My experience with ol'school macro

RaZZ3R

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
84
Location
Italy
Real Name
Ovidiu
It's hard ... it's really really hard to make old things work the way you want them to but sometimes it's worth it giving you exactly what you wanted or even more the you expected. But why? Why would you even try? Some can't afford expensive lenses, some just have inherited there family or friend's camera/lenses or some of us just enjoy the challenge that we have lost (now that's another debate for another day) since the arrival of digital photography.

Ever since I got into photography (with just a camera phone) I had a need to see and photograph the small world that we so much ignore and unobserve from day to day life. I started the experience with a Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 lens in M42 mount but it didn't get me close enough. So I got my self macro tubes for M42 mount with he following lenghts: 11mm, 20mm, 30mm. Then I got a Compact 70-210mm f 4-5.6 to get some longer macro shots.

Now I don't really know the magnification levels but they seem to be at least 0.5x to 1x on either lenses. I usually use all the macro tubes to get the maximum possible magnification so light get's lost really fast and more then I like to I have to use high levels of ISO even wide open to get the shot to ve as sharp as possible but it's harder because the lack of IS on my Panasonic G2 body.

I had to learn, in time, to live without IS and I managed to be able to get sharp enough with shutter speeds of 1/100s - 1/125s. But hard trads have to be made: wider aperture = higher shutter speed / lower ISO + smaller DOF vs more DOF = smaller aperture + lower shutter speed / higher ISO. Trading sharpness with DOF, ISO noise with motion blur makes hard decision that you have to make it in split seconds. Most of the time I sort from hundred of photos in the hopes that one, just one, might be the lucky one to be sharp enough. And that's why I shoot only in High Burst Rate.

Here's some of my good or bad (depends on your preference and/or pixel peeping) shot's that I managed to take.

Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 200
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/640s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 8, 1/125s, ISO 100
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Hanimex 135mm f 2.8, 1/320s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 4, 1/60s, ISO 100, flash
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Revuenon 50mm, f 2.8, 1/1300s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 5.6, 1/500s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/250s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/2000s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/200s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 5.6, 1/160s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/200s, ISO 100
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Hanimex 135mm f 2.8, 1/640s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/1000s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/800s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 2.8, 1/125s, ISO 200
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Revuenon 50mm, f 2.8, 1/250s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 500
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 125
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Revuenon 50mm, f 16, 1/10s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 200
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 800
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 125
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/5s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/80s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/25s, ISO 100
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Compact 70-210mm at 210mm, f 5.6, 1/125s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/125s, ISO 200
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Compact 70-210mm at 70mm, f 4, 1/125s, ISO 1000
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Compact 70-210mm at 210mm, f 5.6, 1/500s, ISO 640
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Revuenon 50mm, f 5.6, 1/250s, ISO 800
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Compact 70-210mm at 210mm, f 5.6, 1/125s, ISO 125
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/320s, ISO 400
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Revuenon 50mm, f 4, 1/125s, ISO 160
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/500s, ISO 100
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Revuenon 50mm, f 1.8, 1/3200s, ISO 100
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burdickjp

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 25, 2013
Messages
235
I have a Volna-9 sitting at my dorm waiting for me to get back from spring break. I got the "you have a package!" email the day I got home. I can't wait to get back and give it a try. Thank you for the inspiration!
 

RaZZ3R

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
84
Location
Italy
Real Name
Ovidiu
Nice, you would get better results then mine since it's a dedicated macro lens, and you could get even more magnification if you would use in conjunction with macro tubes. Wish I had a dedicated macro lens.
 

dd1

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Sep 9, 2011
Messages
61
Some of your images are ridiculously large, you should resize to 1024 px on the long side, it makes the thread almost impossible to read.
 

edmsnap

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Dec 20, 2011
Messages
462
Location
Edmonton, Alberta
Wish I had a dedicated macro lens.
There are a lot of options for cheap out there. Macro lenses tend to be slower than what's demanding a high price on the used market these days. My most-used macro, the Canon FD 50mm f/3.5 can be had in great condition for $70-80. I recently picked up the matching FD-25 extension tube in mint condition for $20. Non-tube examples:

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Declan97

Mu-43 Veteran
Joined
Feb 3, 2012
Messages
379
Location
Padang, Indonesia
Use to had zuiko om 50/3.5 macro but to close to the subject then replace with tamron 90/2.5 with Complete set extube to get 1:1 and the 2x tele cont with a better distance to object

Sent from my 4.2.2 aokpac I9100 power by epl2
 

RaZZ3R

Mu-43 Regular
Joined
Jun 19, 2011
Messages
84
Location
Italy
Real Name
Ovidiu
UPDATE 1

I'm bringing an update to my old (by now) thread with some new photos (as is spring and there's a lot more activity on the ground) and a interesting and weird issue that I've been having.

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/200s + f 2.8 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (The little shrppms where so small that I barely notice them)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 20mm: 1/320s + f 4 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (I love the small details of the flower agains the dark and emptiness of the bokeh)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm: 1/2000s + f 4 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (The little guy was friendly enough to let me take a, relative, close-up portrait before he got embarrassed and took off)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/640s + f 2.8 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (For half an hour I tried to get the right angle, since I was only able to use hand held, with the right length, because of the thin DOF, and the right aperture, to ket as much bokeh as possible, and the right shutter speed, to freez the motion, and this was the best I could come up with, unfortunately)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/400s + f 2.8 + ISO 400 + EV -0.3 (I just love to capture "that thing" that every bee is buzzing about)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm: 1/4000s + f 1.8 + ISO 160 + EV -0.6 (I missed the focus, I wanted the flower in the middle the one to the far right to be in focus, but I got the bokeh effect that I wanted at least)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/100s + f 1.8 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (The little gus was squirming about and nearly got to see my shoe number)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 20mm: 1/400s + f 1.8 + ISO 160 + EV -0.3 (It looks more delicious up close)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/30s + f 1.8 + ISO 800 + EV -0.3 (I found this guys by accident, literally I'ved fallen upon them but no one was hurt, not me and neither them)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm: 1/20s + f 5.6 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (Shrooms, shrooms, shrooms ... I love mushrooms)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/0.6s + f 8 + ISO 100 + EV -0.3 (This little bugger was kind enough to stand still and ignore me while a huge lens was right under his nose)

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Panasonic G2 + Revuenon 50mm f 1.8 + Revue Macro Tubes 11mm + 20mm + 30mm: 1/125s + f 1.8 + ISO 500 + EV -0.3 ( I don't know what that is but it's definitely egg-like)

When you're trying to capture small things with you're camera the say it's better to do it with a tripod but that is to slow for me (setting it up, fiddly between the legs of the tripod) so I prefer hand held. What, I think, the best compromise between tripod and hand held is using Joby's GorillaPod because it's small, it's lite and it's flexible (specially with the X-Head) enough to make small or big adjustments really quick and without the legs getting in the way, even thou I don't own one, yet, it's on top of my "To buy as soon as possible" list and it's not even expensive and I consider an essential item for anyone.

Try shooting ants with shutter speed bellow 1/500s and you will see that being small doesn't make you slow so depending on the subject try to keep up with them because they won't stand still for you, even if you ask them nicely.

Searching for small thing to photograph can be hard, finding interesting to shoot, trying to get the composition the way you want it, light is very important and necessary for your composition and for getting as much speed or smallest aperture as possible (when you need as much DOF as you can). You need a lot of patience and attention to you're surrounding. The world of macro is vast and there are a lot of thing you can see and photograph.

But you have to approach differently then other types of photography. When you see a subject get closer very slow and without sudden moves so you don't scare you subject, bee it insects of other wild life. You can get pretty close if you have enough patience and sluggish movement (in there, everyone, defense you look like one eye freak with your camera).

If you can try to use as small aperture as possible to gain more DOF, and don't be afraid to use f 16 because to can get some sharpness back (but you can't get the sharpness back if your subject is out of focus because of the larger aperture and, consequently, smaller DOF). If your camera can handle higher ISO use it (on my G2 I wouldn't go beyond 800 only if it's absolutely necessary). And if your not shore of yourself on getting that shot (no matter the reason) try shooting in burst mode (even if it's slow, mine is 2.5 FPS for about 5 RAW files) because you can pick the one that is the sharpest instead of getting mad that the one you tried is blurred of not sharp enough. The built in flash (or dedicated flash) might help but you have to be careful that the lens does not shade in your shot and flash can give you harsh light and make your subject more unreal and uninteresting, unless you can, afored, use multiple flashes and/or sophisticated macro ring light.

The lack of, a, more variety of macro lenses for Micro Four Thirds is disappointing, to say the least (annoying actually), you can compensate for that with manual (because of adapting lenses you loose or lack AF and/or aperture control, depending on your type of lens, and the ability to use you camera in P and S modes, I really use them) macro lenses and you can get more working range with longer macro lenses (like 100mm f 2.8 and 200mm f 4 that are more common out there) because of the crop factor, but you do loose more wide-ish macro opportunity like the classic 50mm and that is really frustrating for me because there are many times where I would have liked to include more of the surrounding with my subject to get a better perspective but such is the nature of the Micro Four Thirds, win some lose some. There is a highly specialized lenses, that was only available for Canon and I mean the awesome Canon 65mm f 2.5 1x-5x Macro, that can give you more the 1:1 macro ratio that is native (only mount so don't get to excited) to Micro Four Thirds: Yasuhara Nanoha Macro Lens 5:1 for Micro Four Thirds YA24-NAN5M and is not cheap but not as expensive as the Canon's lens and has the nice LED trick up it's sleeve but one serious huge drawback: the working distance is so small that you almost squash your subject and restricts your ability to shoot the very shy and/or fast moving subjects. But at least it't there if you want it.


Now you could go cheaper with your lenses (old manual lenses with macro tubes/bellows) and lightning (see bellow) if you don't have the money, time or interest (at least in the humble beginnings). You can give it a try even at home, just out of curiosity (that's a itch impossible to get rid of completely).
Here's my home made *cough* studio *cough* set-up for some macro:

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Nifty eigh ? :drinks: ... cheap and fast but you can swap the lens with a stand (or whatever) and the phone with other types of light sources, I used my phone's LED because it's the brightest light source I have in my house at the moment. And you can use multiple light sources if you want to get rid of the shadows or create shadows to make your subject more interesting. It's all up to your imagination.

You can shoot your LCD to see why it was so damn expensive (if you bought an IPS LCD that is, mine is a simple TFT):

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Unedited, straight from the camera JPEG.

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100 Clarity & 100 Contrast in ACDSee 6 Pro and, roughly, 100 % crop.

You can shoot a dead spider if you can find one (hint: look under your bed or other furniture). I'm one of the few people who is exited about what's under an unmoved for a year or more furniture but not for the forgotten items but for ugly (in some's people perspective) and/or (un)dead creatures:

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Or you could see the craftsmanship of making money:

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Or how "clean" your glasses are, that reminds me that I should change the lenses:

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Here's how close I can get with the macro tubes mounted on my nifty fifty:

Without macro tubes at minimum focus distance:
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Here's with macro tubes at minimum focus distance:
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Here's the nifty fify (the key is just for size comparison, the subject is the small brush):
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And here's extended with the tubes, all of them:
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I don't know what ration of magnification it gives me but it's enough for me :drinks: but I did find some really weird, I wouldn't call the artefacts, things when I get extremely close to some times of subject, I think the one that have some kind of reflective "coating" on them, that gives me colored spot of light (those can be seen in the Euro logo, the small brush and the acorn, the one with the white spots). I can't find a explanation for that weird but very annoying effect that cannot be removed without desaturating the colors completely the photo (which I did on the coin photo because it was to extreme). Maybe it's the coating on the lens that catches lights that are bend into some colors but I think I'm way off on that idea.

I hope this helps some of you and/or enjoyed the photos as much as I have taking them.
 

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