My Macro Gear

As promised in my last post I would include an article on the gear that I use for Macro photography, whether that is when I travel, stay in my garden or capture indoors.

The first bit of kit serves two purposes when used on Sony A7R, as I also have a film – slide copier attachment for the Olympus bellows (second image). I have two OM macro lenses that I use they are the 50mm F3.5 and the 80mm F4.0, the latter is used in combination with the bellows and A7R to copy 35mm film or 35mm slides.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R – OM to FE Lens adapter – Olympus Bellows & Olympus OM 80mm F4.0 Lens

The cable release supplied with the bellows is used to stop down the lens. The release also has the ability to fire the shutter on an Olympus OM series camera as it has dual cables.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R – OM to FE Lens adapter – Olympus Bellows & Olympus OM 80mm F4.0 Lens with 35mm Slide – Film copier

I can also use the bellows on the Olympus EM-1 MK1 but not with the slide copier as the smaller sensor has the 2 x magnification, so you only see the cropped centre of the film. So I would only use this setup for insects and other macro work in and around the home, the bellows weigh just under 1 Kg so not something I would carry with me out and about.

Olympus E-M1

I also use both cameras without the bellows with the OM macro lens, sometimes combining a set of OM (Vivitar – not shown) manual extension tubes, in sizes 12mm, 20mm, and 36mm. Although this is something that I rarely do now that I have the Olympus 60mm F2.8 macro and Pentax 100mm F2.8 macro lenses.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R with a Pentax to FE lens adapter and a Pentax 100mm F2.8 macro lens

Olympus EM-1

Olympus EM-1 with the 60mm F2.8 macro lens and the Yongnuo YN560-TX Flash controller

Attached to the Olympus you can see a Yongnuo YN560-TX Wireless flash controller, this is designed for Canon cameras as they don’t make an Olympus version, but it works fine in manual mode. I use this with the Yongnuo YN560iii held in one hand, with a Sunpak diffuser that is fitted with velcro to the end of the flash, shown mounted in the hot shoe just for the picture, I would not use it like this for macro work.

Olympus EM-1

Olympus EM-1 with 60mm F2.8 macro lens – Yongnuo YN560iii flashgun and a Raynox DCR-250 Macro Attachment

This setup with the Raynox DCR-250 I use when traveling as it is very light doesn’t take up much space and excellent for getting in very close.

The final image is of the Olympus Tough TG-4 fitted with the Olympus LG-1 LED Light. This camera has some good features for macro work, but as it has a very tiny sensor the images are a bit noisy even at low ISO, and the jpegs out of the camera are in my opinion a bit over sharpened and show a lot of detail smudging. I usually capture in RAW and process in Lightroom, that does help a little, but at the end of the day, it is a small sensor camera.

Olympus TG-4

Olympus Tough TG-4 with the LG-1 LED Light

Some sample images of my TV remote control captured using some of the combinations above, all taken indoors with diffused light from a window blind. All of the images captured with the aperture wide open, I did this to emphasize the narrow plane of focus. The first image is taken with the standard zoom at 50mm at the closest focus, this enables me to show what a difference a macro setup makes to magnification etc.

Sony A7R

Sony A7R with 28-70mm @50mm F4.5 ISO 100 – 37cm from focal plane to object

First the Sony A7R

Sony A7R

Sony A7R with Pentax 100mm @F2.8 ISO 100 – 30cm from focal plane to object

Sony A7R

Sony A7R Olympus Bellows and 80mm @F4 ISO 100 – 32cm from focal plane to object (1x)

Sony A7R

Sony A7R with Olympus Bellows and 80mm @F4 ISO 100 – 34cm from focal plane to object (1.5x)

Now the Olympus EM-1

Olympus EM-1

Olympus E-M1 60mm F2.8 ISO 200 – 19cm from focal plane to object (1:1)

Olympus E-M1 60mm F2.8

Olympus E-M1 60mm F2.8 ISO 200 with Raynox DCR-250 – 17cm from focal plane to object (1:1)

Olympus EM-1

Olympus EM-1 Olympus Bellows and 80mm @F4 ISO 200 – 32cm from focal plane to object (1x)

Olympus E-M1

Olympus E-M1 Olympus Bellows and 80mm @F4 ISO 200 – 34cm from focal plane to object (1.5x)

And finally the Olympus Tough TG-4 (no manual control over settings)

Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4 5.5mm @F2.3 ISO 800 – Microscope mode 3cm from object to focal plane

Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4 5.5mm @F2.3 ISO 800 – Microscope control mode 3cm from object to focal plane (2.9x)

Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4 5.5mm @F2.3 ISO 800 – Microscope control mode 3cm from object to focal plane (5.8x)

Olympus TG-4

Olympus TG-4 5.5mm @F2.3 ISO 800 – Microscope control mode 3cm from object to focal plane (11.6x)

One thing I have noticed is how much dust is on my TV remote yuk! I know from experience of capturing product images for selling on eBay, that everything is so dusty close-up.

The smaller sensor camera allowed me to get closer and gave greater magnification, that is ok for a static object that does not move or fly away, try getting that close to most butterflies. So when capturing flying insects such as butterflies I use the Olympus 75-300mm as that enables me to get fairly close in from 0.9m to 1.5m on the long end, a method that I have used a lot see below.

A Monarch butterfly feeding on a Poinsettia flower in full sun

Olympus EM-1 75-300mm lens @300mm F7.1 1/400 sec ISO 200

The image below was captured using the focus stacking feature of the Olympus EM-1 MK1 introduced with firmware update V4.0, although be careful as it does crop the image so leave a bit of space around the edges. The butterfly had settled on the patio so I carefully placed the camera on the floor for stability, and it stayed still long enough to capture the 8 images.

Butterfly

Olympus EM-1 60mm macro @F2.8 1/200 sec ISO 200

And lastly, this was captured in my garden one autumn morning using the Sony A7R with the Pentax 100mm macro lens. The shot was handheld using natural light, and a reflector propped to one side.

Spiders Web

Sony A7R Pentax 100mm macro @F11 1/60 sec ISO 1250

Equipment Featured

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