Super Macro Photography Using A Loupe

Super Macro Photography Using A Loupe

Published On: 12-02-2011 09:34pm

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Category: Photography Tutorials

imageAll online sellers know that great photos are essential. Since buyers can't touch, smell, or holding the products, your pictures need to speak louder than words. If you noticed, top online sellers usually got great photos in their webstores.

This post will show you my experiment result of using a loupe (or a magnifying glass) to produce super macro photos using a standard pocket camera! My camera is Casio Exilim 7.2 MP with 3 x Optical Zoom. It's a pretty standard point and shoot digital camera that I bought new in September 2006. Nothing fancy, it has only the standard Macro mode, no Super Macro mode. It can only get as close as 10 cm (4 inch) to the object using the Macro mode. Usually I set it up on 5 MP so I still have enough pixels after I cropped out the unnecessary space out of my photos.

Today, I received my Instructables newsletter and one of the new tutorials is about Macro "close up" Photography Using an iPhone. The title was interesting enough to have me clicked it. I was blown away! I remembered that I had a loupe laying around inside my room, I searched for it, cleaned it, and start experimenting with it. And I have to say that I'm really pleased with the results! On the next paragraph, I will show you the comparison photos, before and after I used a loupe. The trick is to place the loupe kissing the camera lense with no space between them.

First we need to know the basic on How to Get Sharp Photos:
Half press the camera's shutter button, usually it will show the focus mark. On mine it's a rectangle. If it's colored RED, it means your camera is too close to the object you want to focus on. GREEN means you're ready to take the shot. Here I show you two pictures to compare. I tried to focus on the crystals on top of the bracelet. As you can see, the focus is on the bracelet's ends when my camera is too close to the object (RED rectangle), the next picture shows it on the correct focus I was aiming and the mark shows as GREEN.

NOTE: I only use window light (indirect sunlight) for my photos. I've got the best result when taking photos a little over noon (around 2 PM). Check my other tutorial for more explanation » Macro Photography Tutorial. And this is another cool Photography Tutorial-Lighting that Jeni shared with us in Beading Daily forum.

NOTE II: If needed, use only Optical Zoom and not Digital Zoom. I don't like digital zoom because usually the picture result has a lot of noise and quite pixely. All it does is cropping the picture closer. You can do that in your picture editing program with better result. Free download picture editing program.

camera's too close to the object


Second, Using the Loupe!
Here's how I use it. I hold my camera on my right hand and the loupe/magnifier on my left hand.
Look at the first photo. I included a ruler to measure how close I can be before and after using a loupe. With Macro setting on, my camera can get as close as 10 cm (4 inch) to the object and after I put a loupe on, I can get twice closer at 5 cm (2 inch). And to add more to it, the depth of field is shortened too when I'm using a loupe. The background and foreground become blurer, which I like, because the photo looks more artistic and more focused on the spot/object of the interest.

NOTE: I didn't crop or edit these images besides brighten them up a bit. As you can see after using a loupe, the object is more zoomed in and filling up the whole frame. This technique is particularly good for those who has low resolution camera because now you can capture the object really close so you don't have to crop out too much and the image is still big enough for you to use.

look at the ruler

Second before-after picture. This is my mini tripod. As you can observe here, the end of the legs look more out of focus after I put on the loupe enhancing the artistic value of the picture and put more focus on the tripod head.

useless mini tripod that's too lght to hold my camera up! lol.

On the next photo, I zoomed in the "before" photo so you can observe the depth of field difference between the two images. Notice that the end of my bracelet look blurer on the "after" picture. Also notice how the paper texture is more apparent on the first (before) photo. I love how the loupe makes a lot improvement on the depth of field. Now you can observe the detail on the top of my bracelet without being distracted too much by the ends.

more artistic shot don't you think?

I imagine by using different sizes of magnifying glass you might get different result too. So keep experimenting :)



- closer shot to the object.
- more artistic looking results.
- great for low resolution camera.
- the object fills up the whole frame.

- possibly too much hassle to handle a camera AND a loupe on the other hand for some.
- it has some limitations. You can't picture something on your hand using this technique.
- for those who has unsteady hands, you may get blurry picture cos you have to hold your camera with one hand. unless you own a tripod.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little experiment. Tell me yours!

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