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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.
You might find that a reversed lens is all you ever need for your macro work. There are people who do high-quality, professional macro work using only a reversed lens. Before we move on to a dedicated, pricey macro lens, I want to look at one other low-cost option that you might already have, a point-and- shoot camera. A lot of point-and-shoot cameras have fantastic macro capabilities. This is a Sony RX100, which can focus as close as an inch. It's also great in low light; it packs a very high-quality lens.
The RX100 has the additional advantage of an image sensor that's larger than what you will find on most point-and-shoots. That makes for better high ISO performance, which you often need when working with macro, because of light issues, and the option for shallower depth of field, which is not something usually needed with macro. Some cameras have a dedicated macro mode, usually designated with a small flower icon. You activate it to open up that range of the camera's auto-focus. Other cameras, like the RX100, don't have a special mode. You simply focus, and shoot at the distance that you need.
As with the reversed lens, or a dedicated macro lens on an SLR, trying to use the autofocus for macro work on a point-and-shoot camera is not advisable. Instead, simply ballpark the focus, and then move the camera in and out to refine it. Because of their smaller sensors, a point-and- shoot cannot achieve depth of field that's as shallow as what you will get with an SLR, which actually makes them ideal for macro; you get inherently deeper depth of field. But they're small, they're inexpensive; this camera costs less than a macro lens for my SLR. And, they are easy to get into odd locations, which you often find when you're working with flowers, or bugs, or things like that.
If you decide that you're interested in macro, but not so interested that you want to invest in an expensive lens, then you might consider springing for a nice point-and-shoot. It will actually take up less space in your bag, and give you a lot of capabilities besides just macro shooting.
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