Spring is a wonderful time for amateur photographers. The bright sun, rich colors, flowers bloom, long-legged girls in short skirts walk. Take a picture of everything you have your eye on! Personally, as a married person, now I am more and more interested in travel photography and all sorts of flowers.
Recently, a work colleague bought a Nikon 105mm f / 2.8G Micro macro lens for his household. I took the opportunity to test: I brought my trusty D800 to take some shots too. In general, I love macro photography, it seems interesting to me to look at the everyday things around us from such an unusual angle. It is interesting to play with a macro lens, although I think it is unreasonable to spend 45 thousand rubles on such fun. But you can join the world of macro photography for much less money with the help of devices called macro rings. I’ve had these in my bins for a year now, and last weekend I blew the dust of centuries off them and took them to the village.
As every photographer, even taking his very first steps in this exciting activity, knows, any lens has a minimum distance to the subject at which the picture will be clear. If you try to photograph your favorite cat point-blank, you get muddy garbage. The minimum focal length is written in the specifications for the lens, usually 30–40 centimeters. To get around this annoying limitation, you need a macro ring.
A macro ring is an ordinary hollow cylinder that is installed between the lens and the matrix, changing the parameters of the optical system. The greater the distance between the lens and the sensor, the closer the lens can be to the subject. This is how macrophotographs are obtained with a regular lens. Macro rings are sold in a set of 3 pieces so that this distance can be varied depending on the situation. Attach all 3 pieces at once and get a portable microscope. More expensive macro rings have contact pads to support the autofocus of the lens, but in macro photography you often have to focus manually (or rather, with your feet or back), because autofocus does not understand exactly what you want to photograph. So I took the simplest rings. Which ones — in this case it does not matter at all, they are, by and large, all the same.
However, do not rush to the nearest photo shop for macro rings in the hope of becoming a cool macro photographer quickly and cheaply. You will have to face a number of inconveniences that you may not notice for years in ordinary photography.
First. You will have to take pictures exclusively in manual mode, that is, in M mode. If you still do not know how to take pictures by manually controlling aperture and shutter speed, then first learn this, and then take on macro photography.
Second. Unlike a macro lens, macro rings reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor. In order for the photo not to be too dark, you will have to increase the shutter speed and raise the ISO. You may need a tripod so that the pictures are not blurry at slow shutter speeds.
Third. The depth of field of the frame at a small focusing distance for SLR cameras tends to zero. Increasing the depth of field helps to reduce the aperture, which again entails a decrease in the amount of light entering the matrix.
By the way, I was recently asked here why the background is blurred on SLR cameras, and when photographing with an ordinary soap dish or smartphone, the entire frame is sharp. Like, expensive DSLRs can’t do what smartphones allow, so a DSLR is money thrown away. This conclusion only emphasizes the incompetence of a citizen who poorly studied the topic of optics in physics lessons at school. A brief explanation, without diving into technical aspects, is as follows: the lens is selected for a specific matrix. On a full-frame camera, the f/2.8 lens aperture will give exactly f/2.8, since the crop factor is 1. And your smartphone has a tiny matrix, say, 5 times smaller than that of a full-frame DSLR. And its f/2.8 aperture will match the f/14 aperture on a full-frame DSLR. The more the aperture is closed, the greater the depth of field. There is nothing to say about a blurry background with such a diaphragm.
Fourth. The smaller the aperture, the more noticeable the particles of dirt on the matrix. Before rushing into the maelstrom of macro photography, you should take care of cleaning the matrix. Well, or mess around later in Photoshop. Our man sometimes has strange notions about economy. Citizens like to spend 100 thousand rubles on a camera, and then “save on matches” and clean the matrix themselves. Personally, I recommend spending another 3 thousand rubles and taking the camera to an authorized service center for cleaning.
But enough theory, it’s time to start practicing. For my macro experiments, I took an ordinary inexpensive Nikon 50mm f / 1.8D lens. I screwed the middle macro ring between it and the camera, set the ISO higher, twisted the aperture to the minimum available f / 22, and that’s what happened.
It is desirable, of course, to take a lens that can cover the aperture at least up to f / 32, and even better up to f / 64. Then more details will come into focus, the percentage of successful shots will be higher. But I don’t have such a thing in my household, I use what I have.
Macro photography requires a lot of light in the frame. If the sky is cloudy, then it is already advisable to use a special ring flash, which is needed specifically for macro. It is attached to the lens and highlights the spider bugs dear to your heart. Spending on a ring flash is worth it if you decide to seriously dedicate yourself to macro photography, otherwise just wait for a sunny day. As you can see, there is no urgent need for expensive photographic equipment to get a good macro photo. Macro rings allow you to take quite decent photos. Happy photography!
The rest of the photos can be viewed here. The post is entered into the iXBT.com Blog Post Contest!