Advice on macro photography... on the cheap!

sgt08

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Opinions vary about the use of flash for macro, but I've found it gives much more reliable, soft light that you can adjust to best suit your subject rather than relying on ambient light, just like moving a flash umbrella/softbox to best illuminate a model for a portrait shoot. Also flash allows you to increase your shutter speed (up to the flash sync max on your camera) and use a smaller aperture while still freezing subject movement. But I suppose that will be difficult to combine with focus bracketing!
 

retiredfromlife

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Opinions vary about the use of flash for macro, but I've found it gives much more reliable, soft light that you can adjust to best suit your subject rather than relying on ambient light, just like moving a flash umbrella/softbox to best illuminate a model for a portrait shoot. Also flash allows you to increase your shutter speed (up to the flash sync max on your camera) and use a smaller aperture while still freezing subject movement. But I suppose that will be difficult to combine with focus bracketing!
Some Olympus flashes can be timed to use with bracketing / stacking, but I guess these are out of budget.
and for night use if photographing spiders etc flashes seem to be better than led lights
 

Macroramphosis

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It sure how good it is, but Panasonic makes a 30mm 2.8 macro lens. It’s $300 new in the US.
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1124341-REG/panasonic_h_hs030_lumix_g_macro_30mm.html
The 29 B&H buyers of the lens seem to love it.
It is a very good lens, probably my favourite piece of glass (though to be fair I do not own a lot). It makes a great walkabout lens for my purposes since I CAN then do a little macro if I come across something interesting. You do have to get close sometimes to get the right macro shot, and yes, light can be a problem, but if you move slowly and don't cast shadows, it's surprising what you end up with. It's relatively cheap, well built and it's also tack sharp. Lots of images here on the showcase thread, and I have a collection here of mine that hopefully demonstrates the practicality of the little 30mm.

I hasten to add that none of the images on my Flickr page were taken with flash :D - even if some should have been.
 
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Darmok N Jalad

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It is a very good lens, probably my favourite piece of glass (though to be fair I do not own a lot). It makes a great walkabout lens for my purposes since I CAN then do a little macro if I come across something interesting. You do have to get close sometimes to get the right macro shot, and yes, light can be a problem, but if you move slowly and don't cast shadows, it's surprising what you end up with. It's relatively cheap, well built and it's also tack sharp. Lots of images here on the showcase thread, and I have a collection here of mine that hopefully demonstrates the practicality of the little 30mm.

I hasten to add that none of the images on my Flickr page were taken with flash :D - even if some should have been.
A very nice collection of samples.
 

Mike Wingate

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I was interested in macro photography after using a clip on lens on my iphone. So I got a clip on lens. Then I bought my GX80 with 2 kit lenses. I did notget great results with a close up filter lens. So bought some auto tubes. Then the DCR 250. Then the Olympus 60mm. I do tend to use the tubes, lens and Raynox together on the macro focus slide.
2792821C-59B8-41B7-B4A7-BD0EF2F44DFE.jpeg
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CD77

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I've had a bit of a play... my first macro shots! Flowers are not my normal thing, but I figured they don't move too much and are unwittingly willing volunteers... good to practice on!

P3070027-Edit-1.jpg
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P3070040-Edit-1.jpg
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And my first focus bracketed macro effort
P3070030-Edit-1.jpg
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ac12

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Geez, I can't remember what I posted where any more :(

IF you do not need autofocus, which I do not do with a macro lens anyway, a somewhat cheap option is to use an old manual macro lens.
I use a Nikon 55mm macro + dumb Nikon to m4/3 adapter on my Olympus.
The Nikon macro lens was less than $50, and the adapter about $12.
Not as cheap as closeup lenses/filters, but to me more flexible.

I also recommend you get a X-Y rail.
It sits between the tripod and camera.
It functions as a focusing rail moving the camera forward/backwards.
It also does a left/right movement, so you don't have to pick up the tripod, to move it just an inch.
This is an example of one:
 
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