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... is a freelance photographer working in Middle Georgia

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Using Close-up Lenses

 I mentioned buying close-up lenses a while back and thought this would be a good time to talk about them. They are great when photographing flowers, among other things, and this is about to be flower time.  Close-up lenses look more like filters than lenses, and screw into the front of a regular lens.   They let your lens focus closer than it normally does, giving more magnification. 
The lenses each have a number(+1, +2, +4, etc) and can be bought singly or in sets. I have +1, +2, +4 and +10.  The number represents the fraction of a meter that you need to be away from your subject.  This is not exact.
When using them. you can use your camera's metering system as always, but it is sometimes easier to use manual focus than autofocus. And depth of field is very, very limited, as you can see in the above photo.
The close-up lenses can be stacked, increasing the magnification.  Put the 1, 2 and 4 together and you have a +7.

 These two photos are of a camellia bloom. The first shot is with the +4 close-up lens on my 70-300 zoomed to 195mm.  The close-up lenses work better on longer lenses than on shorter lenses, giving more magnification. You just have to buy the right filter size. These are 58mm , and that refers to the threaded filter size, not the focal length of the lens.  Above photo, you can see the ant crawling around, and the pollen is quite obvious.

  The second photo is shot with the same lens, with no close-up lens. The lens was set in Macro mode so I was focused as close as I could normally get, zoomed to a maximum 300mm. You can see the ant, out of focus, climbing up the back of the bloom.  The 1, 2, and 4 work quite well, the +10 is not very good quality, what I get for buying less expensive close-up lenses.  I just wanted something to play with.

Close-up lenses are a good, inexpensive way to try close-up photography. They require a bit of getting use to. The best way to try 'em out is put one on the front of your lens, crank the focus ring to the minimum focusing distance, then move the camera in close to your subject til you have it in focus.

Have fun!

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