Macro advice please

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  1. #1
    Member sbkurtz's Avatar
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    Macro advice please

    Guys, a bit new to photography and wanted to get some advice on a particular item I found on the famous auction site. From what I can tell, this is a wide angle attachment that fits onto the lens. Its rather inexpensive at $25, but it 'seems' to do a good job at both macro and wide angle, both of which are of high interest to me. Can anyone with experience or advice on this kindly let me know your thoughts. Link below or item 370346695582
    http://cgi.ebay.com/0-5x-WIDE-ANGLE-...item563a621b9e
    thanks

  2. #2
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: Macro advice please

    I would advise against that; it is what we call an "afocal attachment" which has no focal length, but just squeezes the light rays into a smaller bunch so that it would fit into the camera lens. Image quality would suffer significantly, and also the diminished image size would not help either.

    What you want is a close-up supplementary lens, some people call it "dioptre lens". It looks like a screw-in filter, and fits to the front of the camera lens the same way.

    It is numbered in dioptric values: No.1 means it has a focal length of 1m, No.2 means 1/2m, No.3 means 1/3m, and so on.

    Say you have a No.1 of the right diameter fitting and screw it to the front of the lens. Your infinity setting would become 1m and anything closer would be taken care of, by the helicoid focussing drive in the lens itself. In that sense, you should look for one of an appropriate power: if your lens can go down to, say, 1/3m, then you should get a No.3 so as to avoid overlap.

    I hope this makes sense to you; and good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: Macro advice please

    To use your existing lens for close-up or macro photography, the best thing to use would be an extension tube set.

    This will mount between the lens and the camera body enabling you to focus on objects closer to the camera, however, with the extension tube in place, you will no longer be able to focus to infinity.

    Extension tubes can be quite cheap but if you want one which will preserve the auto-focus or other functions of your lens then these will more.

    The main advantage of the extension tube is that you don't add any other optical surfaces which can only degrade the quality.

    With a high quality close-up filter as suggested by Seele you probably wouldn't notice any real loss of image quality but a set of extension tubes will allow you to focus on objects much closer to the lens.

    This image was taken using a Zenit-E 35mm camera with the standard 58mm lens with a 25mm extension tube. The escapement was about 20mm across and 100mm from the front of the lens.


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  5. #4
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: Macro advice please

    cbrown,

    While extension tubes would be another way to achieve greater image magnifications, they tend not to play well with more modern cameras where there are increased number of electrical connections between camera and lens. The use of close-up supplementary lenses would solve the problem even if using a camera with fixed lens, it is likely that the OP uses a digital camera, so even if it has a fixed lens, the result can be previewed in near-real-time.

  6. #5
    Member sbkurtz's Avatar
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    Re: Macro advice please

    Im not sure that I totally understand, but I do think that you just saved me from buying something I may regret. Thanks!

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    Re: Macro advice please

    I would second the recommendation for close up rings - even those that don't electrically connect the lens to the body. Preserving autofocus and in some cases metering is not that critical for close-up work with a digital camera where everything can be previewed.

    I have used close up filters in the past, but have moved to rings and have used on film, very early digital SLRs and latest generation digital SLRs.

    Close-up rings don't add anything into the optical path - so all the money you spent on really good optics is not degraded.

    Rings can easily be moved between lenses as well - (which is really an argument against dedicated macro lenses).

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    Member sbkurtz's Avatar
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    Re: Macro advice please

    do you have any examples or links of these?
    Quote Originally Posted by WatchBuff0 View Post
    I would second the recommendation for close up rings - even those that don't electrically connect the lens to the body. Preserving autofocus and in some cases metering is not that critical for close-up work with a digital camera where everything can be previewed.

    I have used close up filters in the past, but have moved to rings and have used on film, very early digital SLRs and latest generation digital SLRs.

    Close-up rings don't add anything into the optical path - so all the money you spent on really good optics is not degraded.

    Rings can easily be moved between lenses as well - (which is really an argument against dedicated macro lenses).

  9. #8
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: Macro advice please

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchBuff0 View Post
    I would second the recommendation for close up rings - even those that don't electrically connect the lens to the body. Preserving autofocus and in some cases metering is not that critical for close-up work with a digital camera where everything can be previewed.

    I have used close up filters in the past, but have moved to rings and have used on film, very early digital SLRs and latest generation digital SLRs.

    Close-up rings don't add anything into the optical path - so all the money you spent on really good optics is not degraded.

    Rings can easily be moved between lenses as well - (which is really an argument against dedicated macro lenses).
    Some modern digital SLR cameras would not allow for non-matching stuff to be attached and function properly, unless some relatively complex sequence is performed in terms of setting up.

    It is a bit of a fallacy that, not adding anything to the optical path would preserve the optical quality. Here we are talking about optimization of the conjungates, in other words, the subject distance within which the lens is designed to perform. For a consumer grade zoom lens of modern manufacture, it would be designed to be at its best at moderate to distance subjects, anything closer it would not be working to full capacity.

    This explains why, during the time when 50mm was considered the standard lens, working with increased extension really required the lens to be reversed. The more highly corrected a lens is, the more of a likelihood that it's optimized for a narrower band of working distances. For instance, a highly-corrected 50/1.8 with six elements would give less satisfactory results than a more modest three-element 50/2.8, if the extra extension is the same, giving the same reproduction ratio. The more modest lens will hold its superiority unless the higher grade lens is reversed.

    Talking about close-up photography would require a big book to cover all grounds, and we can talk about the theoretical ideal case scenario with tremendous financial investments. Anyway, the OP asked if a certain product is of use, and we have established that it is not, and he prefers something low-cost, which can be simply screwed into the front of the lens and then get on with it, then what he's asking for is a supplementary lens.

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