Macros & Technique

Macro photography is technique driven – more so than other genre such as landscape. Special equipment, starting with a macro lens, is needed, too.

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Technique – Technique begins with “T” and that stands for Tripod. When you’re dealing with paper-thin depth of field, there’s no way you can hand-hold and achieve focus where it’s needed. Keeping the plane of your camera’s sensor precisely parallel with the subject and maintaining a steady distance from the subject are essential parts of macro technique.

  • The next two examples show it all. Click to enlarge.
  • Left – focused on dollar bill; Right – focused on penny.

  • 105mm 1:1 Nikkor macro lens, 1.4X TC, Canon 500D close up lens
  • ~2X life size, f/4.8

Why not use a different aperture; one that provides a greater DOF?

  • Good question
  • Bad result (have you heard of diffraction?)

Of course we could use a smaller aperture to increase the DOF – although that’s not always practical or what we want (if we want selective focus). Here’s what happens if we use a smaller aperture than the f/4.8 used above.

L – f/14; R – f/29. Even at f/29 the problem of the out of focus $1 isn’t solved (and diffraction may be working against us as well).


Here is my 2010 post from which this material is taken.


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