Yugoboy’s Macro on the Cheap Experiment

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  ravnostic 6 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #3005

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    As most of you know, I’ve had my extension tubes for over a year, but only just last week I picked up a set of the Vivitar Macro “lenses” that are basically magnifying glasses to add to your lens like filters.

    I wondered what would happen if I combined the 2. I also wanted to see what the 85-210 lens would be like with the extension tubes. If you’re curious, as well, read on, my friend… read on…

    First, the Equipment:
    Camera is a Nikon D5000. The lens for the majority of this experiment was a manual 50mm Nikkor lens from my old Nikon FE, chosen because I could set the focus and f-stop to achieve a measure of consistency.

    In the photo: Extension tubes – 7mm, 14mm, 28mm (and connector hardware); Macro “lenses” – 1x, 2x, 4x, 10x; 85-210 zoom lens and 2x teleconverter.

    The Control Photo:
    Subject is a rhinestone pendant my wife found and a penny for size and DOF comparison set on black velvet.
    50mm w/no extras

    Extension Tubes

    50mm + 7mm:

    50mm + 14mm extension tube:

    50mm + 21mm (7+14):

    50mm + 28mm:

    50mm + 35mm (28+7):

    50mm + 42mm (28+14) (I have no idea why it turned sideways):

    50mm + 49mm (7+14+28):

    Macro “Lenses”

    50mm + (+1):

    50mm + (+2):

    50mm + (+4):

    50mm + (+10):

    50mm + (+15) {10+4+1}:

    Combining the Two Sets of Hardware
    (Obviously, the number of combinations is significant, so I kept it to 2 for simplicity’s sake)

    50mm + 28mm + (+15):

    50mm + 49mm + (+17):

    Now for 2 from the 85-210 zoom and tubes:

    Zoom + 49mm:

    Zoom + 49mm + 2x teleconverter:

    Comments and Conclusions

    I’m not sure why the teleconverter came out smaller, but part of it was probably my difficulty holding all of that hardware and a lack of patience after over an hour of hot lamps and staring at the same rhinestone and penny. The nice thing was that I appear to have gotten the same magnification on close-up as the 7mm tube, but a greater DOF (without the teleconverter).

    I was kind of hoping I could get to cellular level, and maybe I did… I’d have to have a back-lit shooting surface and something to shoot. That experiment comes later…

    One thing I tried that didn’t work was trying to use 49mm and +17 with 18mm or 28mm. Because of the thickness of +17, I could not get close enough. I did not try less than +17 due to the length of time this experiment took and my natural ADD kicking in. If I get a back-lit surface maybe I’ll try, simply to see just how magnified I can get.

    So… in the end, I believe that when shooting macro, you don’t necessarily have to spend huge bucks. On Amazon, the tubes were $10, and the Vivitar set is $15.
    (Obviously, the target audience will determine this as well… reduced DOF may make these shots unsuitable for NatGeo or other clientele.)

    #51599

    staplermofo
    Participant

    If you use a ruler touching the front of the lens you can keep your hands off everything but the shutter, and get more of the info you want in the shot itself. (like the new focus distance)

    I had always called these close up filters, to save myself the clarification quote marks.

    #51600

    staplermofo
    Participant

    Even cheaper macro equipment.
    And it works with the iphone 4s, what the really professional photographers use instead of the more pro-sumer ipad.
    Sorry ennuipoet, couldn’t resist.

    #51601

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    One other thing I neglected to mention above:

    Interestingly, the more tubes I put on, the higher the shutter speed, but the more Macro filters, the slower the shutter speed. I’m sure there’s a good reason, having something to do with light versus sensor size versus glass or lack thereof, but I’m not really into optics as a science.

    #51598

    orionid
    Participant

    One other thing I neglected to mention above:

    Interestingly, the more tubes I put on, the higher the shutter speed…

    Your tubes defy physics. Light eminating from a point source, which in the case of a lens the nodal point behaves as such, is reduced by a factor proportional to the square of the ratio of distances ( L2 = L1*(D2/D1)^2 ). Put simply, doubling the distance drops two stops.

    I’m curious what metering mode you’re using. Perhaps, in the realm of macro, as you add tubes and your image expands, you’re reducing the amount of black as seen by the sensor and tricking the camera into thinking there’s more light. I dunno.

    #51602

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    Your tubes defy physics.

    I thought so, too. That’s why I mentioned it.
    No, the laws of physics don’t work differently in my kitchen. “I’m just a slow cook, I guess.”

    Light eminating from a point source, which in the case of a lens the nodal point behaves as such, is reduced by a factor proportional to the square of the ratio of distances ( L2 = L1*(D2/D1)^2 ). Put simply, doubling the distance drops two stops.

    Thanx for putting it simply. Not only did I not take physics in HS, I wouldn’t have passed it if I had. All because of math, too. I get concepts, and enjoy talking/reading about the ideas, but the math is beyond me.

    I’m curious what metering mode you’re using. Perhaps, in the realm of macro, as you add tubes and your image expands, you’re reducing the amount of black as seen by the sensor and tricking the camera into thinking there’s more light. I dunno.

    My “metering mode” was me shooting and looking at the resulting image in the monitor on the back of the camera. I think your idea is what’s happening.

    I used the black to minimize background clutter. When I used the kit lens, the meter said one thing, but because of all the black, the picture said another. Doesn’t really explain why this happened with the tubes, but not the filters.

    Right after I got my camera back, I experimented with the filters a bit outside, and found that I didn’t have to stop down nearly so much as I would have had I had my tubes. So, to say the results of this experiment were interesting is putting it mildly. I do think it’s the ratio of copper/”gold”/rhinestone to black velvet that has a bigger impact than actual physics/optics.

    #51603

    Yoyo
    Participant

    Are you hand-holding these shots, because they look awfully blurry.

    I too have extension tubes as well as +1, 2 ,4, & 10 diopter filters.

    I like the tubes for when I have plenty of time to prepare everything and take lots of pics and adjust things just so. I usually go with the 50/1.4 in front of the extenders.

    The filters are my go-to macro device for when I’m out and about. I like the +4 be itself on my 18-55 kit lens for food photography while dining. That combo is quick and easy, but there can be some serious purple fringing. It only gets worse with more magnification.

    #51604

    Yugoboy
    Participant

    Are you hand-holding these shots, because they look awfully blurry.

    Most of them, yes. The blurry, however, is in large part due to a really shallow DoF. Almost all of them have a focal plane somewhere. I did all I could to keep them sharp without going to the tripod more than I had to.

    FWIW – that zoom lens in the supplies pic above is turning out to be a LOT more interesting than I at first imagined it being. While is is in NO way a macro lens, in terms of being able to shoot close, from about 3-4 feet away it zooms pretty freaking good, and the focal distance is way farther than I first thought. The lens, for whatever reason had some sort of 1/2″ extension screwed on the end that literally did nothing except increase the distance from the camera body. Once I removed that, and only used the “t-adapter”, I was golden. Going to try to use it for some of my models (when I finally get through the e-meeting stage and start shooting some of them), because it’s REALLY honking sharp, and I don’t have to get all in their face to get all in their face. I can also zoom out to get body and background, and with the ability to manually control f-stops despite the light, I’m going to get beau coup bokeh. (The one thing that bothers me about the digital AF lenses is that the top and bottom ends of the f-stop spectrum will change based on the light, and I can’t do anything about it.) The far focal distance appears to be near infinity (as is labelled on the lens), but is certainly hundreds of feet away. Definitely worth the $8.

    #51605

    ravnostic
    Participant

    Head to an estate sale that reads “lots of antique photography equipment”, and grab a Darlot lens. Best $40 I ever spent, and versatile to boot. Focus is indeed a bee-ach, but when you get it, it’s good. :o)

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