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Thursday, January 17, 2013

True Teamwork

Advice To The PhotoLorn • Going Beyond 1X • Power To The Time-Lapse • Going Really Long

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And, although Kathy and I are in complete and constant agreement, when it came to answering your specific situation, we quickly concurred that we needed to give two separate responses.

George: A little competition is good! Keep your images separate from capture to storage. If you share camera bodies, use separate cards marked "His" and "Hers," and enter your images separately in your club competitions so that each of you receives the feedback and recognition you need for your own work. Oh, yeah—be collegial, too.

Kathy: Teamwork is good! We're all too concerned about credits and honors. It's the experience of taking the photograph that matters! Enter the competitions as a duet, build on each other's strengths and observations, make photography another representation of your relationship with each other and the natural world you love. That's what really matters.

Alert readers will note that Kathy has had the last word.

Going Beyond 1X

Q My 105mm macro lens goes to 1X without any problem. Now I want to get more magnification. What are the best ways to get to 2X and beyond?
J. Campbell
Via email

A A lot of lenses will give you a 1/4 life-size image in a so-called "macro" mode. But any magnification less than 1X is considered to be "close-up" photography. Macro really starts at 1X (life-size) rendition on the film or sensor.

Getting beyond the 1X threshold takes a bit of work and some equipment. The first (and least expensive) course of action would be to use extension tubes. These are hollow tubes (no glass) placed between the camera body and the lens; they move the lens farther away from the film or sensor. This increases the lens magnification by an amount equal to the extension divided by the lens' focal length. Another way to look at it is that the millimeters of extension need to equal the lens' focal length to achieve 1X of magnification. A 100mm lens needs 100mm of extension to achieve 1X; 200mm of extension will give a 2X result. A 50mm lens only needs 100mm of extension to achieve 2X.

Another way to increase magnification is to add a 1.4X or 2X tele-extender to the macro lens. A 100mm macro at 1X is doubled to 2X with a 2X extender.

There's a special high-magnification macro lens available for the Canon system, the Canon MP-E 65mm ƒ/2.8 1-5X macro lens. It won't focus to infinity and is designed only for 1X to 5X imaging. I've added a 2X tele-extender to this optic for excellent 10X imaging.

Finally, a consideration in working at higher magnifications is the loss of light to the film/sensor. Most likely, you'll need to employ flash in order to stop the lens down for depth of field and to minimize any camera movement.

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