I have been fascinated by Macro ever since I started digital photography, partly because it takes you to places you wouldn’t normally go and shows you things that you wouldn’t normally see. After my first successful attempts at Macro Photography, I spent a great deal of time reading a lot about it and experimenting with different set-ups, in order to see how close I can get using the equipment available on the market and keeping the post-processing relatively simple. During that quest the word that was constantly coming up is ‘focus stacking’ and, as most Macro photographers would agree, in order to achieve very good results you will need to learn how to stack exposures at some point of your Macro exploration. This post will describe different kinds of Macro set-ups I have personally tested and discuss both their pros and cons. Finally, I will describe a set-up I’m currently using, which produces images you can see below.
One of the greatest challenges in Macro photography is getting the right DOF (depth of field). Generally, the closer to your object you get, the shallower the DOF becomes. Smaller apertures will let you gain more DOF, but will also block more light, taking into consideration the fact that most handheld macro work is already done with fast shutter to reduce camera shake. If you want to achieve ultra sharp images, with a reasonable aperture, then focus stacking is ideal to achieve that. There’s a lot of equally good software available for focus stacking on the market, but I have decided to demonstrate how Photoshop CS5 copes with it.
It’s been over 6 months since I bought my first macro lens, therefore, I decided to write about my experience with macro photography and share some insights for all of you photographers out there thinking of taking some macro shots in the nearest future.
If you are a devoted Macro Photographer and want to get a little closer than Extension Tubes are an ideal and inexpensive solution. These tubes increase the maximum magnification level of your Macro lens by distancing it from the sensor. As there is no glass elements in the tubes, the quality of the picture remains the same.
This overview describes a set of Kenko Extension Tubes which come in 12mm, 20mm and 32mm focal lengths. There is a variety of Extension Tubes for DSLR cameras available on the market, including both generic and brand names such as Nikon and Canon. Remember that the cheaper extension tubes do not transfer any information from the lens to your camera so you will have adjust all the settings manually, including the lens aperture, which can be really annoying.