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Old Apr 23, 2010, 8:58 PM   #1
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Well, now I feel kind of silly. When trying out my new macro rails I was happy with how smooth they operated. Although I couldn't see that they were improving my image quality that much, I chalked it up to low light and not being able to see clearly to focus on my image. While that was true to some extent, it wasn't the whole story. Here is what I was doing. with my camera, flash, and heavy lens plus converter all mounted on the rails, and my camera set for 12 second timer, I would focus the best I could at 2.5 aperture then turn it to F:22 and click the shutter. Then I'd refocus about 1/8 turn clockwise on the rails and take another shot and so on. then pick out the best one of the bunch. I wasn't understanding why my results were not making any sense but shrugged it off on bad eyesight... Then at one point I obviously wasn't getting anywhere close to being in focus from when I clicked the shutter and viewed the image on the LCD. It suddenly dawned on me that my camera was creeping down the rails after I'd click the shutter and wait 12 seconds for it to take.
Now that I've figured out that I need to lock it in place, my results are getting better. I still can't see any better but, my guesses are getting closer to the mark.


If you recall in my last post I mentioned that the extension tube made things worse... it didn't make sense to me but now I understand what happened. here are a couple shots with the ext tube. focused on the bug.


Same shot cropped.



This one is with the ext tube plus the Vivitar focusing 2X Macro/tele converter.



Same shot cropped.






Same as above cropped.


Keep in mind, these were so small I couldn't see them with my naked eye.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 9:04 PM   #2
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Wow these are great! In a bad way, Im glad your camera was slidin in place of the ext. tubes being crappy. I have a pair on the way in mail These are some clear shots, even with the 2xtc+ext.

Cant wait to get mine to play around with.
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Old Apr 23, 2010, 11:41 PM   #3
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That last one is amazing! I can't believe how much detail you captured with that combination, it's certainly sharper than I would have expected. Yesterday I played around with macro and a dandelion flower. I tried using the lens by itself, then with the 50mm reversed in front of the macro lens, and finally with my home-made extension tube. The reversed macro had the most magnification, but the dof was really tiny, even at f22 and f27 - the normal sharpness just wasn't there. I've had better luck using this combination with flat objects, not with something with depth. I'm going to have to practice some more. The ones with the extension tube were much better.
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 8:35 AM   #4
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That last shot is fantastic GW (great to see you have recovered so quickly - it will be a shame when you are fully recovered & back on your feet as no doubt we will be seeing less macro from you) !!



I have to get some focus rails - I spotted a 4-way set the other day (US$50) but I wasn't that happy with the quaility. A simple 2-way from Vebron (no visual scale though) were nearly US$100 but the quality was so much better.
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 9:31 PM   #5
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Thank you fro all the comments guys.
Harriett, I was surprised too. I'm tempted to make another ext tub from one of my 2X TC's, I mean, how many TC's does a person need? I have 3 Tamorns and the Vivitar.
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Old Apr 24, 2010, 9:44 PM   #6
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FF, I am very pleased with the set of Minolta rails I got, a little pricey but worth it in the long run. I looked at the Velbon and wasn't impressed with them. I was tempted to get a cheaper set until I started reading where guys were having to shim the sliders and do other makeshift workarounds to get things anywhere close to micro adjustments. I think the old saying, "you get what you pay for" really applies here.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 9:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldwinger View Post
FF, I am very pleased with the set of Minolta rails I got, a little pricey but worth it in the long run. I looked at the Velbon and wasn't impressed with them. I was tempted to get a cheaper set until I started reading where guys were having to shim the sliders and do other makeshift workarounds to get things anywhere close to micro adjustments. I think the old saying, "you get what you pay for" really applies here.
That's not exactly what I wanted to hear, GW. RRS makes macro rails that I'd like, but they are very expensive. So I thought about buying something really inexpensive, just to see if I would use them enough to spring for the RRS rails. From what you are saying, cheap ones would be counter-productive for me - it would be like trying to use a flimsy tripod with a heavy, long lens. Oh well, I think I'll just table rails for the time being.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Harriet, you hit it right on the head! That's a very good comparison. When you stop and think about it, you are dealing with micro adjustments here so, you really want something that's built solid with close tolerances. I have no idea what mine cost new but they seem quite capable so I didn't mind paying $140 for them, although I don't think I'd spend 5 or 6 hundred on a set until I new that I "had" to have them and that would mean making them pay for themselves. yeah right, just like all my other accessories.
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Old Apr 25, 2010, 10:03 PM   #9
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that last one is a beauty
thats is really close and nicely detailed
i am glad you got it sorted out and am looking forward to seeing more attempts
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Old Apr 26, 2010, 3:20 AM   #10
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I've seen a lot of the cheaper rails advertised on EBay (around US$40 - 50 ) and they look identical to the ones I've seen here in Shanghai. Quality is low, I would advise people to avoid those.
I have the Velbon Super Mag Slider being delivered today ($70), for some reason it is cheaper here than in the USA ($90 - 100) - Japanese products (except cars !) usually are cheaper here though (including lenses). The Minolta that you bought I have only seen advertised new for $175 so that's a steep price differential !

The Velbon are at least 2 steps quality wise up the ladder from the Chinese cheapies, probably as you said the Minolta one (or Harriet's RSS one) are higher quality still but they are also a lot more expensive so these Velbon rails will do for now. If I enjoy working with them then I can always upgrade and, I'm sure, not lose much by then selling these on.

Sorry for not taking your advice GW

Last edited by Frogfish; Apr 26, 2010 at 3:23 AM.
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