Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lesson five, macro

Nikon d70 and Nikon D70S owners, come here and listen to me. Bold, I know, but that shows in the Nikon d70 blog search, and attention is a good thing, when it is attention to the macro world.
What is macro? Macro is a prefix, like micro, and it means small. Like my blog staff is a macro outfit, or just myself! I bet it means something else that is close to bringing the micro world up to our sight ability.



This leaf is not really a macro, but it is close. I shot it with a poorboy light box, and my Nikon D70S, without any fancy macro attachment (which we will discuss in a moment) on my camera.
The depth of field is as you might expect from any shot that you would take using the common 18-70 lens, or a good depth of field for focusing.


This image is also a leaf, and I would consider this one to be a macro image. This shot was made using a cheap and simple macro filter, which rendered almost no depth of field to speak of.
Lets explain this macro world, and how to get there. The first three ways to macro-ville that I can think of are the macro filter, a bellows system, and perhaps extension tube/rings that go between the camera and the lens. All three will take you where you need to go, but they all take you in different modes of travel.

Here is what I mean. The bellows is a system most used, and preferred by the most, to obtain macro shots. The bellows attach to the camera body and the other end of the bellows attaches to the lens. These things extend like an accordion, by the turning of rather precise dials. These dials bring the object of the image both into focus and larger/smaller. As you focus the bellows it expands or contracts as you set up the shot. These resemble large format cameras with the exception that they do not turn to focus on a plane other than straight on. The bellows is usually attached to a tripod while the camera hangs onto the unit itself.

Next is the macro filter. Yes, a filter! These things look like grandpas glasses, only thicker! These simply screw onto the end of a lens, and magnify whatever they are pointed at. These need the use of a tripod, since any shake is also magnified. These babies have a couple of drawbacks though. One is that the depth of field is as thick as a piece of paper. That is all you get. If you blink, you will miss the point of focus. A second drawback is that the edges of your image may distort slightly. I call this the soda pop bottle effect, but that is not very professional. Depending on the lens that you screw these precious things onto the depth of field increases or decreases, and the power of intesity behaves in direct relationship to the depth of field.

A third way to reveal the macro world to us all with your Nikon D70 and your Nikon D70S is with the use of extension tubes. These act like a bellows system, but without the adjusting capabilities that a bellows offers. For that reason you can buy different lengths of extension tubes, each offerering a greater or a lesser effect. These may be as cheap as the macro filter, and I can't decide which is better. I will say that the filter is faster to put on and to remove.

The only other way that I can advise you to get a macro image is with the use of "macro mode" on the Nikon D70 and the Nikon D70S. I use this mode with the added features of a macro filter, macro bellows, or macro extension tubes, since it helps the camera to better focus close up. This is all that it does, though, but it is better than nothing, right?

until next time, keep shooting, and maybe take a trip to macroville sometime soon. Check out the macros on my site, www.steveramsdell.com , on the links page.

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