Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More equipment

I saw that the photos taken with the add on diopters no matter how many were stacked would not provide enough magnification. I read about reversing an ordinary 50mm single lens reflex camera lens by using a macro filter ring adapter. The adapter (filter) ring is has male threads on both ends so you screw one end into the existing lens or in my case the lens adapter and the other end into the filter threads on the front of the lens. When you're done it'll look weird because you see the back of the camera lens but it works. Easier to understand by looking at the photos.

I bought a excellent condition Konica Hexanon AR 50 F1.7 lens on Ebay for less than $20 shipping included. This lens is purported to be one of the sharpest lenses ever made and can be had for a pittance.

The macro reverse ring adapter was purchased online at The Filter Connection. The shipping was fast and the ordering easy. Highly recommended. I bought a 52mm x 55mm ring to fit the 52mm lens adapter and the 55mm filter ring on the front of the Konica Hexanon AR 50 F1.7 lens.

Here are some photos of the stacking order, ring and lens and what it looks like all combined.

And here's a photo of a dead ladybug taken with this set up. I need to work on the focus and take into consideration the extremely small depth of field (DOF). This was taken with existing light in a fairly dark room so hopefully when there's more light outside the camera will stop down the aperature giving slightly more DOF. I also didn't realize there was vignetting but that can be cropped so I just have to take that into account when composing a photo. With this set up it seems I have about 20x power. I'm guessing but I think I'm pretty close. So now to go out and start photographing.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Problem with in camera close focus.

Here are a couple of photos showing the problem of lighting the subject when the camera is so close (1cm) to the subject. The first photo is just using available light and the second with reflected light from the firing of the flash. The flash did not light the coins directly as the camera was so close to the subject that the flash was off to the side, actually top left. Notice too the quick drop off in focus. The depth of focus is very shallow making the use of a tripod a necessity although these shots were taken handheld by bracing the camera and hands on the tiles.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Added another diopter set Hoya +1, +2, +4

I saw a bargain on Ebay for a Hoya diopter set for under $10 so I bought it. Stacked with the Bower set it will give me a total of +14 diopter. About +8 equals approximately 2.5x power so with all the lenses stacked I should have about 4x power.

Here's a the Hoya compared with the Bower.

And a side view. The Hoya stack it a bit taller but they are interchangeable. In taking quick test shots I can't say I can see any difference in the quality of picture either set of lenses will take.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Inaugural Post - Current Equipment

I wanted to do some macro and eventually micro photography cheaply using a digital point and shoot camera. I want to stick with a point and shoot even if a digital SLR is more suitable to take good pictures of tiny things. My objection to the DSLR is that it is much more bulky and heavy especially with an add on lens.

So my present equipment it a Canon Powershot A620 7 megapixel camera bought used from Ebay. It can focus an incredibly close distance of 1 cm which is 3/8" away from the subject. But I found that this close focus ability was often negated by the lens barrel bumping into the subject or objects around the subject.

I did some web surfing and found that there are several ways to improve the macro capability and shoot a longer distance away from the subject. Also good if the subject is alive and easily spooked to run or fly away.

There are add on close up filter lenses usually of +1, +2, +3 diopters. I don't know what this translates in power but I think this is like the magnifier reading glasses which use the same + designation for the strength of the glasses.

To attach the close up lens I also had to buy a cheap lens adapter to attach the lens to the camera. On a DSLR you can attach the close up lens directly to the normal taking lens.

I bought a cheap set of close up lens made by Bower from Cameta Cameras. The lens set is made in China and is a set of +1,+2 and +4 which can be stacked by screwing into each other giving a +7 power which seems to be equal to the magnification of the Canon macro when focused at 1 cm.

So here are preliminary quickly taken comparison photos of the stacked +7 Bower lens vs the Canon in camera macro at 1cm. The first photo is with the in camera macro at 1cm. The second photo with the Bower +7 diopter lens. The photos aren't very good because I was rushed but you can see that the Bower lens set does give the orchid more depth of focus so more of the flower is in focus while the in camera macro gives a very small plane of focus.

The rest of the photos are of the camera and lenses.

And a whimsical photo of a dead fly badly lit and focused.

Still not close enough but a start.