Macro Tip: It's a Small World


Sometimes you want to get crazy close to your subject or capture minute details. Here are a few tips to help you out.

Credits: neanderthalis

Macro is another fascinating aspect of photography. Taking pictures of a single detail or something that would normally be too small for your regular lens to catch. There are normally two ways to accomplish this. You can have a specific lens like I do for my Canon AE-1. The lens has a ring that locks the focus into a macro. This is more like a binocular on this 75-200mm lens.

I am still standing a few feet away from my subject and it zooms right in.

Credits: neanderthalis

Another way to get the zoom effect is a Macro Filter. They are often not as accurate with more distortions at the edge of the image, but are a lot of fun for a very reasonable price. This one was under $25. You can also find a macro style lens with the Diana F+ 55 lens.

Here is the same car with the Macro Filter on a 50 lens, then without any filter. The filter on the 50mm lens can take me as close as a few centimeters from the subject.

Credits: neanderthalis

A few tips when trying Macro.

  • Light-Light-Light! Macro lenses are hungry for light. You will need to illuminate your subject to get detail. There is often not a lot of room between your lens and the subject and all the light the better.
  • Choose your ISO wisely, a higher number eases the light issue, but grain is sometimes more obvious in macro. I used 400 in all these pictures.
  • Use a tripod if you can. At so close it is easy to flinch or a subtle movement will make your subject blur. Movement is amplified when you are so close to the subject.
ants are extremely hard to track and focus with Macro

Another big thing to understand with Macro is Depth of Field. You might have a large range in focus when you set your camera to f/16. Maybe several meters will be in focus. When you go down to Macro, f/16 could mean just a couple centimeters are in focus. If you don’t have a tripod or not enough light for a higher aperture, a f/4 could leave you with little more than a few millimeters in focus.

Here is and example of a snail on a wall. I did not have a tripod to help with the lower light. You can see I can not get all of the snail in focus at once. Three tries got me some fun examples with the Macro Filter.

Credits: neanderthalis

Bugs are a common subject, but flowers & plants are fun too.

Credits: neanderthalis

I also like using toys as subjects.

again you can see the narrow depth of field

Macro filters may be a cheap way to get some extra fun out of your camera. Remember, plenty of light and a higher number aperture will bring more out of your image.


written by neanderthalis on 2012-12-20 in #gear #tipster #select-type-of-tipster #bug #camera #macro #small #flower #tipster #toys #lens #select-what-this-tipster-is-about #tip


  1. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    great article and shots! The macro lens part of the Diana 55mm close up is working good as well as the macro part of the tunnelvision lens, you can easily use it with the LC-A or even better with the LC-W for some wide macro shots! :)

  2. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @vicuna Thank you for the support and for the additional tip. That was something I had not thought to try. I hope someone tries these ideas and posts their results.

  3. vicuna
    vicuna ·

    @neanderthalis: well the results of my test with the macro part of tunnelvision lens put on the LC-Wide is here...…
    And I didn't mention a great macro lens I found a few time ago, the Pentax 50mm Macro 1:4 with great results! And you can still use it as an everyday 50mm lens...…

  4. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @vicuna Thank you for linking those examples. Those were cool results.

  5. gndrfck
    gndrfck ·

    Talking about SRL cameras, there is one more very cheap and accurate way to make macro-shots is so called reverse macro adapter letting you to use ordinary 50mm lens for example as a perfect macro lens
    Regarding ring macro lens, I used once a condensing lens with Smena-8m

  6. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    @gndrfck thank you for adding your experiences, Aloha

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