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It's a small world, and capturing it with a photograph can be challenging. In this course, photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long takes you on a fantastic voyage into the realm of the tiny, detailing the gear and shooting techniques necessary to capture extreme close-ups of everything from products to posies.
After touring the possibilities of macro photography, the course details essential gear at several price levels, including lenses, flashes, and other accessories. Next, Ben explores the special challenges of macro photography: dealing with moving subjects, working with extremely shallow depth of field, focusing, lighting, and more.
The course also explores advanced close-up tools and post-processing techniques, such as using Adobe Photoshop to "stack" multiple shots to yield wider depth of field than a single shot can convey.
So far, in this chapter, you've seen me working with the Canon 100mm Macro. You've also seen me attach some extension tubes to it, and we've been able to get really, really close. I want to show you now a unique lens, the Canon 65mm MP-E 1-5X Macro lens. This is a really unusual lens. Nobody else right now is making something like this. And, it gets me a lot of the power that I get with a complex configuration of lens and extension tubes.
But it actually gets me more magnification power than I can get with all of these. And, it means that I don't have to hassle with the multiple gear, and the bigger lens configuration. That said, you work with this lens in a very different way than you work with a normal macro lens. So, I have it attached right now, and it's got a built-in lens collar. You haven't actually seen a lens collar in action. The lens collar is attached to the tripod plate. So, what I typically do is put the lens on the tripod first, and then I attach the camera to the lens.
So, it feels kind of strange fixing your camera to a lens, rather than the lens to your camera, but you'll see that as you work with it, and you are adding extension tubes, it's actually a pretty easy process of getting the camera on and off. By default, when I have the lens like this, I am at 1X. So, this lens starts at full 1X macro magnification. This lens starts where most other macro lenses end. The tricky think about this lens is with a normal macro lens, I can get into the shot, and if I decide I would like to go wider, I can just pull back and re-focus.
This lens has a fixed focal distance for each magnification that it has. When I'm at 1X, my focal distance is about 100mm from the end of the lens. I'm going to turn on live view here. I find that working with this lens is easiest in live view. And again, I'm at 1X here. So, what I'm going to do is just move my subject. I want to get in here and look at this plant. So, to focus this shot, I would need to have the plant about right here. So, I would have to prop it up or something. You've already seen a 1X photo though. What I want to do is really show off the power of this lens, and get in closer.
To do that -- just based on experience I've had of shooting flowers with this lens before, -- I kind of know an area that might be interesting. I want to get in right in here, this interface between this stuff in the middle and this stuff that surrounds it. Take a good look at that. You can really hardly see any detail there. I can't see much other than just some little dots and things with the naked eye. So, I'm going to go ahead and just . . . rather than show you all the intermediate stuff, let's just go right for the really strong magnification power.
I've zoomed this out to 5X. Now, obviously the lens gets much longer when this happens. Also, the focusing distance shrinks dramatically. At 5X, my focus distance is 41 mm. At 2X, it's 63. The camera actually has a chart that tells you the differences, whether you need to know those or not. It doest really matter. You can just move the thing around until you get it in focus. So, now I'm going to do what I did before. It's too hard to move the camera around, so I'm going to move the plant around, just until I get some focus. And, as with any other macro lens, when I'm zoomed in, my depth-of-field is really shallow, but I mean really shallow.
Take a look at this depth of field chart that Canon provides in the 65 mm manual. At 5X magnification at f/16, our depth-of-field is 0.269 mm. So, we're talking about a fraction of a millimeter of depth of field here. Now, the good news is we are now at a scale where that fraction of a millimeter actually covers a fair amount of our subject. So, I've lined something up here. And, I'm just going to take a shot real quick to show you what I've got, as soon as I get it in focus.
So, focusing right now is the process of moving the subject back and forth. And, my live view just shut off. Now, the other big issue when zoomed in this far, or a big issue, is of course, our light. I'm still working with just my window light, and right now, I'm right on the edge of it being enough light. When I'm in this close, my lens is shadowing the subject. It's hard to really get a lot of light deep into the nooks and crannies of the flowers. I am at f16. And right now, my exposure is a little over 3 seconds. I'm going to go ahead and stay with this for now, but I have to go deep into stable shooting mode.
So, I've got my remote control, I'm in live view, I'm stepping back for the camera, I'm waiting for all jitter to stop, and 3 seconds later, I have this shot. So, as I said, there is no part of this that I could see with the naked eye. Suddenly there is this whole little world opening up. And, this is what I was talking about in a previous movie that it is just really fun getting in here, and finding that this is kind of like landscape shooting. What I would probably like to do next is get the camera a little lower, and shoot across the top of some of this stuff, and see what I can build up composition-wise between those little pod things in the foreground, and those curly leaves in the background.
But I'm going to show you some more stuff that we can do here. That's 5X, that's full magnification, but we can go closer, because of course, we have extension tubes. Extension tubes are going to let us get our focus distance even shorter, shorter than the 40 mm or whatever we're at right now. So, I need to put these on. I'm going to take the camera off, and I'm just going to just go ahead, and use my full set of extension tubes. And by the way, this is a set of three extension tubes that we've been using. [00:05:3.13] There's no reason I can't buy more, and just keep stacking them on here. I mean, there are some practical reasons. Eventually, it will be impossible to get the camera close enough to the subject.
And, we are maybe going to even run into that problem here. My lens is already touching the flower. So, I'm going to have to really mash against it here to get in tight. Okay, now, as I'm closer, I have lost some of the elements that I had in my composition before, so I'm going to tilt down just a little bit, and pan over, again. I'm using my geared head here, which makes it very easy to pan around.
One thing that's a little tricky is that any handling of the camera causes huge jitter. Now, it would take such tiny moves of the flower pot to get this in focus that I'm going to switch to focusing with the lens. It's a strange thing to focus with this lens, because as you focus, you get a very significant change in focal length, and that means you get a change in field of view. We saw this on 100mm earlier. It's just really, really pronounced on this lens, because of the distances we're dealing with. This changes now my shutter speed to 6 seconds.
This is because of the light cut that I get from the extension tubes. So, I'm going to go ahead and raise my ISO stop. I'm at 1600 right now, but I'm very comfortable with going to 3200 on this 5D Mark III. I'm not worried about noise at that ISO. "Camera, stop shaking." So here we go. And, I'm sorry to not be talking to you through that, but actually speaking might have caused some vibration that would be significant. So, here is my image. [00:07:1.03] So, I'm in even little bit closer.
Here is before; and here is after. You can see some of those elements zooming in. Needless to say, I can get very, very, very close with this lens. So, what can I actually use it for? Is this a practical macro lens for the types of things you like to shoot? Absolutely, if you're shooting still subjects in the studio, this lens is great, because you've got the power to shoot stably, to get light wherever you need it to go. But this is a surprisingly effective hand-held lens. If you are really careful, if you have a monopod, it is actually possible to do hand-held shooting with this lens in the field.
You are probably not going to be at full 5X. You are going to probably be more out here at the 2X or 3X level, just because, well, two reasons. One: shutter speed. You lose light as you zoom this out further, and your shutter speed lengthens, but also you've just got to get so close to stuff. You are probably not going to get super close, at that 5X distance, to a live bug. So again, a unique lens. No one else really makes anything like this right now, but a really fun, very effective macro lens that you might want to consider.
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