Category Archives: Extreme Macro

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 …

Cleaning Up In Post After Stacking

Why is your insect subject so clean? This question comes up very often when I post a stacked image on Facebook or Flickr. The reason for this question is probably due to the fact that most insect subjects are “dirty” – pollen, dusts, or other little things that are part of insects’ life, so it is hard to get “clean” look when they are photographed.

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So how do I get them to have a clean look? more…