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08-13-2015, 02:16 PM   #1
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Macro?

So im looking at getting a second camera with some decent macro ability. The stuff that ive seen from the mirrorless bridge cameras (panasonic fz series) sounds really interesting. Some of them can focus at 1cm at the wide end which is amazing for me considering the closest i was getting wit my nikon gear was about a foot and then i would have to crop in. Im also looking at the sony a5100 which has bigger sensor so does that mean that i wont be getting the same macro ability or is it really the distance between the sensor and the lens that makes the biggest difference? Thanks!

08-13-2015, 02:58 PM   #2
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I have a couple P&S cameras made by Panasonic that do a better-than-expected job with close-ups. but here are some caveats. The extremely short distances mean 1) only static subjects such as flowers are suitable subjects - insects are very difficult at such distances because they spook and they move too quickly in-out of focus and proper framing; 2) lighting can be very difficult because of the shadow cast by the lens at such a short distance. The IQ is not what you'll get from an ASP-C sensor camera. The perspective is different because you are usually working at the widest angle setting of zoom, which is commonly 24-25mm equivalent on FF. You may get a lot of peripheral background nearly in focus rather than blurred to creamy bokeh. Sometimes this effect is OK, for example for setting a small flower into a woodland backdrop.
My recommendation: If you have a Pentax or other brand DSLR*, purchase a set of Raynox "super macro" lenses in a kit, 1.5X and 2.5X with quick-mount adapter for lenses with 52 to 67mm filter threads - about $130. The lens-to-subject distances are about eight inches and four inches whatever lens is on your camera, and the magnification depends on the focal length of the lens, longer lenses = greater magnification NOT greater lens-to-subject distance. As you might expect, best results are generally obtained with a fixed focal length lens, but these Raynox units can give excellent results with a good quality zoom (unpredictable, you have to experiment). The Raynox pair on a 50mm f1.8-1.4 lens will outmacro any P&S.

*If you don't have a Pentax DSLR, I would recommend purchasing one used (K20 or K5 is fine) plus a good SFL lens. Autofocus is not very useful in extreme close-ups, so a manual focusing 50 or 55 mm "A" series lens will serve very well. Try to get a lens with a 52mm or larger filter ring rather than the 49mm commonly used by Pentax, otherwise you'll need to get a step-up ring. The Raynox units give very good results even with an 18-55 kit zoom.

Last edited by WPRESTO; 08-13-2015 at 03:08 PM.
08-13-2015, 04:39 PM   #3
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Since you already have a D600, just get a new or used macro lens like the Tamron 90mm f2.8 or Sigma 70mm or 105mm. Useful for 1:1 macro, but also useful for other things (eg portrait).
08-13-2015, 05:14 PM   #4
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^
This is kind of the issue. For the price of that lens, i can get a new mirrorless camera that is smaller, lighter, and can stand on equal grounds if not one that can do much more. I am very much intent on getting away from nikon and switching to something that doesnt weigh down on me. The size, bulk, lack of innovation, etc has kind of turned me away from dslrs. The only real downside to this is battary life which is fine.


Last edited by neostyles; 08-13-2015 at 05:56 PM.
08-13-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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If you are looking for image quality, then get a good lens and figure out lighting. These are the keys to good macro.

If you want a new toy, then get one, but don't use macro as the excuse to get it. Camera bodies come and go, but glass lasts.
08-13-2015, 09:14 PM   #6
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For macro on a budget, learn about lens reversing rings.

And Google Thomas Shahan while you are at it. Amazing macros with gear like a K-x that is much less capable than your D600, plus old Pentax manual lenses.

But if you basically want some justification for a new camera, carry on.
08-17-2015, 09:18 AM   #7
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AFAICT, you can shoot some decent macros with some of the Panasonic superzooms along with a Raynox adapter. Here's a guy doing pretty good work with a Panasonic FZ100.

BTW, as far as I know, Thomas Shahan is currently shooting with a K-30, and he just came back from Belize.

08-17-2015, 02:35 PM   #8
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Neo, you're always looking to buy new cameras. First the NX1 now the 5100...The Tamron as stated above is a good shout. Sharp and will give 1:1. There is also the Nikon 60mm D micro. If you are looking to get as close as possible, the 60 will be good and it will double as a portrait/standard lens. What specifically are you looking to shoot with it? If insects, you will need something longer, as you won't get any shots 1cm away from them. Buy glass that you can either use on another body in the future, or that will sell in the future. Bodies only lose money.
09-01-2015, 06:45 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
^
This is kind of the issue. For the price of that lens, i can get a new mirrorless camera that is smaller, lighter, and can stand on equal grounds if not one that can do much more. I am very much intent on getting away from nikon and switching to something that doesnt weigh down on me. The size, bulk, lack of innovation, etc has kind of turned me away from dslrs. The only real downside to this is battary life which is fine.
I have had a few Sony Mirrorless cameras which I love but DSLRs are better for Macro in my opinion. EVFs tend to be a little to busy when going that close. It's not even a matter of quality of the shot but more composing and following your subject. I tend to use my K5 when I go out Macroing and leave my A7 at home
09-01-2015, 07:03 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by neostyles Quote
^
This is kind of the issue. For the price of that lens, i can get a new mirrorless camera that is smaller, lighter, and can stand on equal grounds if not one that can do much more. I am very much intent on getting away from nikon and switching to something that doesnt weigh down on me. The size, bulk, lack of innovation, etc has kind of turned me away from dslrs. The only real downside to this is battary life which is fine.

You think that a $500 - $700 mirrorless is going to compete with a decent macro lens on your D600? I think not. You can get these lenses much cheaper used too and would be a much better investment than a low end mirrorless body, especially as you'll still need a macro lens on top of that body. In your position, I'd get along with what you have get a used macro lens.

I'm not sure you even know what you want from your photography at the moment, but I'd caution against moving away from FF and downgrading to a cheaper APS-C mirrorless that may struggle in lower light. A brighter OVF may also be better for manual focussing than an EVF - in macro, you will be focussing manually more often than not. A close focus on a EVF will get grainier so will be more difficult.
09-02-2015, 03:34 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Macro photography is about lighting more than anything else. Doundounba has shot amazing shots with his K-01 and now his K-3 (take a look at his Flickr stream). You would be unlikely to get this quality with the kind of camera you are talking about, but to get this sort of quality with a large sensor SLR takes practice and skill as well. I have tried some macro stuff, but it seems to take more patience than I have to do it (just with my 100 macro -- reversing lenses is beyond my ability at this point).
09-02-2015, 06:14 AM - 1 Like   #12
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My advise, you have too much emphasis on gear.
It seems every 2-3months, you will post about some new gear again and how it changes it all for you.


Lighting is key to macro, the rest is really really multi ways to skin the cat (ie. getting close can be done in so many ways, be it close up filter; reversed lens, extension tubes, macro lens, etc, they are all good )

Taken with the Pentax Q and a macro lens. (one of which was used for a Pentax catalog)










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