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March 17
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Macro-Photography

Mon Mar 17, 2014, 7:00 AM


What's Macro Photography? Technically a Macro photograph shows a subject that is life size compared to the size of the negative of a SLR or sensor in a Full Frame DSLR, that's a 1:1 reproduction ratio aspect. For example, if we take a macro of an object wich is 35 mm long, it will cover the whole frame, no matter what size the reproduction, if we are shooting with a Full Frame camera. Often a ratio aspect of 1:2 is also considered Macro, although that ratio shows subjects wich life size is half of the size compared to the negative or sensor, I preffer to call those pictures Close-up photograpies.
Here is an example of what I'm saying: I shot a measuring tape with my D600, wich is a full frame camera, and my macro lens set at the maximun magnification. As you can see there's exactly 35 mm of the tape.
Dsc9402 by MarcosRodriguez
Example of 1:1 ratio aspect with a full frame camera

What do we need to do Macro Photography? Well, firstly a camera, preferably a reflex, most compact cameras offer a Macro mode, but the pictures you get barely can be cosidered real Macro, we can say they are close-up photograps. The second thing you need is a lens that lets you focus very close to the subject you wish to shoot. If you have the budget, you can consider buying a Macro lens, they are expensive but will give you fantastic results. I personally own the Tamron SP AF 90mm f2.8 DI Macro, wich is a fantastic lens. There are a few others in the market, Nikon and Canon have their own Macro lenses and Tamron and Sigma have good kits too for all the camera brands.
Dsc9400 by MarcosRodriguez 
This is my macro lens, the Tamron 90 mm, a fantastic one

If you can't afford a Macro lens, there are other ways much more affordable of doing this kind of photography. In fact if you have a DSLR with a kit lens, like the 18-50 mm wich comes with many cameras for beginners, then you already have everything to do Macro photographs, by doing a simple technique: the reversed lens technique. It consists on removing the lens from your camera, turning it 180 degrees, and holding it carefully and firmly against your camerabody to avoid no light to come inside the camera. You will have to focus manually by moving the camera forward and/or backwards, as there are no electric contact between the camera and the lens. Also with a finger you have move the lever that operates the lens diafragm to the widest aperture.That's all, just find a subject, focus on it and shoot!! It's not easy, you'll need quite a few attempts, but it's a technique that worths a try.Warning!! This technique must be done at your own discretion!! If you decide to do it, be very careful, if your lens fall from your hands it can be damaged, and dust may enter into your camera and your sensor may get dirty!! You can buy for a low price a reversing ring, wich is a simple plastic ring that will allow you to screw your lens reversed into the camera without the needing of holding it with your hand, they are cheap and will prevent damages to your equipment. Also if you have two kit lenses, like a 18-50 and a 50-200 and such, you can buy other kind of adapter ring, wich will alllow you to screw one lens reversed to the other.
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This is an example of those two techniques, the reversed wide angle lens, and the combination of two lenses (image from wikipedia)

Another cheap way of doing macro is with close-up filters. These filters work as magnifying glasses, you just have to screw them into your lens and you are ready to shoot. They usually come in a kit of several filters, each of them will give you a different magnification, and can be used separatedly or can be screwed one onto another to get more magnification. they won't give you the quality of a macro lens, but it's a good way to start with.
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Close-up filter/lens (image from wikipedia)

Finally we have the estension tubes, they are placed between the camera and the lens and the result is a decrease in the focus distance and an increase in the magnification that the lens can give. These tubes usually come in a kit of three pieces which can be used individually or all together. Also there are extension tubes with or without electronic contacts the ones with electronic contacts will allow you to control all the features of the lens, but are more expensive; the ones without contacts won't let you control any feature of the lens. The problem with this techique is that a lot of light will be lost and a flash or another kind of lighting could be useful.

Name of Image 
Extension tubes (image from wikipedia)




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:icongreenbank:
greenbank Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2014
For film cameras (remember them?) you could also get items which combined a teleconverter and an extension ring. I had an Elicar 2x teleconverter (these double the focal length of your lens) which, by pressing a catch and turning a ring, became a variable 2x-3x macro extension ring. Very useful piece of kit. Nowadays I use a simple set of various-sized auto extension rings on my Olympus SLR.

Film cameras are very cheap these days. You can get a pre-loved Pentax or Olympus fully-manual SLR, with through-the-lens metering (essential for macro work), plus a superb macro lens around 50-90mm, for a couple of hundred bucks in top condition: much less if you can accept cosmetic damage. These cameras will keep working for decades to come. Canon and Nikon will cost a bit more (sometimes a lot more!), but they too will be going strong when your grandkids are ready for them.

Back in the day, there was an easy-to-remember system: "close-up" used to be defined as magnification (relative image size on the negative) between 1:10 and 1:1. Macro was 1:1 up to 10:1; anything 10:1 or over was microphotography (or photomicrography) - usually shot through a microscope, or similar specialised imaging system.
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:iconmarcosrodriguez:
MarcosRodriguez Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Nice, thanks for the info!! I know some people itll use teleconverters convined with extension rings and/or reversing rings for macro, with their DSLR.
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:icongreenbank:
greenbank Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014
You're welcome.

I never did much macro work (which is why I got rid of the heavy Elicar). I think instead of saying TTL is "essential" for macro, I should have said "extremely useful" - without it, you have to do a fair bit of tedious calculation, but that's do-able if you have to. I've still got books with page after page of the necessary formulas and tables.

The big problem with reversing rings is functionality. It worked very well optically (and still does), but only a simple lens which just passes the light through and stops down manually (like the old Pentax M42 screw-mounts) can get by with a plain screw-on reversing ring. Anything more sophisticated - full-aperture viewing, auto aperture, auto focus, whatever - requires a coupler to the rear (now the front) of the lens when reversed. On the Olympus OM-2 series, for example, the metering system talks to the lens through a set of contacts on the lens mount; without a coupling ring as well as a mounting ring, the meter won't work at all.

Extension tubes and rings get over this by providing all the mechanical and/or electrical coupling just like an ordinary lens mount. I have even seen a zoom (that is, variable) extension tube for the Olympus OM system, which was a very expensive piece of kit.
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:iconmarcosrodriguez:
MarcosRodriguez Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I never tried a reversing ring myself, but I did try reversing directly the lens, quite hard to focus and to control manually the aperture. I've seen people doing a kit with wires that connect the contacts of the lens with the camera when using a reverse ring.
Now I'm using a kit of extension tubes with electric contacts combined with a 50 mm f1.8 or with my macro lens a 90mm.7
Thanks so much for the info, it's always nice to hear things like these. :D
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:iconkaz-d:
Kaz-D Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Fantastic!
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:iconmarcosrodriguez:
MarcosRodriguez Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
Thank you Katy!! :D
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:iconsheilabrinson:
SheilaBrinson Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I started with a macro lens, but after a few days of buying the lens i read online a cheaper way to take macro photography so i sold the lens. Bought the ring for reverse... got bored. Then i bought close ups and extension tubes (not the electronic ones) ....got frustrated with the quality...(don't get me wrong, it was a good quality but not the quality i wanted). Then sold them again. Noooow i have the extension tubes but this time are the electronic ones with AF made for canon... they are awesome!! So, in few words, i used all of these and fell in love with the last suggestion!

Great article by the way :heart:
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:iconmarcosrodriguez:
MarcosRodriguez Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
WOW, you tried all the possibilities :giggle: I've just received a kit of extension tubes yesterday, I can't wait to see what I can get with them.
Thank you!! :hug:
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:iconsheilabrinson:
SheilaBrinson Featured By Owner Mar 18, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
I did! It was craaazy ! 
You'll love them :)
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:iconarkiniano:
Arkiniano Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2014
Se agradece la información, de disponer de tiempo y dinero la verdad que me gustaría disfrutar de este tipo de fotografía ;)
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