Hello from Cambridge UK

Lets get to know each other better. Here's a forum to post images and short autobiographies of ourselves as well as any other info you would like to post about yourself.

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Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2019 1:26 pm
Location: Cambridge, UK

Hello from Cambridge UK

Post by zygmunt »

Greetings from one of the villages near Cambridge in the UK ...

My interest is in photographing miniature figures, (typically 15-30mm high) and museum artefacts. So, reproduction ratios in the range 1:10 to 1:1. In both cases, usually shooting hand-held, and using available light, due to location constraints. Exhibition centers are large and not well lit. Museums don't permit flash photography, or hand held lights, to protect old pigments that are not light-fast. (Perfectly reasonable). Tripods and monopods are inconvenient to carry round exhibitions, and are often not allowed in museums anyway. (This would all be much so easier in a studio with decent lighting and a tripod ... but where's the challenge in that!)

I'm interested in the details of the brushwork for painted figures. For unpainted castings, it's the details of the sculpting and casting. So a reflective metallic subject (cast in 'white metal' which is actually silver in colour, pewter or a similar alloy), or a white resin subject (white plastic where getting any contrast to be able to see details is an issue).

When I first started using 35mm film SLRs in the late 1980s, I tried using close-up attachments, which gave better results than a 50mm prime lens alone, but the results were not great.

Over the last 6 years, I've been using a full-frame digital camera, with various prime lenses and close-up adapters. The results are better than film: due to the improved ISO range, which means 1/90s hand-held rather than 1/30s, but still not what I wanted.

Finally I acquired a dedicated macro lens, a 30 year old manual focus design, which was way beyond my budget when new! It was designed for the now-discontinued Leica-R film SLR system. With a bit of patience, over a couple of years I've been able to pick up second-hand all the accessories and adapters I use with it. The results are much improved. Now I'm experimenting with different ways to use it.

Optical setup is some combination of:

- Leica 100mm APO-Macro-Elmarit-R f/2.8 (11 352)
- Leica ELPRO 1:2-1:1 for R 2.8/100 (16 545)
- Leica Apo-Macro-Elmarit-R Tripod Mount (STA-1) (14 636)
- Leica E60 Circular Polarising filter (13 048)
- Leica E60 UVa filter (13 381)
- Universal Handgrip and Shoulder Stock (14 239) (of which the handgrip is the useful part, as it attaches to the centre-of-gravity of the lens+camera using the STA-1. The Shoulder Stock just seems to get in my way.)
- PROfoto.trend/JJC Macro LED Ring light (OEM version of Kaiser Fototechnik R60 LED Ring Light (3252)). 5600K, 52 degree angle, 2300 lux at 30 cm. Works well in the studio, haven't tried it on location. Some care is required using this with the circular polariser.
- E60-E62 step-up ring to attach the ring light.

By day, I work in tech, which constrains the time I have available .. although it is tempting me to try taking some photos of integrated circuits ..

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Post by johan »

Hello Zygmunt - small world, I grew in near Huntingdon down the road and was at The Leys in cambridge till I was 18. Welcome :)
My extreme-macro.co.uk site, a learning site. Your comments and input there would be gratefully appreciated.

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Location: Near London, UK

Post by ChrisR »

Welcome Zygmunt.
Can you use a table-top tripod, or a bean bag?
Chris R

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Joined: Sat Aug 12, 2017 11:01 am
Location: UK

Post by Photomicro »

I presume the polarising filter is to cut down reflections. This in itself of course cuts down the light, making it more difficult to get a fast enough shutter speed.

I might have missed it, but you don't mention the camera. However, the use of your manual lenses suggest you are not using IS. This is remarkably effective even with close-ups. I realise the quality of your Leica lenses, and indeed, make us of the Zuiko macro lenses designed for the OM system, but you would be surprised at what you can achieve with cameras such as the Olympus M4/3 cameras and their macro lenses that give in-camera stabilisation.
regards, Mike.

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like bananas.


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