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Old Jan 3, 2013, 12:11 AM   #1
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Default Gadgets - Christmas Present

I'm not entirely sure this classifies as a gadget, some people might think it is too big. But in my opinion it does. It's not huge in the grand scheme of things. It's got a very particular use. Most people would look at it and say "huh?", even quite a few photographers. Many photographers wouldn't use one if they had it, and others (me up until recently) think they are an extravagance or a novelty and would put their money elsewhere. However, recently I've been so incredibly frustrated without it, that I prevailed on my hubby to buy it for me for Christmas. I used it once and couldn't believe what a difference it made! I now wish I had bought one years ago.



I had just about given up using a tripod for macro, I could never quite get the tripod positioned correctly to give me the focus at the magnification I wanted. It's an absolute breeze with macro focusing rails, get the tripod close to the right spot and then use the rails to move the camera to the right spot. The threads move the camera such a little bit that it's easy to use the LCD to see it come into proper focus (never thought I would say that!).

And besides, I wanted to show off my new purchase.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 5:47 AM   #2
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I would consider that to be a very cool gadget. One, indispensable, for the type of photography that it's designed for.

If I didn't already have a gimbal mount on my tripod I would definitely get this as I also do a fair amount of macro -mostly flowers,

Very nice Xmas present.

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Old Jan 3, 2013, 5:48 AM   #3
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That certainly does look like something that would make macro easier with a tripod.

But you know, now you are going to have to prove it's worth to us with many amazing macros. I see a macro challenge in our future.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 7:40 AM   #4
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Unfortunately, too many people today overlook such things. They focus 100% on body and lens being used. When, quite often, another accessory has a much greater impact. Enjoy your new tool!
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:13 AM   #5
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Do you need to attend a class to learn how to use it appropriately? LOL
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:24 AM   #6
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great shot of a cool gadget!
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 10:44 AM   #7
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That is definitely a gadget, and definitely very cool!
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 3:38 PM   #8
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Thank you, all! John, you are so right that it isn't all about the camera and lens (though that can make a big difference). In the case of macro (and getting even closer than 1:1), it's more about the accessories. In other cases, like flash, where it's more in the knowledge of how to use it correctly than it is even the equipment itself (at the moment I'm frustrated with flash also because I don't understand yet how to use it correctly, but have been completely distracted by macro).

Macro seems to be one branch of photography where the accessories are almost as important (they certainly make life easier) than the lens, and definitely more important than the camera.

While the rails look pretty intimidating, they are actually pretty simple. This particular one has at least one feature that's nice to have (and I wish I had remembered about it today at lunch), the ability to lock the rail in location so you can't change the location if you accidentally turn the knob. Most of the markings are for centering the camera on the rails, if you need to do that.

Zig - I hadn't thought about it, but you are right about the Gimbal. It would allow similar small adjustments in location, but perhaps wouldn't have the ability to lock things down at a certain spot? I don't really know, I've never used one. I tried doing a series with slightly different focus points today with the idea of stacking them. Only problem is that I wasn't watching the exposure and had too much dynamic range so the white clover/grass flower that was my target got blown out with the darker shadows being properly exposed. Sigh! Always something goes wrong, always something I forget to check. But at least I'm convinced I could use the rails to get a decent series for stacking, assuming I get everything else right.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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mtngal - I think you are right about the macro rails and focus stacking. I have tried doing focus stacking of orchids by focusing on different parts of the flower that are increasingly further from the lens but I believe manually focusing and then moving the camera would be more precise. I've used this same technique on a larger scale with manual focus lenses by putting them at closest focus and then moving myself and the camera back and forth until focus is reached, it can work remarkably well and in some cases much better than standing still and trying to get adjust focus.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 8:13 PM   #10
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ramcewan is absolutely correct. Your little gadget beats the dickens out of trying to manipulate the lens to get proper focussing in macro shots.
That's a very well done photo of your gadget!
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