Wednesday, February 17, 2010

For the record

I think some people may be wondering what kind of lens I used to capture the snowflake photo that I shared a few posts back:

Keep in mind, that photo is very tightly cropped, so my lenses did not capture it at that size. (See the original post for the full-size shot this was cropped from)

These are the lenses that I commonly refer to as "macro filters":

They are also referred to as diopters and close-up filters. After much consideration and research about how to dive into macro photography without breaking the bank, these filters are what I decided on, and I have been nothing short of pleased. You have seen many of the results on this blog and my other blog. I think this set cost me $25 US. They work best on a "short" (i.e. wide-angle) lens. I pair them with my 18-55mm lens. I tried them on my telephoto lens (55-200mm), and was never really able to get them to focus correctly.

The lenses can stack one on top of the other to give you ultimate magnification, but I have found that if I stack all 3 of them together, image quality actually suffers. I commonly stack the +2 and +4 filters together for my closest shots.

Here the +2 and +4 are stacked together to get a super-close shot of the +1 filter.

You'll notice "52mm" is printed on all of them. That is the filter attachment diameter of my two main lenses. This diameter differs by lens, so you need to find out what size lens you have if you decide to try something like this. You can find the filter attachment size listed in your camera manual.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.


Jain said...

Okay, I'll ask.

Where do I start?!?! I want to step up from my point and shoot, but I'm overwhelmed!

Heather said...

Hi Jain. That's a wide-open topic, but I'll try to give some advice. First, set a budget. Know how much you are willing to spend on the camera and lenses, and keep in mind that you'll probably want a case of some sort, too.

Next, talk to anyone else you know who has something more than a point and shoot. The "big kid" cameras are Single Lens Reflex cameras (abbreviated SLR). I assume you'll want digital, so you're looking for DSLR cameras.

There are some good sites out there that can help you choose. I bought my camera from Crutchfield, and they had some very helpful info on their site. Ultimately, my choice in camera was easy. I got the same one my sister-in-law has, a Nikon D50. They don't make that model any more, but I think the D80 is the next closest model.

Also, you might want to consider buying two lenses if you can afford it. Depending on where you buy from, you will probably have an option to get the camera body and a lens as a "kit." The "kit" lens is usually the one most commonly recommended by the manufacturer. My kit lens was a wide angle lens, but I knew I also wanted a telephoto zoom lens, so I got both. Very good decision for me. Think about what you want to photograph, and that should help you decide about lenses.

I could go on and on, but that should be enough to get you started. If you have any other questions, please feel free to email me directly. My contact info is listed on my profile page. Good luck!