Equipment for Macro and Close-Up Photography - dummies

Equipment for Macro and Close-Up Photography

By Thomas Clark

Part of Digital Macro & Close-Up Photography For Dummies Cheat Sheet

To achieve macro and close-up photographic results, you need to focus on subjects at a closer-than-normal distance. To get closer to your subjects, you need specific macro and close-up equipment and techniques. Here are some of the ways that macro and close-up photographers get the shots they want:

  • Use a macro-specific fixed lens. Unlike ordinary lenses, macro lenses enable you to shoot at very close distances to your subject while still achieving sharp focus. Most macro lenses get you close enough to capture a 1:1 magnification ratio. This means your subject appears life-size on your camera’s digital sensor.

  • Use an extension tube to supplement your lens. Extension tubes are hollow accessories that attach between your camera body and the lens. They provide space between the lens and sensor, enabling you to focus closer than usual. The relationship between the size of the extension tube and the lens’s focal length determines how close you can get. A 50mm extension tube paired with a 50mm lens provides a maximum 1:1 ratio, however, a 50mm extension tube paired with a 100mm lens only provides a maximum 1:2 ratio.

  • Attach a tele-converter to your lens to increase magnification. Tele-converters are optical devices that attach between the camera and the lens. They magnify the image produced by your lens to appear larger on your camera’s digital sensor. When using a tele-converter, your image is magnified but you don’t have to move closer to your subject. This makes tele-convertors ideal for photographing subjects that scare easily or that are in hard-to-reach areas.

  • Reverse your lens to increase your ability to focus near your subjects. By detaching the lens and turning it around (so your camera is looking through the front element and out of the back element), you can get closer to your subject and achieve greater amounts of magnification. Try this method by simply handholding the lens in front of the camera. If you’re pleased with the results, consider purchasing a reversing ring (an accessory that enables you to fix a reversed lens to the camera body) to hold the lens in place.