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Macro Photography for Beginners
Part Two of a Series
Text and images copyright Tom Hicks, all rights reserved

In Part 1 we talked about the 50mm and what could be done with it . Now letís take some time and look at a couple of other popular focal lengths that are usually in the beginners kit.

Zoom Lenses

The 75-300 and 100-300 length lens seem to be a popular purchase for the beginner and understandably so. Most beginners entering the photography world for the first time are on limited budgets therefore their purchases tend to lean towards the so-called "do everything" type lenses. The two lenses above are examples of those but are on the longer focal length side of things (as opposed to the 28-105 length).

Even though these lens have a macro setting on them, they are not really designed for that purpose. However with the addition of close up lenses and tubes they can be made to perform quite well.

Letís take my 100-300 4.5-5.6 lens and see what can be done in combination with the Canon 500D close up lens. It is my opinion that when you purchase a close up lens get the largest diameter available.

In this example I will be using a 77mm closeup lens on the 100-300mm zoom. The front element on the 100-300 is 58mm in size so to get the 77mm closeup lens to work on the front you will need use step-up rings. First you will need a 58-72mm step-up ring and then a 72-77mm step-up ring. Once this is done you can use the 77mm on most all lens with the exception being, lens that have a larger then 77mm element.

Step-up rings and 500D

So if we take the combination in the example and mount them on the lens and then to the camera body, you get something like this.

Lens with step-ups and 500D mounted

Ok now that we are setup let's take some pictures. I like to set the focus ring at close to itís minimum focus distance and them move the camera forwards and backwards to the subject to find the approximate minimum distance you need for your subject to be in focus. Then I fine tune it by using the focus ring. For this setup I took shots of a flower with the lens set at 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, and 300mm so you would be able to see the effects of this set up and the magnification you get with this rig. Being able to adjust from 100 to 300 you have quite a range of image sizes to play with.

What you will learn is that with the close up lens and a good zoom you will have more control over the image size and less equipment to carry around. You will also find less need to change components than with a set of tubes. You will also have the advantage of no loss of light.

As you can see these longer focal length zooms are quite capable of some fine macro shots when used in conjunction with the 500D or similar close-up lenses.

Until next time,
Tom Hicks

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Macro for Beginners Part II
Tom Hicks

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