Macro Photography for Beginners - Part Two


Part One     Part Two     Part Three


In Part One we talked about the 50mm lens and what could be done with it . Now let's take some time and look at a couple of other popular focal lengths that are usually in the beginners kit.

Zoom Lenses

The 75-300 and 100-300 lenses seem to be popular purchases for the beginner, and understandably so. Most beginners entering the photography world for the first time are on limited budgets, so their purchases tend to lean towards the so-called "do everything" type lenses. The two lenses above are examples of those, but are on the longer focal length side of things (as opposed to the 28-105 length).

Even though these lenses have macro settings on them, they are not really designed for that purpose. However, with the addition of close up lenses and tubes they can be made to perform quite well.

Let's take my 100-300 4.5-5.6 lens and see what can be done in combination with the Canon 500D close up lens. It is my opinion that when you purchase a close up lens, you should get the largest diameter available.

In this example I will be using a 77mm closeup lens on the 100-300mm zoom. The front element on the 100-300 is 58mm in size, so to get the 77mm closeup lens to work on the front, you will need to use step-up rings. First you will need a 58-72mm step-up ring and then a 72-77mm step-up ring. Once this is done you can use the 77mm on most all lenses, except lenses that have a larger than 77mm element.

Close-up lens and step-up rings
Close-up lens and step-up rings


So if we take the combination in the example and mount them on the lens and then to the camera body, you get something like this.
mounted on the lens and camera body


Ok now that we are set up, let's take some pictures. I like to set the focus ring at close to its minimum focus distance and then move the camera forwards and backwards to the subject to find the approximate minimum distance you need for your subject to be in focus. Then I fine tune it by using the focus ring. For this setup I took shots of a flower with the lens set at 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, and 300mm so you would be able to see the effects of this setup and the magnification you get with this rig. Being able to adjust from 100 to 300 you have quite a range of image sizes to play with.

What you will learn is that with the close up lens and a good zoom you will have more control over the image size and less equipment to carry around. You will also find less need to change components than with a set of tubes. You will also have the advantage of no loss of light.
100mm and 135mm
100mm and 135mm

200mm
200mm

300mm
300mm

300mm
300mm


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