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Old Aug 27, 2004, 10:22 AM   #1
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Location: Beaverton, OR
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When I am shooting macro shots, frequently the object I am shooting is smaller than the front of my lens. The lens I usually use is 82mm (3.2") in diameter. If I put a 20mm extension tube between the lens and the camera, I have to get in very close to the subject to focus. This is usually 1" or less. With the lens this close to the subject, it is extremely difficult to light the subject since the lens blocks the light. There are ring lights available but I have not seen any this large. I am thinking of trying fiber optics.

The second problem is supporting the object to properly show the portion being photographed without showing the support. I used to have a small portable vise that had a vacuum bottom. It could be anchored on any smooth, non porous surface. Unfortunately, I can't find it so I jury-rig something to get the object in the right position. Florists clay would probably work for many things.

The third thing is depth-of-field. With the setup described above and everything in auto, DOF is about 1/16th of an inch! Consequently to get better DOF, I either use aperture priority at f16 or f22, or shifted program mode, again pushing the aperture to its smallest opening. Either of these methods results in a shutter speed of 2-4 seconds in room light. Even in this configuration, DOF is only an inch or two.

If I have some time this weekend, I will take some pictures of my Nikon extension tube setup using my Minolta.

Thank you and good day.
Cal Rasmussen
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Old Aug 27, 2004, 12:09 PM   #2
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Yeah, dof is a pain isn't it? I posted some fly pictures in the wildlife forum. In one the fly had its tongue out. The only thing in focus was the tongue! Here's a link to the post. I can't change the aperture on my camera. The front of the lens says f=8.2 - 23.3mm.
I haven't had any problems with lighting a subject in macro (I'm talking reversed lens here). I have more problems with reducing the amount of light on an object. I normally do it in a darkish room which has lots of light coming from one corner. When I do need more light I use a 60w bulb. It doesn't give me any problems. If you got yourself some wood covered in foil you could use a bulb and bounce the light around and all over the object. It might be worth a try. You can buy underlay for laminate flooring with has a foil coating.

And you forgot to mention one other thing which I'm sure you've noticed. Macro is fun! :lol:
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