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03-29-2012, 10:08 AM   #1
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Macro-shake reduction

Using a 50mm lens in front of a 1" extension tube available light what should be the input focal length?Is there a formula for figuring this?
Thanks,
Jake

03-29-2012, 10:38 AM   #2
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The usual advice is to add the extension to the FL, hence 77 would be the closest match in this case. On the other hand, SR is not supposed to be as effective at macro range, as per the owner's manual.
03-29-2012, 11:07 AM   #3
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note that the biggest issue with macro is the ability, hand held, of maintaining the camera to subject distance. Due to the very narrow depth of field even the slightest movement can cause a blurry (out of focus) image, and shake reduction does not compenstate for movement aling the lens axis
03-29-2012, 11:32 AM   #4
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Why macro without tripod?

03-29-2012, 11:51 AM   #5
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Turn on mirror-lock-up and your SR dilemma will be solved (see what I did there?)

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03-29-2012, 01:12 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by L33tGreg Quote
Why macro without tripod?
Commonly encountered reasons I mainly do handheld macro:
  1. Too much structure to plant a tripod, branches, rocks, uneven ground, mud, water. Also, shooting vertically along walls (say, to get under spiders) doesn't have enough clearance to plant a tripod.
  2. Impossible angles. I'm not carrying a selection of tripods everywhere, and even the small mini ones are often too tall for a shot.
  3. Not enough time. Bugs are often flighty and I'd rather get the shot handheld, than get a tripod set up in time to watch it fly away.
  4. Related to the last point, tripod legs are notorious for bumping foliage and scaring the subject.

I'm referring mainly to ~1:1, maybe 1.5:1 magnification, I find it's manageable handheld. Much beyond that, say 2:1 onwards to 5:1, I do prefer a tripod, but I don't as often need that much magnification. Once I finally get into focus stacking, I bet that will be a different story, but for single shot macro it holds up.

Edit: And Lowell nails it. SR is next to useless, unless you're shooting in strong wind where you get some horizontal movement. Better to turn it off and use a flash, or if it's bright enough, just a fast shutter. Breathing is very important, too. Focus with your shoulders, be aware of your breathing, and shoot on the exhale. Just breathing normally probably alters the camera to subject distance by 1cm with every breath, if you're not careful.
03-29-2012, 07:37 PM   #7
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I'm not sure of the exact cutoff distance, but "too close for SR" is probably around 5*FL. Shooting closer requires either a tripod, or lots of light with a fast shutter, or lots of luck.
03-29-2012, 09:14 PM   #8
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Thinking I am getting the idea,with a 28mm and 1 inch tube setting would be 55mm.I do use 2 second timer when using tripod but mostly use hand held.Don't think timer would work hand held using viewfinder.Do get a lot of out of focus shots using hand held but a good one comes out ever now and then.
Thanks,
Jake

03-30-2012, 04:43 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjake Quote
do use 2 second timer when using tripod but mostly use hand held.Don't think timer would work hand held using viewfinder.Do get a lot of out of focus shots using hand held but a good one comes out ever now and then.
Flash is really helpful here. For macro you can get good looking diffused flash even with something as simple as on-camera flash plus an on-lens diffuser such as this one:

Interfit STR111 Strobies On-Camera Small Diffuser STR111 B&H

Pop-up flash isn't the best choice in M mode, which I assume you're using (unless you have A-type tubes), because the flash always fires at full power. There are plenty of cheap flashes with manual control out there; I have a pair of these and find them very useful for macro:

Sunpak PF20XD reviews - Pentax Camera Accessories: Database and Reviews

but again, there are many other choices available. Just be careful if looking at older units that the trigger voltage won't fry your camera.
03-30-2012, 09:36 AM   #10
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That on camera diffuser is interesting,looks like it could be used for general shooting indoors as well.I do have a variable power flash with a diffuser set and will try it sometime.Don't think I am doing 1-1 most of the time but about 1-1.5 mostly with a Sears 50mm 1.7 but sometimes with a SMC 135-3.5.For me the less equipment that is used the more enjoyable it is.
03-30-2012, 11:04 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bjake Quote
That on camera diffuser is interesting,looks like it could be used for general shooting indoors as well.
All in all I think bouncing the flash off a wall or ceiling gives better results for general indoors stuff. The keys to attractively diffused light are the relative size of the light source and the angle; the on-lens diffuser provides enough of both for macro, but not for subjects at more ordinary distances.
04-02-2012, 03:50 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
Why macro without tripod?
Philoslothical beat me to it. I almost never use a tripod for macro shots, except when shooting tiny flowers, and rarely even then. Spiders, lizards and other such critters don't seem to be willing to wait around while I set up a tripod...so I shoot almost all hand held. Macro or not...

For lighting I often use an add on flash with adjustable power level and a folded envelope to reflect it. For the pop up flash a diffuser can be made by folding a cash register receipt, just make sure the printed side goes out, away from the flash. It's heat sensitive so about a half dozen flashes will turn it black. The opposite surface works great, I can shoot all day with it. Makes a very good diffuser, and tones down the too bright flash so it can be used with macro work.
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