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!

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