The Many Faces of Macro
Macro has taken the photo world by storm and with the dawn of digital imaging, it has never been easier to do. You may think you need a dedicated macro lens to get close-ups but there are other less-expensive options. If you haven’t noticed upon browsing our catalog, Fotodiox is filled with macro solutions and you’ve probably spent some time figuring out what to buy. No worries, because today I’ll be breaking down all Fotodiox’s macro options.
Let's start off by presenting macro extension tubes which are the most popular way to create macro images. The purpose of an extension tube is to create space between the lens and camera. By doing this you are increasing the minimum focusing distance of the lens. The farther away you are from the sensor the closer you can focus. This also increases your lens’s magnification which is like what a teleconverter does but without an optic degrading your image quality.
Our standard extension tubes are sold as sets which are made up of three spacers: 28mm, 14mm, and 7mm. These are metal tubes that can be combined to a total extension of 49mm. For $9.95 our extension tubes are the easiest way to get started. Keep in mind that this style of extension tubes has no electronic contacts which means your lens will default to its widest or smallest f-stop depending upon the lens design.
Tip: Own one of our adapters? Combine it with a macro tube! Here we have a Sony E-mount extension tube combined with a Nikon F lens to Sony E-mount adapter. This is the perfect combo for E-mount cameras because their native lenses rely heavily on electronic control to adjust lens aperture and focus. Vintage lenses do not, which means you are in complete control of all your lens settings.
If you like the idea of extension tubes but want electronic control over your lens, our auto extension tubes do just that. These tubes have built-in pins that relay communication from the camera to the lens which enables aperture control and autofocus. For Sony E-mount and Micro Four Thirds users we offer a set that includes a 16mm and 10mm spacer. For Canon EF we offer a three-piece set of 13mm, 21mm, and 31mm spacers. For Nikon Z-mount and Canon RF we only offer a 35mm and a 15mm tube sold individually. This also applies to Hasselblad XCD and Fujifilm GFX with 20mm and 48mm length tubes available. The price for auto extension tubes are three to five times the cost of standard tubes. For the more advanced photographers these are vital as your subject may require being blasted with light where having aperture control is essential.
Reverse mounting is a method that involves attaching a lens backwards onto a camera. By doing this the lens can only focus on a macro level. The following images were taken using a 52mm filter thread lens to Canon EOS EF adapter:
Nature is beautiful
Things get real shallow here!
Our reverse mount adapters simply mount onto your camera and come in different filter thread sizes. And if you’re a Nikon user we offer kits that enable mechanical aperture control while reverse mounted.
When reverse mounting your lens also inversely changes focal lengths; this means that telephoto lenses will get wider and wide-angle lenses narrower. You’ll also have a couple of millimeters of space to focus but it does get you extremely close to your subject. I find that this option works best with vintage lenses since they can be manually controlled.
We also carry what’s known as a macro coupling ring. Think of it as a step-up/down ring but instead of putting on a filter, you’re reverse-mounting a lens. For best results couple your shortest focal length lens to your longest focal length lens. Remember that reverse mounting inversely changes focal length so a wide-angle lens would behave like a magnifying glass.
For you technical humans, you can determine the magnification by dividing the longest focal length by the shortest.
If you like experimenting and have a couple lenses laying around, then I highly recommend this option.
Our macro bellows is a simple rig that uses a rail system to extend the lens from the sensor. It’s very easy to use and acts much like an extension tube but gives the lens more space to travel from the sensor.
Macro bellows can also be combined with reverse mount adapters and even reverse mount coupling rings for even more creative options.
Aside from selling standard lens adapters, we carry specialty ones such as our helicoid adapters.
These adapters are designed to extend by turning the barrel on the adapter and act like a mini extension tube. This option is great if you want to get macro shots and adapt a lens at the same time.
Our DLX Stretch line of adapters are like the helicoidal adapters, but offer better build quality and the ability to use ND filters. DLX Stretch adapters come with three neutral density filters that drop-in to the rear of the adapter. These filters are magnetic, so no worries about them falling out while you shoot.
The ND filters can be used to photograph very shallow images of flowers or insects during
bright conditions. And for more technical shooters these adapters make a great tool for exposure control when needed. This 3-in-1 adapter delivers more than close focus capabilities and is a great choice for someone who wants that macro available while shooting.
When shooting with macro accessories you will experience light loss whether it’s from the accessory itself or the lens casting a shadow on your subject. One of our most affordable solutions for this is our LED-48a ring light. This LED light is compatible with filters thread sizes from 49mm to 77mm.
The ring light will act as a key or fill depending on the scenario
and it outputs soft, even lighting.
Blasted by our ring light:
For more advanced shooting and detail work I recommend the FlapJack C-318RLS ring light. The C-318RLS is compatible with rigs that use 15mm rods and has a 130mm lens opening. With the benefit of LED, you’ll have a continuous light source and the light can be used for both photography and video.
From simple tubes to lens adapters, we have plenty of options for macro shooters.If you’re starting off, I highly recommend macro tubes and reverse mount adapters since those are the easiest and most cost effective. These encourage you to give more thought to your content which provides you a real sense of gratification.
To the advanced shooter and the pros, you can’t go wrong with any of the options. In the end you’ll know what you need. No matter what you pick we encourage you to experiment and
shoot away. Mix and match the options and get the most amazing macro shots you can take. You can show us your works on any social media by tagging #fdxmacro and @fotodiox. Thanks!
- Fotodiox Staff