Photography forum: The Classifieds, $35.00, and closeups (or the end of a notsosane obsession?)

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Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Jan 9, 2015 6:03 PM CST
This will be the last variation on the theme, I think. And I probably should have spent the money on therapy...but...have a look:
Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/b8be61

For reasons not to be revealed, I combed the online classifieds for a couple of days (10-mile radius) for an inexpensive camera. I had three criteria: it had to fall into my meager budget, it had to take AA batteries, and it had to allow the photographer to adjust the aperture in macro mode.

I found the Kodak z740 for $25.00. This camera had the added bonus of having a threaded lens and a lens hood attached that accepted magnifying lenses. That was not key to the purchase, but it was a nice bonus. Therefore, I was able to attach a +4 magnifier to it and take the shots that follow. (The magnifying lenses cost $10.00 from just about any online retailer and come in a set of four of varying strengths - see the other threads in this forum). As with all close-up shots, the depth of focus is pretty narrow. That really comes into play in several of the shots, and I still need to do a little more fiddling to understand how what I'm seeing through the viewfinder is going to translate onto the screen.

The point, again, is that no matter how limited your budget is, you can probably come up with a way to take nice, in-focus closeups of your growing things. Also, none of the photos below have been edited apart from cropping. They came straight out of the camera as they are. I apologize for the subject matter, but there just ain't that much highly compelling (or colorful) stuff around here this time of year. We work with what we have :).

Here's the camera:
Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/8c0757

In the interest of not taking heat from another ATP member (*muttering something about some unwashed cetacean*), I'm refraining from posting too large a wall of photos :). Here are a few of the shots (also, YAY BEES!!! They showed up yesterday for the first time this year): [Editor's note: it still looks like a wall of photos, but it's only about 1/4 the size of the other walls...grrrrrrrr!]
Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/19fae6 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/62b5b6 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/4dd7aa Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/748f33 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/2eeaf1 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/951443 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/7588df Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/6cb485 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/831b91 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/3e15cc Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/f9f598 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/478ac1 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/01bb7b Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/7d7db9 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/11d8f0 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/3ee0f7 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/1910d5 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/49b6da Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/492a49 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/c0ea81 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/51f14d Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/a50cd5 Thumb of 2015-01-09/evermorelawnless/a2a515
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
[Last edited by evermorelawnless - Jan 9, 2015 6:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Jan 10, 2015 9:34 AM CST
Wow, those are some impressive shots with that camera and magnifier. I love taking macro shots. You can do more with $35 than I can with $500, Asa!!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Jan 16, 2015 8:38 AM CST
One thing that I don't think I explained very well about using the screw-on magnifiers is the depth of focus. So that's what this post is about - specific to this camera. While the same principles apply to other cameras with magnifiers attached, the specifics (measurements) won't be exactly the same. You'll have to experiment.

For the pictures above, I used the 4x magnifier. The mechanical process goes like this:

1. Screw on the magnifier
2. Turn on the camera
3. Disable the flash (push it down in this case - it pops up automatically on this camera)
4. Set the camera to Macro mode
5. Zoom in as far as you can using the optical (rather than digital) zoom. For this camera, zooming in all the way in macro mode only uses the optical zoom. You're trying for a closeup, right?
6. Position the camera lens (move your face) between 8-9 1/2" from the subject (or the part of the subject that you want to focus on)
7. Let the autofocus do it's thing
8. Snap the shot when it's in focus

Here's an illustration of what I described above:
Thumb of 2015-01-16/evermorelawnless/b78998

Notice that using the magnifier lens (paired with macro mode itself), you've effectively reduced the focusable area of the lens to about a 1 1/2" slice.

So you'll need to physically move the camera (your face) to about 9 inches away from the subject in order to focus (or 4" inches if using the +10 magnifier).

YMMV, of course, with your camera and your setup. The important thing is to figure out how far away that you need to be from the subject in order to acquire focus.

I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Jan 16, 2015 12:17 PM CST
I don't have my camera with me at the moment, but on the 18-55mm kit lens, would I need an adapter in order to screw on the magnifier? I tried to go back and read the threads about this, but may have missed that part. I would be interested in getting a couple of magnifiers.

Very interesting stuff, Asa!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jan 16, 2015 1:17 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Vickie, you just need to match the right size of your lens with the closeup filters. The 18-55mm is probably 58mm. It's printed on the rim of the lens itself.

Asa, question. I have a magnifier kit. It includes 4 different ones: 1x,2x,4x and 10x. Are these magnification values? I see people using a 4x with a 2x or a 1x with a 2x. What's the benefit to mixing and matching these? Is there a particular stack that's the best? Is it good to use a 10x over a 2x? I'm kind of confused as to which ones I really should be using. With 4 different powers there are 24 possible combinations.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Jan 16, 2015 3:30 PM CST
Thanks, Dave.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Jan 16, 2015 4:58 PM CST
@Vickie, Dave is spot-on. The diameter of the lens/filter will be prefaced by a null sign - for example: ∅52, ∅55, or ∅58 (the most common sizes for kit lenses). So get a set that fit on your lens properly. (Or, better, get one for a 55-300mm zoom or something with a longer focal length - more info on that to follow (discussion on that front will be included on my answer to Dave - see below)).

In this thread:
http://garden.org/ideas/view/evermorelawnless/2109/Rube-Gold...
there is a link to some step-up/step-down rings that have worked well for me. They're sure handy once you start to fiddle with filters. The section in question is about 15pct into the longer article. Do a search for step-up and it will show up for you.

@Dave, dangit your questions are complicated and are gonna be time-consuming. Stay tuned to this thread (tho I think maybe they deserve their own thread??). I just set up a subject for multiple test shots and will be shooting them this afternoon/evening. Great questions that deserve answers and something I've been thinking about doing it for a while. Good to be pushed... Sticking tongue out
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Jan 16, 2015 5:12 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I'm looking forward to this! I feel like I'm not even scratching the surface on what can be done with these and I look forward to learning more.
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Jan 16, 2015 5:18 PM CST
Okay. Now that I've looked at my lens, I can see the threads on the inside. I have a 75-300mm lens, so am interested to hear what you have on that. I need to get a set of magnifiers!
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
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evermorelawnless
Jan 16, 2015 6:32 PM CST
blue23rose said:Okay. Now that I've looked at my lens, I can see the threads on the inside. I have a 75-300mm lens, so am interested to hear what you have on that. I need to get a set of magnifiers!


Fantastic. That's the one that you will want to be using, I think. So...get a set that fits that one. In the process of shooting/producing right now...and it turns out that my 55-300mm accepts 58mm filters and I don't have any of those (only 49, 52, and 55) so...I had to use a step-down ring for the shots I'm working on. That's not going to be a big deal at all, but there could be some vignetting with wider apertures.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Jan 16, 2015 7:33 PM CST
@blue23rose - oh, garbage. I'm getting TERRIBLE shots from the 55-300mm lens. Stuff that's just not usable. I'm pretty sure you haven't ordered anything yet, but sit tight until I can give better advice (with samples) than what I've been providing re which lens to use. Something's really wonky in that conceptually it's working like it should - but practically, the results are abysmal. So I'm rethinking a little here.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Jan 17, 2015 6:11 AM CST
No hurry on my account Asa. I am not in a hurry to order since it is winter. I hope you get it figured out though.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Jan 19, 2015 10:41 AM CST
dave said:
Asa, question. I have a magnifier kit. It includes 4 different ones: 1x,2x,4x and 10x. Are these magnification values? I see people using a 4x with a 2x or a 1x with a 2x. What's the benefit to mixing and matching these? Is there a particular stack that's the best? Is it good to use a 10x over a 2x? I'm kind of confused as to which ones I really should be using. With 4 different powers there are 24 possible combinations.


I've spent a few days screwing around with answers to these questions - and I'm having a hard time figuring out how to answer them (because there are sooooooooooo many variables). Really, the concepts are worthy of their own thread and as soon as I can figure out the narrative and how to explain things in a way that's pretty easy to parse/digest (and take the accompanying shots), I'll write that thread. In the mean time:
dave said: I have a magnifier kit. It includes 4 different ones: 1x,2x,4x and 10x. Are these magnification values?

No. They're "diopters". From http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/diopter:
noun
1. Optics. a unit of measure of the refractive power of a lens, having the dimension of the reciprocal of length and a unit equal to the reciprocal of one meter.

And that, of course, invokes some pretty complicated math/physics (relative to the lens (and distance of the lens from the photo sensor)). So...for the sake of simplicity, think of the +1, +2, etc. as relative units of measurement (relative to each other on the lens to which you attach them). +4 is twice as strong as +2, but that doesn't mean that it will double your outcome (because the original lens is still in play with the math/physics). If you think of them in relative terms and make the question practical rather than conceptual, it's easier to think about - in that the question ought to be "what gives me the best results?" (or results that I need relative to the subject)

dave said:What's the benefit to mixing and matching these?

As you note, there are a variety of combinations that you can come up with using this set of four. And recall that we're interested in results. So, the benefit of stacking +1, +2, +4 (for a total of +7) is taking that one particular shot that absolutely requires a +7 on the front of your lens. The downsides of stacking (or even using the magnifiers at all) can be numerous, though. The glass in these magnifiers is of lower quality, produced at looser tolerances, and coated using poorer materials (if coated at all) - when compared to even the most inexpensive branded (dedicated) lenses. So there's the quality issue. Further, glass eats light. So the more glass you put in front of the lens, the less light makes it to the sensor. Also, the more you stack, the more likely you are to introduce dust, fingerprints, etc., into the shot. Keeping one (one-sided) lens clean is hard enough - adding six more sides to maintain is a problem multiplier. Finally, (and back to the first point), the more magnifiers you stack, the more likely you are to have color and shape aberrations show up in your photos.

That all sounds bad, right? It really is, conceptually. But...thinking results here, it's absolutely possible to stack several of these magnifiers together to create fantastic shots. You just have to account for the variables that you're introducing (which is another conversation completely and is really conceptual - practically, you can take good shots stacking...and can recognize the keepers, of course).

dave said:Is there a particular stack that's the best? Is it good to use a 10x over a 2x? I'm kind of confused as to which ones I really should be using. With 4 different powers there are 24 possible combinations.

Flip answer: depends on what you're shooting. Figure it out.

Conceptual answer: Macro photography is defined as shooting the subject at a 1:1 ratio (with the first value being the size of the film/photo sensor and the second value being the size of your target). So...practically, that means at 1:1, if you took a picture of a U.S. Quarter Dollar coin, it would fill the screen/viewfinder/photosensor. It also means that if I wanted to take a true macro shot of a 6" peony, I'd have to take 36 1:1 shots and stitch them together to make the whole photo. That's impractical and absurd. Or I'd have to take 4 shots of a 2" rose for a "macro" of the rose. Not particularly useful when it comes to very many blossoms/plants that we photograph. So I'd need to shoot the peony at 1:6 to fill the photo sensor and the rose at 1:2 to fill the photo sensor. But, by the same token, if I wanted to fill the screen with an amaryllis anther the size of a grain of rice, I'd have to shoot at 6:1 to frame it that way. It really depends on your subject.

Practical answer: A standard 50mm lens on a normal DSLR shoots at about 1:6. That will shoot the peony in a close-up fashion (filling the screen with the blossom) but won't do a 2" rose justice (for a close-up shot). And that's the basis of the discussion - how to get more out of your existing lenses simply and inexpensively.

My vote for the "best" setup is +6 (+4 and +2 stacked - and conventional wisdom says put the stronger lens nearer the sensor) on a ~50mm lens. At the nearest focus (at about 4" away from the subject), that will give you the ability to shoot at about 1:2 and at infinity (6" away from the subject) that nets about 1:3. (And it's really important to point out that when you add a magnifier to your lens, you lose the ability to focus at infinity...it becomes scoped/bounded. See illustration above for visual/practical example - you end up with a slice in which the camera can focus). With the +6 setup, you're filling the screen with ~2-3" of subject at a distance of 4-6" from the subject.

My vote for "next best" setup (and remember, it depends on what you are shooting) is a straight +4 on a ~50mm lens. At the nearest focus (~5.75" from the subject), you are shooting at about 1:2.65 and at the farthest focus (infinity), you're at about 1:4.8 at ~9.5" from the target.

One of these days, I'll post a thread with these (and other) figures included - as well as examples. There's waaaaaaaaaaaaay more to macros, close-ups, and magnifying lenses than I've posted here (and oh, how I've tried to be brief).

Super-best setup: I don't have the words to describe how much better than "best" this really is - but it takes SO many of the variables out of the mix: The thread "Budget close-ups - Adding a flash to the mix" in Photography forum
This technique can be used with +4 and +6 magnifier setups...and until you try it, you just won't believe how easy and useful it is...even in good light.

Finally...a kit similar to the one that Dave mentions is available from Amazon for about $10.00. If it were me (and it was), I'd get one for my 18-55mm kit lens (and/or my 50mm prime) AND my 55-300mm (or in Vickie's case 75-300mm) lenses. I think you'll be glad that you have one for each lens. It really depends on what you're shooting...and with a larger zoom, you can achieve results (use a tripod) that are greater than 1:1 for those really, really close-up shots.

More to come as soon as I can figure out how to make the rest of it make sense...but I hope that answers the questions in ways that make sense.
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
[Last edited by evermorelawnless - Jan 19, 2015 9:00 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #768520 (13)
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
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blue23rose
Jan 19, 2015 5:54 PM CST
That is a lot to digest, Asa. Physics and math are not my strong suit. But I'm sure if I purchased the kit, I would be able to figure it out just by playing around with it and that would help me understand.

I went to college at the age of 41 and made beginner's algebra my very first class because I had never had it and had no confidence that I would pass. However, I found that I liked it and made straight A's. I had wonderful teachers in both the beginner and advanced algebra classes I took. But there were times when I would have to sit and study a problem for two hours before the answer would click. I have a feeling learning this will be the same way. I appreciate the time you are taking to teach it.
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
Image
dave
Jan 19, 2015 6:00 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Excellent, Asa. Thank you so much. I'm armed with much more information and this knowledge will guide my experimentations. Can't thank you enough.
Name: Asa

Bee Lover Garden Photography Region: Utah Garden Ideas: Master Level Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Image
evermorelawnless
Jan 19, 2015 7:34 PM CST
blue23rose said:That is a lot to digest, Asa. Physics and math are not my strong suit. But I'm sure if I purchased the kit, I would be able to figure it out just by playing around with it and that would help me understand.

I went to college at the age of 41 and made beginner's algebra my very first class because I had never had it and had no confidence that I would pass. However, I found that I liked it and made straight A's. I had wonderful teachers in both the beginner and advanced algebra classes I took. But there were times when I would have to sit and study a problem for two hours before the answer would click. I have a feeling learning this will be the same way. I appreciate the time you are taking to teach it.


A pleasure, Vickie. Fortunately, where the rubber meets the road here (or your eye meets the camera), math and physics go out the window apart from the fact that they're just practical constraints for the question, "is the picture in focus or not"? In other words, you really don't need to be able to explain the effects of gravity with a series of equations in order to be able to hop a fence.

The product of the math/physics of using magnifying lenses (versus pointing-and-shooting) is just one practical thing - and if you understand that one thing, the rest doesn't need to come into play at all.

With any lens, there's a "too close". Every lens has a minimum focusing distance. But with magnifiers attached, there's a "too far", also. Instead of being able to shoot from the minimum focusing distance to infinity, there's a limit on the maximum focusing distance. (And with some combinations on some lenses, the distance between the minimum and maximum focusing distances becomes very narrow indeed).

The practical solution to that (until you habituate a sense of where it is for the combination) is to simply put the camera to your eye near the subject and move closer/farther from the subject until you acquire focus. At that point you're in range and can use the auto-focus to finish the shot.

No math, no physics - just a little flexibility and trial and error until you get the right point of view and the solution comes into focus. Seems like there's a metaphor in there somewhere...
I share this blog with the unwashed cetacean - have a look! - http://garden.org/blogs/view/evermoredorphins
Name: Vickie
Elberfeld, Indiana, USA (Zone 6b)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Daylilies Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Region: United States of America
Region: Indiana Garden Art Annuals Clematis Cottage Gardener Garden Ideas: Level 2
Image
blue23rose
Jan 20, 2015 5:38 AM CST
Thanks, Asa. I certainly did a lot of trials and errors in algebra until the solution 'came into focus' Big Grin
Vickie
May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown

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