Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Time For Your Close-Up
More Macro • Matching Backups • Image Card Rescue The Best ƒ-Stop • Glass Beads Vs. Matte • Live View New
Q) I have a 180mm macro and extension tubes, and I’m considering purchasing a 65mm macro. What kind of benefit would it really offer in terms of improved magnification and/or quality?
Via the Internet
A) The greatest magnification I’ve obtained from a 180mm or 200mm macro is 3X on a full-frame camera (24x36mm sensor) using two 25mm extension tubes, one 12mm extension tube and a 2X tele-extender. With an APS-sized sensor, the full frame would be equivalent to 4.8X magnification. The quality with all of these accessories added to the 180mm would be reasonable but not great. The Canon MP-E 65mm macro offers 1X to 5X magnification on a full-frame (24x36mm sensor) with no accessories. It yields exceptional image quality and mates with two Canon macro-flash systems.
Each has its advantages. The 180mm macro allows extended working distance and is ideal for photographing subjects that don’t want you to be all that close. It also easily renders backgrounds out of focus for softer treatment of wildflowers or similar subjects. Unlike the 180mm macro, the 65mm was designed for high-magnification photography of bugs or the insides of flowers, for example. Especially coupled with the macro-flash systems, it does that extremely well, but it won’t focus to infinity. For critical macro photography, it makes sense to use the right tool.
Q) I back up my images on CDs, but the color of the copied files doesn’t match the images on my hard drive. Is this normal, or should I be using a different CD brand, a different writer or different software?
Via the Internet
A) There shouldn’t be any difference between the original and the backup files because all you’re copying is a distinctive set of digits—ones and zeros—and that’s not going to change because of CD quality, the writer or software. If the CD is degraded, it won’t boot at all, or the images won’t load. If you’re comparing the images on two different monitors, that’s the difference. Calibrate both monitors and look again. Otherwise, it’s likely you’re doing something while processing or converting your images that degrades them between the time you save them to your hard drive and copy them to the CD. When copying, be sure to select the same color space—sRGB or Adobe RGB (1998)—for the copied files as you selected when you first imported the files to your hard drive.
To test this, take a couple of images of a subject with bright colors, whites and grays. Load them onto your hard drive and then immediately copy them to a blank CD. Bring both sets of images back onto the same monitor. They should match.
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