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05-27-2017, 03:45 PM - 6 Likes   #1
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My New (and First) Macro Rig

I wanted to share a few photos of my first macro studio. After looking at least two gazillion photos of other macro studios and reading a bunch of stuff online (including Nass' great site Extreme Macro), I put together my first effort.

The camera (K-5IIs) sits on a quick-release atop a Neewer 4-way macro rail which in turn sits on a 4" quick release base. The object stage is a 4" square scissors-style laboratory jack that is clamped on to a small X-Y milling table. Both of these are low cost eBay items. As expected, the lab jack and the X-Y table have some slop in their adjustment as none of the lead screws are pre-loaded or have acme threads. But it is only an issue when changing direction. Lighting is with three JansJo L.E.D. lamps from Ikea. Since this is a first iteration, the base is temporary.

Side View shows camera mounted vertically with a long lens combo. The lens combo that
includes a 2X TC, a 3-piece spacer set, 100mm 1:2 macro lens, and a reverse-mount 50mm.
The lens setup gives a magnification of about 4X. It sure could use a lens support, but that still to be made.

View from camera end to the objective stage, showing both the X-Y table and the lab jack.
Also seen are two of the JansJo lamps and two "helping hands" holding up a background.

This view shows the camera mount with the Neewer 4-way macro rail. Pay no attention to
the green scale which is simply there because I didn't see it before snapping the pix.

After playing with the rig for just a few days, I am already modifying it - not only corrections which have to be made to this set-up but I am also making notes for a full redesign which will probably come along in the fall or winter.

First I have to raise the macro rail as it can foul with the milling table when close focusing with some lens combos. I won't do this until I receive my Pentax Auto Bellows K which is on its way. The bellows may result in a complete redesign of the camera mounting base. Two additions that are currently planned are a vertical camera mount and a pair of wireless flashes. An automated stacking rail, such as a StackShot or WeMacro, will be an integral part of the Phase II design.

Tomorrow I will post my first stacked photo(s). I did a trial stack and it went better than I thought it would.

If you do macro, I welcome (want) your critical comments and suggestions. This a quantum leap from my close-up work with flowers and I freely admit that, despite all of my research, I am wandering in the dark.

05-27-2017, 07:17 PM   #2
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Holy cow, that's an awesome setup!
05-27-2017, 07:21 PM   #3
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I'm really impressed, you may have a few bugs but you're on the way. You have done the hardest part which is to actually start and put things together, mods will come a little easier. I like your idea of the Ikea lamps, I like constant lighting. I think once you get the bellows it will be even better. I'm looking forward to seeing your test shots.

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