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Old Apr 12, 2009, 12:18 AM   #1
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These were either rain drops, melted snow flakes or dew drops - I think they were dew. There's just something about tiny drops of water that fascinate me.

First, I got out the macro lens for some 1:1 shots:



Not my best effort, but there are some things I like about this one. It gives you an idea of how small/narrow the blades of grass are (it's not a broad leaf variety) since this is a 1:1 shot.

But it didn't take me long to get back into the swing of things. I was using the 540 flash wirelessly, off to the side, with the on-board flash only working as a controller, not adding any light to the scene. I also put a coffee filter over the flash - that seems to work reasonably well as a diffuser. This one has been cropped some:



Of course, I wanted to get closer. So I added my home-made extension tube. My extension tube started out in life as a very poor quality 2X TC that my father had bought to use on his ME Super, so it is a manual one.

While I remembered to change the lens from it's A setting to an appropriate aperture (f16) and the camera to M mode, I forgot one other thing (there can be SO much to remember in photography and I'm guaranteed to forget something!). I ended up with this:



What did I forget? That you CAN'T use a flash wirelessly with manual lenses! I still rather like this shot, for some reason.

I don't have cords to operate a flash off-camera, so I mounted the flash on the hot shoe. I didn't like the results at all - too much flash reflection!



So I decided that I'd try the reversed 50mm. The only other time I tried to mount a 50mm reversed on the 100mm macro lens outside, I gave up. It seemed impossible to find your subject in the viewfinder, much less try to focus. But it was the only way I could get the flash off the camera and get something that was bigger than 1:1 macro.

Some results:

This blade of grass was pretty much the same size as the one in the first picture:



And compare the tip of the stalk with the second picture:



The DOF is tiny at 1:1, it's even worse here. It's not like regular topics where you can see where your subject is, then pause while you dial in the focus. A blade of grass goes from being an indistinguishable OOF smear to in-focus to OOF smear again so quickly that it's easy to miss seeing your subject come into view - it can be very frustrating. Maybe that's why I find shooting tiny drops so satisfying.



I'm now convinced that I can manage the macro lens/50mm reversed combination outside, even hand-held, which these all were. That is, as long as I can use the flash wirelessly. And, assuming that I have lots of time and haven't yet had a cup of coffee!

By the way, has anyone else noticed that SR seems to be off when the flash is on? I don't remember reading that in the owners manual.
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 12:46 AM   #2
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As some would say "MOST EXCELLENT"!!

-thepusher
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 2:10 AM   #3
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These pictures are not only very beautiful to look at, it's also interesting to see how good water drops are as lenses. Thanks for posting educative threads like this, Harriet. It pushes me to try something like this myself.

Kjell
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 6:30 AM   #4
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The only appropriate comment I can think of is "Wow!" Really impressive series, Harriet. The shots with the reversed 50mm are especially impressive. How do you couple the 50mm to the 100mm?

Paul
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 7:41 AM   #5
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Yeah, what they said!!!
GW:bye:
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 8:26 AM   #6
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What they said five times! Wow!!!!! These are fantastic. You never realize how much detail is in a blade of grass.

Patty
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 8:35 AM   #7
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Very impressive images!!! You have encouraged me to try reversing a 50mm on my 100mm macro but will need to have a very still day to try it. It is hard enough to just control your own body motion but if the subject is also moving forget it.

What settings did you use on the 100mm macro and on the 50mm?
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 9:53 AM   #8
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Technical stuff - I use a macro reversing ring that I got from B&H. My Viv has 53 threads, the 50mm macro I'm using is a SMC M 50mm 1.4 lens that has 49mm threads, so I had to make sure the reversing threads were not only male-to-male and step (down - it doesn't really matter since the threads are male to male).

I had the macro lens set to f16 or f18. The 50mm was set at f1.4. When I was playing around with this combination indoors, camera set on tripod, it seemed that changing the aperture on the 50 did nothing other than make the visible picture smaller (put black from the aperture blades around the sides). You do have some ability to focus with the macro lens, but not very much. The focus on the 50 doesn't seem to do anything, at least that I could tell. I found that the f1.4 lens worked better than the 1.7, and I don't get the softness at 1.4 that my particular lens has when used wide open. I'm actually very glad that I never got around to selling this lens, and have found a good use for it!

The still day is a good idea - I think the problem I had the first time was when it was a bit breezy. There was still some air movement the day I tried this, not enough to affect my stance but the grass was moving a bit. This is not something to try unless you have a fair amount of patience.
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 11:49 AM   #9
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mtngal wrote:
Quote:
Technical stuff - I use a macro reversing ring that I got from B&H. My Viv has 53 threads, the 50mm macro I'm using is a SMC M 50mm 1.4 lens that has 49mm threads, so I had to make sure the reversing threads were not only male-to-male and step (down - it doesn't really matter since the threads are male to male).

I had the macro lens set to f16 or f18. The 50mm was set at f1.4. When I was playing around with this combination indoors, camera set on tripod, it seemed that changing the aperture on the 50 did nothing other than make the visible picture smaller (put black from the aperture blades around the sides). You do have some ability to focus with the macro lens, but not very much. The focus on the 50 doesn't seem to do anything, at least that I could tell. I found that the f1.4 lens worked better than the 1.7, and I don't get the softness at 1.4 that my particular lens has when used wide open. I'm actually very glad that I never got around to selling this lens, and have found a good use for it!

The still day is a good idea - I think the problem I had the first time was when it was a bit breezy. There was still some air movement the day I tried this, not enough to affect my stance but the grass was moving a bit. This is not something to try unless you have a fair amount of patience.
Thanks for the details. I have a Viv Series 1 macro and a 50mm 1.4 Canon left over from film days. I also have a 50mm male-to-male ring. Your starting set up will save me a lot of experimentation.

I tried this once before with the 50mm reversed on my DA 50-200mm and seem to remember what you said about the focus on the 50mm changing the size of the field of view. I remember that when I tried this without a tripod it was maddeningly difficult to hold focus and depress the shutter without loosing focus.

To take the pictures as you did hand held is a testament to your skill and patients. Thumbs up!!
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Old Apr 12, 2009, 8:28 PM   #10
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The photos with the reversed lens combo are fabulous. Thanks for posting details.

bb2
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