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12-22-2020, 10:59 AM - 2 Likes   #31
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Keeping Normhead's comments about ways of learning and doing in mind, here are my two cent's worth of suggestions. Use or ignore as you see fit! As you shoot more, you'll discover your own way of doing things. Find out if macro is for you, and if it is, figure out the combination of tools and techniques that works best for you.

A tripod may or may not help. Because with macro shooting, you're usually moving the whole camera towards or away from the subject for focusing, unless you've got your camera on a macro rail, you'll be trying to move the whole tripod back and forth fractions of an inch at a time, which will not be fun. I do almost all of my shooting hand held, because that's my preferred way of shooting.

Setting your camera to live view and focus peaking will probably be helpful for placing the plane of focus precisely where you want it.

Another vote here for a Raynox. I've got the 250, which is stronger than the 150. They are very high quality optics, which, should you decide to get into actual macro lenses, can be used with them, too. Forum member Doundounba does amazing work with the Raynox 250 in conjunction with the DA100 f2.8 WA macro.

An 18-55 reversed can make a good variable magnification macro lens. It can be tricky because of the loss of automatic diaphragm, but by adding one of these (deglassed)



Fotodiox Pro Lens Mount Adapter - Pentax K AF Mount (PKAF) DSLR Lens to Nikon F Mount SLR Camera Body with Built-In De-Clicked Aperture Control Dial I have some control over the degree of aperture opening. Here's a link to the kind of results I've achieved with this configuration: 18-55 reversed macro | Flickr I've continued to use this alongside my stable of "actual" macro lenses because it gives me results I can't yet get any other way. You might find this worth trying because it lets you use something you've already got. The reversing ring and Fotodiox adapter are probably going to be cheaper than a macro lens.

Whatever solution you find for the optical end of things, lighting will be crucial. Here's a cheap, easy solution I came across online. You'll need to invest in a tin of potato chips



or in a pinch, a cup of coffee:



This is used in conjunction with the camera's built in flash. It extends the light out beyond the end of the lens, which might otherwise shadow your subject, and diffuses the light to help prevent harsh highlights and deep shadows on your subject.


Last edited by Thagomizer; 12-22-2020 at 11:12 AM.
12-22-2020, 11:11 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by othar Quote
Most cheap extension tubes require an aperture ring, which your lenses don't have, to work properly (without aperture ring you can only shoot pictures with fully closed aperture -> requires good lighting and has bad image quality because of diffraction)
I am pretty sure that even the expensive tubes require an aperture ring.


Steve
12-22-2020, 11:25 AM - 1 Like   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
Personally I think the O.P. is looking for sometime cheap he can play with where if it isn't the right thing, it hasn't cost him a lot. Extension tubes in my experience are the logical solution.
I agree. Even with the short 12mm or 15mm extension, the major pain points of macro and near macro become very obvious, those being:
  • Limited DOF
  • No, you really can't use the focus ring for anything useful once magnification gets much above 0.5x.
  • Working distance is a bear
  • Lighting can be a challenge
  • Camera support is helpful
The unlisted realization that comes a bit later is that there are many ways to do macro and that none are without compromise. Another realization is that a dedicated macro lens is very handy and worth keeping an eye out for should a good deal come up. BTW...I have never seen a good deal on the D FA 100/2.8 WR.


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-22-2020 at 11:26 AM. Reason: competeness
12-22-2020, 11:39 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by Thagomizer Quote
Here's a cheap, easy solution I came across online.
I remember that solution. FWIW, I own the lens in that photo and at MFD, the flash extension will be almost on top of the subject; the curse of shorter focal length macro lenses. In the second example, the lens will shade the subject at close range.


Steve

12-22-2020, 12:42 PM - 1 Like   #35
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Wow, already 3 pages about this subject!

Well, extension tubes can be a good solution but there are things to take into account.

First, there are cheap extension tubes and expensive ones. The bad news is that the cheaper ones will give poor results because the inside painting does not absorb reflected light as it should do.
A good set of extension tubes would be a "K type" set, with mechanical coupling for aperture automatism.
You can also find a "KA" type set with electric contacts but this kind of stuff is rather expensive.
The "KAF" type, enabling autofocus, is almost useless and way too expensive.

Second, be aware that an extension tube (or set or bellows) will always enhance the defects of the lens: if you can see CA without extension, you will see more CA with the extension. The same for purple fringing and MTF loss. In fact it is almost the same for a TeleConverter or for a close-up (or reversed lens).

Third, the good news is that you may never see the defects if you do not perform pixel peeping and if you resize your photos.

Fourth: high macro ranges (from 5:1 to 10:1) require low focal lenses (less than 35mm) if you want to keep enough sharpness. So, if you intend to get sharp photos with a lens and extension tubes, you will have to use an excellent lens not prone to diffraction (and fast apertures).

Last one (for the moment): A flash will be your best friend, because extension tubes are light-eaters.


When I started macro, I chose close-ups instead of extension tubes, it can give good results if the focal length of the lens is medium (about 100 to 200mm).

K100D, 15-55mm and close-up:





Now I rarely use close-ups or tubes, I prefer to use a dedicated macro lens


However, tripod is not mandatory, you can use extension tubes or close-ups without a tripod, but most of time a flash will be welcome.

Last edited by tryphon4; 12-22-2020 at 01:15 PM.
12-22-2020, 12:46 PM - 2 Likes   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I remember that solution. FWIW, I own the lens in that photo and at MFD, the flash extension will be almost on top of the subject; the curse of shorter focal length macro lenses. In the second example, the lens will shade the subject at close range.


Steve
Actually the coffee cup worked fine. It pushed the light out far enough that the lens didn't block it, even at full extension for 1:1. A longer lens would have required a bigger beverage! I'd forgotten my usual potato chip tin and was forced to press the coffee cup into service as a last minute substitute. I tested it in the coffee shop before using it:



And in the field:

12-22-2020, 01:17 PM - 1 Like   #37
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With many of these threads, it's tempting to make a recommendation for a very low cost solution. But sometimes low cost solutions don't end up being low cost. For example, you start with tubes, then you add an inexpensive manual lens with an aperture ring, then you get a reversing adapter, maybe a multi-element close-up... All of a sudden for the same price you could have had maybe a used macro lens that you might be more likely to keep/use forever.


Last edited by tibbitts; 12-22-2020 at 02:32 PM.
12-22-2020, 03:08 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
I am pretty sure that even the expensive tubes require an aperture ring.
l believe I once saw a raritie that supported A-setting of the lens.
But it was unreasonable expensive so I didn't gather more detailed information about those extension tubes.
12-22-2020, 03:26 PM   #39
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I have the AF version of this lens branded Phoenix. Pentax sold it as the FA 100mm F3.5. This one is the older manual focus, but that doesn't matter for macro. It even has the 1:1 adapter...

Vivitar 100mm f3.5 Macro 1:2x Lens Pentax KA Macro Adapter & UV Filter - LS3 | eBay
12-22-2020, 03:39 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by boriscleto Quote
I have the AF version of this lens branded Phoenix. Pentax sold it as the FA 100mm F3.5. This one is the older manual focus, but that doesn't matter for macro. It even has the 1:1 adapter...

Vivitar 100mm f3.5 Macro 1:2x Lens Pentax KA Macro Adapter & UV Filter - LS3 | eBay


there's one of those for sale in the Marketplace here - with the 1:1 adapter also....
12-22-2020, 03:47 PM   #41
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Not really helpful to most, but I found, when working, that a "No 1" close-up lens" (it's NOT a "filter"!) on the front of the Pentax 18-135mm that I then had (sold on after I got a first model Sigma 17-70, which has reasonably good "semi-macro" capability " "out of the box") produced reasonably decent shots of Printed Wiring Boards" (PWB's) and so on.

Therefore may I suggest that the OP gets a decent one of those before lashing out a lot of cash on something "more radical"/ more "complex" to use, and see how he gets on with that???

PS: and that's what I take on holiday - just in case I want to take some macro-type shots with the 55-300 PLM (which has a reasonable close-focus distance anyway) but don't want to carry any more weight than absolutely necessary.

Last edited by jeallen01; 12-22-2020 at 03:59 PM.
12-22-2020, 04:15 PM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rococo Quote
wow thank you for all this feedback! late here so will have a proper think and get back to you with a couple of queries tomorrow. Re 'you will need a lens with an aperture ring to use them.' I assume my bog standard 55 kit lens and my 300 lens do not have this? Edit -just saw the reply above thanks


I do intend to consider a dedicated macro lens later, i just want to have a play around first and see if it is for me. I assume i will need a tripod even for using cheapo techniques like extension tubes?
I've spend many a wet afternoon playing with extension rings, reverse mount adapters and a 50mm F1:1.7 lens, with good light at the dining room table and simply moving the camera forward or back ever so slightly.
Yes, a good tripod is handy, but you don't need it to start playing with macro.
12-22-2020, 06:18 PM   #43
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12-23-2020, 08:08 AM   #44
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I think that if talking about cheap the path is like this:
1. Grab some old lenses and mount them reversed
2. Any type of extensions of available lenses.
3. Cheap Macro lens - however here I would give my 5 cents and do not recommend anything like Sigma 50-200 that has macro option 200-300.

Tried all of them.
Did not reach to the level on normal Macro Lenses...
12-23-2020, 09:01 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by Belcik Quote
I think that if talking about cheap the path is like this:
1. Grab some old lenses and mount them reversed
2. Any type of extensions of available lenses.
3. Cheap Macro lens - however here I would give my 5 cents and do not recommend anything like Sigma 50-200 that has macro option 200-300.

Tried all of them.
Did not reach to the level on normal Macro Lenses...
You are right
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