Gear talk: extension rings



I don’t usually discuss what gear I use, for the one simple reason that I don’t have that much gear.  However, this image requires somewhat of an explanation since it’s really photographed as a test shot.

Despite my weakness for macro and close-up shots, I don’t have a macro lens.  In fact, the lens I use the most is my 50mm lens – very basic and handy.  If I wanted to shoot closer than my 50mm lens could handle, I had a few close-up filters that I could screw onto the front end of my lens.

The problem with this set up was that it squished all depth of field – meaning very little of my shot was in focus.  No matter how far I stopped the lens down (most of my shots were taken with an aperture of f8 or higher) I still couldn’t get rid of the blurry look.  I estimate that with the filters on, my true aperture ranged somewhere between f1.8 and f3.2.   I got really tired of blurry flower shots. 

So, on my recent birthday, I was surprised with a gift: a set of extension rings.  Part of me wants to run in circles screaming hallelujah!  while the other part is a tad bewildered by the math behind the whole thing.  Somehow, by adding a combination of extension rings and sticking my 50mm lens on the end I can get a clear close-up shot of a fly’s eye with no trouble.  It’s not  quite a 1:1 ratio, but it’s pretty darned close. 

This shot is a product of one of my tests.  It’s taken with the 36mm extension ring and my 50mm lens.  Clearly I have a little more work ahead of me to figure out just which ring will work best with certain shots, but the clarity of the focus makes me very happy.  

(and yes, I do know that certain bits of the shot are still blurry.  That’s more because of the angle I took the shot than anything else.  )

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