Best camera for Macro Photography 'out of the box'

Oswoc

Arachnosquire
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Morning!

Love taking snaps of my T's, potentially the most enjoyable part of keeping them IMO.

I'm based in UK, and would love a recommendation for a camera, digital or SLR, that can get me some half-decent Macro images without me tinkering too much with additional lenses and editing software.

Or do I need to spend a fortune on different set ups to get some good close-ups of those sexy T 'faces'??

Couldn't find an exact thread on this, forgive me if I missed it.

Have a good day!

Attached is an example of a close up from my 'Galaxy Note 9' camera... this being a 'close up' of a 1cm Krachen sling
20210609_134258.jpg
 
Last edited:

viper69

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Morning!

Love taking snaps of my T's, potentially the most enjoyable part of keeping them IMO.

I'm based in UK, and would love a recommendation for a camera, digital or SLR, that can get me some half-decent Macro images without me tinkering too much with additional lenses and editing software.

Or do I need to spend a fortune on different set ups to get some good close-ups of those sexy T 'faces'??

Couldn't find an exact thread on this, forgive me if I missed it.

Have a good day!

Attached is an example of a close up from my 'Galaxy Note 9' camera... this being a 'close up' of a 1cm Krachen sling
View attachment 387895
What you really need to ask/know is this:

1. What type, ie quality, of macro images do you want to produce?

2. What type of LENS do I need is most important over camera

3 Recognize that many macro images you see are the result of focus stacking, (tons of images over tons of hours)
 

basin79

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You can get incredible results with a telephoto lens and something like a Raynox DCR 250 clip on. You'll be limited to the shots you can get though. Some use a telephoto lens and extension tubes to get macro results.

Then there are dedicated macro lenses. Best thing you can do is decide on a budget. And then just look at what kit you can afford and then look at reviews online/youtube. But reviews from photographers/trusted sites.

I started off with a Nikon D5500 and Nikon's cheap is 90mm micro lens. Or it was 5 years ago. You'll need to practice a lot and get used to editing to get the most out of it. But you'll do that just by talking pics.
 

Vermis

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Some use a telephoto lens and extension tubes to get macro results.
Yup. I got a set of extension tubes to stick between a Lumix micro 4/3 camera and a 75-200mm telephoto lens: a shoestring option 'til I feel I can comfortably afford a genuine macro lens. (And because that money is going on a telephoto lens with a wide enough f-stop for decent long-range shots in forest gloom, first. But that's by the by) They definitely give me 'half-decent macro images'. The biggest drawback in my experience, is that the depth of field can be pretty shallow. Something that 'macro lens vs. extension tube' articles will demonstrate. My camera has a couple of different multi-shot and focus stacking options that I still have to fully explore, to see if that improves the situation.

I didn't know things like the Raynox lens existed. I'll have to check that out myself.
 

Oswoc

Arachnosquire
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Really appreciate all your input guys.

I'm going to start small as it seems this hobby could be VERY expensive if I really wanna get some great shots.

Might play around with a cheap 2nd hand DSLR to get used to all the functions first then build up to an expesinve macro lens.

In the meantime, a £10 smart phone 'macro lens adaptor' will do along with my tripod.


Finally, I'D LOVE YOU SHARE SOME OF YOUR BEST MACRO IMAGES using some of the set ups mentioned above. No pressure!

I've attached my current best image of a P. Regius using just my smartphone alone.

Thanks again! 20210620_212214.jpg
 

basin79

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Some of my favourites.

A really close look at Typhon's (dog) nose.
A47C7943-BFE1-43B1-988E-3D1B22220899.jpeg

Hogna schmitzi with a banded cricket.
D74B69CC-AA2A-43EB-AA6B-D12FA58969C2.jpeg A97072D8-35C4-46EB-8BAA-0BF83B3A3E75.jpeg

Macrothele gigas in a defensive posture.
71AD5F58-B16B-4163-87F6-E28B5C1AFB33.jpeg

Sicarius thomisoides with a banded cricket.
BCD9BDA0-6ADF-40D4-BD38-565852A1C4A8.jpeg

Sundew plant.
7722D3DF-BFFE-440B-BD5B-4168F6D551B6.jpeg

Pamphobeteus sp Costa with a silent cricket.
3003969C-8375-4B67-8451-686D5205950A.jpeg
 

Oswoc

Arachnosquire
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Some of my favourites.

A really close look at Typhon's (dog) nose.
View attachment 388967

Hogna schmitzi with a banded cricket.
View attachment 388968 View attachment 388969

Macrothele gigas in a defensive posture.
View attachment 388970

Sicarius thomisoides with a banded cricket.
View attachment 388971

Sundew plant.
View attachment 388972

Pamphobeteus sp Costa with a silent cricket.
View attachment 388973
Incredible photos! Thanks for sharing. I can only dream of taking these kind of shots!!
 

basin79

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Incredible photos! Thanks for sharing. I can only dream of taking these kind of shots!!
I have a very good camera and lens. Sony a7r iii with their 90mm macro. Although I will type you DON'T need to spend that much to get these results. I just came into some money and knew if I didn't spend it on something worthwhile I'd just end up wasting it.

My first camera from 2016 was a Nikon D5500 with their "cheap" nikkor 90mm micro lens. Just the inbuilt flash. No diffuser. Got some cracking pics with that to say I literally knew nothing about photography or editing.

C8695ED0-CAA0-4809-B3F4-9947CDB2E336.jpeg 0356BBBB-B284-4625-8C8E-D8C425B2BAAB.jpeg F3C32B26-10D4-4640-AF5B-DFAC44E837FC.jpeg DA83C0CA-EF94-4C6D-893C-39DAB7185131.jpeg
 

Oswoc

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1st day with my £10 macro phone lens... so far so good! I have to hold my camera literally 5mm away from the subject though - is that the same issue when using a proper SLR camera with a 90mm lens?? 20210623_195131.jpg
 

basin79

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1st day with my £10 macro phone lens... so far so good! I have to hold my camera literally 5mm away from the subject though - is that the same issue when using a proper SLR camera with a 90mm lens?? View attachment 389185
No. With a camera you get to change the aperture on the lens and distance. You're not governed by the same limitations.
 

TechnoGeek

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Macro photography is more about the lens than about the body. Not even af performance is a major factor in macro because you would get the best results with manual focus. Tho I would say more mpix is definitely welcome for macro. Also definitely look for something with a BSI CMOS sensor (backside illuminated) as they tend to gather more light and have a better high ISO performance (lower noise at higher ISO values). You'll also need a good speedlight with a diffuser.

Here's what I use for macro most of the time:

SmartSelect_20210622-135805_Discord.jpg

The lens is Tamron 90mm F/2.8 SP VC F 017. I also use extension tubes (29mm) to focus closer to subject if needed. Finally my speedlight of choice is Nikon SB600, SB700 or SB800.

You can find multiple samples of my macros in this thread: https://arachnoboards.com/threads/lensofthenorth-photography-thread.346909/#post-3195628
 

Oswoc

Arachnosquire
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Update!

Invested in a 2nd hand Pentax KS-2 DSLR, with a 300mm sigma lens that 'doubles up' as a 1:1 'macro'. Its all very basic, but I've learnt so much since getting this camera, as well as playing around with other lenses.
Below are some examples of 'macro' shots I've taken since owning the kit. I've order a 20x macro filter which I assume will help?

also, I find theres such a shallow depth of field when taking these shots - i dunno how to get the whole image crisp without tonnes of bokeh...

Value any input/feedback!

Bublbe bee.jpg
IMGP9279.jpg dfly.jpg IMGP9216.jpg
 

Dry Desert

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Update!

Invested in a 2nd hand Pentax KS-2 DSLR, with a 300mm sigma lens that 'doubles up' as a 1:1 'macro'. Its all very basic, but I've learnt so much since getting this camera, as well as playing around with other lenses.
Below are some examples of 'macro' shots I've taken since owning the kit. I've order a 20x macro filter which I assume will help?

also, I find theres such a shallow depth of field when taking these shots - i dunno how to get the whole image crisp without tonnes of bokeh...

Value any input/feedback!

View attachment 393868
View attachment 393865 View attachment 393867 View attachment 393866
Looking at the bee shot, it seems to lack sharpness. This is probably due to hand holding your 300mm lens. If you want sharp photos with your 300 lens you will have to use a Very sturdy Tripod, not a flimsy table top model. You will not find any macro lens longer than 200 mm, and that has to be used very carefully on a sturdy tripod. This is the reason the popular macro lens are in the 90/100 mm range, as that lenght enables you to hand hold, although some will still use a tripod for maximum sharpness. You should be able to pick up a decent second hand tripod on " fleabay " Preloved or gumtree. This will enable you to continue using your 300 lens plus any attachments. In the days of film the rule of thumb was - use the next highest shutter speed from the length of the lens - for your lens 300, the next shutter speed would be 450. That was a rough guide to hand holding any lens. Then the ISO and " f " stop would be adjusted to suit that shutter speed. Nothing is simple with photography. This is the main reason I still use film, can't be doing with taking 100 photos then spending a day pratting around with various software to achieve decent photos. All my editing is done in camera before I press the shutter. My phone has 45 megapixels that does me for " Micky mouse " up loads.
 

Oswoc

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Looking at the bee shot, it seems to lack sharpness. This is probably due to hand holding your 300mm lens. If you want sharp photos with your 300 lens you will have to use a Very sturdy Tripod, not a flimsy table top model. You will not find any macro lens longer than 200 mm, and that has to be used very carefully on a sturdy tripod. This is the reason the popular macro lens are in the 90/100 mm range, as that lenght enables you to hand hold, although some will still use a tripod for maximum sharpness. You should be able to pick up a decent second hand tripod on " fleabay " Preloved or gumtree. This will enable you to continue using your 300 lens plus any attachments. In the days of film the rule of thumb was - use the next highest shutter speed from the length of the lens - for your lens 300, the next shutter speed would be 450. That was a rough guide to hand holding any lens. Then the ISO and " f " stop would be adjusted to suit that shutter speed. Nothing is simple with photography. This is the main reason I still use film, can't be doing with taking 100 photos then spending a day pratting around with various software to achieve decent photos. All my editing is done in camera before I press the shutter. My phone has 45 megapixels that does me for " Micky mouse " up loads.
Wow! Thats really helpful, thanks for the info, and well spotted on the handheld snaps, I've yet to try a tripod out, but will try get a decent one soon!

If you could recommend a good 'K-mount' (for pentax) macro lens, then that would be cool. My sigma one was so cheap 2nd hand so wasn't expecting much to be honest.

I worry if I start investing in decent lenses, that I'll be stuck using my 20MP Pentax body... maybe i should wait before investing in a better Nikon/Canon before spending £100's on a good macro lens...
 

Dry Desert

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Wow! Thats really helpful, thanks for the info, and well spotted on the handheld snaps, I've yet to try a tripod out, but will try get a decent one soon!

If you could recommend a good 'K-mount' (for pentax) macro lens, then that would be cool. My sigma one was so cheap 2nd hand so wasn't expecting much to be honest.

I worry if I start investing in decent lenses, that I'll be stuck using my 20MP Pentax body... maybe i should wait before investing in a better Nikon/Canon before spending £100's on a good macro lens...
Don't worry about the Canon,Nikon badge name, your 20 megapixel Pentax will be fine. The best way forward is to purchase a manual focus K mount lens. Always best to manually focus for critical macro work anyway. I have just had a quick look on eBay and there is a SMC Pentax M Macro 100 mm F4 K mount. £99.95 free postage. The seller is in Brighton. I don't think you will better that, the lens has been tested, and in excellent condition. A new auto focus Pentax retails from £550 - £900 depending on model. £99.95 is about right for a good manual focus quality macro lens. Your choice though, very difficult to recommend really. If I were wearing your shoes and reading what you've said, this lens would be ideal for you until you decide if you want to delve deeper into the macry world. Photography can be very, very expensive, take my word for that.
 

Anubis77

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If you really wanna save money, get a little weird, and learn from frustration, old lenses can be fun. I have a basic Canon Rebel T3i that I have been using a 1970s Soviet 50mm Industar 61 L/Z lens with (a copy of a Leica). All for the price of $60 and a $5 EOS-M42 adapter ring (and used $300 T3i). Just got some cheap ebay macro extension tubes and a knockoff $70 ring light flash to mess with as well.

It's frustrating to use sometimes (all manual), but being annoyed is cheaper than buying modern lenses. The strange bokeh and irregularities are more fun to wrangle with than the higher objective quality that my Canon 18-55mm lens produces. It's an old school, cinematic feel. And it only has a very slightly radioactive anti-glare coating!
E6FnRyPVgAMwBVk.jpg
IMG_0403.png
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IMG_0415.png

Additionally, I got good results using a point and shoot Canon S5 IS for like 10 years with just a $70 Raynox DCR-250. One of the best field setups I've used. The DCR-250 either way is the best investment I've made in photography. You can slap that on to anything.
 

Dry Desert

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basin79

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Save your $10 and invest in a Raynox DCR 250, pretty good cheap alternative for close up results. Clips onto any lens with a diameter of 49 - 67. Gives the equivalent of a 8 - diopter close up filter. Best used on a medium telephoto lens, then you can vary your shooting distance.
Picked one up for my macro lens a few weeks ago. £46 off Amazon.

1177DC57-C452-4CA4-BD91-1E444821689D.jpeg 06AD9F0A-BA0F-45F7-93EA-EF24BCCD8CE2.jpeg
 

Anubis77

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Save your $10 and invest in a Raynox DCR 250, pretty good cheap alternative for close up results. Clips onto any lens with a diameter of 49 - 67. Gives the equivalent of a 8 - diopter close up filter. Best used on a medium telephoto lens, then you can vary your shooting distance.
Picked one up for my macro lens a few weeks ago. £46 off Amazon.
Raynox DCR-250 hype. It really is the most flexible cheap option.

I just wish there was an alternative to the cheap plastic clip-on adapter. I've broken two tabs over time. It's a tight fit on my current lens. Feels like I'm gonna snap a tab again.
 
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