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Tena koutou katoa (greetings, in Maori) from New Zealand
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 7:38 pm    Post subject: Tena koutou katoa (greetings, in Maori) from New Zealand Reply with quote

As a newbie, both to this site and to Macro, I am already confused as to what is acceptable under the heading of 'Macrography' and Micrography' as defined by this site.
I am just starting to use my Macro lens seriously, and sort of assumed that any closeup using that is Macrography. My confusion is based on the comments that followed a posting of a lion's head a few posts below this. I would have considered that Macro, but it appears not.
Having made a few comments already on some posts (stunned by the quality!) and been delighted with the help offered, I am now hesitant.

Could somebody advise me what the forum defines as 'Macrography' please?

Kindest regards

Ted Chappell

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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19247
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ted,

There are several different galleries in the forum.

One main gallery is labeled "Photography Through the Microscope". The definition of that one is pretty precise. It's for anything shot through a microscope, regardless of magnification.

The other main gallery is labeled "Macro and Close-up Photography". The definition for that one is less precise and at the large end there's a gray zone that requires judgement calls by the admins.

Roughly speaking, any photo is OK if it has a maximum frame dimension of 6 inches or less at the in-focus subject. (There are a few subjects like cute baby faces and the usual bird shots that we exclude because there are so many other places to post those.) Photos covering larger areas become less and less acceptable. Someplace around 10 inches frame dimension it's a pretty safe bet that there'll be some behind-the-scenes discussion. Much larger than that, and it's definitely not acceptable.

We don't attempt to distinguish between "macro" and "close-up", by the way.

And except for through-a-microscope versus everything else, we don't care about equipment. A frame size of 4" might be shot using a compact digital at half a foot, or using a DSLR with long telephoto and tele-extender at 10 feet. It's OK either way. On the other hand, a frame size of 15" might be shot using the world's most dedicated "macro" lens, and it's clearly not OK.

Equipment labels and distance to subject don't matter, subject size does.

Does that help?

--Rik
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 11:08 pm    Post subject: Thank you for the prompt reply Reply with quote

Thanks Rik, that clarifies it for me, my advanced senility and advanced stage of dimentia makes it a bit slow for me at time.....lol.

Cheers

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DaveW



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1702
Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The main confusion for many coming from general photography is the term Photomacrography as it is new to them. Many never find this site since the term is unknown to them and they are searching the Web for "Macro" sites.

The argument has gone on for years as to what is the correct name for pictures at 1:1 or above magnification. The photographic press use Macro or Macrophotography, whereas Kodak and the scientific world seem to think Photomacrography is the correct term. Rik did some research on the matter and I am sure he will post the link to it if you are interested.

The old deffinition of close-up photography used to be photography at greater magnifications than the conventional lens could focus to without the addition of extension tubes or bellows. That deffinition rather got blurred when lens manufacturers started "borrowing" the idea of floating elements from zoom lenses and made conventional lenses focus even closer.

The rough and ready deffinition is Macro/Photomacrography is 1:1 or life size and above on the film/sensor. Anything from a conventional lenses closest focusing down to 1:1 is close-up photography, but that range is also wrongly dubbed "Macro" by the photographic press.

The shorthand "Macro" for close-up and Photomacrography has now become so established it will never change, and we all misuse it for speed, so as long as it does not cause confusion it does not really matter.

DaveW
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the terminology is a mess. Every word I know in this area has different meanings to different groups. The best way to avoid confusion is to just say how big the subject is and what equipment it was shot with.

By the way, a lot of people fall into the trap of assuming that other people will be familiar with their subject, and thus will already know how big it is. If the subject is a housefly, that may be a safe assumption. But there's a huge range of sizes even among "familiar" subjects like the butterflies, and when you get into subjects like beetles, the situation gets even worse.

See for example this picture that I put together over a year ago to illustrate the point. It shows two beetles with a 30:1 range of sizes -- the larger is body length 75 mm, the smaller is only 2.5 mm! Without the scale bar or some description of the picture, would anyone care to guess about the actual sizes?

--Rik
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 1:06 pm    Post subject: Thanks Rik and Dave Reply with quote

The points you make about 'newbies to Macro' is spot on as far as I am concerned. The pic for reference also helped (blew me away as well!), so now I am starting to get a grip on what its all about. I notice a reference to bellows, something I have not used but actually have on order. I am assuming I will be able to get much close to a subject when added to my Maccro 1.28 Canon 100mm, am I correct? Will the result be Macrography in your opinion? I really must sound like a total noddy but this is all a different language to me.

Cheers
Ted

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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Will the result be Macrography in your opinion?

Well, I'm not quite sure what you're asking, Ted.

You might be asking whether your equipment can take pictures suitable for posting in our forums. In that case, the answer is simple: Yes! Assuming that your Canon 100 mm lens is the one I'm thinking of, then by itself it can fill the frame of your Canon 30D camera with a subject that's only 22.5 mm x 15.0 mm in size. Obviously that's well within the 6" = 150 mm guideline that I've been quoting. It's easy to make images whose frame width is even smaller than that, just by cropping from a larger field, or by adding extension rings or bellows to get more magnification in the original camera image.

On the other hand, you might be asking whether someone would call any particular image a "macrograph". That turns out to be quite a bit trickier, because different people mean different things by the term.

The fellow who originally coined the term "photomacrograph" defined it as a "slightly enlarged picture or delineation" of an object that would normally be looked at with a hand lens magnifying less than 10X. (See the reference here.)

People who came later wrote other definitions of the same term, typically describing it as 1:1 or higher magnification measured from the subject to the film, without regard for subsequent magnification from the film to a print.

I have no idea why they did that. Perhaps they thought they were just being more precise.

But what they actually did, as I read the history, was to change the definition by ignoring that images on film typically get enlarged before they get viewed. Where the person who coined the term defined "photomacrograph" in terms of what the viewer would see, later authors re-defined it in terms of an intermediate stage that has no significance to the viewer, only to the person setting up the camera.

In the old days, when film was big, there was not a great deal of difference between the two definitions. But as film and sensor sizes shrank, the definitions drifted farther and farther apart. Using the original definition, a 200 mm image of a 100 mm subject definitely would be a "photomacrograph" because it's a larger-than-life image of something that you might look at with a hand lens. But using the revised definition, that image either would or would not qualify as a "photomacrograph", depending on how large the intermediate film was.

These days, the difference between the definitions is huge. A modern compact digital camera may have a sensor size of only 6.4 mm x 4.8 mm. Suppose you photograph a 100 mm subject with such a sensor, and print the resulting image 200 mm wide. By the original definition, the image is a photomacrograph, but by the revised definition it's more than a factor of 15X short! (100/6.4=15.6)

In recent years, prompted by other considerations, people have started to think in terms of "equivalent images", that is, images that have the same perspective, field of view, depth of field, shutter speed, and output size. What they have gradually realized is that in many circumstances -- particularly with subject sizes typical of macro/micro work -- equivalent images can be captured using any size sensor.

This makes the original definition of photomacrograph look positively brilliant -- concentrate on what the viewer sees, and ignore the stuff in the middle that doesn't matter to anyone except the person setting up the equipment.

There is, however, one additional wrinkle that we will still have to deal with for the next few years: low resolution monitors. The problem there is that most monitors have significantly less resolution than normal eyes at normal viewing distances. As a result, a monitor image that is only the same size as the actual subject will show significantly less detail than the actual subject would. In order for a viewer to see more detail on the monitor than on the actual subject, the monitor image must be significantly larger than the real subject, typically at least 2X larger. In terms of pixel counts, "same detail" is reached at around 12 pixels on the monitor per 1 mm on the subject, regardless of monitor size.

By this analysis, a digital image could not possibly qualify as "photomacrograph" if it has less than 12 pixels per mm on the subject, and certainly would qualify if it has at least 24 pixels per mm (and those pixels actually show detail -- lots of fuzzy pixels don't count). Given our forum's posting limit of 800 pixels in the largest dimension, that turns into a subject size of around 33 mm to 66 mm, independent of sensor size.

So, will your images be "macrographs"? Gee, I dunno. Pick your favorite definition and see. Personally, I prefer the definition based on how much detail the viewer can see, but there are lots of people who seem emphatically committed to the definition based on magnification at the film/sensor.

Does any of this matter? Not much.

The posting guidelines are generous enough to allow any image that is a "photomacrograph" by almost anybody's definition. And by including the term "Close-up", we save ourselves from being beaten up by people who are emphatically committed to the 1:1 definition.

Sorry to be so longwinded -- some stories just don't lend themselves to the matchbox version!

--Rik
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Thu Jan 24, 2008 8:24 pm    Post subject: Wow! Thanks Rik Reply with quote

Most of what you have provided I can understand, some, at this stage, I need to sit down and study further. I took a pic for example: this fly measures about 0.6cm, I used a ring light on my Macro 100. Naturally would very much appreciate a critique, what I need to do to improve what I know is a very average pic.
A humble 'thank you' for all the detailed information.
Ted

p.s. looks like I was not successful in attaching the pic in question. Darn.
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Ken Ramos



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Posts: 7076
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not to confuse things but I think Riks “larger-than-life” comment fit’s the description of what a macro should be, a subject or part of that subject, appearing larger than what it actually is and also, I might add, taken with a camera and camera lens designed and working working together, to produce such an image. Smile
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Tony T



Joined: 22 Dec 2007
Posts: 117

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 6:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken Ramos wrote:
and also, I might add, taken with a camera and camera lens designed and working working together, to produce such an image. Smile


Yikes Rolling Eyes What about an image taken with a camera
and a microscope objective on a bellows or extension tubes Question These were not designed to work together, methinks.
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DaveW



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 1702
Location: Nottingham, UK

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose an enlarger lens on bellows counts as "macro", as it says it is an enlarger! Very Happy

DaveW
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: Wow! Thanks Rik Reply with quote

Ted Chappell wrote:
Most of what you have provided I can understand, some, at this stage, I need to sit down and study further. I took a pic for example: this fly measures about 0.6cm, I used a ring light on my Macro 100. Naturally would very much appreciate a critique, what I need to do to improve what I know is a very average pic.
A humble 'thank you' for all the detailed information.
Ted

p.s. looks like I was not successful in attaching the pic in question. Darn.

Ted,

I checked the upload directory and found this image:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/userpix/427_One_of_those__1.jpg

To make an image appear in a post, you need to both upload it (which apparently you did OK) and also to stick the url of the image into your posting, surrounded by [img] and [/img] tags. Be sure to not put any spaces or newlines between the brackets and the url -- sometimes that will cause the tags to be ignored.

Assuming this is the image you're talking about, then the main problem appears to be blurring due to camera movement.

Take a look at the little highlight spots at the bottom right of the image. You'll see that the brightest of them are "doubled", with a second copy of the highlight appearing about 6 pixels to the left and 1 pixel above the main copy. There's also a little smear between the two, but that's harder to see. This appearance is characteristic of a little "jerk" between the beginning and end of the exposure. It cannot be fixed in post-processing.

Perhaps the most reliable attack on this problem is to use electronic flash, since the 1/1000 or shorter effective exposure time minimizes the amount of movement that can occur.

It also helps (even with flash) to use a tripod, monopod, or other holding device to help keep the camera still.

If you can't use a holding device, then find things to brace your body and/or the camera against. I often end up in something like a "5-point stance" with both knees, both elbows, and part of one hand on the ground, bracing the end of the lens against that same hand while the other one crams the camera up against my face. It's not exactly a dignified pose, but the photos come out better. Smile

--Rik
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 19247
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tony T wrote:
What about an image taken with a camera and a microscope objective on a bellows or extension tubes Question These were not designed to work together, methinks.

Let's see, are "by accident" and "by design" the opposites of each other?

If so, then I'm going to assert that all my equipment must be designed to work together, because I've sure never gotten a decent macro shot by accident!

Granted, the manufacturers might not have considered the particular arrangements that I put their stuff into. But that's OK -- I can fill in some of the gaps for myself. Smile

--Rik

"There's what something was designed to do, there's what it is, and there's what it could be used for. Don't ever get those three confused!"
Heard frequently in Odyssey of the Mind coaching sessions.
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 11:56 am    Post subject: Re: Wow! Thanks Rik Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:
Ted Chappell wrote:
Most of what you have provided I can understand, some, at this stage, I need to sit down and study further. I took a pic for example: this fly measures about 0.6cm, I used a ring light on my Macro 100. Naturally would very much appreciate a critique, what I need to do to improve what I know is a very average pic.
A humble 'thank you' for all the detailed information.
Ted

p.s. looks like I was not successful in attaching the pic in question. Darn.

Ted,

I checked the upload directory and found this image:
http://www.photomacrography.net/forum/userpix/427_One_of_those__1.jpg

To make an image appear in a post, you need to both upload it (which apparently you did OK) and also to stick the url of the image into your posting, surrounded by [img] and [/img] tags. Be sure to not put any spaces or newlines between the brackets and the url -- sometimes that will cause the tags to be ignored.

Assuming this is the image you're talking about, then the main problem appears to be blurring due to camera movement.

Take a look at the little highlight spots at the bottom right of the image. You'll see that the brightest of them are "doubled", with a second copy of the highlight appearing about 6 pixels to the left and 1 pixel above the main copy. There's also a little smear between the two, but that's harder to see. This appearance is characteristic of a little "jerk" between the beginning and end of the exposure. It cannot be fixed in post-processing.

Perhaps the most reliable attack on this problem is to use electronic flash, since the 1/1000 or shorter effective exposure time minimizes the amount of movement that can occur.

It also helps (even with flash) to use a tripod, monopod, or other holding device to help keep the camera still.

If you can't use a holding device, then find things to brace your body and/or the camera against. I often end up in something like a "5-point stance" with both knees, both elbows, and part of one hand on the ground, bracing the end of the lens against that same hand while the other one crams the camera up against my face. It's not exactly a dignified pose, but the photos come out better. Smile

--Rik

I did use a tripod Rik, a very solid one matter of fact. Also a cable shutter release to avoid camera shake, and a ring-light on my Macro 100 lens. I set the priority to depth of field, f11 by memory.
The 'critter' was crawling very slowly up a pane of glass so perhaps I should have gone for a shutter speed priority, or even better a suitable manual setting? Thanks for the suggestions, and for going to the trouble of retrieving the image. Afterwards I realised I should have checked the instructions before posting.
Cheers
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Ted Chappell



Joined: 21 Jan 2008
Posts: 14
Location: Titirangi Auckland New Zealand

PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:07 pm    Post subject: Thanks heaps everybody for all the advice, but: Reply with quote

I am now somewhat confused by a few of the comments (macro by accident or design, etc). Simply: will adding a bellows to my Macro 100 lens give me closer images that do qualify as Macro?
By now you must all (justifiably perhaps ?) think I really am thick, I am no technician that's for sure. If you get a moment or are interested you will see the type of pics I take by checking out my homesite. I AM going to master this, it may take another fifty years but my aim is to produce a pic that is of a suitable standard to post in here..................
Kindest regards

Ted

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