Friday, July 9, 2010

Reverse-Lens Macro Tutorial

Macro photography refers to photography where the image projected onto the sensor is the same size as, or larger than, the object that it is viewing.
In other words: really small stuff.
I do not yet own a macro lens.
So the other day (read:two weeks ago, who are we kidding here. I'm not that quick.) I took my brand new prime lenses for a spin, using a technique called "Reverse-Lens" photography.

It is a fairly tricky method to get down, but here's how its done.
1. Lens #1 is mounted on the camera body.
2. Lens #2 is held against lens#1, but REVERSED. Hence the name, "reverse-lens-macro".

I was photographing this bush:

1/400s at f/2.8 +0.67, ISO 160

Here are the results (after some hefty photoshop fun):

1/200s at f/2.8 +0.67, ISO 160

And then I found this little guy!

1/500s at f/2.8 +0.67, ISO 160

1/800s at f/2.8 _0.67, ISO 160

Basic things to keep in mind:
  • You will need to be super-close to your subject. I was millimetres away.
  • You will also need to be super-stable. Crouch, kneel, sit, brace yourself as best as possible.
  • Auto-Focus is not an option
  • You need a FAST shutter speed, especially if you are hand-holding such as myself. This means lots of light and/or a very wide aperture. Consequently you have a VERY limited depth of field. If it is still not fast enough, crank up your ISO.

And for the slightly more advanced:
  • If you use a telephoto lens in front of a wide-angle lens, you will see the border of the telephoto lens in your images, like vignetting on steroids. This happened to me, because I used my 85mm in front of my 50mm. I just cropped it out.
  • You can buy reverse macro rings, which allow you to use one lens instead of two, by attaching the lens to the camera body in reverse. I would not recommend hand-holding one lens, though, because the sensor in the camera body should not be exposed to air/dust/etc.
  • Because of the small DOF, I was shooting in my cameras burst mode, simply holding down the shutter button while being as still as possible. Only about 1/5 of my images had a part sharp enough for my liking.
Go try it sometime!

No comments:

Post a Comment