Monday, March 7, 2011

Macro Photography Techniques Using Reversed Lens and Extension Tube

Macro photography is very interesting, where the object or creature-small creature that cannot be seeing clearly by the human eye can be capturing in images that are very interesting and amazing. Due to its relatively small size and lack the human eye can capture in detail the shape of the macro subjects, so many are neglect.
To get the macro picture is actually quite easy using a macro lens, just unfortunately the price is quite expensive lens with a range of Rp. 4.5 million - 8.0 million rupiah (U.S. $ 500 to U.S. $ 900) depending on the type and brand, even for super macro lens of course much more expensive anymore.
Obviously, the situation is quite dire for the photographers who have financial limitations. Fortunately, some of the competent authorities in the field of photography, both the manufacturer and co-producer's longtime photographer, have made the innovations from the simple to the already supported formats automatically.
Some simple innovations to produce the usual macro picture and made popular by fellow photographer are by reversed lens and by installing an additional tube (extension tube).
Both techniques were proving to produce an image macro with more than a 1:1 ratio that is usually producing by a real macro lens. From some experiments I did, by applying these two techniques as I get the image ratio 1: 1:30 to 1:1.7, and even more than 2 times the size of the original object.
I'm having trouble at first time using these techniques because the kit lens cameras Sony has built a small opening, so that the subject is difficult to find the best focal point (the subject is not clear and tend to be dark from the hole viewfinder / viewfinder or via LCD).
1.     Macro Photography Techniques Using Reversed Lens
This technique done by reversed the lens placed the lens head to camera body and the base of the lens to the subject of the viewfinder. Mark Plonsky (from Plonsky Photography) popularized this technique.
Camera Setting Techniques
Many ways to set the camera to the application of reverse engineering of this lens, there are fellow photographers by using simple equipment and / or make modifications to some equipment around the lens (like a lens cap and ring modified filter) and others. These ways can you search with Uncle Google search engine.
In this article, I use the techniques that are simple, inexpensive and easily disassembled again without damaging the lens and camera body.
Equipment needed:
a.    Reserved Ring
Reversed Ring
This ring serves to put the head of the lens on the camera body. Reserve form a ring like this picture below:
How to put it is a male part is inserted into the mouth of the camera body, while the lens is positioned behind the female placed in the mouth of the reserve ring.
Please note some of the reserve ring sometimes it is not too strong in gripping the lens, so it is recommend that you hold the lens at the time of shooting the subject, because it feared could fall and damage the lens.
Of course, you should find this ring size of the reserve in accordance with mouth diameter of the lens and camera so as not problematic.
The price of this ring is quite cheap reserve of approximately U.S. $ 15 - $ 20, depending on the brand, type and size.
 b.   Lens
The lens can be used kit lens (standard lens congenital) of the camera. However, advisable to use a lens that has wide aperture such as f1.4 lens. This lens type most favored by connoisseurs of macro photography. The wider opening further reduces the vignette in the photo. The lens mounted upside down on the camera body with the help of the reserve ring as described in pointaabove.
c.    Camera Body
Of course, we need this equipment because without a body camera no photoproducts produced. Body camera depending on what you have.
d.   Tripod
Tripod or monopod, in my opinion does not really matter and tend to interfere with or restrict your movement to obtain the best focus point.
e.   External Flash
The use of external flash, especially as a specific to macro photography for many cases recommended for use when using the reverse lens technique. It is necessary to increase the lighting on the subject.
However, I think more precisely what is needed is an additional light that can be obtained from the spotlight or flashlight with intensity is not too strong, to avoid over-exposure.
I use a flashlight with battery strength, and is only used to find the best focal point of the subjects that'll be shot, after obtained the best focal point, often I turn off the flashlight. Moreover, this is one way to overcome the limitations of the shutter hole that looks too dark, even though the shots could have fit the aspect of lighting, making it difficult to find a focus.
If using a spotlight, you should use a tool to hold the flashlight so that you do not interfere in shooting. Modification of existing equipment may be able to give good results at reasonable cost.
Shooting Techniques
Lens Holder
With the application of reverse engineering of the lens, of course, shooting techniques for macro photography is quite different if you make use of the original macro lens.
A quite different in this technique is by reversed lens technique of the camera, auto facilities generally cannot be applying so that everything must be in manually mode.
Setting camera mode to Manual mode (M), as well as focusing on the camera mode and the lens set to manually mode.
Well, this is the difficulty and at once art using methods / techniques to reverse the lens, which is looking for the best focal point, besides of course, lighting, composition, themes, DOF, and others.
You may have to advance the backing of your head to find the best focus point if all of the settings have stuck.
The most should be considered is the lack of lighting that enter to  viewfinder / view finder hole and Live View (if any) are the main constraints, and do not be mistaken that the lack of light here is not the same as what a camera is generated by our subjects. So in other words dark eyes but not drawn our shots.
2.     Macro Photography Techniques Using Extension Tube
First, note that the extension tube is the working principle to increase the distance between the lens andcamera body, so the focal length can be shortening and greater magnification. The resulting enlargement could be more than 2x the size of the subject, so better than the original macro lens is an average have a sense of only 1:1 or 1:1.3.
There is now on the market several types of Extension Tube, namely Extension tube that supports AF (either camera manufacturer brands or tripartite) and the manually type.
Extension Tube by manufacturers have price around U.S. $ 150 - $ 200, while the manual type worth U.S. $ 15 - $ 20. I use the manual type for less than U.S. $ 15, probably made in Indonesia so it is very cheap.
Extension Tube adapter generally consist of a ring, extension tube 3 levels, and a place to mount / lens holder. Normal lens mounted in lens holder.
Parts of Extension Tube
You can put 1, 2 or 3 cylinders depending on the zoom level you want and the size of the subject that go into the field of the desired image. If installed everything then looks like this:
Extension Tube Full Installation

Equipment needed:
Equipment needed by the application of extension techniques is approximately the same tube using the technique of turning the lens.
The main constraint is the same, the lack of light that shoot holes must be anticipating before, so you can easily get the point we aim at the best. Because everything must be in manually mode, unless you are using extension tube that supports the AF, then the problem can be resolve by itself.
The advantage of using extension tubes is the part of male mouth can be used to cradle the head of the lens when using reverse engineering of the lens, so it is recommended to buy the extension tube so that you can use the second technique is a cheap macro photography.
Shooting Techniques:
Shooting techniques on the application of the extension tube is approximately the same with reverse engineering of the lens.
At the end of this article I show some examples of macro shots using three methods / techniques, namely using the kit lens, lens reverse engineering, and technical extension tube. The subject is the sesame seeds (sesame grains). Note and specify your choice.
Maximum magnification using a lens Sony 18-55mm Kit 
Maximum magnification and details generated by Reversed Lens Techniques using Lens Kit Lens Sony 18-55mm
Maximum magnification and details generated by Extension Tube Techniques using Lens Kit Lens Sony 18-55mm


Funky Town Disco Music 70s said...

It's true what you say; macro objectives are very expensive, unfortunately.I decided to make a small investment by buying the Canon 60mm macro (350 Euros). I could also try some other brand of lens that is consistent with the risk that the photograph is bright and clear. You can play with setting of reflex, but you may make mistakes and lose a lot of pictures because over-or underexposed, a lot of grain, etc.. I also like the nature photos, but to get a good telephoto, you must pay at least € 4000-5000. Maybe winning the lottery ....

Erik said...

Good article. I passed it to a friend who was talking with me about just this sort of thing.