For beginners to macrophotography.

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DaveW
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For beginners to macrophotography.

Post by DaveW »

I don't know if this is the correct forum to post links to articles on other sites? But if any beginner wanders onto this site a good introductory article to all the bits and bobs, like close-up lenses, bellows, coupling rings etc you can strap onto your lens and camera to get closer can be found in non technical language in the link below. If you click on the links at the bottom of the first page it will take you to the next pages:-

http://www.earthboundlight.com/phototip ... macro.html

DaveW

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Looks an interesting site-its in my Favourites now!

BTW shouldnt this be be called Photomacrography? :-k
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Yes, it should be Photomacrography according to Lester Lefkowitz and Kodak, but I have now given up trying to convert the masses!

According to them:-

Close-up Photography = photographing subjects at between 1:10 and 1:1 (usually called Macrophotography by the photo press!)

Photomacrography = photography using the camera and usually extension from 1:1 upwards. (still called Macrophotography by the photo press!)

Photomicrography = photography through the microscope.

Macrophotography = making very large photographs e.g. advertising hoardings or large display photographs.

Microphotography = making very small photographs e.g. microfilm or microdots so beloved by spy writers in James Bond type novels.

However I once explained this to a photo journal editor, obviously just a general photographer, and he claimed everybody in the industry knew it was Macrophotography not Photomacrography or they would all be calling it that.

As I say, I now simply use the language of the masses unless I am dealing with you lot that know the difference!

DaveW

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

I think the problem is that macro photography,as two words, refers to a genuine term for photographs taken with macro gear. But when its spelt as one word,macrophotography, it is something entirely different.
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Macro of course simply means large, so whether you write it as one word or two it means "large photography" but conversely Photomacrography means "photographing large". The trouble is both terms could apply to photographing small items much larger than they are, or making large photographs! Again as micro means small microphotography it could mean photographing small objects (e.g. through a microscope) or making small photographs.

Neither term really defines what it really does, hence the confusion, therefore I suppose we have to go on convention and how the words were originally defined. I am afraid I do not know when both first appeared and who originally coined them as I do not have the Oxford English Dictionary, which usually lists their first recorded usage and the meaning their originator placed upon them.

But again do you define the terms as the minority scientific community does, or what we would consider their misuse by the much larger professional and amateur photographic community. English is a living language and the meaning of words changes through common usage over time!

One disadvantage this site has is that the average close-up photographer has never heard of photomacrography, so they put in "macrophotography" into their search engines to find information and only get sites using the term macrophotography, missing all the more technical ones they may be really after listed under photomacrography.

DaveW

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Complicating the matter further, our friends on the dark side at Nikon use "micro" to describe what most of the rest of the world thinks of as their macro lenses!

:-)
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Reason for that is they already had Macro Nikkors, which are similar to microscope lenses for high magnification photography when they introduced their close-up lenses, so could not use the term "macro" like other manufacturers and had to settle for "micro" instead. See:-

http://www.macrolenses.de/start.php?lang=en

DaveW

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Even further complicating the problem is that the classic definitions no longer make sense (if they ever did!).

Consider...

If "macro" means that the lens magnifies 1:1 or more, then:
  • An 8"x10" view camera imaging my entire hand is "macro", while
  • a 5x7mm point-and-shoot imaging a honeybee is not.
With all due respect to tradition, this is nonsense!

The physics of light is such that sensor size makes very little difference in the photos that you get -- which means that lens magnification also makes very little difference. What really matters is total magnification, and that's pretty much it. Making a same-size, same-resolution image of a 10mm specimen is almost equally difficult regardless of whether you're using 4x5 film, 35mm, 1.6 crop-factor DSLR, or compact point-and-shoot.

Personally, I'll be very happy to argue for some definition like "macro means field width <= 50 mm". (That's sort of an average 1:1 on 35-mm and 2-1/4" square, rounded to a nice even number.) Leave lens magnification out of the definition entirely. Having it in there is, um, "unnatural", despite being traditional. :D

--Rik

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

In my mini oxford dictionary for macro it simply says "large, opposite micro". Funny i always thought macro meant small and micro meant very small!
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Used in our sense "Macro" is supposed to indicate a larger than life sized image of a small object.

Some claim "macrophotography" or "photomacrography" only starts past 1:1 when the image on the film/sensor is larger than the subject itself. From 1:10 to 1:1 they claim it is simply close-up photography.

DaveW

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

DaveW wrote:Used in our sense "Macro" is supposed to indicate a larger than life sized image of a small object.

Some claim "macrophotography" or "photomacrography" only starts past 1:1 when the image on the film/sensor is larger than the subject itself. From 1:10 to 1:1 they claim it is simply close-up photography.

DaveW
And that is the old standard reference point that should hold good today. Macro is a photographic term and so lifesize, or 1:1 should remain as meaning the image on the film/sensor/biochip/whatever is the same size as the actual image.
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Cyclops wrote:And that is the old standard reference point that should hold good today.
Why?

I'm really puzzled by the insistence in some circles to rigidly define "macro" as lens magnification 1:1 or higher.

If I may be permitted to quote from one of the classic books in the field, Kodak's publication N-12, "Close-up Photography & Photomacrography":
Hence, to distinguish the two techniques in this book, the distinction is made on the basis of equipment and manipulation, rather than upon magnification. ... Fundamentally, a photomacrographic subject is one that would be visually examined with a loupe or with a hand lens. [pg.5]
Back in the days of sheet film and contact printing, it made a lot of sense to define macro as 1:1 or higher. 1:1 was simultaneously the point where
  • The image became at least life size as viewed (and incidentally, on the film), and
  • Lenses worked better if they were "reversed".
Fortunately, photographic equipment has evolved far beyond the contact print.

Not so fortunately, the terminology has lagged behind the equipment.

Modern lenses like the Canon MP-E 65 now make it possible to shoot a cluster of ant pupae at 5:1 with little more challenge than shooting a bowl of grapes at 1:10 using a different lens. I don't have an MP-E 65, but I do have a bellows and a small set of Olympus "Auto-Macro" lenses for it, that in fact will take my DSLR continuously from 1:infinity to about 12:1 with essentially no change in setup. I can also stick a loupe in front of my Canon SD700 point-and-shoot, and get exactly the same photograph at 1:1 that my DSLR would give at 3:1, or my old film SLR's at 5:1.

So what's the magic of 1:1?

Of course there are some are extra challenges in photographing small things. Photomacrographers know them well: shallow DOF and diffraction blur.

However -- and I keep emphasizing this point because it's really important -- those problems are entirely due to the absolute size of the subject and the corresponding total magnification of the final image. To a very good approximation, lens magnification simply does not matter.

I don't know about other folks, but it bothers me to see definitions based on criteria that don't matter, while ignoring other criteria that are critical.

But I remain open to persuasion. So please, persuade me.

What's your best argument for defining "macro" as 1:1 lens magnification? :? :-k

No fair passing the buck here -- I'm looking for some argument a lot stronger than "because <somebody else> said so". :D

--Rik

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

As an old cactophile friend of mine used to say "a name is just a handle", but then he would complain if modern taxonomists tried to change the ones he had grown used to!

Really we are simply after a term that communicates to others the magnification range we are working at, be it on the film/sensor or final magnification on print or screen.

Macro simply means large and Micro small, how you apply it to photographic terms is a matter of opinion and general usage.

DaveW

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Rik, i just think its a good standard to use. To me 1:1 meaning the image you see is the same size as the object makes perfect sense.And easy to adopt. You look at the image on the screen/negative and you know that thats the actual size of the object,simple!
Canon 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

The image on the negative or sensor may be 1:1 but that does not mean it's 1:1 on the camera viewing screen, this may magnify it. although it should still show the full frame.

DaveW

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