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06-16-2013, 01:13 PM   #1
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Close up photography advise needed

Hi all, i want to buy a lens that has a good macro as i want to take photos of my models up close. What do i need to look for in lens for me to do this. Also any recommendations of makes, what is good and why.

Also I have seen seen screw on macro lenses which are cheap. What are your thoughts on this.

I own a Kr pentax camera.

06-16-2013, 01:14 PM   #2
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06-16-2013, 03:02 PM   #3

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Hi silentsmoke,

It would help if you provided some information of the size and nature of the models that you want to shoot. Are you going to be shooting them in a scaled setting or in something like a lightbox? Can you use natural light, or do you plan to be using studio lights or flash? The DA18-55 Kit lens focuses pretty close and will fill the frame with about a 2.25" (@ 57mm) subject at 55mm FL, and at minimum focusing distance. This would be a bit shy of 1:2.

A lens that focuses to 1:2 would fill the frame with about a 1.85" (47mm) subject. There are a number of zoom lenses (some are marketed as "macro" zooms) that will focus this close, and for practical reasons (using on-camera flash, for example), these might be preferable to actual dedicated macro lenses because they can give you more working distance which can make shooting easier, and the longer working distance can give you some extra DOF.

The article linked to mentions screw in close up lenses, but doesn't really explain the two types available. Some use single lens elements (these are referred to as "uncorrected") and they are usually inexpensive and sold in sets. Then there are Achromatic Closeups (referred to in the article as "corrected") that are designed with two or more lens elements, give a flatter field ( better IQ, sharpness, and less color aberration at the edges and corners of the frame). These are also called Achromats, and they come in at least some of the same diopter values used as the cheap ones. They are more expensive by quite a bit (figure probably at least $50 each as opposed to a set of 5 or more for $10-20 for the single element ones. The best sources for Achromats at this time would be Raynox (DCR150 and DCR250) from B&H ir Adorama and Marumi from OEC Camera on either Amazon or Ebay. The Raynox DCRs come with a "universal" adapter that can fit on lenses using 52-62mm filters. The Marumis are sold in various filter sized from 52mm and up, and IIRC, in +3 and +5 diopters.

Personally if you go this route, I suggest that you ignore the single element closeups and stick with the achromats. You can also look for them on the used market where there might be more variations available since these have pretty much gone out of favor compared to dedicated macro lenses. A source of information for discontinued models can be found here : | A list of achromatic close-up lenses | Photography, audio and light DIY projects

Provide more info about what and how you want to shoot, and the members here might have some more specific recommendations.

06-16-2013, 03:58 PM   #4
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Thanks scott for the information. I will be taking photos of my 40k army. I will be using natural light with a white back drop to try and enhance each image. I did pice up some macro lens so i will give them a try, but I know n due course i will no doubt spend some money on a lens when i have more experience and understanding.

06-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #5
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I would recommend trying a slim point and shoot, so you can position the camera in between the soldiers.
Some p&s cameras have quite a good macro mode.
A dslr is just too awkward and gets in the way when shooting models. The last thing you want is to damage your model by dropping 1.5kg of camera on it.
Another point is that the p&s will get more depth of field so the shots will look more like an army and less like models of an army.
06-17-2013, 07:50 AM   #6
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I bought a Sigma 28mm macro for model work, though most are larger than miniatures. I think you'll find the white backdrop may be a problem, metering on the figure will cause the white to overexpose a little. You'll want to keep your aperture higher - in the f8 range is usually good. I use a tripod on Av, LED light panel(s) and a home-made backdrop holder with some neutral blue or gray paper backdrop. Shoot with the 2-second delay and as you seem to know already, avoid the flash!

Look on Amazon for LED light ring and LED panel for some nice options, very inexpensive and very useful. You'll see if you look at my Flickr stream what I'm talking about. Note the Wonderfest pictures are all hand-held. There are multiple groups of model pictures, though, if you look for my sets.
06-17-2013, 07:54 AM   #7
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I also had luck with the 16-45 zoomed to about 28-35ish and decent lighting. You don't need a very expensive setup. You will want to avoid extreme close-ups for miniatures, they just don't look good zoomed up to full monitor size.

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