close up woes


I’m beginning to enjoy using the Canon 500D close up lens that I got for Christmas. The best way I’ve found to use the lens (although it is a lens it is actually mounted onto the front of your normal lens just like a filter) is to have autofocus switched off and to focus manually. And you do this in two ways – with the focus ring to get you near, and then gently move your body to and fro from the subject to get the fine-focus, in this way selecting the part of the image which you want to be sharp.

The only problem is that for me the autofocus is a crutch. Given that I wear glasses I depend on the AF to tell me that the focus is sharp. I have more trust in the AF mechanism than in my own eyes. But with manual focus, I now not only need to depend on my eyes, but also my prescription and the dioptric adjustment of the eyepiece. 

So although I’m loving using my close up lens and learning a bit about macro photography, I am still struggling with getting the focus where I want it. In the example given above, I wanted the edge of the curled up leaf to be sharp, but as you can see from the zoom in below, I  missed it! And got the underside of the leaf instead.

close-up-rimI had my “you’re now 40-years old” eye test before Christmas and my prescription had changed by 0.5! Well at least that done, I now just need to calibrate the dioptric adjustment. Now do I do that with my glasses or contact lenses?


7 thoughts on “close up woes”

  1. I suppose you are tripod averse(?). Otherwise, you could try Bogen macro focusing rail (all rails are compromises among cost, weight, control).

    What is the final magnification & how much is the working distance?

    I tried reverse mounting 50mm lens on 90mm macro one (maximum magnification of 1.8), which resulted in horribly tiny distance from the subject, so much so lighting was a problem. Any false move, subject would easily hit the rear (now, front) lens element. I suppose 1:1 magnification has to do for now, unless I am dying to shoot a real close up of things flat.


  2. Ah, as for the eye sight, with my own condition, pictures come out sharp if they appear sharp enough in the viewfinder (even if I am lagging in prescription). Manual focusing without diopter adjustment of the viewfinder is indeed a pain in the neck.

    Possibly, you could replace the standard focusing screen with split prism screen for your camera, and/or use a viewfinder magnifier.


  3. I’m not averse to a tripod, but I certainly am not in a habit of carrying it around with me everywhere. Also, this was taken outside and it could easily have been a gust of wind which blew onto the stem of the plant. But I’ve seen this in enough of my macro shots that I know that I need to pay attention to my focus position and make sure that my diopter is properly set.


  4. I’ve used a 500D handheld with a 300mm IS, and it’s tricky to control. It’s just hard to hold the camera steady, composition is more the problem than sharpness (Image Stabilzation helps with that). The range of focus is very limited – moving the camera (as you mention) is the easier way to focus.

    The 500D is great for limited DOF shots…


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