Posts Tagged reverse mount
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I’ve been sitting here for awhile now trying to figure out what to, you know, say about this picture, but nothing’s really coming to mind. It’s a shot of some pine needles, taken with a reverse-mounted kit lens. Uhhmm… Yup, that’s what it is.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55mm kit lens. 1/250s, ISO 400.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Welcome back from the weekend, everyone! This picture was taken almost exactly a year ago, immediately after I had originally gotten my reverse-mount lens adapter. (End of August, to be a little bit more specific.) I chose it today because it’s particularly illustrative of some of the cool parts and some of the not-as-cool parts about using a reverse-mount for macro shots.
First, the good parts. This was taken with a 13 dollar attachment and the 18-55mm kit lens. So, “very minimal financial investment” would be appropriate to say. This bug was freaking tiny. I mean, it’s a gnat. You know how big gnats are. They’re little dots. So to be able to see all of this detail is (I think) really cool. I could go on and on about that, but, that’s the basic idea.
Now, the bad parts. This list is longer than the “good parts” list, but that’s not intended to say that the negatives outweigh the positives, it’s just that I can speak more specifically to the drawbacks. The first is the extremely limited depth of field. One thing I really love about this picture is how well it illustrates that. I mean, you can SEE how narrow of a band you’re working with. That’s a gnat, for god’s sake, and only 2 of his six legs are even discernible. So, forget about using autofocus, you just need to pick a focus point, then move forward and back until your subject is crisp. Then, hopefully your shutter finger is fast enough to get the shot before you sway backwards or forwards by a fraction of a millimeter. (Did I mention that taking these shots is ridiculously aggravating??) This will sound familiar if you read this blog with any frequency, but: a big part of the limited depth of field is just due to macro photography in general. But it’s exacerbated by the fact that you’re using a reverse-mounted lens (as opposed to one that’s macro-specific.) This is because, since the electrical connections for your lens are now at the *front* of the lens, your camera can’t control the aperture, and thus you’re taking pictures with it set wide open. Because of this, using the kit lens (or other less-expensive lens with a usually-undesirable small maximum aperture size) is actually helpful. If you were using a lens that was stuck at f/2.8 or wider, it would be even worse.
My other favorite frustrating thing about using a reverse-mount is that you end up working with an extremely small amount of light. This picture was taken with very-late-afternoon light (probably an hour before sunset) shining directly on the subject. But yet, I still had to resort to using ISO 1600 and a 1/80s shutter speed to even get it to expose. (It was “hand-held”, but I had the camera wedged up against the tree. It was an image-stabilized lens, but your electrical connections aren’t connected, remember?) Full-on mid-day sunshine is better, but still, you’re stuck with higher ISOs and slower shutter speeds, unless you’re using a macro flash. So, I apologize for the ugly graininess, it was really unavoidable. I believe this issue is really unavoidable with extreme macro photography. It may not be quite as bad with a regular-mounted macro-specific lens, I’m not totally sure if different optical setups are able to help with this sort of thing or not, to be honest. But, it’s a true fact that macro photography is a different beast.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, Reverse-mounted 18-55mm kit lens. 1/80s, ISO 1600.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Remember those days, back before I had a macro lens or even a set of extension tubes? Ha ha, yeah, those were the days, huh? Back when we were all (5 months) younger and (5 months) more foolish. Back then, in order to get macro shots, I either had to use a set of magnifying glasses on the front of my lens, or just focus as close as I could and call it good. Wow, how primitive! And then, and then, and then.. I got my hands on a reverse-mount adapter, which suddenly allowed me to get freakishly close! I could take pictures of flowers and bugs and little awesome tiny things! Unfortunately, since none of the lens’s electrical connections were attached to the camera, I lost the ability to do simple things like control my aperture. That meant that, in addition to the shallowness of field that comes along with macro under normal circumstances, I had to approach the problem wide-open! That meant that, instead of getting a picture of a bug, I’d get a picture of an extremely narrow sliver of a bug, surrounded by a big blurry splotch that was most likely the rest of it. Ah, nostalgia.
That’s when I took this picture. This spring. With my reverse-mount adapter. I was really excited about it at the time, but since then I’ve moved on to things like extension tubes, which are really not much more expensive (30 bucks instead of 15), but still give you the benefit of things you normally take for granted, like the aforementioned aperture. Combine those with a cheap macro ring flash, and then the magic starts happening! But, I didn’t realize any of that at the time. Oh well, it was still fun.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, 18-55mm kit lens with reverse-mount adapter. 1/1600s, ISO 200.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Oh, sure, today’s post is all significant because it’s the last one this week and everything. But just wait till Monday’s post. That’ll be big doin’s. Awwwww man, Monday’s a big deal. And yes, I’m being intentionally vague. Right, anyway…
In the last couple weeks, I looked outside and noticed that things had started blooming. Springtime once again. So, I decided to pick up where I had left off last summer with my macro toys. To give a quick refresher, I started out with a standard telephoto “macro” lens (quotation marks because it’s only 1:2 magnification, not even 1:1 like a “true” macro lens). Then I started doing stuff like buying little “macro kits” (little magnifying lenses that you attach to the front of your regular lens), and I ended up buying a reverse-mount adaptor near the end of the summer. I’ve talked about it many times before, but it’s a little metal ring that you screw on to the front of your lens like a filter, and it allows you to connect your lens backwards to the camera body. This gets you ridiculous macro, all for the exorbitant price of 12 dollars. (Although you lose nice things like autofocus and aperture control, since the electrical bits of your lens are no longer attached. – you can mitigate that a little bit by not using your fast glass – I’ve been using my kit lens – but it takes what is already a frightfully small depth of field and shrinks it further.)
Oh, before I move on, I should explain something. Magnification ratio. That’s a fairly important concept when it comes to macro. The magnification ratio is the ratio between how big something is in real life vs how big the projection of it is against your camera sensor (or <retch> film). So, an object that is 35mm across, when using a 1:1 magnification lens, will be projected life-size on your sensor, and if you’re using a 35mm camera or a full-frame sensor digital, it will take up the whole frame. (And then, when you print the picture or view it on your computer, it’ll be effing HUGE.) With most digital cameras (mine included), the sensor is actually smaller than the full 35mm, so in the case of the 35mm object, at 1:1 magnification it would be *larger* than the frame. So, a 1:2 magnification ratio means that the projection on your sensor will be half-life-size. Most standard telephoto zoom lenses have a 1:2 or 1:4 magnification ratio, for your reference. True “macro” lenses usually achive 1:1, and Canon makes this one crazy 65mm macro-specific lens that STARTS at 1:1, and goes all the way up to 5:1. 5 to 1. Think about that. The thing you’re taking a picture of will be FIVE TIMES BIGGER than life size on your itty-bitty sensor. That means that a fly’s eyeball will take up your entire sensor. Now imagine that you’re looking at a picture of a fly’s eyeball blown up to poster-size. Yeah, crazy, right?? That’s where I want to get someday. But that lens costs 1000 bucks, so someday is not today.
ANYWAY… all that talk about magnification ratio, and I actually have no clue what kind of ratio I have on this picture. I’m going to guess somewhere between 1:2 and 1:1. But using the reverse mount, I’m pretty sure I can fairly easily get past that magic 1:1 mark. When you’re using the reverse mount, the usual rule of “larger focal length means more zoomed in” is no longer true. If you’re using an 18-55 lens (like I was), the 18 end is the super close in end (which is actually too close in to really be usable) and the 55 end is more of a normal ridiculous macro. This shot was right out at the 55 and, and you can tell it’s still pretty neat. You’re looking at a dandelion, if that wasn’t obvious.
Why all this talk about macro stuff? Because I bought more macro stuff. Some of it should be getting here today! The rest, hopefully tomorrow, maybe Monday. What’d I get? Well, two things..
First, I got a set of macro extension tubes. Amazon link. You use them by attaching them between your lens and your camera. This moves the optical elements of your lens further away from the sensor, which essentially zooms you in. (Although it also makes it so you can focus closer in, at the expense of being able to focus to infinity.) Basically, it gets you wicked close. How close? Not sure. I’ll let you know after I play around with it. Although, I do know that it has a much more dramatic effect on shorter lenses. As in, if you attach your super-long telephoto lens with them, it won’t change that dramatically, but if you hook up your little tiny 50mm prime, you’ll rock your world so hard they’ll feel it in Australia. Or so I’ve heard. We’ll see. There’s no optics in the rings, they’re just hollow rings. But they DO pass through the electrical connections, so you can USE YOUR APERTURE! WOOOOO! We’ll see how this goes.
The other thing I got is a macro ring flash. Amazon link. This is basically a ring flash that you mount on the front of your lens. It, you know, shines light on stuff. In this case, stuff that’s right in front of your lens. One of the side effects of taking pictures of little tiny things is that you’re dealing with dramatically smaller quantities of light than, say, typical landscape photography. So you have to deal with things like high ISO and low shutter speed. Hopefully, this flash will help out. I started out with a cheapie-cheap one, so I can play around with it and see how well it works. the “real” ones cost much more, like 500 or 800 dollars. So I’m not there yet. Someday, someday. Not today.
So, hopefully next week (maybe even Monday?? Nah, already got a picture picked out for Monday) you’ll get to see some initial results! I can’t wait! Have a great weekend!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55mm kit lens. 1/500s, ISO 800. Aperture unknown. Focal length was somewhere around 55mm, but reverse-mounted.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Alrighty, I finished up with that whole travelling to Montana thing. Now, back to real life. My original plan was to use something from that trip here, but honestly, I haven’t had a chance to even BEGIN going through them yet, so instead today I’ll fulfill one of last week’s requests. (If you want to request anything, either leave it in the comments or contact me directly – dave (at) davefry (dot) net. I’ll see if I’ve got anything that works.)
This is a green bottle fly (or at least that’s what my (really) brief research on google suggested), seen through a reverse-mounted 18-55 mm kit lens. I talked about this already at length in this post, so if you’re at all interested in this kind of stuff, please do yourself a favor and read that entry too. But, long story short, you buy a little adapter for your lens, and then the magic happens. Wooo!
I’ll try to at least do something resembling a first pass on the Montana pics tonight, at least as far as finding one worthy of posting here. We’ll see how that goes.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55mm kit lens. 1/320s, ISO 200.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I know, I know, a lot of you think pictures like this one are kind of disgusting. And let’s be honest, they kind of are. But they’re still really cool. And, you have to admit, it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted one.
This was taken with the 18-55 mm kit lens that came with my Canon, reverse-mounted using one of these guys: http://bit.ly/hCi4n . It’s truly ridiculous how close-in you can get that way, and all you need is a cheesy little 13 dollar attachment. Unfortunately, since you’re attaching the lens to your camera backwards, you obviously don’t get the benefit of any of the electronic controls, which means the focus is totally manual (although focusing at that distance consists of simply rocking back and forth on the balls of your feet) and your aperture will be wide open. However, I don’t think shrinking the aperture would help you at all anyway, since there’s such a pitifully small amount of light reaching your sensor anyway.
As you can tell, the depth of field when taking pictures like this is quite literally microscopic. In normal landscape photography, you can take a photo with everything from 15 feet in front of you out to infinity all in focus. Here? The only thing in focus is a very narrow band between the fly’s back and the front of his head. We’re talking maybe a millimeter here. It’s weird. Another odd thing about doing this kind of stuff is how close you have to get to your subject. This fly was literally less than an inch from the front (well, the back) of my lens. As you can imagine, this introduces a whole host of new issues. Such as: flies tend to be a bit skittish. So it can be hard to get close enough to even get a picture. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m not good at standing perfectly still. I tend to rock back and forth a bit. When I’m taking a picture of a mountain, an inch or two in either direction doesn’t really make a difference. But when your depth of field is a millimeter, it’s a bit different. And, even on top of that, it’s worth pointing out that flies are FAST. They move a LOT. So while normally the biggest concern is using a fast enough shutter speed to avoid camera shake, with these shots you need to get much, much faster than that, so that you don’t get motion blur. (1/400th of a second is a great place to start.) So to say getting this picture was a bit frustrating a bit of an understatement. Let’s just say, it’s a good think I was shooting digital, because I had a couple hundred frames of complete garbage. (Not an exaggeration.)
One thing I like about these shots, and this one in particular, is that they’re very illustrative of what happens when you move away from the focal point. The eye is fantastic, because you can see what it looks like in focus, and you can very clearly see how it degrades from that into the general out of focus mushy stuff. Fun times, all around.
Before I let you go today, I’d like to point something out real quick. If you see that bit.ly link above ( http://bit.ly/hCi4n ), that’s a link to Amazon, to the actual reverse-mount attachment I use. If you use that link to go to Amazon, then buy ANYTHING on the site, it’s linked up to my referral account, so I get 4% of your purchase paid to me. So I would urge you, if you’re going to do any Amazon shopping this holiday season, to please go to Amazon via that link, help me out a bit. If you buy enough stuff, I’ll send you a free calendar!! What could be better than that?! Oh, a lot of stuff, you’re right. But it’s still pretty awesome!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/400s, ISO 800.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Welcome to next week everyone. I hope your weekend was incredible, amazing, awesome. Great, great, great.
This is the inside of a poppy. I like poppies, because they are very orange, and they are very easy to find. At least for me. Because my neighbor has a whole bunch of them. I really should post more pictures of them, because if I don’t, I’ll run out of all of my other pictures and be left with about 20 of these that I’ll have to post one after another. And that would be… only a little bit different from now, where all I post are pictures of the Maroon Bells and Mt. Shuksan.
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/200s, ISO 100.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Okay, I’ll admit, this is getting a bit ridiculous. Ever since I posted that bee and flower a few weeks ago, I’ve sort of gone off the deep end with this macro obsession. (Well, to be fair, it was always there, it’s just been latent until recently, when I realized I could satisfy my unhealthy urges without shelling out too much cash.)
This little device is just a metal ring that attaches to the front of your lens like a filter. Then, you pop off your lens, and literally just attach it to the camera backwards. As in, what was once the butt-end of the lens, the private parts that were once only visible to the camera’s sensor, is now exposed for the whole world to see. And the magnification that gets you is, for lack of a better word, ludicrous. I’ve just been using the simple, basic, cheap 18-55 mm kit lens that came with the camera. And at the 18mm end, it’s too close in to even work with. Fantastic! (Since it’s on there backwards, everything is reversed, so whereas normally lower numbers mean more wide-angle, here it means you’re closer in.) This photo was much closer to the 55 end of the lens, and it’s still pretty close in, as you can see. The drawback is of course that your depth of field is, quite literally, microscopic. You can see for yourself how narrow that band of in-focus-ness is on the leaf. That’s probably where the difference between a 13 dollar attachment on a free lens and a $1400 macro-specific beast lies. Or maybe not. Until I drop that 1400 bucks (probably next week at this rate), I won’t know for sure. It’s really tough to use, for a couple reasons. First of all, I tend to sway back and forth when I’m taking a picture. If I’m shooting a mountain, not a problem. But if you only have a millimeter or two of focus to play with, an inch or two in either direction obviously kills the shot. Second, if you’re looking a flower or something, the slightest gasp of wind sends your subject on a wild roller coaster ride in and out of the frame. Patience is an absolute necessity, it can get pretty frustrating. A tripod definitely helps, or at the very least something to steady the camera against. (Like a gorilla pod! – that’s what I used for these shots.)
Now, I’ve just got to figure out the whole lighting situation. This shot was taken with natural light, because it was bright and sunny. Any other conditions (the day before I was trying to work with late-afternoon light with only limited success) and you’ve got to jack the ISO up to 1600 minimum to even START getting results. I’ll let you all know what I figure out when I figure that one out. Maybe tomorrow I’ll post another super-ridiculous-macro shot, sans insect. We’ll see how I feel.)
Enjoy your Monday!
Notes: Canon EOS Rebel T1i, reverse-mounted 18-55 mm kit lens. 1/200s, ISO 200.