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12-31-2013, 08:38 AM   #1
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Shooting Snowflakes Question

I know snowflakes are small. I have that Pentax f4 100mm macro lens. Is it good enough to photograph snow flakes?

I talk to a person via email that uses extension tubes to shoot snowflakes.

12-31-2013, 08:46 AM   #2
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The average snowflake is about half an inch in diameter, or 1.27cm, or 12.7mm.
Your sensor is 15.7x23.7mm. Given that, a 1:1 macro lens will be able to see the snowflake pretty clearly, even if they are smaller than average. On the other hand, I believe the 100 F4 macro lens is a 1:2 macro, requiring an extension tube to reach 1:1 (I think it comes as a package? Or is that the dental lens.. I forget). At 1:2 macro, the snowflake will take up about 1/5th of your full picture if they are of average size.

This is all assuming you find a nice snowflake, and not a clump that's melted together where it's difficult to distinguish a single snowflake.
12-31-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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Most single snowflakes are much smaller than a half-inch. For decent snowflake shots, I use a fairly long series of extension tubes.

Michael, I've found that lighting is often the more difficult aspect than the lens, though.
12-31-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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I think Ive seen some great snowflake shots with 2:1 magnification (or rather, enlargement). At 1:1 you might get some good shots, especially with cropping. But as stated, you will also need to find goodlooking snowflakes, light them up well, but be careful not to melt them. I think people like to use some wool (scarf, mittens, hat) to capture individual snowflakes then quickly take a couple shots, then look for a new one.

12-31-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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I agree with Na Horuk: my modest experimentation leads me to believe you need about 2:1 for decent shots, so the 1:2 of the 100mm F/4 is not going to cut it, IMHO. Large flakes are around 4-5mm, so you might do OK-ish at 1:1, but not 1:2. Have a look at this typological guide to snowflakes to get an idea of what you might see...
12-31-2013, 01:47 PM   #6
jac
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If you are just starting out and don't want invest in name brand extension tubes, get a hold of one (or two) cheap teleconverters and take the glass out.
01-01-2014, 03:20 PM   #7
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I saw this on Facebook recently. Haven't had a chance to test it over here yet, but it looks good

Snowflakes, night city and other things: My technique for snowflakes shooting
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