Super Macro

Note from Scott: The following was sent to me by Tracy of Milkay Photography per my request for macro photos.  Along with those, she sent along the following where she shows how to get Super Macros!

I typically hand-hold my Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro (macro) lens, partly because it is simply easier than using a tripod especially when photographing anything that moves. However, a tripod and remote shutter release cable is a MUST if using the 105mm with extension tubes as the tubes interfere with the AF system (at least on the Nikon D300 dSLR camera using the 3-ring extension tube set by Kenko). I also set the camera’s ‘Exposure Delay Mode’ to ON for a delayed shutter release (meaning, when I click the button on the remote shutter release cable, the shutter itself is not released until 1 second after the mirror is raised. This decreases any blur that can occur by the slightest camera movement. Remember…at such close ranges EVERYTHING is magnified, including camera movement!

Here are example images of the same subject, using the 105mm alone, the 105mm with 3-ring extension tube set and the 105mm, 3-ring extension tube set AND the 1.7x teleconverter:

“Smitten” (Dianthus Flower)

“Smitten” (Dianthus Flower). Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.8, 1/60s, -1.0EV, ISO 400.

“Forgive Me?” (Dianthus Stamens), approximately 2.37x magnification.

“Forgive Me?” (Dianthus Stamens), approximately 2.37x magnification. Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube set, F/8, 1/40s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Manual Focus.

“Infinite Love” (Dianthus Stamens), approximately 4x magnification.

“Infinite Love” (Dianthus Stamens), approximately 4x magnification. Nikon D300, 180mm (VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set AND 1.7x Teleconverter), F/13, 1/1.6s, ISO 640, Manual Focus.

Thank you, Tracy!  Some of you might be curious as to what Tracy’s camera would look like after adding the extension tubes and teleconverter. Here it is.

Nikon D300 equipped with VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, 1.7x Teleconverter, Kenko 3-ring Extension Tube Set.

Nikon D300 equipped with VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, 1.7x Teleconverter, Kenko 3-ring Extension Tube Set.

The flower featured above was a star in a soap opera over at Tracy’s blog.  Check it out but, be warned, have a tissue handy. 😉

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16 Responses to Super Macro

  1. montucky says:

    Great photos and very interesting explanation! Thanks!


  2. milkayphoto says:

    You’re welcome, Scott! And thank YOU for the opportunity and a spot in your blog.
    I now wish I had written this better (blush) and expanded more on the subject, but it’s a start, right? 🙂

    It is so good that you push yourself to educate in your blog…I need to get better at that as we all learn from each other. (For example, thanks for the reminder in your e-mail to me re: using LiveView). Let’s hope all these close-up photography posts have pulled a few more souls into the wonderful world of Macro! 🙂


  3. That’s the lens I want to buy one day. I love these shots, and the explanation finally made it clear what exactly extension tubes do. They’ll be on my list right after a Nikon D90 and the 105mm macro lens. Thanks for enlightening me!


    • milkayphoto says:

      The 105 is awesome! Takes a bit of practice but when you get used to what it does, a whole new world opens up. The extension tubes also take some practice (teleconverters are a bit easier) but again, if you like macro, you will not be disappointed! 🙂


  4. Gerry says:

    I am completely content to come by here, kick back, and enjoy the show. And what a show it is today! Who knew Dianthus had fuzzy pipecleaners?


  5. Karma says:

    So if I am looking at that picture of the camera correctly, does the teleconverter go behind the lens like the extension tubes? Is there glass/optics in the teleconverter? Is there any difference of the quality of the photo if there is extra glass between the lens and the sensor? Just curious here! Thanks.


    • milkayphoto says:

      Yes, the lens attaches to the teleconverter which is then attached to the camera body OR to the three extenstion tube rings which are then attached to the camera body.

      Yes, the teleconverter has glass/optics. The teleconverter increases the focal length of a telephoto lens, therefore allowing you to get closer to your subject. I have not seen a decrease in quality when using teleconverters, but I know some have said that they do see a softness in their images. This has not been the case for me. One thing to note with teleconverters is there will be a loss of light, typically 1 – 1.5 stops so they work best in good light.


  6. Robin says:

    I saw these (and the soap opera) over at Tracy’s. They are amazing.

    That’s *some* camera once it’s all put together like that.


  7. Nye says:

    Tracy, that is some gear that you have there, I could only dream of owning one. 🙂 Love the last pic.


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