Close up photography

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Paul Renfree, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Paul Renfree

    Paul Renfree Guest

    I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?

    What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?

    Thanks for any advice

    Paul Renfree
    Paul Renfree, Feb 7, 2007
    #1
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  2. Paul Renfree

    daba6 Guest

    More than likely your 70-300 would not allow you to get close enough
    to do such shots, thus being classified as a 'non-macro' lens.
    Yes, a close-up attachment lens of sufficient strength would help to
    achieve the closeness and therefore magnification, but these tend to
    deliver less than the best quality of image, especially at the edges
    of the image.
    An alternative (and possibly more expensive) option is an extension
    tube - and would enable better image quality than the close-up
    attachment. I believe Nikon still make their 'K' set of 5 different
    size extension rings, which gives you heaps of different extension
    combinatons. You attach them between the lens and camera.
    On the downside of extension tubes, these tend to necessitate an
    increase in exposure and may disable the automatic lens control links
    between the camera and prime lens, so you would probably have to use
    camera in manual or aperture priority mode, whereas the close-up
    attachment lens do not.






    On Feb 7, 4:27 pm, "Paul Renfree" <> wrote:
    > I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?
    > What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    >
    > Paul Renfree
    daba6, Feb 7, 2007
    #2
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  3. "Paul Renfree" <> wrote:
    >I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    >I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    >the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?


    In general, zoom lenses are not as good as fixed focal length
    lenses when used with devices to allow closer focusing. To get
    a zoom to zoom there have to be a lot of compromises made; one
    effect of that is that with a zoom lense the closest focusing
    distance more likely to be a performance design point, where it
    simply doesn't produce sharp images at closer distances (rather
    than being a matter of what is convenient to engineer in the way
    of a focusing mechanism, even though the lense would still be
    sharp if focused closer).

    The effect is that if you buy, for example, a set of extension
    tubes or a closeup lense, either of which will allow closer
    focusing, they will work better with fixed focal length lenses
    than with zooms.

    >What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?


    Closeup lenses come in a variety of powers (such as +1, +2, and
    +3 diopter lenses). They can be stacked, so all of those together
    would be a +7 diopter lense.

    They also come in two basic designs, one is a single element
    lense and the other is a multi-element lense that is achromatic,
    which is both a significant improvement and a significantly
    higher cost. Also, closeup lenses work best when used with
    longer focal length regular lenses. Hence the effect of a
    +3 diopter closeup lense when used on a 35mm lense is small, and
    is fairly great when used on a 100mm lense.

    Extension tubes and bellows are another way to get a particular
    lense to focus closer than it does with normal mounting. In
    some cases the results are quite sharp, and in others it causes
    degradation of the image.

    A third method is to use a telextender. A 2x telextender, for
    example, has the effect of doubling the focal length but does
    not change the minimum focusing distance.

    Now, to really make life complicated, consider that a standard
    50mm lense can be reverse mounted in front of another lense, say
    a 100mm focal length, and will perform as an *excellent* +20 diopter
    achromatic closeup lense! And, when used with extension tubes or
    on a bellows it is sometimes a significant improvement to reverse
    mount a regular lense (typically, a "normal" 50mm lense will be
    sharper for closeups when reverse mounted). And, if you use a
    bellows there are many very inexpensive macro lenses to choose
    from because old 50 to 150mm enlarging lenses are excellent macro
    lenses.

    You'll need to do some research. Use google and search on the
    term "photomacrography".

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Feb 7, 2007
    #3
  4. "Floyd L. Davidson" <> wrote in message news:...
    > "Paul Renfree" <> wrote:
    >>I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    >>I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    >>the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?

    >
    > In general, zoom lenses are not as good as fixed focal length
    > lenses when used with devices to allow closer focusing. To get
    > a zoom to zoom there have to be a lot of compromises made; one
    > effect of that is that with a zoom lense the closest focusing
    > distance more likely to be a performance design point, where it
    > simply doesn't produce sharp images at closer distances (rather
    > than being a matter of what is convenient to engineer in the way
    > of a focusing mechanism, even though the lense would still be
    > sharp if focused closer).
    >
    > The effect is that if you buy, for example, a set of extension
    > tubes or a closeup lense, either of which will allow closer
    > focusing, they will work better with fixed focal length lenses
    > than with zooms.
    >
    >>What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?

    >
    > Closeup lenses come in a variety of powers (such as +1, +2, and
    > +3 diopter lenses). They can be stacked, so all of those together
    > would be a +7 diopter lense.
    >
    > They also come in two basic designs, one is a single element
    > lense and the other is a multi-element lense that is achromatic,
    > which is both a significant improvement and a significantly
    > higher cost. Also, closeup lenses work best when used with
    > longer focal length regular lenses. Hence the effect of a
    > +3 diopter closeup lense when used on a 35mm lense is small, and
    > is fairly great when used on a 100mm lense.
    >
    > Extension tubes and bellows are another way to get a particular
    > lense to focus closer than it does with normal mounting. In
    > some cases the results are quite sharp, and in others it causes
    > degradation of the image.
    >
    > A third method is to use a telextender. A 2x telextender, for
    > example, has the effect of doubling the focal length but does
    > not change the minimum focusing distance.
    >
    > Now, to really make life complicated, consider that a standard
    > 50mm lense can be reverse mounted in front of another lense, say
    > a 100mm focal length, and will perform as an *excellent* +20 diopter
    > achromatic closeup lense! And, when used with extension tubes or
    > on a bellows it is sometimes a significant improvement to reverse
    > mount a regular lense (typically, a "normal" 50mm lense will be
    > sharper for closeups when reverse mounted). And, if you use a
    > bellows there are many very inexpensive macro lenses to choose
    > from because old 50 to 150mm enlarging lenses are excellent macro
    > lenses.
    >
    > You'll need to do some research. Use google and search on the
    > term "photomacrography".
    > --
    > Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    > Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)


    Quite good coverage, to which I would add that I don't recommend
    stacking close-up lenses (and I don't bother with them, prefering the
    superior achromats), bellows generally have too much minimum
    extension to be useful for moderate close-ups (I remember when it
    was a common, but unused, accessory...), and close-up/achromats
    can be successfully used with *moderate* step-down rings - and can
    be quite sharp on some zooms well stopped down. Also *some*
    combinations of multiples of *some* devices and *some* lenses
    can produce very sharp results around f11 - but experimentation is
    needed to find out what works (the 200mm f4 Nikkor was particularly
    good for this, with a 1.4X teleconverter, extension tube, and achromat,
    all being used together for a sharp 3X magnification on film).
    --
    David Ruether


    http://www.ferrario.com/ruether
    David Ruether, Feb 7, 2007
    #4
  5. Paul Renfree

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Paul Renfree wrote:

    > I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    > I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    > the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?
    >
    > What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?
    >


    You can use a telephoto lens. I've done it. They get you farther from your
    subject. This is sometimes an advantage for shooting bugs.

    But, with this method you can't get the 'magnification' a true macro lens
    brings. You'll never get a wasp's face filling the whole frame because
    you can't get close enough and still be able focus.

    I don't know about Nikon, but Canon does make a closeup adapter that 'converts'
    standard telephoto lenses into macro lenses. It's called the 500D and comes
    in a variety of sizes. They should work on Nikon lenses. There is a slight
    quality loss with these lenses, but they do in a pinch.

    I've used the 500D on a cheap 100-300 lens with pretty good success. Here's
    a sample shot I took:

    http://www.pbase.com/jim_townsend/image/27537739/original

    There is a pretty good review of the Canon 500D here:

    http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Canon-500D-Close-Up-Lens-Review.aspx

    You can also get a bit closer using extension tubes

    http://www.shutterfreaks.com/Tips/ExtensionTube.htm
    Jim Townsend, Feb 7, 2007
    #5
  6. Paul Renfree wrote:
    > I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    > I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    > the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?
    >
    > What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?


    What you need is the ability to focus closer than most lenses allow.
    You need to think in terms of "magnification" -- and that's on the
    camera sensor, so you don't really need even lifesize (1:1) for most of
    those subjects (if you go after insects *seiously*, you need lifesize
    and bigger sometimes; those are VERY hard, and hence impressive when
    they work).

    You can use extension tubes, bellows, or auxiliary close-up lenses on
    any lens; they'll work optically. The results will mostly be mediocre
    to bad -- depending on the characteristics of the lens you start with
    (and the close-up lenses if you use that approach).

    If you've got a good 50mm or 100mm prime lens, those things will work a
    lot better on it than on any zoom.

    You don't, unfortunately, always get what you pay for -- but you very
    rarely get *more*.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Feb 7, 2007
    #6
  7. On Feb 6, 11:27 pm, "Paul Renfree" <> wrote:
    > I want to be able to take close ups of spider webs, insects, leaves etc. Can
    > I use a non-macro telephoto lens such as a Nikon 70-300 to do this, or does
    > the telephoto lens need to have a macro setting?
    >
    > What about using a close up lens that screws on to a regular lens ?
    >
    > Thanks for any advice
    >
    > Paul Renfree




    I personally prefer the supplemental or "plus" lenses to a macro
    lens. These are the ones that go over front of lens.

    I bought years ago a VARIABLE plus lens, a single lens like a zoom
    lens that adjusts to cover range of plus 1 to plus 10. I don't think
    it is available any more.

    Instead, today you buy a SET. These can stack. It comes with
    something like a plus 1, plus 2, plus 4. If you stack a plus 1 on top
    of the plus 2 it works as a plus 3. The higher the plus number the
    closer you can get to your subject.

    You need a SLR to really work these things, because manual focus and
    critical examination of focus is required. The depth-of-field becomes
    zilch.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Feb 8, 2007
    #7
  8. Paul Renfree

    Bandicoot Guest

    "David Ruether" <> wrote in message
    news:eqcov5$a4r$...
    >
    >
    >
    > "Floyd L. Davidson" <> wrote in message

    news:...
    [SNIP]

    David's and Floyd's advice on this are spot on. A macro lens, with
    extension if necessary, may be the best way to go for higher magnification
    and corner to corner quality - but the OP isn't starting from that point.
    Making good use of the zoom he already has is a sensible start point, and if
    he really gets into macro he'll then have experience on which better to base
    any further buying decisions.

    Floyd's point about zooms (with about two rather esoteric exceptions) not
    really being good for close work is well made. For this reason (in part)
    using extension tubes with zooms tends to be much less successful than doing
    so with fixed FL lenses, because you are taking the lens even further away
    from its designed optimum range of focus. Also, many zooms cease to become
    true zooms when used with extension: that is, focusing starts to vary with
    zooming, which can mean that you are having to refocus all the time.

    Supplementary lenses, however, are a different story. They work by
    presenting the lens an image that _to the lens_ appears further away than
    it really is - so, for example, you could be looking at something three feet
    away and as far as the lens is concerned it is focused at infinity. This
    means that you can use supplementary lenses with zooms and not significantly
    degrade the performance of the zoom, because it is still operating within
    the range of focus distances it was designed for.

    What image degradation you do get comes mostly from the supplementary lens
    itself: so get a good one. The achromatic doublets are far better than the
    single element meniscus lenses, and worth the extra cost: not only do they
    avoid introducing (so much) chromatic aberration in the way the single
    elements do, but they are also generally sharper in all other respects too.
    Nikon and Canon - in that order, I feel - make the best ones. You can use
    any maker's supplementary lens, so long as it can be fitted to your primary
    lens.

    The biggest qualitative problem with doing macros this way tends to be that
    sharpness falls off into the corners: with a good achromatic doublet it is
    nearly as good as the base lens is in the middle, but deteriorates faster to
    the edges. This is not as bad as it sounds: not all, but certianly the
    majority of nature macro subjects tend to feature a central subject
    sourrounded by an out of focus blur of background, so corner sharpness is
    less critical than it is to a landscape or architectural photographer, say.



    Peter
    Bandicoot, Feb 9, 2007
    #8
  9. --
    --
    David Ruether


    http://www.ferrario.com/ruether

    "Bandicoot" <"insert_handle_here"@techemail.com> wrote in message news:...

    > David's and Floyd's advice on this are spot on. A macro lens, with
    > extension if necessary, may be the best way to go for higher magnification
    > and corner to corner quality


    I was surprised to find with my trials of many combinations for
    2X-3X magnification that my sharpest results came with the
    200mm f4 + TC14A + short tube + achromat (for 3X). There
    are samples here - http://www.ferrario.com/ruether/phun.html,
    go to "bugs", especially numbers 4 (tiny orange fly) and 6 (fly)
    which were shot with the 200mm, probably at f11 (with a TTL
    SB-24 flash mounted at the lens end, pointed at the close-in
    subject). While it is not evident in the tiny web image, these
    photos are VERY sharp, and hold up well to the corners (no
    softening or cromatic problems are evident in the corners).

    > Making good use of the zoom he already has is a sensible start point, and if
    > he really gets into macro he'll then have experience on which better to base
    > any further buying decisions.
    >
    > Floyd's point about zooms (with about two rather esoteric exceptions) not
    > really being good for close work is well made. For this reason (in part)
    > using extension tubes with zooms tends to be much less successful than doing
    > so with fixed FL lenses, because you are taking the lens even further away
    > from its designed optimum range of focus. Also, many zooms cease to become
    > true zooms when used with extension: that is, focusing starts to vary with
    > zooming, which can mean that you are having to refocus all the time.
    >
    > Supplementary lenses, however, are a different story. They work by
    > presenting the lens an image that _to the lens_ appears further away than
    > it really is - so, for example, you could be looking at something three feet
    > away and as far as the lens is concerned it is focused at infinity. This
    > means that you can use supplementary lenses with zooms and not significantly
    > degrade the performance of the zoom, because it is still operating within
    > the range of focus distances it was designed for.
    >
    > What image degradation you do get comes mostly from the supplementary lens
    > itself: so get a good one. The achromatic doublets are far better than the
    > single element meniscus lenses, and worth the extra cost: not only do they
    > avoid introducing (so much) chromatic aberration in the way the single
    > elements do, but they are also generally sharper in all other respects too.
    > Nikon and Canon - in that order, I feel - make the best ones. You can use
    > any maker's supplementary lens, so long as it can be fitted to your primary
    > lens.


    Good advice above...

    > The biggest qualitative problem with doing macros this way tends to be that
    > sharpness falls off into the corners: with a good achromatic doublet it is
    > nearly as good as the base lens is in the middle, but deteriorates faster to
    > the edges. This is not as bad as it sounds: not all, but certianly the
    > majority of nature macro subjects tend to feature a central subject
    > sourrounded by an out of focus blur of background, so corner sharpness is
    > less critical than it is to a landscape or architectural photographer, say.
    >
    > Peter


    See above. Some combinations of lenses and achromats *can* give
    top-class high-magnification results over the entire (full 35mm) frame,
    if the lens is stopped down to an optimum stop for the combination used.
    --
    David Ruether


    http://www.ferrario.com/ruether
    David Ruether, Feb 9, 2007
    #9
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