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macro photography

Posted On: Apr 2, 2020

Seen by: 1171

Categories: Info

Author: Ton

Technically speaking, ‘macro’ means that the image on the sensor is the same size or larger than the subject. Generally speaking though, when people say macro, they mean the same thing as close-up.

o   Tripod.

You really need some support. The closer you get to a subject, the harder it will be to focus and to keep the camera steady.

One of the following items
o   Close-up lens
o   extension tubes (a seperate page about the use of extension tubes)
o   reversing ring
o   macro lens

A normal lens won’t get you close enough to a subject, generally not closer than about 60 cm. A close-up lens will get you closer. For things like flowers to be full screen, you need at least a 2x or 3x close-up lens. Disadvantage: the image sharpness will be a slightly lower.

Another way is to use an extension tube. This item is mounted between the camera body and the lens. Camera manufacturers produce dedicated tubes which will leave all automatic functions intact. They are expensive though. Tubes from other manufacturers will work, but you will lose some or all of the automatic camera functions. This could mean focussing and measuring light manually.

There is another way which may seem strange to some. By using a reversing ring you can mount the lens backwards on the camera body. This has the benefit of having a possibly sharper image if you can get the focus correct, which is a problem. All automatic camera functions are lost. The lens need to have the possibility to open the aperture for focussing. Most modern lenses sadly don’t have this possibility anymore.

A real macro lens will give you all the benefits of automatic functions and image sharpness. Macro lenses are specifically designed for this task. But because they are pricey, you need to be sure you’ll get into macro photography more often.

One of the next items
o   Light reflector
o   Macro light
o   Macro flash / speedlite

Macro photography requires very small aperture settings because of the very narrow depth of field. For eliminating motion blur you also need high shutter speeds. Unless there is direct sunlight, there will often prove to be too little light. You can raise the ISO a bit to say 800. Sometimes you can you can get away with a light reflector if direct sunlight is available. But if that is not enough you will need some artificial light.

Nowadays there are low priced LED lights available. The very cheap ones will prove to be useless because they deliver not enough light. Generally, best results will be had when using a ring light to prevent harsh shadows.

Much more light is available when a macro flash is used. This means you can also keep the ISO low. To prevent harsh shadows you will need a ring flash or a flash with some light diffusion.

o   Wind blocker

Small things in nature will tend to move in the wind. Every little movement will be too much in macro photography. A wind screen will be useful. This can even be a large camera bag, a piece of cardboard or your own body if possible.

o   Background

Depending on the subject, surroundings can be distractive in the image. A piece of black or white cardboard can be enough to save the shot.

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