Macro/Close-Up Equipment: Cameras, Lenses, Filters & Adapters

Hello everyone,

Today, I would like to talk a bit about cameras, lenses, filters and adapters that pertain to macro and close-up photography. The following equipment is linked to B & H because it’s my favorite place to shop. Of course you can research other businesses to purchase the following goodies. I know that some of my photographer friends also shop at Adorama and Really Right Stuff.  So let’s get started…

CAMERAS
Point & Shoot cameras today are wonderful for the hobbyist. You can use the special macro mode with a flash to get a nice shot, but if you’re like me and want a variety of ways to focus close-up, then purchase a good single lens reflex camera (SLR). Take the time to read up on the various cameras out there because once you decide what you want it will set the tone for the rest of your equipment. B&H has info for you to read up on if you are debating about the brands of cameras out there. The links below has information on point & shoots and on single lens reflex digital cameras.

I like this point and shoot; you can click on Figure 1 and it will take you to the information on this camera. Briefly… it’s waterproof, shockproof, 12.1 megapixels, with stabilization built into it… very nice!!

(Remember, when you click on the figures to get back to the blog use back arrow key on your browser.)

Figure 1

Of course I want to show you a picture of my favorite camera for shooting macro, which is the Canon 5D (DSLR). If you click on Figure 2 it will take you to a link that shows you several cameras for you to check out. I suggest you read up on the mid range info I gave you previously and then check out this site, but if you’re in a hurry, go for it!

Figure 2

LENSES
Now that I showed you some great cameras let’s get into what is really important, the lens! My suggestion is that you should invest your money on a lens(s). Learn from my mistakes, don’t buy cheap. Save money, set a goal for yourself and stick to it! Put money under the mattress…do whatever you can to save for the best lenses. I know that when I snap that shot, I will have the best clarity, dead sharp area, in focus photograph. At least for me it’s a small area, but I’ll tell you, that small area can be blown up to 24 x 36 and larger and my subject will be sharp.

If you want to view the difference of a standard lens and a macro lens, check out my article on, “Photographing your artwork, craft, or any small subject”.  Macro lenses are used for a 1:1 ratio, the optics are cut just for focusing up close. That’s why you get an awesome shot using these lenses.   Some photographers don’t like the flat look from the macro lens but you can use various lighting techniques to give your subject more depth. If you have never purchased a macro lens I would suggest you start with a 100mm/105mm macro. This is a great lens:

Figure 3

WIDE ANGLE LENSES
Now, if you’re interested in close-ups and not so much on the Macro thing, I would suggest you purchase a wide-angle lens. I personally like the way you can get close to a subject and have the background behind it. It shows us the environment of the subject. This is an example of a nice wide-angle lens:

Figure 4


Figure 5

I used my 50mm for this photo; it’s semi-close:

REVERSE LENS

If you have a great lens and don’t want to purchase a macro lens you can always reverse your lenses. Check out this setup from B&H in Figure 6, so cool!  You can achieve a great macro shot by reversing your lens; just pay attention to your exposure because you will lose light. The histogram on your camera is a must for a perfect exposure.

Figure 6


FILTERS
If you are a hobbyist…try playing with these filters. They’re a fun way to achieve the close-up look, but just fyi…you won’t achieve anything you could with a macro lens.

You can read up on filters at B&H. I also found a set of filters at Amazon.com.

Figure 7

Figure 8


My Conclusion

You can achieve a close-up and macro photograph many ways. For fun you can use your macro mode and flash with a point & shoot or add some filters to the lenses you already have for your SLR. If you are a serious photographer and want the best possible photograph you can make with your talents and knowledge, use a Macro lens or reverse your lens(s). Like I always say…Have fun! That’s what it’s all about.

I found a couple of nice articles for you to check out. I think they did a great job helping others understand the details of macro photography. Hope you enjoy “Macro Photography: A personal equipment retrospective” by Brian Johnston and “A Comparison of Close-up Filters & Macro Lenses” by Tim Trott

Take care and live the macro mode by being creative getting up close & personal!

shot with a 100mm macro lens

Cheers,

Janice

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