An Introduction to Macro-Land

2013-05-13 6

Through a normal lens, the world is pretty darn cool. There are films galore, to say nothing of filters and settings, to make that world even cooler.

But with a macro lens, even the smallest parts of your world can come into focus. So come on along for a series of tipsters on how to get the most out of your macro lens.

I felt like I was right on top of this flower, but I could have gone way tighter!

So what the heck is a macro lens, anyhow? It’s any lens that basically blows up whatever you’re looking at beyond its normal size. In other words, if there’s something tiny that you want to take up most of the shot, this is the lens for you.

This shot totals about two inches or so of width, yet it makes these notebooks look giant!

The first thing you’ll need is a camera capable of using a macro lens. I’m using a Canon AE-1 Program with a Vivitar 55mm 1:2.8 lens. It’s the setup my friend is letting me use indefinitely, the macro lens one of five I get to play with (alongside a fisheye, a couple of zooms, and a “normal” lens). But as the huge fan of the Diana F+ that I am (I have the Glow, and I’m saving up for the Buttercup and True Blue with accessory lenses),the 55mm close-up lens is what you need (and it comes paired with a wide angle lens–awesome!).

This is a less than 2″ × 2″ square on a postcard. Neat, eh?

With this series, I’m going to go through a few different scenarios for using your macro lens and how you can see your world differently. There is a lot of tiny detail out there just waiting to be captured.

One ring + one light leak = something pretty darn cool!

Look for updates from Macro-Land every week or two, depending on how quickly I get film developed. The first entry will be a typical indoor setup, reminiscing on my recently closed retail shop with Macro-Land: Sold!

Even something like the stitching on a steering wheel takes on a whole new feel!

See you soon!

Words and photos by Kevin Hodur. Previously calling suburban Chicago and Portland home, Kevin now lives and works as a writer on Upper Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Catch editions of The Road Rarely Traveled, his regular dispatches from a very northern life, as well as all of the tipsters from Macro-Land!

written by kevinhodur on 2013-05-13 #gear #tutorials #macro #55mm #camera #tutorial #close-up #lens #tipster #f2-8 #macro-land


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    I sure can't see doing close-up work with the Diana F+. You would never be sure what you're getting. To me, a SLR is the way to go for close-up work. You can frame your shot exactly the way you want.

  2. sandravo
    sandravo ·

    How is a Vivitar 55mm 1:2.8 lens a macro lens? it barely reaches 1:1, so I'm confused...

  3. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    @sandravo: Hmm. Well, now you've brought up an issue I have to investigate! I'm no expert on lenses, and it's off of stuff I've borrowed (and is labeled as such). I spoke with a couple of photographer friends and that's how they referred to it as well. I'll post the full specs and perhaps can use your expertise? I might need to rename this thing!

  4. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    A-ha! I found a thread talking about it, as a macro lens, but describing it as f2.8, going to 1:1, and ultimately, not really being all that great of a lens! Yeah, well, but the price was right...

    Despite my father being an expert in the field, I'm terrible with optics. My apologies if I'm using terms wrong... I'm trying to ultimately describe a style of shooting, and I'm probably trying to punch above my weight. :(

  5. sandravo
    sandravo ·

    Many lenses are described as macro lens without actually being a true macro lens (even expensive ones). I'm not sure about the vivitar lens you are using, but as you have one you could easily test its magnification factor. Either way, there is an easy trick to get macro shots: just flip your lens. Lens reversal rings are sold on ebay, but just for fun, give it a try. Get your usual set up going, disconnect your lens and turn it around, front side facing the camera. Try to hold it as steady as you can. You'll find you need to get extremely close to things to focus, but magnification goes through the roof!

  6. kevinhodur
    kevinhodur ·

    @sandravo: Hey, that's cool... thanks for the tip! I'm going to give that a shot and see what shows up!

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