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Standard lens + magnifying glass = easy macro?

Forums Forums Get Technical Hardware Standard lens + magnifying glass = easy macro?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 20 total)
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  • #1599
    Zumaki
    Participant

    I found this piece of focusing glass from an old big screen television, and one day I decided to put it in front of my standard lens and see if it came up with a decent effect. I discovered two things:

    1. it moves the focal point from 16″+ to like 3-8″.
    2. it lets me take some pretty high power macro shots, albeit with a super narrow focal depth and some distortion around the edges.

    The reason for this post is twofold; I would like to know if there is a filter or addon to standard lenses that does the same thing, and if not (or its too expensive) would it be worth it to buy a cheap lens filter, knock out the middle, and glue the lens to the filter ring so I can screw it onto the end of my lens instead of holding it with one hand?

    #22669
    millera9
    Participant

    Yes, there are some screw-on macro “filters” that you can buy (see link below). I’ve never used one and I’ve never heard from anyone else who has used one. Anybody on here ever tried this method? I like you magnifying glass idea, but I’m not surprised that it results in some distortion.

    http://www.calumetphoto.com/item/CA406001/

    #22670
    sleeping
    Participant

    Single element closeup filters are cheap, but are generally not that great for your image quality (and this tends to get worse as the magnification increases), especially at the edges. However, if you want to get close without spending a lot, a relatively low power diopter (+1 to +3 or so) will probably give you decent results stopped down to F11 or so especially if you don’t need corner to corner sharpness.

    Also, they tend to work better on teles than wide angles (the effect of a given diopter increases with focal length so you can use a lower diopter power and still get pretty close).

    You can also get two element achromatic close up lenses. These have much better image quality, but are much thicker (mine is about 3/4″ thick), heavier and more expensive. Canon makes them in a few sizes:

    canon close up lenses at B&H

    #22671
    Zumaki
    Participant

    One of my images that I’ll be posting tonight when the contest hits the main page was shot with the lens glass on the front:


    F is for Fark 🙂

    #22672
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    I have a set of macro filters. +1 & +2 don’t do a whole lot. +4 does a lot. Like you said, it moves the focusing distance on my 70-300 from about 4 feet to about 6 inches. They are really soft and the DOF is very narrow but they can produce a nice shot if you use them right.

    These shots were all taken with a 70-300 and a +4 magnifying filter.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/21629306@N00/sets/72157616347233721/

    #22673
    orionid
    Participant

    What NBD said…. Except I haven’t gotten them for my 70-300 yet, but have used them alot on my 55-200. I like them as far as general purpose, but they have been gathering dust as of late since I’ve been using the bigger glass and extension tubes.

    #22674
    millera9
    Participant

    What NBD said…. Except I haven’t gotten them for my 70-300 yet, but have used them alot on my 55-200. I like them as far as general purpose, but they have been gathering dust as of late since I’ve been using the bigger glass and extension tubes.

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would you ever use one of these when a set of extension tubes:
    a) costs about the same (non OEM)
    b) doesn’t introduce any new glass and therefore doesn’t affect image quality
    c) gives you more flexibility (different combinations)
    and
    d) will work with any lens you own?

    #22675
    Zumaki
    Participant

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would you ever use one of these when a set of extension tubes:
    a) costs about the same (non OEM)
    b) doesn’t introduce any new glass and therefore doesn’t affect image quality
    c) gives you more flexibility (different combinations)
    and
    d) will work with any lens you own?

    I can say right now I’d rather use a filter-style lens on the front than swap out camera lenses while I’m out and about. I already get nervous pulling out the fairly expensive IR filter and putting it on and off; if I drop it, i’m screwed. The possibility of introducing dust to the back end of my lens or the main body of my camera to attach a tube makes me cringe. I know my rebel xt isn’t very pro, but it’s all I have, so I have to baby it. If I could afford to be less cautious though, I’d totally go for a tube.

    #22676
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    What NBD said…. Except I haven’t gotten them for my 70-300 yet, but have used them alot on my 55-200. I like them as far as general purpose, but they have been gathering dust as of late since I’ve been using the bigger glass and extension tubes.

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would you ever use one of these when a set of extension tubes:
    a) costs about the same (non OEM)
    b) doesn’t introduce any new glass and therefore doesn’t affect image quality
    c) gives you more flexibility (different combinations)
    and
    d) will work with any lens you own?

    (a) I don’t have extension tubes. Why? I don’t know LOL)
    (b) Yes they do affect image quality alot but thats ok. If you are going for an artsy fartsy effect more than a super sharp macro shot or you want a strange DOF shot these are the filters you want.
    (c)see (a)
    (d) see (a)
    I bought these at Ritz camera on clearance for 10 bucks. had them about 2 years before I even took them out of the plastic and played with them

    I don’t have a true macro lens so I have to do with what I got 🙂

    #22677
    millera9
    Participant

    What NBD said…. Except I haven’t gotten them for my 70-300 yet, but have used them alot on my 55-200. I like them as far as general purpose, but they have been gathering dust as of late since I’ve been using the bigger glass and extension tubes.

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would you ever use one of these when a set of extension tubes:
    a) costs about the same (non OEM)
    b) doesn’t introduce any new glass and therefore doesn’t affect image quality
    c) gives you more flexibility (different combinations)
    and
    d) will work with any lens you own?

    (a) I don’t have extension tubes. Why? I don’t know LOL)
    (b) Yes they do affect image quality alot but thats ok. If you are going for an artsy fartsy effect more than a super sharp macro shot or you want a strange DOF shot these are the filters you want.
    (c)see (a)
    (d) see (a)
    I bought these at Ritz camera on clearance for 10 bucks. had them about 2 years before I even took them out of the plastic and played with them

    I don’t have a true macro lens so I have to do with what I got 🙂

    To be clear, I wasn’t attacking you or anyone, I was just wondering if maybe I had missed something when I read all this stuff a couple years ago and settled on a set of extension tubes. More power to you (especially if they were $10!) I definitely lean toward the super-crisp, mostly realistic side of photography so I tend to shy away from more abstract effects.

    #22678
    millera9
    Participant

    I can say right now I’d rather use a filter-style lens on the front than swap out camera lenses while I’m out and about. I already get nervous pulling out the fairly expensive IR filter and putting it on and off; if I drop it, i’m screwed. The possibility of introducing dust to the back end of my lens or the main body of my camera to attach a tube makes me cringe. I know my rebel xt isn’t very pro, but it’s all I have, so I have to baby it. If I could afford to be less cautious though, I’d totally go for a tube.

    I used to be the same way but I made myself get over it when I realized that I was missing shots by babying my equipment. I’m still really careful but I have learned to change lenses quickly and safely (remove lens, put body cap on camera, put lens down, attach new lens to camera, put cap on removed lens, wipe hands on pants!) Nonetheless, you should do whatever is comfortable for you and whatever gets you the results you want; if you’re ok with some distortion and you don’t want to have to change lenses, then the filters (or a magnifying-glass rig) are the way to go!

    #22679
    Zumaki
    Participant

    I didn’t feel attacked, I just wanted to throw out my two cents to show I actually have a reason.

    #22680
    Zumaki
    Participant

    I used to be the same way but I made myself get over it when I realized that I was missing shots by babying my equipment.

    I’m relaxing a bit as this camera gets older (investments get cheaper over time, amirite?) but being a poor college student with little income means if I break what I have, I’m out of the game for a while. So I’d rather miss a few shots or get really creative while being safe than risk missing all future shots.

    By the way, I used to take my old Minolta Z1 and do throw photography (set to long exposure, throw camera up, catch camera) with it before I gave it to my bro to use in Iraq. It’s a 3.2mp SLR-wannabe from ’03 that’s still kickin. Makes neat pics but I wouldn’t do it until the cost/time investment of the camera had worked out to be about $20 a year :p

    #22681
    nobigdeal
    Participant

    What NBD said…. Except I haven’t gotten them for my 70-300 yet, but have used them alot on my 55-200. I like them as far as general purpose, but they have been gathering dust as of late since I’ve been using the bigger glass and extension tubes.

    That’s the part I can’t figure out. Why would you ever use one of these when a set of extension tubes:
    a) costs about the same (non OEM)
    b) doesn’t introduce any new glass and therefore doesn’t affect image quality
    c) gives you more flexibility (different combinations)
    and
    d) will work with any lens you own?

    (a) I don’t have extension tubes. Why? I don’t know LOL)
    (b) Yes they do affect image quality alot but thats ok. If you are going for an artsy fartsy effect more than a super sharp macro shot or you want a strange DOF shot these are the filters you want.
    (c)see (a)
    (d) see (a)
    I bought these at Ritz camera on clearance for 10 bucks. had them about 2 years before I even took them out of the plastic and played with them

    I don’t have a true macro lens so I have to do with what I got 🙂

    To be clear, I wasn’t attacking you or anyone, I was just wondering if maybe I had missed something when I read all this stuff a couple years ago and settled on a set of extension tubes. More power to you (especially if they were $10!) I definitely lean toward the super-crisp, mostly realistic side of photography so I tend to shy away from more abstract effects.

    No offense taken bro 🙂 I agree I would rather have a true macro lens and am going to go buy a set of tubes tomorrow. I don’t know why I don’thave any. They are not very expensive.

    The filters are just something I picked up to throw in the camera bag that make a different effect.

    #22682
    millera9
    Participant

    I used to be the same way but I made myself get over it when I realized that I was missing shots by babying my equipment.

    I’m relaxing a bit as this camera gets older (investments get cheaper over time, amirite?) but being a poor college student with little income means if I break what I have, I’m out of the game for a while. So I’d rather miss a few shots or get really creative while being safe than risk missing all future shots.

    By the way, I used to take my old Minolta Z1 and do throw photography (set to long exposure, throw camera up, catch camera) with it before I gave it to my bro to use in Iraq. It’s a 3.2mp SLR-wannabe from ’03 that’s still kickin. Makes neat pics but I wouldn’t do it until the cost/time investment of the camera had worked out to be about $20 a year :p

    Haha, you are definitely right about the investments part. The way I drive my car now (120k+ miles) and the way I drove it when it was new… you get the point. And yes, the starving college student part has to factor; a new Rebel means sacrificing a lot of ramen! 🙂 I definitely think that if you get the right magnifying glass, you can rig something up that might be even better than the OEM filters and for much cheaper.

    I still haven’t tried that throw-tography thing. Maybe I’ll resurrect my old point and shoot this summer for that purpose (because I’m sure as hell not trying it with my real camera!)

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