Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Extreme Macro setup notes

The Canon MP-E 65mm Macro is out of my price range at the moment so I am using various alternative techniques to gain closer than 1:1 magnification.

Reversed FD Vivitar 28/2.8.
The lens is reverse mounted directly onto my 5D camera body.
Magnification 2.5:1. Working distance 5cm.
With extension tubes between lens and camera. Mag 4:1. Working distance 4cm.

Sample with reversed 28:

Reversing adapter: Cheap on ebay HERE

With this sort of magnification and working distance it is very difficult to shoot without flash. The flash needs to be quite close to the subject to prevent shadowing caused by the lens getting in the way. I get within range with the lens wide open then try to adjust fine focus with the lens stopped down to f8-16 to increase DOF. It is very difficult to get the focal plane right when shooting handheld especially since the view gets extremely dark with the lens stopped down. For static subjects it is better to focus first, then stop down for DOF.

Metering is manual, the in camera meter still works.

Pics of the setup below.

Grain of rice taken with reversed lens on 68mm extension.

Reversing a lens on another:
I also use a reverse coupling ring to reverse my FD 50/1.4 onto my 85/1.8 with extension rings. (The combo vignettes without extension). This gives a similar magnification of 2.5:1 but only 2cm working space. Although the workin space is less, the 50 does not need to be stopped down and thus focusing MUCH easier. With this technique, the front lens acts as a closeup filter - that is why you don't need to stop down the front lens. Magnification depends on the combination of lenses used.

ebay reverse coupler ring

Using my Simga 150 macro with 68mm extension and 1.4x teleconversion gives mag 2.5:1. Working distance 18cm. Very difficult to find the subject in viewfinder!.. but may be useful if I need increased working distance.

Click below for a shot taken with the Bugzooka.

Update: Have decided to pick up an MPE65. Should be arriving tomorrow!
First pics
Bugzooka is sold.

Update Nov 2 2007:

Have had my MPE65 for a while now. Stoked I bought it. The methods described above do work, but they are very cumbersome and the loss of light makes it very difficult to focus accurately. The MPE is a much better solution.

061221_125_crop Spider

More shooting notes from my blog...