Super Macro >=2x with MFD >=1ft @ a budget

Discussion in 'Macro' started by markriemann, Feb 3, 2020.

  1. I have Canon Rebel T6.

    I'm looking for a "cheap" setup that will allow me to do Super Macro shots, 2x or higher, with a relatively large MFD, at least 1 ft.

    I have read that teleconvertor (TC) don't impact minimum focus distance. "TC do not affect optical characteristics of the lenses - they only magnify the center portion of the frame photographylife"; whereas, extension tube does shorten the MFD.

    I was looking at the Irix 150mm Macro (1:1 w/ MFD 1.1ft) len and a teleconvertor (2x or 3x).

    My end goal is to be able to be able to get 2x+ on an 1/4" objects that would be 12" to 36" away. I won't be able to get closer.

    I was thinking this will accomplish what I want in the cheapest manner.

    But wanted to see what other more experience photographers thought?
    is there a better setup that is cheap?
    better len?
    particular TC?
    some other hardware that could be useful?
  2. You can also check the Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra-Macro APO for Canon EF-mount .., but be aware : 2x magnification is virtually impossible to handhold , even more so on a DX camera ( virtual 3x magnification..) , you will always need a very sturdy vibration resistand tripod which in itself add's to the cost ...

    Alternatively stick with 1:1 magnification and enlarge in post .....
  3. If you can live with manual nearly everything -- pardon my ignorance, I'm not sure what is possible with a T6 -- a decent process lens on bellows will do very well for you. A symmetrical lens is preferable, doesn't have to be reversed for working above 1:1.

    I've used 150/9 Apo Ronar and 210/9 Konica Hexanon GR II this way on Nikons (fully manual film cameras, not digital) but at 3:1 their front element-to-subject distances are shorter than you need. Consider 240/9 Apo-Ronar, 260/9 GR II, 300/9 Apo-Ronar or 305/9 Apo-Nikkor.

    c.p.m. is right about how hard it is to be steady enough shooting handheld, even at 1:1. My preferred solution is flash illumination. When ambient light is bright this requires low ISO or an ND filter.
  4. In theory you might be right about the teleconverters. On the other hand: You have a high resolution sensor in your camera. Nobody knows if the lens renders enough pixels to feed it (as is). Any teleconverter is a in itself "fishy" optical system, splitting the not enough resolution of a lens further, to spread it over more megapixels than previously.
    Odds that using a teleconverter won't pay off, are high.
    I don't know if you tried macro shots before; I totally agree with @c.p.m._van_het_kaar above. To me getting a handheld 1:1 shot shivered into focus is already too hard and yes I use flash and stop down like crazy.
    • Consult some DOF calculator, before you buy anything.
    • Read up on focus stacking (if your subject is suitable for such).
    I'm no math wizard but supposing you'll need a reversed 24" lens, to shoot something in 36" distance at 2x magnification and "quite a bit of bellows" to mount that to your camera. (concentric tubes could serve as a bellows substitute. While process lenses of suitable focal length surely exist they might not be sharp enough and pretty dim too. No fun in operating such gear.
  5. I have a tripod that I will be using for the shots, I don't plan on holding the camera. I will also be taking the shots remotely from my phone, so I'm not touching the camera.

    Yeah I don't have that type of money to drop on the Laowa, I seen it. It looks like it would work. Just can't drop that type of money at the moment. Thanks.

    I will take a look at 240/9 Apo-Ronar, 260/9 GR II, 300/9 Apo-Ronar or 305/9 Apo-Nikkor. Thanks.

    Yeah It sounds like in practicality TC will not do what I'm wanting it to do. I will do some more research on reverse lens and see if I can't get anything close to what I'm looking for. Thanks.

    Thanks for the input all.
  6. They might still be a bit short for your 36" use case?
    While you are pondering things: Make up your mind, if you might like to use a monorail view camera, as part of your rig. Graflock-EF adapters are about $200. you'll most likely need rail extension a center column and two bellows but it could be nice to have movements for framing and no-DOF-management. Sad news: You'll most likely want one of the more xpensive ones to perform the precision movements demanded by your tiny sensor.

    Since we are talking lots of investment and crucially(!) little DOF: Can you practise on a dummy subject, with a reversed shorter lens, that you don't need to buy?
    I'm a teen of the 80s. Back then it was already possible to cobble SLRs on microscopes. The reason why drawing what you see, by hand was still taught in schools and practised is simple: back then they probably didn't have PCs to do focus stacking to compensate for no DOF.

    the magnification you desire leads to an extreme camera rig. I suppose with the process lens you'll need two tripods to hold your monorail. Setting such up is so slow that you should probably better kill your subject anyhow instead of staying at a distance that doesn't trigger instincts to flee.
  7. "Yeah I don't have that type of money to drop on the Laowa, I seen it. It looks like it would work. Just can't drop that type of money at the moment. Thanks. "

    Mmm the Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO is a US $ 150,-- CHEAPER than the IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 at B&H and you do not have the Teleconverter yet which will add another US $ 400,- - at least so the Loawa would be the much cheaper option, and does not give the hassle nor the extra lengthand weight of the Irix solution,.....

    If you need more magnification you can also check the Mitacon 85mm 1-5x magnification (check it out on Youtube ...)

    Mitakon Zhongyi Creator 85mm f/2.8 1-5x Super Macro Lens for Nikon F

    Venus Optics Laowa 100mm f/2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO Lens for Nikon F

    IRIX 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Lens for Nikon F
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2020
  8. Sorry c.p.m, i missed read the lens. I thought you were asking about Laowa 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe $1,500. I will take a look at these options thanks.
  9. Yeah I was content plating monorail needed as well. I'm thinking of getting a second tripod, better one than I'm currently using.
  10. My subject is coral and there are several that are extremely small, couple mm in size, that I would like to capture all of the details. The coral is spread throughout a glass aquarium that is 3ft x 3ft x 28inch. There isn't enough space in the tank to try to take shots from within the tank. I won't be able to move the coral around, since they are attached the live rock structures within the tank.

    The nice thing about this subject is that, it doesn't move much and I can stop the flow in the tank during shots, so ss can be low. Also, I can adjust the high power lights above the tank to adjust the lighting.
  11. Mark, thanks for the clarification. Sturdy support, lotsa bellows and quite a long f/9 process lens. Relevant magic formula: front node (approximately at the diaphragm)-to-subject distance = focal length * (magnification + 1)/magnification.

    Re f/9 and difficulty of manual focus, I have a heap of f/9 and slower lenses, manage to focus all of them.
  12. Through glass - add some kind of bellows, or a rubber lens hood between the front of the lens and the glass, helps to kill reflections. Also, try to shoot square to the glass if you can.
  13. The current lens I have are Canon 75-300mm zoom and Canon Kit len 18-55mm.

    It looks like I need to find the right combo of bellows and len.
  14. Here is summing up, from 1958, since people here love reanimation so much ;)

    Seriously, not so very much has changed, so everything you need to do close-ups is here in one form or another...

    I truly do miss Spiratone. They'd be the Johnson and Smith of the camera world except that almost all of Spiratone's stuff actually worked.

    Closeup lenses are a cheap, simple, and easy to use solution, and often work surprisingly well.
    c.p.m._van_het_kaar likes this.
  15. So if i understand well, then this is a kind of 1 time requirement?

    In that case maybe just rent a Laowa 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe Lens STD , which enables you to get close to the micro coral, and which you return when finnieshed, or having a break in the project would be much cheaper i guess..

    Alternatively have a look at : and some of the other presentations by Micael Widell ...
  16. Link to a pretty old thread, discussing process lenses.
    I suppose you'll have to stop down severely. And let me be frank, (No I am no lens expert; I haven't tried a shot like yours and when I sweep my stuff together, I'd still need a 13x18cm to 4x5" reduction back + the $200 SLR adapter to run out of bellows while trying to utilize my 355mm process lens...) But:
    • fishtank glass = Huge(!) red flag. Read's blog on UV filters. Mid price range filter mounted = lens sharpness measuarably impacted. How evil must your tank made from plain glass be, compared to that? -"Very"?
    • Since you seem to have a static subject; why not try a computational photography approach instead? - The same stuff as pixelshifting for high resolution, seen in some modern cameras. Tony Northrup made a few YouTube videos on that topic. Basically you take a multitude of shots and have your PC sweat them together.

    I don't know your exact goal. But filling one's frame at any imaginable price (lack of sharpness or DOF wise) can't be it!
    The kit zoom has most likely a 8PMP rating on DxO? - Canon's 180mm macro 10PMP the 100mm2.8 IS 13PMP Longer lenses (although intended for (D)SLRs drop below those figures, without any window / fishtank glass in the optical path.
    I'm trying to point out: there are cases where the longer lens related hassle gets you basically nowhere and it is good enough to crop to get the same details out of a shorter better lens.
    For light: Avoid long exposures; use flash if possible. tripods shake, something might move...

    Figure out what image stacking during postprocessing can do / gain, by testing your long zoom's long end on a suitable subject. If results look promising and the technique is applyable to your corals, maybe rent a Canon 180/3.5 macro for a wweekend and shoot like crazy. But I am lacking hope that there is much detail to pull out of a shot under the given conditions.
    c.p.m._van_het_kaar likes this.
  17. Jochen, I appreciate your concerns re process lenses and shooting through glass.

    The usual recommendation is to shoot process lenses at f/22 to get full coverage. This isn't a problem for the OP, whose camera has a tiny APS-C chip. The ones I recommended are all very sharp centrally wide open. Incidentally, at f/9 set and 3:1 the effective aperture is f/36. The diffraction limit is around 1500/36 = 42 lp/mm.

    I've photographed live fish in aquaria since 1971. The museum fish department where I have a courtesy appointment routinely shoots preserved fish in fluid (to eliminate specular reflections) through glass. Shooting through glass isn't a problem.

    Re cropping, I have to get publication quality photos of roughly 4 mm of poeciliid gonopodium. The smallest bone segments are well-resolved by our Leica SMZ 125 (no photo tube, alas) @ 50x and are just visible. Shooting at 1x with our good digital Nikon and good MicroNikkor and cropping won't do the job.

    The real problem is that the OP needs considerable magnification and close approach is impossible. I gave him the magic formula that will let him calculate the focal length he needs given magnification and working distance. The arithmetic works.

    Unfortunately sometimes reality bites hard.
    Jochen likes this.
  18. Hence the advice to rent a In that case maybe just rent a Laowa 24mm f/14 2X Macro Probe Lens , , offcourse for this approach the OP needs full access to the aquarium, and the subject is not to deep underwater ..

    This lens can be used with the frontlens in the water and shoots macro :
  19. With the 1.33 index of refraction of water, the optical distance is 3/4 of the physical distance,
    though you might have already included that.

    There is the complication of reflections, but hopefully that won't be so bad.
  20. s.w


    Recommendations is ok, but always better to practise by yourself

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