Tag Archives: Macro Photography

Macro Photography Close-Up Lens Filter Review

Back in April, I posted a tip about cheap macro photography. And last week, I posted my review of some Vello extension tubes to turn your “regular” lens into a “faux macro” lens. The other suggestion in the first posting was to use a set of screw-on close-up filters. This is that review.

In a word, disappointing. I purchased a set of 3 Tiffen filters for my 24-105mm Nikkor lens (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/72872-REG/77mm_CLOSE-UP_SET_+1_+2_+4_) thinking that it might be easier to get the results I was looking for by just adding these filters to the end of my lens, rather than having to take the lens off the body, attach the extension tube, and then add the set back to the camera like I would with the extension tube set-up.

One of the other benefits I was looking for was still being able to use the camera’s light metering and auto-focus system. Since these filters screw onto the end of the lens, there is nothing between the glass and the camera and therefore nothing confusing the camera’s settings, like what was going on with the extension tubes (despite what Vello claims).

The first couple of pictures I took were just a couple of items sitting on our counter: a book of stamps and a banana. While the photograph of the stamps looked like I expected (shallow depth-of-field), the first thing I noticed with the banana was extreme distortion coming in from around the edges. While I expected a little distortion (I can always crop a photograph to remove that), there was quite a bit of distortion. As I previously mentioned, with the filters and tubes there is a much shallower depth-of-field, but that is different from flat out distortion as you can see if you look at that photograph closely.

Moving on to the flowers, the second problem I noticed was some color fringing around the edge of the flower. In some of these pictures, if you look closely you will see a blue edge to the flower. A blue edge? Yes, a blue edge! This is called Chromatic Aberration and although I am not sure of the exact reasons why this occurs (I’m not a scientist), except that these particular filters are relatively cheap (less than $60) compared to others, and that cheapness means light from behind the object gets bent in an unusual manner around the object being photographed thus resulting in the problem. Would this happen with a higher priced close-up filter? I do not know, but I will tell you this: cheap never, ever translates into good quality. Some of this can be corrected in the editing process, but if you can prevent it from occurring to begin with then all the better.

Now keep in mind that because these are filter type accessories, this particular set would only work with a lens with a 77mm diameter, such as the lens I mentioned earlier, so that was the only lens I used for this test. Although I may have better results with a different lens, this is a good lens and I normally love the resulting pictures. However, I was disappointed with the result overall and will be returning the filters to the vendor for a refund.

The only adjustments I made to these photo’s are exposure, contrast, a bit of sharpening and noise reduction. I did not crop any of these so you can get a sense of the magnification.

I hope that you enjoyed this series of posts and it will aid you in making a decision about pursuing your own macro photography.



Posted in Photography Tips & Techniques Also tagged , |

Macro Photography Extension Tube Review

Back in April, I posted a tip about cheap macro photography. Well, I broke down and had to try it myself. Not owning a Macro lens, I purchased a series of extension tubes and some close-up filters for my 24-105mm Nikkor lens.  The results? Mixed.

This particular post is about the macro extension tubes I purchased: Vello Auto Extension Tube Set for Nikon cameras. You can purchase them at B&H Photo for $79.95 (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/787224-REG/vello_ext_nd_auto_focus_ext_tube.html)

I am posting here a series of photographs that I took using my Nikon D800 DSLR camera and a variety of lenses. I used a 50mm, a 70-200mm, a 24-105mm (all Nikkor) and a Tamron 28-75mm. And for the most part, I tried to photographs flowers in the garden, which posed numerous challenges such as lighting and wind. Over the course of the 3 days I tried to photograph, I could not get the wind to cooperate–it would just not stop blowing. That is until I put everything away. Another challenge that I had was the precise aiming of the camera and lens while on the tripod. You see, my tripod is just not designed to fine tune height and direction.  And of course, I had to do this with all the extension tubes on the camera.

The next test was to remove two of the tubes and use just the 50mm Nikkor lens. These results were much more satisfactory, although I could not get the zoom I want. Exact focus is an issue that must be dealt with too. Of course, read any text on macro photography and focus and Depth-of-Field will always be an issue. The answer: focus stacking, that is taking multiple exposures with different focal points and then combining those photographs in Photoshop or another program (that subject is out of scope for this blog).

Now, keep in mind that I did not try just one of the elements on any of my other lenses, just the 50mm.

Light is another issue that must be considered. Even though I was shooting in full daylight, I had to pump up my ISO to 800. And even though Vello claims that the lens info will be passed onto the camera thus being able to I found that my camera’s metering got somewhat out-of-whack and I had to make adjustments to exposure.

I was pleased with the results-I mean what more could I ask for for $80. I would still like to try a true macro lens, but I think that I will wait a while before shelling out the bucks to buy one and just make use of these tubes.

So the photographs posted below, the flower photographs are with the combined use of the 3 tubes, while the remainder are with just the 12mm tube. The only adjustments I made to these photo’s are exposure, contrast, a bit of sharpening and noise reduction. I did not crop any of these so you can get a sense of the magnification.

Next blog post will be about the close-up filters.



P.S. The photograph of the dogs eye has the camera reflection of Lynette digging in the garden. Awesome!

Posted in Landscape and Nature Photography, Photography Tips & Techniques Also tagged , , , |

Macro Photography on the Cheap

Ok friends, I am not in the habit of posting someone elses blog on my site, but I have to on this one.

As you know, Macro Photography is a fascinating genre. Close up details of whatever. The problem is, that most lenses now in your camera bag do not qualify as Macro lenses and it is very expensive to purchase new ones. Having said that, I ran across a blog today that let’s you cheat on this without having to buy new lenses. An investment of less than $50 can get you some real interesting results.

Check out the video below (ok, the video is nothing special) and the link is below.



Macro Photography Under $10

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