View Full Version : macro photography

07-19-2009, 03:43 AM
I use Sigma 70-300mm 1:4-5.6 macro lens mounted on Nikon D40 for macro photography. As I wanted to enhance (not satisfied with 1:4 macro) I bought a set of close-up lenses ( +1, +2, +4, +10). I have taken few photographs using Sigma Macro + close-up lense combination, but the focus is not proper.

If someone in the forum have used this combination, please let me know

how to get the best results

any pictures they have taken

any links for tutorials on this aspect

Thanks for your help.


07-20-2009, 10:54 AM
Could you post a couple of images in which you feel the focus is not proper so that we can make a more accurate assessment of the issue?

Without the benefit of images, a couple of thoughts:

1. The DoF in macro work can be very shallow; often as little as 1/64" or even less. Trying to get critical focus under these conditions requires a LOT of practice.

2. Your tools are not really setting you up for success. Your 70-300 isn't a true macro lens (Macro = 1:1), and close-up "lenses", especially cheap ones usually have at best, poor, if not downright horrid optical performance.

If you have the money, get a proper macrol lens; if not, then look to extension tubes combined with a shorter focal-length lens. These stand the lens off from the camera body, and therefore have no effect on the optical performance of the lens.

07-23-2009, 06:09 AM
Thank you very much for your reply, Tirediron.
I think the lenses +2, +4 and +10 are useless.
I will soon take few photos and will upload for your valuable comments.
Thanks once again for your time.

Vladimir Naumoff
11-17-2009, 10:10 AM
I agree with Tirediron the 70-300mm very strange lens and range for a macro photography and that lens I wouldn't count as a macro lens. Nothing better than a real macro lens and Sigma if you like that brand has a lot of good macro lenses for all price ranges. I personally own macro 180mm lens and I like it. It's not as good as 100m for super macro but, it works for me and I don't have to bend to make a shot. Canon just released excellent 100mm Super Macro lens (I don't know what body you use) Nikon and Sony all of them have excellent macro lenses and to start with you can buy of hand a good 50mm macro lens for about $250. I so one an other day from one of the Canadian dealers with good reputation and if you buy it from people like him you can be sure you getting good staff. Old but good.

02-13-2010, 03:33 AM
i4macro, there might be some confusion about the macro performance of your lens:

The 1:4-5.6 is referring to the maximum aperture at various zoom lengths, not the macro performance. Actually, if it's the lens I looked up, it has a 1:2 macro -- not bad. This is just silly notation -- there should be a different way of denoting macro performance, like 1~2 or 1#2.

I've found that many close-up lenses are awful. Not that they're soft in the corners -- they're soft everywhere! If you're looking for an alternative, try some shorter extension tubes -- they are literally just tubes that move the lens further from the camera body. There's no glass, so they should be cheap. They'll soften your lens a little, but usually only in the corners.

Best of luck!

03-16-2010, 10:10 AM
I tried the Nikon F2.8 105 VR macro (micro) this weekend. A very solid and sharp lens macro lens. About 850. CAD new

03-16-2010, 10:36 AM
I tried the Nikon F2.8 105 VR macro (micro) this weekend. A very solid and sharp lens macro lens. About 850. CAD new

I have one and it's great gives you good subject to lens distance. I have an old manual 55mm Macro that I should pull out more often, need a PK-13 extension tube to get 1:1 though.

03-16-2010, 01:00 PM
I have tried all sorts and always on the cheap. With old 42mm Pentax screw lens I used reversing ring between 125mm lens and 50mm lens and it worked well with 125mm on camera.
When I changed to Pentax K mount I got a bellows and this also works well main thing is you have some control over focus. The extension rings I found useless as they just did not do enough.
I tried a reversing ring on lens direct onto camera and although it does work there is no focus you just have to adjust camera position.
So I got some cheap close up filters they worked well and easy to use although they do not enlarge anywhere near as much as other methods.
So last was to buy a microscope which is not as good as reversing lens on the camera although easier to use.
Much seems to depend on what the subject is and items which can be mounted on a slide are very different to wild life.
I have used the bellows for close up work with bee in a flower using a 400mm lens. Could have taken same image with 50mm lens but with 400mm I was 4 foot from flower and it did not impede the bee from access.
Most macro if not all has been tripod work and really the camera is used very like a microscope using the rack and pinion on tripod to focus rather than lens big advantage is being able to stop down before taking image and it is this stopping down that allows the use of poor quality lens.
The microscope has no aperture control and it is this which means it has very poor depth of field at 450x then it works well but at 50x the reversed lens with stopped down aperture and 10Mpixial CCD rather than 2Mpixal CCD works better. This assumes the subject is static.
The bee was not static (Also not true macro) and in that case the bellows with a large diameter first lens to gather as much light as possible to be able to use faster speed is required.
As I have said all mine done on the cheap. Bellows tend not to be really portable they are not hand held and if you want hand held then you have to revert to extension rings. But unless you buy expensive type then everything becomes manual. I can't use lens that came with camera as it has no aperture ring. All macro done with old SLR lens except for close up lenses.
I hope that helps from cheap angle?

03-16-2010, 02:26 PM
very good post ericmark!

03-16-2010, 04:52 PM
very good post ericmark!
Thanks I expected some one to tell me I had got it all wrong. Next is to find what he wanted macro for?
This http://www.photography.ca/Forums/members/ericmark/albums/odd-pictures/316-wood-screw2-reversing-ring-stopped-down-28mm-lens-flash.jpg was taken using a D-SLR and reversing ring and this http://www.photography.ca/Forums/members/ericmark/albums/odd-pictures/315-wood-screw-composite-many-images-all-different-focal-length-microscope-x4-quartz-halogen-led-lighting.jpg with a microscope using photoshop to combine many images to get depth of field. I hope you agree the reversed lens worked better than microscope which is not really what one expects to happen.
Even when one uses a pre-prepared slide because the area of view is limited one still needs photoshop to combine images and this http://www.photography.ca/Forums/members/ericmark/albums/odd-pictures/314-stem-wood-12-images-3-x-4-combined-photoshop-cs4-microscope-used-x4-optic-supplied-usb-ccd-no-problem-movement-but-no-little-control-over-light-built-led-computer-sets-gain-no-manual-control.jpg needed 12 images to get whole of cross section. To give some scale this http://www.photography.ca/Forums/members/ericmark/albums/odd-pictures/320-slide.jpg is picture of prepared slide on standard key board. Sorry to say many of my macro photos although interesting to those connected to subject are not really the sort of photo one would want on ones wall. Close-up is really more eye pleasing and this http://www.photography.ca/Forums/members/ericmark/albums/odd-pictures/317-bee-taken-270mm-lens-extension-bellows-aimed-flower-sitting-deck-chair-remote-summer-2009.jpg was take with a 400mm lens with extension bellows to allow bees free passage to water iris but it is not macro. The camera was set up to look at one iris and set on cable release and I read my book in deck chair when bee arrived I took series of about 20 images then selected the best. Idea of chasing bee around the garden just does not work.