Macro - Lens or Camera, Or am I just being anal?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Edward Nelson, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Edward Nelson

    Edward Nelson TPF Noob!

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    Howdy,

    I have been into photography for about 4 years, I have been doing it as a hobby and for work as well.

    Right now I am doing a project for work, I have to take a LOT of photos of small surface mount electronic components (roughly 1100+ photos!!).

    I need some advice on how to take crisp and sharp photos of some very small stuff (some about 1.00mm by 0.50mm in size). Obviously these will not be moving (or flying) around ;) so I am not worried about portability.

    Here is an example:

    [​IMG]
    (I circled it for those that may have missed it... :p )

    The photos have to be cut out in PS and placed on a 800x800 white background and they are stressing that the photos be as crisp and clear as possible. I have been noodling around and found that with mirror lock-up, manual focus, a remote and a weighted tripod my photos are still coming out a little blurry around the edges and and the photos are not as detailed as their competitors (Digikey.com and others):

    [​IMG]
    ISO 100, F11 1:1

    In my opinion the above photo looks very "soft" and not as sharp as I want it. I am currently using a Canon EOS Rebel XS and a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro, but I think that this lens may be a bit too long, I find that I am too far away, would the 60mm EFS Macro be better for this kind of project? -Or- Is it my camera? I have funding to upgrade to a 50D IF needed, but I am trying to avoid it.

    So should I upgrade my Camera? Or get the 60mm EFS Macro, or both? Either is an option for me, I just need advice.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The MP-E 65mm is probably what you need.

    A normal (1:1) macro lens is not going to get you close enough. The MP-E 65 can go to 5:1.

    Those kinds of magnifications are tricky to work with though...

    Just to give you an idea of scale:
    [​IMG]
    The chip is 1mm square. This photo was at 4:1. I took it with two lenses attached together with a macro coupler.

    That might work for you too, but it is even trickier than the MP-E 65...

    DOF is VERY small at these magnifications - like 1mm or less.
     
  3. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    You will definitely want to use electronic flash as the lighting source for high-magnification macro work; its ultra-brief duration will stop camera vibrations. With the flash fairly close to the subject to be photographed, you'll be able to use 1/4 to 1/8 power flash pops to get sharp,clear photos that will withstand high magnification. You are going to need a LOT of magnification to get those tiny objects looking good at 800x800. Assembling the required components will be a job.
     
  4. Edward Nelson

    Edward Nelson TPF Noob!

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    Interesting, I am looking at pricing on the MP-E 65mm lens and it is within my budget.

    How will it work with larger subjects? Say 3.5mm to 6mm (squared) in size?
     
  5. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm going to use full frame dimensions here, just because I know them off the top of my head.

    At 5:1 a 6mm square object would occupy 83% of the frame horizontally, and 125% vertically. So, you would actually have to back off a little - 4:1 or 3:1.

    Essentially - you could fill the entire frame with a 6mm object.

    At 5:1, the maximum size that you could photograph would be an object 7.2mm x 4.8mm - anything bigger than that would spill over the edges.

    At 1:1, you're looking at 36x24mm. Anything between those sizes would work great with the MP-E 65. Smaller if you have a crop sensor. (Which you do.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2010
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Forgot to mention...

    It doesn't matter. 1:1 is 1:1. The 60mm macro will give you exactly the same picture as the 100mm macro. The only difference will be how close you have to be to do it.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I agree the canon MPE 65mm is going to be the ideal tool for this kind of high magnification work if you are looking at the current crop of DSLR macro lenses. If you have a look here:
    MPE 65mm test shot series - a set on Flickr
    you can see a series of test shots that gives you an idea of the different magnifications that the MPE 65mm macro is capable of achiving. However I'm looking at that item you posted and you might also want to throw a 1.4 teleconverter or even a 2* teleconverter (sigma or canon make will fit the MPE) into the bag as well.
    Also pay close attention to the apertures listed for each shot - there is an optimum aperture and as you get more magnifciation you have to use wider and wider (smaller f number) apertures otherwise diffraction will soften the end result a lot.

    Also if you are after crisp sharp images as well I strongly recomend that you look into focusing stacking:
    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/macro-photography/193600-what-image-stack.html
    That is my explination and also lists out the software I use. There are several other software brands on the market both free and costing and if you search around there is a lot of material written on focus stacking.

    I'm not sure what other setup gear you have but I would also recomend a good focusing tail and for this I recomend the ebay HongKong rails (which are also sold by Adorama as Adorama focusing rails). I use these myself and they are vastly superior to the manfrotto focusing rails for this kind of work. If you want the best on the market its novoflex but they are very clostly.

    A good tripod head is also a must and the manfrotto Junior Geared head is a well recommended and used tripod head for this kind of work. It allows fine controled movement in each of the 3 axis which is very important for helping you frame the shot.

    edit - also get yourself a little LED single bulb torch with a flexi arm. Cheap little point light source that I find very helpfull when focusing; especailly indoors where lighting is often quite dim (in terms of photography). The other option to this is the macro twinflash setup from canon however since you are not chasing after insects this is rather an expensive lighting setup that you can likley do just as well without using cheaper altneratives.


    You might also want to check out John Hallmen's setups
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnhallmen/
    He works almost exclusivly with other options aside from the MPE (infact on his flickr he has a comparison review with the MPE and some of his other setups) and some of them might be more in tune with your needs. However I have little idea of the market price nor the items themselves to give my own recomendations as to lenses and setups so if you are interested best contact John himself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2010
  8. Edward Nelson

    Edward Nelson TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys,

    I have sent "thank's" to all of you.

    I think that based on my reading the MP-E 65mm will probably work for me, I believe that my local store has one for rent, so I can oogle it and make sure it is what I am looking for.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Its not an easy lens to use at first and one bit of gear I forgot to mention was an anglefinder. Canon makeone but there are some cheaper market options (seagull and hoodman) which are pretty much just as good as the canon and a lot cheaper. They have their own focusing diopter as well as the ability to magnify the viewed image through the viewfinder. You might find one a good help to getting the proper focus with this lens.
    It is not easy focusing at 5:1 nor at magnifications like 10:1 - and it will take some practice with the setup so don't be afraid if your early attempts are less than in focus. Also the focusing rail will make things a lot lot easier (just don't get the manfrotto one ;))
     

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