Inexpensive Macro Kit

13 years 8 months ago #5932 by batman
I am looking for an inexpensive macro kit. I am just entering the world of macro photography so I would like to start off slow, and then upgrade later if I like it. Any suggestions?


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13 years 8 months ago #5971 by Screamin Scott
Macro on the cheap can be done with Diopter lenses (they screw onto your lenses like a filter), extension tubes ( normally a set of three tubes used individually or together) or a reversing ring (turns your normal lens around & mounts it backwards).. There are pros & cons to each of these cheap ways of doing macro. The camera you use can play a part in what to try out first. A true macro lens is the most convenient way to go although it is also the most expensive. Bear in mind that when shooting macro, AF & VR are next to useless as you get closer to life size

Scott Ditzel Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/screaminscott/

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13 years 8 months ago #5984 by Oscar Cohen
Isn't there a way where you reverse mount a 50mm lens, and this becomes a budget minded macro lens?


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13 years 8 months ago #5986 by Screamin Scott
I mentioned that in my previous post. The ring screws into your filter threads & the other end mounts to your camera. You can get some extreme macro shots with this & exactly what magnification you get depends on the lens you reverse (the wider the angle lens, the greater the magnification). Thr drawbacks to this setup is that there is no automation (no metering by the camera, but that is easy to overcome), very tiny DOF (razor thin, hard to focus), an exposed rear lens element (when reversing the lens, you are right on top of your subject & it's easy to rub against the element with your subject, that said, Nikon & maybe others, offer adapters that in turn mount on the reversed lens & allow you to mount a filter on it. & the final point is that you can't vary the magnification ratio without changing lenses, thus it messes with your composition. Some might say that you lose AF functions & you do, but when shooting macro, you need to focus manually anyway.

Scott Ditzel Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/screaminscott/

Photo Comments
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13 years 8 months ago #6402 by lfortier
If you want a good macro lens without having to spend a lot of money, look for a Phoenix 100mm. It shoots at 1:2 normally but jumps to 1:1 with the macro adaptor. It's only $119.95 and is EXTREMELY SHARP.

Here's a link for a Canon mount version: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/186637-RE...0mm_f_3_5_Macro.html

This pic was taken with one:


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13 years 8 months ago #6410 by Screamin Scott
I have found that any true macro lens (not zooms with a macro function, but a fixed focal length lens capable of getting to at least 1/2 life size) will give you good results unless it is used & has been abused. The main criteria when selecting one is really focal length (which plays into how close you want to be to your subject)....The Phoenix lens previously mentioned is quite good optically, but lacks in build quality ...The adapter for it is a diopter lens that screws into the filter ring to achieve life size images

Scott Ditzel Photography

www.flickr.com/photos/screaminscott/

Photo Comments
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13 years 7 months ago #7368 by Oscar Cohen

Screamin Scott wrote: I mentioned that in my previous post. The ring screws into your filter threads & the other end mounts to your camera. You can get some extreme macro shots with this & exactly what magnification you get depends on the lens you reverse (the wider the angle lens, the greater the magnification). Thr drawbacks to this setup is that there is no automation (no metering by the camera, but that is easy to overcome), very tiny DOF (razor thin, hard to focus), an exposed rear lens element (when reversing the lens, you are right on top of your subject & it's easy to rub against the element with your subject, that said, Nikon & maybe others, offer adapters that in turn mount on the reversed lens & allow you to mount a filter on it. & the final point is that you can't vary the magnification ratio without changing lenses, thus it messes with your composition. Some might say that you lose AF functions & you do, but when shooting macro, you need to focus manually anyway.


Understood Scott. Really good post. Makes you wonder how people figure these things out. Mounting a lens backwards! :blink: But hey, if it works, it works. I'll stick with the macro lens ;)


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13 years 7 months ago #7398 by KVRNut
I use a combination of stacked extension tubes and a lens reverser with good results. The lens I use is usually a choice between a 50mm and a 28-70mm macro zoom. I'm strictly manual with this lash up. Scott nailed it right on the money when he said that the DOF is razor thin. That's why another vital piece of equipment that hasn't been mentioned should be used and I'm referring to a macro focusing rail mounted on the most solid tri-pod you have. The rail has saved a ton of aggravation and has allowed me to fine tune the shot to what I want instead of a compromise. Try and get one that moves from side to side and fore and aft. They are well worth the money and you'll be happy you got one. 1mm movement can make or break a shot.

The other set-up I use is a 70-300mm macro lens with a 2x focal doubler. This allows a bit of automation but not much. The real beauty is that it allows me a lot of leeway and lets me do insect shots without disturbing the insect. I know I'd be bugged if I had a large black mouth hovering over me.:lol:

Have used the magnifying filters and found that they can really slice the DOF down a lot. They can also make for a softer focus with the higher powered magnifying filters. Used with a standard lens, they can be real handy.

BTW: One way I can see how much DOF I have is by focusing on a printed page at a very shallow angle. This gives me an idea of how much working room I have. Try it and you'll be surprised.

Hope this helps.


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13 years 7 months ago #7563 by Yasko

lfortier wrote: If you want a good macro lens without having to spend a lot of money, look for a Phoenix 100mm. It shoots at 1:2 normally but jumps to 1:1 with the macro adaptor. It's only $119.95 and is EXTREMELY SHARP.

Here's a link for a Canon mount version: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/186637-RE...0mm_f_3_5_Macro.html

This pic was taken with one:


I was going to mention this option, but lfortier beat me to it :)
This lens is known as "the fantastic plastic" lol

I picked one up used a while back at a pawn shop. Agree with Scott - the construction is lousey, but the image quality on this one is far beyond the price point. A good option if you want a real cheap macro lens to practice on.


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13 years 6 months ago #8735 by Lucky One

Yasko wrote:

lfortier wrote: If you want a good macro lens without having to spend a lot of money, look for a Phoenix 100mm. It shoots at 1:2 normally but jumps to 1:1 with the macro adaptor. It's only $119.95 and is EXTREMELY SHARP.

Here's a link for a Canon mount version: www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/186637-RE...0mm_f_3_5_Macro.html

This pic was taken with one:


I was going to mention this option, but lfortier beat me to it :)
This lens is known as "the fantastic plastic" lol

I picked one up used a while back at a pawn shop. Agree with Scott - the construction is lousey, but the image quality on this one is far beyond the price point. A good option if you want a real cheap macro lens to practice on.


How have I missed this one, might need to take a look at this one for a spare set up!


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