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Thread: How To Take *Good* Macro Photos On A Budget

  1. #1
    Californian in DC DrWurm's Avatar
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    How To Take *Good* Macro Photos On A Budget

    I've posted about this before, but never with photos and in such detail. I hope it helps somebody out there.

    I figure I'll share my technique with the world here.

    What you'll need:
    1 Digital Camera (compact or DSLR)
    1 50mm fixed focal length lens
    -It's best to use a lens made for an old film camera. They have wide apertures, are comparably small, and can be found for very cheap.
    1 Small Sundew to practice on
    1 Adapter Ring (If using a DSLR)

    We'll start out with the compact digital camera since it's the easiest and cheapest.

    The compact digital camera featured is a KODAK MD853 Easy Share camera. Rest assured, there is no smoke and mirrors here. This camera cannot take anything close to a macro photo by itself. The black thing to the right is a 50mm lens from an old nikon EM.



    Here is the holding "technique." Just do whatever comes naturally. It doesn't matter if you hold the lens reversed or not. You can also use a magnifying glass in place of the lens.



    And that's all there is to it! Here are some of the results I've gotten. A lot of seasoned photographers couldn't believe I got these on a compact.
    D. muscipula typical


    D. graminifolia


    Fly on S. oreophila


    Fun stuff, right?

    Alright, for the people out there with DSLRs: this part is for you.

    First, you need to figure out the barrel diameter of your camera's lens and the barrel diameter of the 50mm lens you're reversing.
    My 40-150mm lens on my Olympus E-510 has a barrel diameter of 58mm. My 50mm lens has a diamter of 52mm. So i got a 52-58mm ring. You can find these on ebay for pretty cheap.


    Here's the order these go in.


    So then you just screw in matching diameters.....


    Now it's ready to shoot. Focus will be VERY close. Your plane of focus will be extremely thin at large apertures. When shooting at smaller apertures for more depth of field, a tripod is often helpful.
    To adjust the magnification, change the focal length on your zoom lens.


    You will probably notice moderate to severe vignetting depending on the zoom lens you use and the focal length you're using. You will always need to crop your photos. I won't claim that this isn't limiting, but you can still get some incredible shots. Here are some results.

    D. admirabilis


    D. multifida "Extrema"


    D. echinoblastus


    I hope you found this informative. Now go out and take some photos!

    Jason

  2. #2
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Those are cool pics! Maybe someday...

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    Devon's Avatar
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    I want to try that with my Kodak. Awsome pics! I like the multifida "Extrema". Thankyou for sharing.

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    About how much are those excessories?

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    Capensis's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks DrWurm. I've always wondered how you get such amazing macros. Now I gotta find a magnifying glass...
    http://www.terraforums.com/forums/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=6789&dateline=1352508752

  6. #6
    Californian in DC DrWurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimscott View Post
    About how much are those excessories?
    The adapter rings can be found on ebay for 4 dollars with free shipping.

    My 50mm lens came from an old box in the garage. Check your local craigslistings and garage sales for one. If that fails, pawn shops often have old dusty camera equipment they'd like to get off their hands. Ebay has decent 50mm lenses for around 50 bucks.

    I will caution you to stay away from canon FD lenses. They're good lenses for the cameras, however, when not attached to a camera body, the aperture diaphragm closes halfway, and cannot be manually adjusted. This would cause severe vignetting with any use.

    Jason

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    Carnivorous plant enthusiast vraev's Avatar
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    Holy crap!! Those are awsome man! the last two shots and that amazing final camera assembly.....that was just wicked. DAMN!!!!!!

  8. #8
    Californian in DC DrWurm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vraev View Post
    Holy crap!! Those are awsome man! the last two shots and that amazing final camera assembly.....that was just wicked. DAMN!!!!!!
    Haha, thanks a lot!

    Jason

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