Macro/close up photography equipment

In summary, the conversation discusses the topic of macro photography and how to achieve high-quality close up pictures of small insects and arachnids. The participants share their experiences with different types of cameras and lenses, with some recommending a DSLR with a special lens for the best results. Others suggest using filters or close-up lenses with a point and shoot camera as a more budget-friendly option. The conversation also touches on the importance of fast f-stop and gathering light for good depth-of-field in macro photography.
  • #1
fluidistic
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Hello,
I would like to jump into close up/macro photography, primarily for insects and arachnids (more precisely I would love to take picture of Trombidiidae and other monsters barely visible to the naked eyes.)
I have a point and shoot camera (some panasonic with a huge optical zoom, 16x if I remember well), which takes nice very amateurish close up pictures, but I would like to go one step further.
I have a cell phone camera of 64 M pixels, but the macro mode isn't great due to the lack of external lens. There are cheap sets of lenses (about 30 euros on Amazon) that can go on top of a cell phone camera. However I don't think the macro photography pictures are good enough for my use-case, there would be little to no improvement compared to the panasonic point and shoot I already have.

From what I've gathered the best solution would be a DLSR camera with a special lens. Is there any cheap to intermediate (i.e. no more than 500 euros) setups? Which model(s) are popular for amateur photography?

P.S.: I have already taken a few thousand pictures with the panasonic, some very nice, for example a jumping spider with a green fly in its fangs. So I know what I am going into.
 
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  • #2
These may not be good enough for what you want but check out the enlargements (click and then click again to get the largest ones). This is not even a DSLR, just a regular camera, but fairly expensive. Mine is an old Canon PowerShot SX40 HS, but there's now a 50, a 60, and a 70. As far as the closeups go, I think they're all the same (about 12X or a bit more) but the newer ones have better resolution.

http://www.phinds.com/misc/pics/index.htm
 
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  • #3
Very cool pics, @phinds -- I especially like the click-to-zoom feature. :smile:
 
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  • #4
A kindred sprit.
I've got a point-n-shoot too.
Canon G-15.
I really enjoy macro shooting because I really enjoy bugs & other tiny critters.
I haven't been able to justify the cost of a DSLR.
Let us know how your search goes.
 
  • #6
I see... That looks very similar to what I get with my panasonic, but I want to go one step further and get those giant well detailed pictures of small bugs, where for example we can even clearly see the reflections of the camera and the outdoor in jumping spider eyes, something I cannot achieve with my current point and shoot.
My brother might land me a Nikon coolpix p530, but from what I read it isn't a DSLR and I thus I don't think I can buy one of those special macro lens.
However a quick google search reveals that there are such lenses... I am a bit confused.
 
  • #7
Note that straight pixel count is not the best measure of a camera's ability to take quality shots.

DSLRs have a number of advantages over PnS, much to do with how "Fast" they are (their f-stop), and how much light they can gather because of their size. More light means you can get better depth-of-field.

A lot of PnSs can only get down to about f3.5 or thereabouts. DSLRs can get down to f.1.2.
 
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  • #8
search for
macro close up bellows

The bellows let's you move the lens further away from the "film" or sensor; this is what gives the magnification. But it needs a removable lens, so these days probably a DSLR.
 
  • #9
If you can put a filter in front of the Panasonic lens you can put 'close up' lenses there; and they are a lot cheaper than a camera. Not the image quality of a DSLR but for under USD100 for a set of four they might be worth a try. (You can even stack them but the image quality goes down into the weeds.)

I use the wife's Canon S3is (Point N Shoot, at least a decade old) for closeups. The SuperMacro will focus down to the the front surface of the lense, which is plenty for me. Have to keep the lens and any filter really clean so the autofocus doesn't think the dust is the subject!

Oh, a tip on filters, stick with the two (or three?) major brands. I was playing with a high power Blue Laser with some lens filters; the cheap ones would fluoresce Red. Not nice.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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Related to Macro/close up photography equipment

1. What is the difference between a macro lens and a regular lens?

A macro lens is specifically designed for close-up photography, allowing you to focus on subjects at a very short distance. Regular lenses are not able to focus at such short distances and are better suited for general photography.

2. Can I use extension tubes or close-up filters instead of a macro lens?

Yes, extension tubes and close-up filters can be used to achieve macro photography, but they may not produce the same level of quality and sharpness as a dedicated macro lens.

3. What is the best aperture setting for macro photography?

The best aperture setting for macro photography depends on the desired depth of field. A larger aperture (smaller f-stop number) will result in a shallow depth of field, while a smaller aperture (larger f-stop number) will result in a larger depth of field.

4. Do I need a tripod for macro photography?

Using a tripod can greatly improve the sharpness of your macro photos, as it helps to steady the camera and reduce camera shake. However, it is not always necessary and can depend on the lighting conditions and subject movement.

5. Are there any specific camera settings I should use for macro photography?

Some recommended camera settings for macro photography include using a low ISO to reduce noise, using manual focus for more control over the focus point, and using a fast shutter speed to avoid blur from camera shake or subject movement.

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