1950s vintage screwmount bellows and 50mm or 135mm lenses. Yeh.. everything is manual focus and metering but I'm enjoying myself. that is what is important.

    I find flash almost a necessity for macro BUT there are ways to work around it. You could setup a tripod and take longer exposures (as Helen alluded to). It'll be difficult for anything that moves (even a slight breeze becomes a problem for flowers). But who said you couldn't manage from indoors.

    I've even seen people produce great photos without a macro lens... just a reversal ring.
     
  12. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hey...!! Thanks for the link Helen... The last post in the thread from Garbz (thanks too) just made me remember my childhood when I collected a few insects. I always wondered how some photos of insects were taken.. easy.. they were dead. heheh lol
     

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