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Old Feb 12, 2009, 6:56 PM   #1
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Hi,

I own a Sony A200 and have the following items.

Lens 18-70

Lens 70-300

Close up lens set +1 +2 +4 & macro

I would like to take some close up shots like the photo supplied but i am not sure which close up lens to useand if i need to stand closer to the object to get the shot or do i need to stand back etc.

I have tried each close up lens on both the lenses but everything just seems to be blurry.

Please advise what i am doing wrong and where do i need to start.

Thanks.


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Old Feb 12, 2009, 7:27 PM   #2
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The good news is that the close up lenses you have will all fit both your lenses.

The bad news is that neither lens is particularly sharp, and while close up lenses will allow you to focus closer, they will also decrease the sharpness of an image to some degree, and in order to get the kind of magnification it seems you're after, you'll probably need to use all of them.

There are better ways to do what you want to do than with what you've got. Sony has two macro lenses, the 50mm f/2.8 Macro Lensand the 100mm f/2.8 Macro Lens. Either of them is capable of doing what you want, though it would probably be easier with the 100mm lens. In addition to Sony's llenses, there are Sigma's 50mm F2.8 EX DG,70mm F2.8 EX DG,105mm F2.8 EX DG and180mm F3.5 EX DG, and Tamron's SP AF90mm F/2.8 Di and SP AF180mm F/3.5 Di LD.

If you had a reasonably sharp lens, you could use the close up lenses you've got, or even better, extension tubes.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 7:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply,i have been looking on ebay and i have seen the following

[align=center]TAMRON 35mm Zoom Lens (28mm-70mm)[/align]
[align=center]AE 3.5-22[/align]
[align=center]Would this be suitable[/align]
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 8:49 PM   #4
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I believe that's the Tamron 24-70 f/3.3-5.6, and no, that's actually worse than the lenses you've got.

If you want a really sharp, inexpensive lens to do macrophotographywith, the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 is very sharp and goes for <$100, but the close up lenses you've got won't fit it. (They won't fit the Tamron you mentioned either.)

You might look for a Minolta 35-70mm f/4.0 Macro. It also goes for less than <$100, but it's only a 1:4 macro lens. The sample photo you included was shot with at least a 1:1 macro lens. This lens also can't use your close up lenses.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 8:52 PM   #5
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I beg your pardon. There is a Tamron 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5, but it's not very good either. And it won't work with your close up lenses either.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 9:05 PM   #6
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Macrophotography is tough. There are lots of ways to do it, the cheapest is with close up lenses, and even the best ones will degrade the image quality. That's even if you use them with a good lens, and you don't have one.

The next method of doing macrophotography is to use extension tubes. These are tubes that fit between the lens and the camera. While they don't degrade the image, they magnify the flaws in the lens you use, and the lenses you have aren't up this kind of scrutiny.

The last method is to use a macro lens. Macro lenses tend to be sharper than most non-macro lenses, and while the 1:1 macro lenses are expensive, there are 1:2 and even 1:4 macro lenses that aren't quite so expensive.

You need to decide what you want to shoot. Do you want to shoot flowers or insects? Do you want to shoot watches or watch parts? Insects can move and can be frightened away, so a long, fast (large aperture) lens is a good idea. Even with flowers, you don't want to be too close or you'll block your own light. For watches, you can get close and you can set up good light. But for watch parts, a logner focal length lens will let you back up a little so, again, you're not blocking your own light.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 12:45 AM   #7
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Another downside to extension tubes is that you lose light with them, which you don't with the closeup lenses. It helps to have a lens that's both sharp and fast when using one (like TCav's suggested Minolta 50mm f1.7).

As far as your question about standing closer or further away - the close-up lenses allow your lens to focus closer than it normally would. So first make sure you know what the minimum focus distance is on the lens without the close-up lens. Add a closeup lens and move in to a subject until you start to see it come into focus (try playing around with the camera in manual focus mode, changing the focus yourself to get a feel of where it will start to focus and how small the depth of field really is). That will also give you an idea of how good or bad your lens will be (can you tell when it comes into focus?).

If you take a lot of macro pictures, you might be happiest with a true 1:1 macro lens. It's much easier, and they are usually very sharp lenses. Also, practice manually focusing - it helps to be able to judge if the camera is focusing on the insect or the wall it is standing on. Your depth of field with macro is so tiny that if it's focusing on the wall, the insect could be out of focus.

Some other things to think about - because DOF is so small, you'll probably use small apertures (like f16, perhaps f22) which means that you won't be getting much light onto your sensor. It helps to use a tripod or at least hold on to a pole to give yourself an extra point for stability. And using an external flash can help - it gives you more light. While the Sony is has in-camera stabilization, it can't work miracles. Don't expect to hand-hold a macro shot using a focal length of 300mm and a shutter speed of 1/60 sec. The on-board flash may not work well, but give it a try to see if it makes a difference.
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