advice on picking a cheap lens for a macro project (note: 50x+ magnification reached)

Jimboh

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Custom macro, why bother?

I skimmed this thread, not sure I get it... I just bought a Canon 70-210 f/4 FD lens at local shop for $40 total. Also picked up some Canon branded extension tubes for total $25. So I have a pretty decent macro kit for not a lot of money and not a lot of time invested.

This plant was about the size of a quarter. Used Lens only, no tubes. Also had option of shooting every single F stop so I could figure out what DOF was best back home, not in the hot desert sun.

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photoSmart42

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I skimmed this thread, not sure I get it... I just bought a Canon 70-210 f/4 FD lens at local shop for $40 total. Also picked up some Canon branded extension tubes for total $25. So I have a pretty decent macro kit for not a lot of money and not a lot of time invested.
The 70-210 by itself is 'macro' in name only. At best it goes to about 1:2.5, which while nice to have on a zoom lens, doesn't meet the generally accepted criteria of macro (1:2). With tubes it would, but then you end up with a really long and very heavy lens, and still not get a whole lot of magnification since the longer focal length works against you when using extension tubes.

The OP's goal was to get high magnification on the cheap, well beyond 1:1, which was the point of the thread and the discussion on extension tubes, reversing adapters, bellows, etc. If you take a look at the photos of the ruler he posted, you'll see what his point was.
 

julienrl

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I was going for 1:5 or more, but thats me; this thread is for anyone who wants to do macro on a tight(ish) budget. 1:2 with that level of IQ leaves room for cropping and good prints!

That looks like less than 1:2 since a quarter is about 24mm wide, how close can you get with it?

I thought macro was anything above 1:1?

ps. got the 16mm CCTV lens attached to a cap this morning, took a few shots (light still leaking, so I won't post those, but I will seal it tonight when I get back home) so I will have some posted soon! Probably gonna drop 6$ on a 3.5mm too the way this is looking.
 

Porky4

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I was going for 1:5 or more, but thats me; this thread is for anyone who wants to do macro on a tight(ish) budget. 1:2 with that level of IQ leaves room for cropping and good prints!

That looks like less than 1:2 since a quarter is about 24mm wide, how close can you get with it?
Julien(?),

I think you meant that you were going for 5:1 (five times life size). 1:2.5 is just under half life size, which fits in with what photoSmart42 said, although judging by the photo that Jimboh posted, he's not getting that.

Some people say that macro is 1:1 (life size) or better, while others say 1:2 (half life size) or better. wikipedia has a reasonable explanation, but leans towards 1:1 (I think, on a quick skim through).

Nice work with the Canon 28mm!

Paul :cool:
 

julienrl

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Here is the CCTV lens

Strangely enough, the CCTV lens, which cost 5$, is the one that gives the most accurate colors, and as tubes are added, the fringing becomes less and less predominant, making it a surprisingly good and cheap lens for this kind of stuff.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5019045481/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5019048253/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5019051921/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>
I get a 1.4x magnification with the lens reversed.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5019658658/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>
and 5.5x magnification with the 5cm tube

I really need a more precise ruler one with micrometers or something :p Also, up next, finding how to light things better at such a close proximity.
 

photoSmart42

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<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5019658658/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>
and 5.5x magnification with the 5cm tube

I really need a more precise ruler one with micrometers or something :p Also, up next, finding how to light things better at such a close proximity.
Looks promising! For lighting when I do microscopy (beyond 5:1 magnification) I bought a used light source with some fiberoptic light guides. It allows me to get some pretty intense light right by the lens. Works beautifully! I use a Dolan-Jenner Fiber-Lite 180, but there are many other light sources available. DJ seems to have a good reputation, and I got mine for cheap off eBay. The light guides were actually more expensive than the light source.
 

julienrl

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thanks for the idea with the fiber optic cable. The cctv lens is fairly small meaning I have room to put a diffuser around it so putting some LEDs could be another solution; I am just scared of having over-illuminated areas by using LEDs or fiber optic cables. Do you think that having the LEDs or fibers facing towards the camera, bouncing off honeycomb reflector and then pass through a diffuser would remove most of the bright spots? In this case the fibers could be great since they would cast less of a shadow on the reflection.
 

photoSmart42

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thanks for the idea with the fiber optic cable. The cctv lens is fairly small meaning I have room to put a diffuser around it so putting some LEDs could be another solution; I am just scared of having over-illuminated areas by using LEDs or fiber optic cables. Do you think that having the LEDs or fibers facing towards the camera, bouncing off honeycomb reflector and then pass through a diffuser would remove most of the bright spots? In this case the fibers could be great since they would cast less of a shadow on the reflection.
You can adjust the output of the light source, so you have control over illumination. You can always pass them through diffusers if you're concerned about bright spots - for something that small you can just have a make-shift light box from a styrofoam cup or something, and shine the lights on that to diffuse it.
 

Porky4

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Hi,

I've never attempted photography at these extreme magnifications (2.4:1 is the most I've used), but I think that the main problem is going to be the distance between the lens and the subject. I've had reasonable success just flooding the subject with light from both sides using home made softboxes, which is OK for flat subjects, but could be a problem for anything with "lumps" i.e. insect heads, butterfly's balls :biggrin: etc. With your CCTV lens and Canon 28mm lenses , how far is the lens from the subject?

I found this inexpensive suggestion on a UK Microscopy site. The site (www.microscopy-uk.org.uk) looks quite interesting, if you're into that sort of thing and there's a few photomicroscopy articles here. Some of the articles are quite old, but the principles won't have changed much.

@photoSmart42 - Have you published any of your photomicroscopy images anywhere? I'd be interested in seeing them.

Paul :cool:
 

Porky4

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Hi, a little off topic as the magnification isn't so high. This stamp was taken with a Kiron FD 1:1 Macro lens with a Raynox DCR-150 macro conversion lens giving about 1.5:1. Click on the image to see the 1:1 image and a few more images, including the stand I use and a part of one of the softboxes I used.

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The beauty of using a Macro lens is that it gives a good working distance between the front of the lens and the subject, but rarely go beyond 1:1, unless you add a macro diopter (like the Raynox) to the front. Canon do a Macro lens that goes up to 5:1, but that'll cost you an arm and a leg!

Paul :cool:
 

Porky4

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If you don't mind my asking, where did you get that macro stand? I've been looking for one like that for a while.
It's the stand from a Durst Colour Enlarger. I got the whole thing on eBay for GBP 5.00 and just threw away the enlarger part (after keeping the lens!). I then got a cheap Manfrotto 234 swivel tripod head (GBP 7.50 at a Camera Fair) which attaches to the fitment that moves the enlarger up and down. As the crank to raise/lower the Camera is a couple of inches long, you can get very small (and smooth) increments of movement and it ends up being smoother than my macro focus rail (which I could attach to the tripod head if I needed side to side movement as well). Money well spent.

Paul :cool:
 

photoSmart42

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It's the stand from a Durst Colour Enlarger. I got the whole thing on eBay for GBP 5.00 and just threw away the enlarger part (after keeping the lens!). I then got a cheap Manfrotto 234 swivel tripod head (GBP 7.50 at a Camera Fair) which attaches to the fitment that moves the enlarger up and down. As the crank to raise/lower the Camera is a couple of inches long, you can get very small (and smooth) increments of movement and it ends up being smoother than my macro focus rail (which I could attach to the tripod head if I needed side to side movement as well). Money well spent.

Paul :cool:
Thanks, Paul! The other macro/copy stands I've seen on eBay look flimsy, so I've been looking at enlarger stands to make due. I'll check out some cheap Durst enlargers.
 

julienrl

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wow don't know why I didint get notified of all these new and interesting posts! oh well, at least I got to read them now.

Hi,

I found this inexpensive suggestion on a UK Microscopy site. The site (www.microscopy-uk.org.uk) looks quite interesting, if you're into that sort of thing and there's a few photomicroscopy articles here. Some of the articles are quite old, but the principles won't have changed much.

Paul :cool:
SWEET! thanks!! :)

The working distance with my reverse lenses is incredibly short (1 inch and less), but it does give results like this! 7.8x magnification
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5067473235/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>

And this 17.3x magnification
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5068087996/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>

I got the lighting by putting this on the edge of a window, and now that I have my lens\camera part down to a pat, I will start working on a way to get that kind of lighting while keeping the camera 100% parallel to the surface due to the ridiculously small DOF.

The final rig is here
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5067479397/" title="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA" /></a>
A nice gentleman sold me his old bellows for only 5$, which meant that I could finally move forward. I adapted the ends to mu-43, so it is now a native mu-43 mount on both ends.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5068257168/" title="mu-43 adapted bellows back view by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="mu-43 adapted bellows back view" /></a>
I casted the male cap directly on the metal ring and simply screwed the female part where the original metal female part went. This means that all reversed lenses fit on there (since they adapt form threading to mu-43) and all future lenses I adapt to mu-43 like the cctv and my existing mu-43 lenses can be used hassle free!

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5068254172/" title="mu-43 adapted bellows front view by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="mu-43 adapted bellows front view" /></a>

Next up lens wise is a 4$ 3.6mm cctv lens I ordered, but more importantly I have to start finding a way to hold everything in place! *edit, right after I found a 2.1mm lens for 8$ with sipping (160 degree FOV) as opposed to the 3.6mm's 92 degree FOV, so I jumped on it... only to find a 1.3mm 185degree FOV lens right after:p oh well... Ill see what the 2.1 and 3.5 give first*

Also, I am not sure if I want to keep my home-made tubes or not... I guess I could try and see what ridiculously long tubes give *edit: tried it with a 1m tube, didint work as expected lol*
 

julienrl

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just waiting for a male to male thread for those lenses. the 14mm could be good, but the 16mm f1.2 could be better light-wise... I guess ill see when I test it. But either way, neither of those lenses can get anywhere near the same FOV as the 2.1mm I am waiting for. Also, 8$ definitely falls within my budget.
 

julienrl

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well for some reason reusing the exact same material gives me less magnification than before.... but the real reason I am typing is to say that my LED flash v1 works! 1\13s at max magnification, now on to a second less intrusive version that holds the LEDs at better angle! :)

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5095314361/" title="test with new LED flash on 16mm reversed lens by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="test with new LED flash on 16mm reversed lens" /></a>

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/julienlemay/5095910708/" title="LED flash by julienrl, on Flickr">
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"500" height="375" alt="LED flash" /></a>
 

photoSmart42

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Question: If you're after these really high magnifications, why not simply use a microscope objective? It'll give you much nicer IQ than any of these lens gymnastics you're going through. You can get 4x, 10x, 40x, 100x microscope objectives pretty cheap off eBay. I have a set of 4x and 10x I'm using for stuff like that. Just need an RMS adapter (I have an M42-RMS, but there are m4/3-RMS out there now) and you're set. You can use with or without a bellows/tubes (ideally you want to match the specified flange distance for the objective e.g. 160mm). Here's some sample images I've posted before:

4x:
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10x:
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OzRay

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If you want 17x+ magnification, you really don't have much option but to consider microscope objectives. This is my field kit that I put together from reasonably cheap bits and pieces like a Zeiss Ikon bellows, eBay adapters etc (the Minolta macro lens and extension tube was the most expensive piece). The microscope objective and adapter tube was pretty cheap. Note also that with the microscope objectives and adapter tube, you have much better lighting capability, because the lens won't obscure the lights.

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Cheers

Ray
 

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