All posts by Peter Y Lin

Diffuse Your Light, Or Else!

OK, that sounds a bit harsh. Then again, almost every (extreme) macro photographer knows this and tries very hard to put as much diffusion as possible. Just visit any Facebook group about macro photography or any forum, you will find talks of diffusion in abundance, there are all kind of setups to diffuse light, all kind of DIY and professional equipment, there are . . . So, yeah, we get it for sure, now go away! Cool, it is almost everybody gets it, but here I am going to present you an extreme example of what would happen if you do NOT diffuse your light!  read more

Checking Microscope Objective Chromatic Aberration

What is chromatic aberration for an optical system? Well, according to Wiki, it is the failure of a lens to focus all colors to the same convergence point. You usually see this effect when you have high contrast edges in your image. Well, it happens not just with microscope objectives, you will also see this effect with normal photographic lenses, for example along the edges of a mountain and the sky. But I will focus on this for microscope objectives as it is rather important.

CACheckMitutoyo QV 2.5x 0.14, a 5x 0.15 “APO”, and a generic 4x PLAN objective. read more

Say What? Using A Speaker As Stacking Stage For High Magnification Work?! Part I

Yes, you heard it right, you can use an audio speaker as stacking stage for high magnification work. It was during the Chinese new year when almost all businesses are shut down for almost two weeks in China, my speaker for PC was behaving strangely, after all, I have been using the pair for about 7 years. So, I started investigating what was wrong. By touching some wire, the speaker made some noise, and since I was testing some setups for high magnification stacking, the movement of speaker cone caused by noise immediately drew my attention: can that movement be used for stacking? I was pretty sure it can and I posted the idea on a forum which drew some attention.

StackRailVC_2PM

After some more experiment on my own with above circuit, I think it is a very viable solution.
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A Nice Microscopy Setup

Be honest to you, I have neither owned a microscope, nor have I used one extensively. However a recent quest to shoot some butterfly scales at 50x magnification made me build a nice setup capable of doing 50x work using a cheap digital microscope stand. Before this, I have had hard time shooting butterfly scales at high magnification and I was using horizontal setup. First problem is mounting the butterfly vertically, fiddling with specimen holder so that the butterfly is parallel with the objective’s front element, then moving camera back and forth to pre-focus it. Believe me, all of these sound easy to over come, but they are really not. After building the setup discussed here, it is a lot easy and here is one example of it:

SSMW01

The above image was captured using this setup at 30x magnification  read more

Taking Advantage Of High Magnification Objective For Lower Magnification Work

Whenever you see a specification for a microscope objective, you will likely see the term NA, the numerical aperture value. Many people, particularly beginners in extreme macro photography, ignore or pay less attention to this parameter of an objective, and mainly focus on magnification and (eventually) working distance, but in actuality, the value of NA plays very important role.

ZY135_01

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Making A Focus Assist LED Ring Light For Manual Macro Lens

When taking pictures using a macro lens, shallow depth of field usually mandates a rather small aperture to gain sharpness. With automatic lenses, stopping down is not a problem because the camera keeps the aperture wide open during view finding, unless you press the depth of field preview button. Only when camera is taking a picture, does it set the true aperture to whatever you set it to for exposure. However, if you ever used a manual macro lens, stopping down the lens cuts the light significantly, making it really hard to see through the view finder and focus.  This is particularly hard for higher magnification macro lenses such as Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8, Laowa 60mm f/2.8 2x and lenses on extension, etc, where it is almost impossible to focus even at f/11.

focusassist_cover

Good news is that there is a simple and easy to do DIY solution to this problem as shown above and the difference can be day and night.  more …

Venus Optics (Laowa) 60mm F/2.8 2x Macro Lens

When I first started doing macro photography back in late 2015, I have heard a lot of macro lenses, such as Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, Canon EF 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, Nikon 105mm f/2.8 macro lens, and some third party macro lenses, such as Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lenses. However, these have maximum 1:1 magnification and because their focal length is fairly long, it is hard to get to, say 2:1. However around the same time, there is this lens, named Laowa (老蛙, old frog, in Chinese) 60mm f/2.8 with 2:1 magnification.

laowa_2Laowa (老蛙, old frog) 60mm f/2.8 2:1 Macro Lens

I was a little skeptical as it is a Chinese lens and it sounded just too good to be true. Then again, being in China, I have seen enough of images taken with this lens and my curiosity grew and eventually bit the bullet last Feburary (2016). more …

Making a Shoot From Below Water Drop Setup

As water drop photography grew popularity, there has been many innovations about making water collide and splash. One such technique is the so called “Shoot From Below” setup. Basically, this technique utilizes pressurized or compressed air to push water jet up and then collide with water drop falling from above, the result can be astonishing.

img_2605Here is one example of Shoot From Below technique — yellow jets are shot from below with pressurized air tank and collide with red drops from above

This might sounds very expensive to do, but in actuality, it is not and it is safe, too.  more …

Making Multi-Color Crown With One Valve

Admittedly, I did not do any crown shaped drop collision until two years after I started water drop photography even though it is relatively easy to do. A crown drop collision looks something like this and I am going to describe some steps to get this kind of collision:

wd_01This is a typical Crown collision

This type of collision is not caused by two streams of liquid, but only one stream of drops and a hard surface. more …