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Old Aug 3, 2008, 2:20 PM   #1
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Scott's description about using the 540 in A mode made a huge amount of sense to be - I had no idea how that mode worked or if it would work with the K20. Here are a couple of pictures that I thought came out pretty well. They were taken using either A or FA lenses and my home-made manual extension tube (it started out in life as an awful Pentax 2X TC), so I set the aperture on the lens, the aperture on the flash and the ISO. The picture was close, then I changed either ISO or aperture on either the camera or flash to get the right exposure. It's opened a whole new world up for me.

First, FA77 with extension tube:


Viv 105mm macro set to 1:1 mounted on the tube:


The one above was cropped somewhat. The whole flower is less than 16mm (about 5/8")across, so it isn't very big - it's some type of weed that grows all over the place. Here's the full frame picture:


My yard is completely "natural" (with the exception of a grape vine). It's almost all pinon pine trees, a slow growing, short needle pine tree that is common in transition zones at the edge of high desert terrain. Viv at 1:1 with tube - that means that it is magnifying more than 1:1 by the way.


This is a plant that a previous owner planted as a border plant. I have no idea what it is, it just keeps coming back year after year. As a border plant, it doesn't grow very high, with small leaves and smaller flowers.


I'm having such fun with shooting macro with the flash. I probably should get either a real set of extension tubes, a Raynox or some other high-quality close-up lens, or possibly a TC to use for macro purposes. Its fun to be able to get a bit closer than 1:1.
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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:27 PM   #2
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The extension tubes are worth the money Harriet. I like these a lot. Soon I'll have to break free from work and get back to shooting. For now I'll just enjoy yours.

Dawg

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 6:45 PM   #3
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I don't think you need worry about a proper set of tubes Harriet - these shots show you are performing very well with the setup you have.

The picture of the little flower / weed are quite stunning.

It ia amazing what is there when you get close enough.



Dal


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Old Aug 3, 2008, 8:18 PM   #4
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you done good girl! I like em.
GW

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Old Aug 3, 2008, 9:13 PM   #5
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Nice Harriet. If those little flowers/weeds are the same ones I saw in my yard today, those shots are amazing! I didn't even attempt to get them. Was just wandering around the yard after a storm this afternoon looking for things to photograph.

Patty
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Old Aug 4, 2008, 9:08 AM   #6
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Thanks for the compliments. I'm getting happier with macro/flash combination, and using the cone coffee filter for a diffuser seems to help quite a bit. I find this type of thing so much fun!

A set of extension tubes give you more flexibility than just using the former TC. They aren't all that expensive, or I could always look around for another lousy TC to operate on...
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Old Aug 4, 2008, 2:10 PM   #7
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Have you tried supplementary (plus) lenses? You don't have the light loss you get with extensions, and don't lose automation. They are not expensive and in some cases work quite well.
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Old Aug 4, 2008, 7:21 PM   #8
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penolta wrote:
Quote:
Have you tried supplementary (plus) lenses? You don't have the light loss you get with extensions, and don't lose automation. They are not expensive and in some cases work quite well.
Hi Harriet,

I think penolta's suggestion is a good one. I personally have two such add-ons, a Nikon 4T (+2.9 diopter in 52mm), and a Raynox DCR 250 (+8 diopter w/adapter for 49-67mm filter threads). Both are achromatic (have multiple lens elements which gives a flatter field -- more consistent sharpness across the whole frame). They both are excellent

I had bought these to give me better macro capability to my FZ Panasonics, but have occasionally used them with a variety of the lenses for my Pentax DSLRs with very good results. I generally favor dedicated macro lenses for their focusing versatility (ie being able to focus continuously to, but the convenience of being able to screw or pop on a "macro filter" is undeniable, and you can use them with a 1:1 dedicated macro to get higher magnifications.

Here's a link that's unfortunately pretty much outdated (1998 ) as far as actual current availability, but gives some good information that can be used to research these higher quality close up "filters" for possible purchase used.

http://www.angelfire.com/ca/erker/closeups.html

Here's a link for the Raynox DCR250

http://raynox.co.jp/english/dcr/dcr2...exdcr250eg.htm

It's a +8 diopter with 3 elements in 2 groups, so it magnifies pretty significantly. There's also the DCR150 which is a 4.8 diopter, so it has a magnification factor of a bit more than half that of the 250. It does have an admittedly ugly spring loaded mount, but it will fit most lenses with 49-67mm filter threads. I've tried it with the DA*50-135, and it vignettes significantly, as I expected it to, but on smaller diameter lenses, this isn't a problem.

They are not cheap, but they offer the potential of significantly better performance than the very inexpensive single lens element offerings.


Scott
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 12:36 AM   #9
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I've been thinking about a Raynox as I've heard (and seen) lots of good pictures taken with them. Didn't quite know which one, though (there's someone on another board who's been posting awesome pictures taken with the DA50-200 and one of the Raynox lenses). Do you prefer the Raynox or the Nikon 4T (given that they are different beasts)?

I've also thought about spending around $7 (at B&H prices) for a ring to mount two lenses front to front, i.e., putting a reversed M50mm in front of the Viv. That, at least, won't require much money to try out.
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Old Aug 5, 2008, 1:25 PM   #10
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Hi Harriet,

I tend to prefer the 4T, as it's more compact (the size of a couple of normal filters stacked, but it's lower power only makes it suitable for flowers/butterflies and such. It's easily the most compact device to get much closer minimum focusing distance, but will require step up/down rings to fit many lenses, and having to screw it in/out is a bit fiddly.

The clip on Raynox does have its advantages tho, and it gets you a lot closer to true macro magnifications. It's still more compact and a lot lighter than any other device I have to get you into true macro range, and the ability to attach it to most lenses almost instantly is a plus.

Like so many photo products that I've found to be very useful, most of the good achromatic CUs are now pretty hard to find. Probably the most commonly available of the good ones at this time are the Canon 500Ds and the Raynoxes.

I've never been tempted to go the reverse lens route, but if you've got some old lenses, it's easily the cheapest way to get some extreme magnification.

Scott
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