Macro shooting handheld at 1.5:1

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Phil Rose
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Macro shooting handheld at 1.5:1
1 month ago

The images in the quartet of photos shown below are some of the 300 shots I took one afternoon earlier this week in my back yard. My E-M1 was fitted with the mZD 60mm 2.8 macro and a set of extension tubes (26mm). Shooting with the lens focus limited at 1:1, the effective reproduction ratio with the extension works out to about 1.5X.

For this post the resulting images were cropped down to about 1370 x 910 pixels--so since all were prepared at 100% and the same pixel dimensions, each subject is portrayed in the correct proportion to its life size. For an idea of the scale, consider that the width of each frame represents a dimension of about 3.5 millimeters. The ORF files were processed in LR 5.3 and printed to a JPEG file (combined as shown) using the Lightroom print module.

All shots were done handheld (camera held in right hand and flash with diffuser in the left). The camera was moved to bring subjects into focus. Of course I'd normally be shooting at something like f-8 or 11, but I have been seeing some hints of diffraction blur by F/11 and so I wanted to push to an aperture wider than usual so as to be well out of the range of visible diffraction effects. Of course you must "pay the piper" by having tissue-thin DOF. From what I've read, my total DOF in this setup is under 0.5 mm (less than 500 micrometers), and my results bear this out.

The eyes of the fly in the upper righthand photo are estimated to have a "pixel" density/dimension that would work out to a total of about 1 megapixels...if the eye was scaled up to the specification of m4/3 standards--i.e., if his "sensor" wasa full 13x17 mm. I wonder how much RAM he has.

From upper left (clockwise): ant (with body length about 4 mm); fly (unknown species); red mite (this is an arachnid, but not a spider and barely 1 or 1.5 mm long); Long-legged irridescent fly (body length about 5 mm).

1/250 @ F/6.3, ISO 200, hand held. All subjects were alive and shot outdoors in natural setting.

If you're going to try this, I suggest skipping the morning coffee. Oh, and maybe its also best to get to doing it beforeyou reach my 75 yrs of age.

Phil

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