Close, Closer, Closest!: How to get super close macro shots with that DSLR for cheap!
Posted by verybigjen on 03/28/2010 at 10:11:28
Macro shots of your merchandise sell. They bring in the buyer up close and personal, they can see the finess of your work, and make them almost feel they can touch it.
In the continuing effort to always improve your pics have you recently bought a new Digital SLR (DSLR) camera like me? Did you, like me, realize the lens that came with it didn't quite get you close enough for what you wanted to shoot? Did you price macro lenses? OUCH! In my case a good macro costs about as much as my Nikon D60 did when I got it.
After bemoaning my inability to afford a decent dedicated macro lens, a photographer friend turned me on to Closeup Lenses.
More like a filter than a proper barrel style lens, it is essentially a magnifying glass for your camera. Like a filter it screws to the front of your standard lens, and are easy to store in even a small camera bag.
Whereas a Macro lens can run around $700 - a set of closeup lenses is about $20 at a major auction site. That's quite a difference in price! There are some downsides, being more of a magnifier filter, the depth of field is very narrow, but it can result in some very artsy shots.
But what size do you need? Take the lens cap off your lens and look at the back of it. There should be a number in millimeters imprinted on the back of the lens cap: that's the size of the filter/lens that you need.
Most sets have four varying powers in them usually a +1 (essentially1x Magnification), +2, +4 and +10 (10xmagnification.) I have also seen some +20 or higher selling for about the same price as well.
I have a second +10 I got with a second set of filters for polarization, uv, etc (which is also good to have). This is good actually since you can use more than one at once, just screw one to the next.
This link is a photo set of mine on flickr where I did a set of test shots of one of my remote controls, i have the combination of lenses written down for my own ref, but here is a few, the first is with no closeup lens, just my base lens as clsoe as it would let me get, the second a +2 & +4 stacked and third is a +10 & +4. Nice eh?
There is a trick to getting used to them. They took me a couple tries to figure out that I have to move the camera closer to get the AutoFocus to take. Just move in until the picture in your viewfinder looks close to in focus then tap your shutter to see if it will take over from there, if not, ease in a bit more.
I have taken pictures with all five lenses at once! (+10, +10, +1, +2, +4) It let me get extremely close with the camera - about an inch away. Here's a really nice one that I took of one of my pincushions with all my closeup filters stacked up (+27 if you added it all up)...
As you can see the focus is a very narrow area but i dont think it detracts from the shot, and if anything it helps the eye, telling it where you want them to look.
Another shot with lower power set of the lenses.
Anyway, if you are looking to do more and get closer with your DSLR, give Closeup Lenses a shot. Even if it's only to improve your game while saving up for that pricey macro. As you can see you will love the results, and your customers will love seeing your work up close.
Now, unless you are a seasoned photographer, and even if you are, you'll want to pick up a small tabletop tripod as well. Good macro pictures need a steady base. You can find those even at your local department store photo section for a few dollars. Get one that fits in your camera bag and you'll never forget it.
Don't have a DSLR, but want a little closer, you can find some closeup lenses in small diameter sizes, but usually lower power. First check the front of your lens to see if it has threading to allow a filter to screw on, if not, you are stuck with your factory defaults at least until my article on image resolution goes up here.