Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?
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  1. #1
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    Question Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    A few years back I had a watch posted for trade and I got an offer to swap for a Canon 40D with 17-85mm lens. I knew nothing about photography (and still don't) but I became intrigued by the option to own a really nice camera, so I made the trade. I've used it a little since then, but only recently have I decided to try again. I have been most impressed by macro photography, so yesterday I bought a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. I barely even know what that means, but it gets great reviews! I've always used the standard auto functions on the camera and have never attempted to manually set all the variables. I would like to become more proficient, starting with watch pictures, so my questions are:

    1. What settings do you typically use?
    2. What settings would I use for a lume shot, in the dark?
    3. Should I get a light box?
    4. Is there a good book to read that could get me up to speed quickly?

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    The 100mm macro lens you have is PERFECT for watch photography!!! One thing I always use is a steady tripod. If you're shooting without a flash, shutter speeds indoors are going to be SLOW. Even with flash a tripod makes tweaking the composition easier than trying to hold the camera. I always use external flash bounced off a white ceiling or wall for natural looking lighting. But bouncing the flash off the wrong part of the ceiling can cause glare on the watch crystal. Take a test shot if you get glare aim the flash at a different part of the ceiling or wall and try again. If you don't have external flash you can still usually get good shots. The camera's auto white balance setting should correct any strange color cast(most artificial lighting has a color cast). And I would use a small aperture(large f stop number, such as f/16) for as much depth of field as possible(depth of field is how much you're getting in sharp focus). In macro or close up photography, depth of field is minimal and you'll need all you can get usually. You can do this by putting the camera in "A" (aperture priority)mode. You select the f stop aperture and the camera will select the correct shutter speed.

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    One thing I forgot to mention is in macro photography manual focus is usually used. Look through the viewfinder and focus the lens. If your camera has live view(almost all do nowdays), zoom the image on the part you want to focus on and focus manually.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeikoAutomatic_01 View Post
    The 100mm macro lens you have is PERFECT for watch photography!!! One thing I always use is a steady tripod. If you're shooting without a flash, shutter speeds indoors are going to be SLOW. Even with flash a tripod makes tweaking the composition easier than trying to hold the camera. I always use external flash bounced off a white ceiling or wall for natural looking lighting. But bouncing the flash off the wrong part of the ceiling can cause glare on the watch crystal. Take a test shot if you get glare aim the flash at a different part of the ceiling or wall and try again. If you don't have external flash you can still usually get good shots. The camera's auto white balance setting should correct any strange color cast(most artificial lighting has a color cast). And I would use a small aperture(large f stop number, such as f/16) for as much depth of field as possible(depth of field is how much you're getting in sharp focus). In macro or close up photography, depth of field is minimal and you'll need all you can get usually. You can do this by putting the camera in "A" (aperture priority)mode. You select the f stop aperture and the camera will select the correct shutter speed.
    Thanks for the great tips! I will have to try A mode. I do have a tripod, but I also opted to spend a little more and got the 100mm macro with image stabilization for some added help.

    I can't wait to try it out. I also wonder if an extension tube can lead to some really great closeups, but I'll stick with just the lens for now. I'm curious to see what an applied hour marker might look like really close up.

    Before getting the macro lens I tired one of those 10x magnifier additions that screws onto the front of the lens. It worker out well and I got some great shots, but not the quality of a macro lens. The magnifier has the same thread size of the macro lens, 67mm, so I can try that as well.

    Here's a couple of shots using my 17-85mm non macro lens with the magnifier.

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  6. #5
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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    Nice shots. Do you already have the 100mm or are you waiting on it in the mail? I don't think you;ll need extension tubes with the 100mm-it achieves life size 1:1 reproduction ratio, which means life size images on the sensor. About image stabilization, sometimes shutter speeds are still going to be too slow and you'll still need a tripod. What magnifier did you use for these with the 17-85?

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeikoAutomatic_01 View Post
    Nice shots. Do you already have the 100mm or are you waiting on it in the mail? I don't think you;ll need extension tubes with the 100mm-it achieves life size 1:1 reproduction ratio, which means life size images on the sensor. About image stabilization, sometimes shutter speeds are still going to be too slow and you'll still need a tripod. What magnifier did you use for these with the 17-85?
    I did get the lens already but haven't had much chance to use it other than a quick test. I know black Friday is coming up but I was inpatient. The magnifier is from Opteka. A pretty cool add-on for just $25

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    Last edited by TripleCalendar; November 13th, 2015 at 21:03.

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    Couple of quick pics

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    Good shots and great choice. I am not a fan of macro lenses but they can definitely help to get some great shots as you have clearly seen ;)
    A mode is a great advice, understanding the aperture triangle will go a long way, ad to that the rule of thirds (or the golden raton version) and you are good to go. And yes, a sturdy tripod is the best purchase you can make after a spare battery.

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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

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  11. #10
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    Re: Macro lens for watch pictures - any tips?

    It's an advanced method but I would suggest you try focus stacking (just Google for more info). In short, it's taking multiple photos with different focus and combining them together (using a software) for a greater depth of field, which is usually too short in macro photography. I'm still just learning this technique, here is my first attempt. BTW, the watch is Chinese Rodina, not Stowa.
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    Last edited by Okapi001; November 22nd, 2015 at 01:38.

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