Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home

Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-09-2011, 08:38 AM   #1
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: US
Photos: Albums
Posts: 394
Help with Macro of Very Small Metal Parts

I have a business manufacturing components for surgical instruments. We laser cut stainless steel tubing into intricate shapes. You can see some of my current photos here:


The parts are getting smaller and I need to get better.

What I have:

DA35 Limited Macro
Extension Tubes
Reversing Ring
A28 2.8
M100 4 Macro
Optio W90

The Reversing Ring is on order but not in my hands yet.

Truth be told, I've had the best results so far with the Optio W90 in Digital Microscope Mode.

The advantage I have is the photos I need are for website use and presentation on my iPad. I don't have to print at large sizes.

I have seen some fantastic macro photography on this site and I'm hoping for a little help .

What would be my maximum magnification with the above hardware?
What hints or tricks of the trade can you suggest?

Thanks in advance,

Last edited by joelovotti; 01-09-2011 at 09:02 AM.
01-09-2011, 10:59 AM   #2
Veteran Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Prague
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,200
I suggest to mount first the extension tubes, then the reversing ring on them and then a wide angle lens. A28 sounds good but even the kit lens are great for reverse macro photography. Expect maginification between 5:1 and 10:1 depending on lens and the amount of extension rings used.
01-09-2011, 11:07 AM   #3
Ole's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,087
How much magnification do you need? Life size (1:1), less, more?

A couple of tips:
The M100 F4 Macro is designed for macro work and need no reversing ring.

I would suggest that you use the M 100/4 lens since it gives you more working distance.

If using the M lens: Remember to set the custom function "Use of aperture ring" to "Permitted" and use manual exposure mode so that the lens actually stops down. Focus, set the aperture, then hit the green button to set the exposure. Check the result and adjust exposure manually as required.

The M100 F4 will go to half life size without extension tubes.

Always use a tripod and a small (like F16 or F22) aperture to get sufficient focus depth.
01-09-2011, 11:08 AM   #4
Veteran Member
Paleo Pete's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,877
If you have a lens it will fit, you might try my favorite, the

Binocular Lens Macro Rig

Works great, simple and cheap (if you have a pair of junk binocs or can find some) and is not difficult to use. It should work fine for items that small, I've shot raindrops, insects 1/4 inch long or smaller, flowers the size of match heads...and all you do is wiggle it onto a lens that will fit, or you can hold it in place if necessary but it's a bit more tedious.

01-09-2011, 11:19 AM   #5
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: US
Photos: Albums
Posts: 394
Original Poster
The DA Limited gets me to 1:1 without any games so I'm definitely looking to beyond 1:1 to say 2, 5 or even 10X.

I'm trying to clearly see features cut in metal that are as small and .002"
01-09-2011, 11:21 AM   #6
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: US
Photos: Albums
Posts: 394
Original Poster
I should say that I'm trying to clearly see features cut in metal that are as small and .002"
01-09-2011, 11:22 AM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: US
Photos: Albums
Posts: 394
Original Poster
If you have a lens it will fit, you might try my favorite, the

Binocular Lens Macro Rig

Can you tell me the magnification this has net you?

Is this 2X on the sensor or more maybe?
01-09-2011, 11:23 AM   #8
bdery's Avatar

Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Quebec city, Canada
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 6,266
The danger with macro lenses is that your DOF will get very very thin. That might be why your W90 gives better results, the DOF will be much larger (though we'd need examples to judge). If my assumption is correct and the narrow DOF is what bothers you, you could either:

1-use the w90, it's a fine tool if it gets the job done

2-use the DA35 since the shorter focal length will increase the DOF.

One thing is certain, I would use a tripod and get a macro focus rail. That way you can tweak focus easily and frame the way you want.

01-09-2011, 11:38 AM   #9
Inactive Account

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ames, Iowa, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,965
Well, you've done a good job so far and have a good kit to do it with. I think you might improve lighting a bit (darker background, more diffuse source, etc.)

Maximum useful magnification is most likely the question to be asked. The answer most likely revolves around the depth of field you need to properly illustrate your products. Here's the math with depth of field (Dof) expressed as a fraction of field width (WoF), F-stop N, and Circle of Confusion C as a fraction of display width for magnification m:


Putting in reasonable numbers (C~ 1/1000 of display width) yields

Dof/Wof ~ N(1+1/m)/500 = N(1+frame_width/sensor_width)/500

Your product photo pointed to in the photo below is 1" wide hence is a magnification of around 1:1 for the DSLR and about 1:4 for the P&S

Dof/Wof is sufficient in the photo. The P&S has apparently superior DoF because its sensor is about 1/4 as wide as that for the DSLR. EDIT: look at the equation, sensor width on the bottom has the effect of giving greater Depth of Field for the same Width of Field, f stop, etc.

Now I'll turn the tables on you; what's the magnification or field width & depth of focus you need to achieve?

EDIT: Ok, I posted after you said you want to clearly see features as small as .002" - that's quite a bit more magnification. How wide on the computer screen would you like this .002" feature to appear? Meanwhile I'll do some more estimating...

Each pixel in your photo above corresponds to about .04mm or about .0015" so we are talking about a LOT of magnification maybe?

Last edited by newarts; 01-09-2011 at 03:23 PM.
01-09-2011, 11:54 AM   #10
Veteran Member
Paleo Pete's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Texas
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,877
First, you have this posted in two places, that gets confusing and only one is necessary.

I don't know the magnification the binocular lens rig gets, you would have to try it and see. My rig uses a barrel from a pair of 10x50 binocs (10 power, 50mm objective lens).

To give you an idea how it works, this flower is the size of a pin head, maybe .030-.040".

Here's a rain drop, I'm sure you have an idea how big a rain drop usually is.

I'm sure if you look through my Flickr pictures I probably have more, but it's not easy to tell if they were taken using this rig or not, usually most or all of my tiny flowers shots and a lot of insect shots are taken this way. The only way I know for you to see if it will do what you want is to try it. Fortunately that's not expensive, if you already have a lens with a 49mm filter ring. Junk binoculars are available in resale shops for a couple of bucks usually.

Also a magnifying glass might work, hold it in front of the lens and move back and forth to get good focus. It's basically the same thing...just not in a binocular barrel. (different magnification though I'm sure.)
01-09-2011, 12:07 PM   #11
Veteran Member
aliasant's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Stockholm
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 634
Why not mount the 35mm reversed on the 100 Macro lens?

Maybe thats exactly what you were planning?

It will get you to were you want to be for sure.

Once your have the 1:1 to 4:1 you might think extra about lightning.
Are you using any kind of diffused light tent or maybe a product table when you shoot?
01-09-2011, 12:57 PM   #12
Veteran Member

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 1,812
If you already have a suitable flatbed scanner - this might be the better way - please take a look at:

some general flatbed Scanner advice

Here are some of the samples from that thread:

Some typical small objects we might scan.....

[left to right: Victorinox SwissChamp customized handles; David Boye 2" dropped edge w. Francine Martin etch; Swiss Army Brands "Victorinox" watch; CMG Ultra-G single AA white LED flashlight; Bud Nealy "exhibition" tanto with sheath]

From the same scan - a detail:

Same scan - another detail:

About as large an object as the scanner can accomodate:

(late) Bob Engnath finished tanto - 13" total length - differential tempered blade - in bloodwood saya (sheath)

Flatbed scanners can scan as high as 4800dpi (even the low end can manage 600dpi)
- even at the low end of a modest 600dpi - scanning the full platen of about 11.5"x8.5" - that's ~ 35Mp!

However before people get too excited -
that thread was from nearly 8 years ago - and things have changed in scanners - yes there are still very low priced scanners - in fact I bought recently a Canon Pixma MP250 all-in-one printer scanner for a mere $32 - but it cannot do this kind of scanning.

There are two main scanner technologies - the older CCD scanner element and the newer (and cheaper) CIS (Contact Image Sensor) element -

Unfortunately CIS gives very shallow DoF -
which is fine for flat documents/photos etc -
but not satisfactory for 3-D objects.

CCD elements will give adequate DoF -
aha! one might say that's all one has to look for -
well..... I did that recently and found Epson had very good photo scanners using CCDs like the V30.

BUT you knew there would be a BUT(t) - it uses like most other modern flatbed scanners LED illumination - and although that again is fine for flat documents - the LEDs are discrete and on 3-D objects the illumination can be "awful" - in other words there might be adequate DoF - but the lighting is bad - so the photo is bad.

One needs the older fashioned thin fluorescent tube lighting.

To illustrate the difference:

CCD sensor and fluorescent tube lighting:

CIS element:

lack of DoF

CCD element - BUT LED lighting:

enough DoF but horrible lighting.

CCD + Fluorescent -


severe lack of DoF


enough DoF - but again horrible lighting.



lack of DoF so although handle is nicely in focus - the blade is unacceptably OOF.


in focus but lighting is pretty Blah!

My old scanner that did all those pretty good photos was a cheapo HP ScanJet 2100C which cost me less than $40.

Now I cannot find any scanners that have the combination of CCD and fluorescent light at anything reasonably priced.

However one can find on the used market older scanner that probably will do the job as well - but watch out for things like AC adapter missing (which can cost as much as the scanner) and driver software - make sure one can download and install the correct driver with confidence.

BUT if you already have an older scanner - try it.......
It may pleasantly surprise -
because it removes the demand for accurate focus, good lighting, and even the correct exposure.

Last edited by UnknownVT; 01-09-2011 at 01:21 PM.
01-09-2011, 02:58 PM   #13
Inactive Account

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Ames, Iowa, USA
Photos: Albums
Posts: 2,965
I had good luck using an achromatic +16 diopter lens as a close-up adapter on a Fuji F20 PS (no luck on a F70-EXR.)

I found it on ebay as a "3D lens". Likely still there. Maybe a fast 50mm lens would also work as a closeup adapter for your PS?

EDIT: The lens I used is no longer on ebay but here's a good quality $10 lens that might work well as a close-up lens for your P&S:

Closeup lenses for P&S cameras must be strong as the camera's actual focal lengths are small, like 1/4 that of a DSLR.


Last edited by newarts; 01-09-2011 at 06:32 PM.
01-09-2011, 03:09 PM   #14
Veteran Member

Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Finland
Photos: Albums
Posts: 3,196
Similar threads merged.
01-09-2011, 04:03 PM   #15
Site Supporter
Site Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: US
Photos: Albums
Posts: 394
Original Poster
First, Sorry for the Double Post.

Second, thanks for the fountain of info!

It will take some time to try all this. I definitely will be working through most of the suggestions.

I have a 5 year old bed scanner so I'll give that a try.
I like the idea of the binocular kit lens, and I have an M50 1.4 to mount it to.
Most of the other ideas I have the bits to try.

I've also had some good luck shooting through an industrial microscope with a P&S
Name:  DimeL.jpg
Views: 1827
Size:  346.1 KB

I promise to post my results with a thank you but it may be a week or two.

  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, macro, optio, pentax lens, photos, slr lens, w90
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pano/macro heads - from parts pacerr Pentax Camera and Field Accessories 2 10-20-2010 10:26 AM
Thinking small - as in MACRO... doggydude Pentax DSLR Discussion 2 10-09-2009 01:13 PM
Anyone have a copy of SMC-M 100mm Macro for parts? arpaagent Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 0 11-01-2008 05:01 PM
For Sale - Sold: Pentax A 50mm f/2.8 1:2 Macro with metal lens hood hinman Sold Items 4 10-16-2008 07:51 PM

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 03:18 AM. | See also:, part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]