Closer And Bigger

Medium-Format ScansCloser And Bigger

Q) I’m using a Nikon D70 with 60mm and 105mm Micro-Nikkor lenses for wildflower photography. Lately, I’ve become interested in lichen photography, which sometimes requires magnification up to 2X or 3X life-size. I don’t believe that extension tubes will work with the digital camera. Do I need to go back to my film cameras? Or is the alternative to use the Canon system with a Digital Rebel and the MP-E65/2.8 1X to 5X macro lens?

H. Nourse Athens,

A) The Nikon system you’re working with has a lot of capability. The combination of either a macro lens and the D70 camera offers you a magnification of 1.5X. A set of extension tubes will work with digital cameras and can extend your magnification well beyond the 2X range. I’d recommend the extension tubes from Kenko for the Nikon camera system in order to maintain the automatic features of the camera and lens. A helpful accessory for the type of work you’re doing would be a macro flash system. The new Nikon R1 Wireless Closeup Speedlight system attaches to the front of either of your macro lenses and allows for very controlled macro lighting. The Canon MP-E65/2.8 1X to 5X macro lens is an excellent choice for those using the Canon digital macro system, in that it offers superb results with magnifications from 1X to the equivalent of 8X, depending upon which camera is being used. With this macro lens, the best macro flash system would be the MR-14EX or the MT-24EX. With either system, shots of lichen can be captured with great success. Lichen such as these in the White Mountains of California are good macro subjects. Using macro lenses, extension tubes and macro flashes, the photographer can get extremely close. This overall image was taken with numerous exposures and compiled in Helicon Focus software for additional depth of field.

One of North America’s best-known contemporary outdoor and nature photographers and a leader in the field of digital imaging and photographic education, Lepp is the author of many books and the field editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine. One of Canon’s original Explorers of Light, Lepp finds inspiration in advancing technology that fuels creative innovation and expression of his life-long fascination with the natural world.