Macro Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by JohnCC, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. JohnCC

    JohnCC TPF Noob!

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    Hello,

    My girlfriend is trying to create nail polish videos. This involves mounting a camera to a 9-inch tripod on her desk and videoing the nail painting and process. I clueless thought her Canon SX530 "baby DSLR" was good enough for this purpose but it turns out macro photography is an entire world on its own. That camera is not even close enough to being able to do what we want without filters, which will distort video.

    The words "macro photography" and "cheap" do not go together, I know. But I would like to hear of some equipment recommendations for this purpose. I see macro lenses anywhere from $400-$800; is there nothing in the $200 range that will do? I'd like to get a Nikon D5300 DSLR and buy a lense for that.

    What makes this so difficult is that I have no camera store nearby to even try this stuff out, and I've talked to a few photography vendors by phone and online and unfortunately they always push the most expensive options.

    TL;DR what is the most economical option for a macro lens + dslr camera combination that can shoot fingernail painting from a 9-inch tripod on a desk?


     
  2. Netskimmer

    Netskimmer No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    These MIGHT work:
    A-EXTUBEDG-C

    I've never tried them with video before. I shoot Nikon and I don't have much experience with video. Is it simply a matter of not being able to get close enough to fill the frame and focus?
     
  3. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I found one of these lenses at a flea market for $30 (with the nikon mount) and it has macro focusing capability but only at 300mm. Its not terrible but I cant say its great either. Macro tubes may do the trick or even a bellows, Nikon has made them over the years and since the F Mount has never changed the older ones will work (and can be found on a certain auction site).

    I have a set of the 1x 2x 4x filters (most likely similar to the ones you have) and they fun for effect but create to much distortion in my opinion for production work.

    This might be the lens you are looking for if you do end up with Nikon. There is a list of suggestions you can find here for other makers.

    Ken Rockwell has a nice list here for nikon ones and you shouldn't discount the older manual stuff.

    The truth is that true macro capabilities are often confused with close focusing capabilities. True macro photography is when the lens is capable of producing an image on the sensor that is larger than the physical item the image represents or at least 1:1. In other words if you are photographing a fly with a true macro lens and the fly is say 2mm the image projection on the sensor will be larger than 2mm. The truth is that generally a close to or slightly exceeding 1:1 ratio is still pretty "macro" by anyones case. You may be able to shoot what you need if you can get a lens that has a closer focusing distance than the lens you are currently using. You don't need a $1000 lens to get what you seek and people here will be able to point you to what you are looking for. I don't have a ton of experience with the Nikon macro lenses but I do have a Nikon and they are great cameras you will not be disappointed!

    You may also see an improvement if you shoot at a very small aperture (f22 or the like) which will give you a greater depth of field and may allow you to get the camera closer to the subject.

    Regards
    Dave
     
  4. JohnCC

    JohnCC TPF Noob!

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    Thank you Dave and Netskimmer! The Nikon D5300 does seem to be a solid DSLR, thanks I'm glad to hear that. :)

    The lens is the toughest thing. I think what you said makes some sense to me now but I'm still so lost as to what lense will really work best for her purpose.

    Here is a YouTube video by someone named simply nailogical (where all of this started)



    She films with this lens: Amazon.com : Nikon AF-S VR Micro-NIKKOR 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Vibration Reduction Fixed Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras : Camera Lenses : Camera & Photo

    When I saw the price of that lens I was floored. $896 for "just a lens." Granted, I am sure there is so much more to that lens that I don't understand because I'm not photo/video savvy, but I just don't think she NEEDS something like that to be able to do what she wants. (the best camera I even own is a GoPro Hero 4k black and some crappy drone cameras!)

    Basically, she just has to have a decent enough lens that will allow her produce videos like this person. They don't have to be the best of quality like she has obviously, but as long as the nail can be seen reasonably well it's good enough! The filter caps will create too much distortion especially for video, so that's why I'm just looking for lenses.

    Thank you both for the replies, I hope someone can point me to what I'm looking for if you didn't already with that $200 lens :)
     
  5. astroNikon

    astroNikon 'ya all Bananas I tell 'ya Supporting Member

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    There's a reason she uses the 105mm macro lens. For close up work. and that lens is super sharp.

    But they use the f/2.8 to take the background out of focus for the bokeh as you see in her photos. These lenses are not $200.

    You can use other lenses but don't expect the same result using the same techniques as that person. You might want to opt for a $200 P&S solution or use your cell phone.
     
  6. Dave Colangelo

    Dave Colangelo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I watched the video and there are a few things I noticed.

    I happen to have that identical tripod (the mefoto), its great! No issues holding up my D3300 with a 300mm lens and should suffice for what ever you are doing and I highly recommend it.

    One thing that I take issue with is her complaints with the 40mm lens. She says that she cant get close enough because of her tripod. I have a bit of an issue with this since that is a limit she is imposing as a result of the tripod she chose. First off she could stack some books up and bring the base closer to her camera or she can get a shorter tripod (mefoto even makes one and its cheaper) there are loads of tripod options out there. She could even extend the tripod to the floor and put it up against the end of the table and work near an edge.

    Another key take away is the lights. She makes a great point that you don't need to spend a fortune on lights but the bulbs (for white balance reasons) are important. In any video, light is key, generally you want to use more rather than less as you can always step you aperture to match.

    Regards
    Dave
     
  7. JohnCC

    JohnCC TPF Noob!

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    Just wanted to follow up!

    As luck would have it I ended up getting the D5300 and Nikon AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 85mm f/3.5G ED lens at HUGE discounts from a camera outfit I found that's going out of business, to the point that messing with the $246 lens wasn't worth it. Put it all on my amex for the insurance as well.

    I gotta agree Dave that I don't understand why she uses the tripod she does. Something about not having enough room or whatever. We have a desk tripod that is very similar to the one you suggested! We have good lighting as well, I'm hoping for the best with this setup.
     
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