The Digital Photo Guy

Extreme Macros with Basic Gear

by on Aug.31, 2016, under Articles, gear, Monday Morning Tips

Wow! My Last Post Was 4 Months Ago

Mary & I spent 3 months on the road in our motorhome with T the Cat. By the end, we were all a bit worn out but we saw some really great places. We spent most of our time in Oregon and NorCal,

In Oregon, we stayed near Grant’s Pass for nearly a month, exploring Ashland and Medford. Because OR state parks only allow 14 days at a time, we went to Florence, OR between stays. I’m not sure I’d want to be in OR during the winter but it was a lot of fun in June & July. If you visit Florence, be sure to check out the Big Yellow Food Truck, aka A Taste of Hawaii. It was some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted!

Just about every town, city and burg we visited had an artists’ cooperative and/or an arts district. Every one was bustling with activity and most managed to extract a few dollars from us.

So, What’s This Got to Do With Extreme Macros?

While on the road, I had an idea for a new project but needed a super macro setup. For Canon shooters, the 100/2.8 is the macro lens of choice but at 1:1 magnification, it’s hardly super. One to one (1:1) simply means an object will be captured on the sensor at life size. So, on a full frame body with a 24mm x 36mm sensor, a US quarter with a diameter of 24.26mm will overhang the sensor by 0.26mm.

Using extension tubes, a 100/2.8 can magnify better than 1:1. I was going to show all the math but got lazy so I’ll leave it up to you. Hopefully, the attached photos are self-explanatory.

macro-101 macro-102 macro-103

The 1st photo is the 100/2.8 by itself. Notice there are 22mm visible. Since this is my Canon 7D with a 22.3mm x 14.9mm sensor, at 1:1, a tad over 22mm was captured. The 2nd photo is the 100/2.8 plus all three Kenko extension tubes (36mm+20mm+12mm = 68mm.) This shows about 11mm or a 2:1 magnification. The last image is with the 100/2.8 + 68mm extension tubes + Canon TC 1.4 and TC 2.0. This is just a hair over 5:1 magnification.

Five-to-one is equal to the Canon MP-E 65mm macro, a $1050 lens. However, for most people, this is a better setup because all the components can be used for other purposes while an MP-E 65mm is a single purpose, dedicated lens. For example, the 100/2.8 is my favorite portrait lens while the Canon TC 1.4 and TC 2.0 can be attached to my Canon 300/2.8 to get a 420/4.0 or 600/5.6.

Here’s how the set up appears:

gear setup-101 gear setup-102 gear setup-103

The 1st photo shows the Canon 7d with the stacked TC 1.4 + TC 2.0 + 68mm extension tubes behind the Canon 100/2.8. The 2nd photo shows the Yongnuo YN14 ring flash. That’s a $99 wonder deserving of its own write-up. The 3rd photo is the YN14 controller. Sorry it’s such a bad photo but I was in a hurry. I’ll make better photos when I write up the YN14 review.

When I post the YN14 review, I’ll post some photos from this set up. Until then TTFN (ta ta for now.)


2 Comments for this entry

  • Cyndi

    Interesting set up. Looking forward to the images and and the ring flash review.

    • Lee

      Hi Cyndi,
      Hope all is well with you. Are you still driving the View?

      I plan to test the setup including the ring flash on common things around the house. So far, limited testing I did with steel rulers to show magnification came out well. I forgot to mention the one other thing that will make the setup much easier to use is a macro rail. I have an old, cheap Manfrotto unit that works fine for now. If I get serious about this, I may invest in a better one that’s more precise and consistent. Thanks for reading.

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