Friday, June 15, 2007

More options for macro/micro photography

I've been too busy gardening and have neglected this blog. I hope to add more articles whenever there's a lull in the chores.

I saw a used set of the Raynox Micro Explorer set of 3 lenses from Adorama, so I bought it. It uses a clip on attachment to which the different lenses screw into. It clips onto the projecting threads normally used by the filters so you won't be able to use a filter with this setup. The lens comes in 6x, 12x and 24x powers. The lens glass elements are smaller in diameter than the filter diopter lens so the camera has to be set to the most extended telephoto setting or the vignetting will become evident. The 6x seems to give a 1:1 magnification and seems to be a good choice for most macros. The focusing is done by moving the camera back and forth. The autofocusing does not work, at least with the Canon A620 camera. This is rather a pain but works ok once you get used to the idiosyncrasy. This is a very high quality set of lenses. Much better than either of the diopter filter lens sets. They cut the cost by using smaller glass but used better coatings and compound lenses rather than a single lens. The diopter filter lens are essentially just magnifying glasses.

Using the diopter filter lens makes it possible to zoom in and out at will without the vignetting and the autofocusing works throughout the range but the resulting photos have blue fringing that the Raynox lens does not produce. I will show the results of the blue fringing at some other time.

The trouble with extreme powers is that it is almost impossible to handhold the camera, the depth of field becomes extremely shallow and it usually requires more light. Also the camera to subject distance becomes very small so if you have something live, it will probably scurry or fly away. In fact the distance is so small that lighting the subject properly becomes an issue unless you have a light box or lighted platform using dark field illumination. As it is, using the 6x Raynox lens gives a camera subject distance of about 9".

So there you have it. Three different ways to get into macro photography. Four if you use the in camera macro.

1. Macro filter diopter lens. I bought 2 sets, a Bower 4,2,1x and a Hoya 4,2,1x lens.
2. Raynox Micro Explorer set which includes the adapter and 6, 12 and 24x lens.
3. The Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7 and reverse adapter ring.


A wildlife gardener said...

This is excellent information to share with those interested in photography, like me...who are not technically-minded. I have 'a good eye' for composition...the rest is often luck :)

Ki said...

Hi Wildlife Gardner,
I'm terribly sorry for not responding sooner. I don't regularly update this site and haven't enabled comment notification so I don't know when people make comments.

I hope you find this information useful. Since I did a lot of searches on the Web I decided to share what I gleaned from various sites as well as some of my experience in this new hobby. Thanks for your comment.