Home Macro Studio

Started Apr 1, 2012 | Discussions thread
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WilbaW
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Home Macro Studio
Apr 1, 2012

There was some interest in this photo I posted in the "show us your gear" mini-challenge -

My "studio" is the top of a cheap flat-pack bookcase, which holds all the gadgets, tools, and props I need. The bookcase comes up to my solar plexus when I'm standing, which makes a handy working height.

The camera is on Manfrotto 055XPROB legs with the column fully extended, and a 322RC2 ball-head.

The 430EX II is attached to an E-TTL cable, which is attached to a 483LCD mini ball-head, which screws onto the head of an old Anglepoise lamp I rescued off the street. I modified the spring mounting points so that the lamp base holds up the flash a bit better, but it's still droopy and needs the joints screwed up tight to hold a position. Sometimes I need to put a brick on the base so it doesn't topple over.

The flash is wearing a paper towel diffuser made out of the lids of hot food containers (thin cardboard with silver on one side) -

Here's a better shot to see what's going on -

The subject is held up by a "helping hands" thingy for holding electronic components while you solder them together. I got a better one since then 'cos that one's so cheap and nasty.

When I'm shooting I have the curtain open for light from the window, which helps a lot with framing and focussing. If I don't have enough I'll use a little booklight to add some light right up close to the subject.

That's a 450D, with 65mm of extension tube, a 50/1.8, and a 250D close-up lens, which gives about 1.6:1.

I generally use settings like ISO 100, 1/200, and f/11-13 in manual mode. For moderate magnification E-TTL II usually works, but manual flash works much better when it gets tricky.

Using Live View, I'll move the subject or use a macro rail (not shown in these photos) to get it roughly in focus and framed, magnify the critical area, then flex the tripod back and forward to see what looks best on the monitor as the focus sweeps over the subject. When I have it in the right place I fire the shot.

I prefer my ebay cheapo "four-way" macro focussing rail to the much more expensive Manfrotto single axis one I got first.

The flash power is low so the flash duration is very short, and therefore the effective shutter speed is fast enough that it doesn't matter that I'm touching the camera.

I'll post some shots in a reply to this message.

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Canon EOS 450D (EOS Rebel XSi / EOS Kiss X2)
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