Macro Photography

Macro photography is basically a close-up photography of an object. There is no exact definition of this genre, but it falls from ratio of 1:1 magnification of the size of the subject related to size of the image, through up to 10:1 magnification.

An ordinary lens cannot go so close to an object for this magnification. Therefore, we will need a macro lens. Macro lens is specially designed lens to deal with the problems of close focusing. However, if we do not have a macro lens, then we can use an auxiliary lens in front of the camera lens for macro photography.

Close-up of fabric. Shot with a 12.9 MP digital camera on monorail camera body

Auxiliary lenses, used for macro photography have different powers. Depending on the requirement, we can choose either low or high power lens. We can combine more than one lens but if these lenses are not of a very good quality, we will not get a bitingly sharp image and good tonal contrast.

We can use distance rings for close-up shots. These rings are mainly a hollow tube without any optical interface. They are available in different lengths. We can use more than one ring for desired result.

Needless to say, we can use combination of distance ring and auxiliary lens for macro photography.

With a special adapter ring, we can reverse a normal lens (back of the lens in front) for extreme close-ups but we will have to operate the aperture manually. A digital camera will work only on manual mode. If the aperture of the lens of a digital camera is operated by electrical contacts, then we will not be able to set the aperture and thus, only narrowest or smallest aperture can be used. In such case, correct exposure has to be controlled by shutter speed, ISO settings and brightness of light.

Be very careful for focus as in macro photography, depth of field is very shallow. Use tripod to avoid any camera shake.

Lighting is tricky in macro photography. If the application is for record, then we need a shadow-less lighting. Close distance of the camera will interfere the lighting setup. So we can use a ring flash.

Ring flash is a flash light, which is to be fixed on the lens barrel. It gives virtually shadow-less light.

For magnification beyond 10:1, a microscope is required for macro photography. This will give extreme close-up image and fall into category of photo-micrography. We can mount the camera body (without lens) directly on a microscope's eyepiece with help of an adapter. Lighting is done with reflector mirror of the microscope. Depending upon lens used in the microscope, we can get magnifications up to tune of 100 X. These photographs are for scientific studies.

As the lens is removed, there is no aperture control for correct exposure. So we will have to adjust the brightness of light and set a shutter speed accordingly. We may also need to set ISO value.

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Macro photography

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