A new approach to Macro photography!

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Michael J Davis
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A new approach to Macro photography!
4 months ago

A 'new approach' is a bit optimistic, but today I went out to photograph some smaller creatures at a local nature reserve, and I realised I've never seen anyone expound the method I used.

Today I fitted a 10mm extension tube to my Panny 45-200 lens and kept that on for all my 'close photos'.

It meant that I was able to photograph with a magnification of between 0.05 (1:20) to 0.22 (1:4.5) - by altering the distance and zoom on the lens. Had I also taken the 16mm extension tube, I could have used a range down to 0.58x (1:1.8).

First some pictures (yeah! Could do better!):

Ragwort with Cinnabar larvae

Skipper on ragwort

Bluebottle on Ragwort

I've used ragwort in all these to show the relative scale. The first two are merely reduced to fit in approx 1000pixel with; the last one is a quarter frame to the same size.

The key is that with a 10mm extension the lens gives me a 4.2m distance to get 1:20 reduction, while zooming out to 45mm gives a 1:4.5 reduction at a closer (250mm) viewpoint. This is because the 10mm extension acts progressively more magnification as the focal length is decreased!

To save you thinking about it, I attach a table showing the effect of the 10mm and 16mm extension tubes, plus a combination of the two.

Now the table shows the effect with the lens at "infinity"; but, of course, the lens is capable of focussing down to 1m in normal mode. Thus starting with the above, and extension tubes that make electrical contact (I use the Meike set), the camera provides auto focussing as you go. (I leave for the reader an exercise of the focus range at each setting )

Frankly, although I've been doing something similar for some years, (without the auto-focus), I'd never 'formalised' what I was doing in the way I've done it above.

Hope you find it interesting!

Mike

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Mike Davis
Photographing the public for over 50 years
www.flickr.com/photos/watchman

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