Minimalist's Setup?

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by DJGainer, Dec 15, 2006.

  1. DJGainer

    DJGainer Member

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    I have recently gotten into Macro and am really enjoying the results. I have a RB67 #2tube and 90mm and 140 for macro work. I really want to get a small "studio" setup (possibly just lighting and a small staging area) so I can light and present my subject well (right now I have just been using bare bulbs and a placemat). I shoot only B&W for now, so if anyone has suggestions for an adequate setup, I'd love to hear them!

    Dave
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Whenever doing macro work with small format I always seem to focus by moving the whole camera and not twisting the lens. After a few hours of this I wish I had a moveble "focussing rack" upon which to mount the camera...if that makes any sense? In the parlance of manufacturing automation, it'd be called a linear stage...I'd mount it to the tripod and then mount the camera to the stage. The stage would allow one to easily move the entire camera in one or two (or, even three!) dimensions.
     
  3. Bill Hahn

    Bill Hahn Member

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    BradS,

    Do a google search for "Velbon Macro Slider".

    Dave,

    You might want to investigate getting a "shooting tent". This will diffuse the light....some people hate the effect, and others love it. You can get a small one relatively cheap....

    HTH, Bill
     
  4. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    YUP! That'd do the trick....thanks.
     
  5. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Generically, focusing rail. Velbon's isn't the only one. For example, Novoflex offered them decades before Velbon started in business.

    In my experience, a focusing rail isn't necessary when shooting an SLR with flash at magnifications not much higher than 1:1. At higher magnifications or using available darkness for illumination, very very useful. I use a 2-axis Panagor -- looks much like the 2-axis one that Adorama sells but is better made and has more locks -- under my Graphics when shooting one of them very close.
     
  6. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    For 6x6 macro I use a bellows mounted 150mm MC Apo Ronar in a Copal Shutter on my Pentacon 6TL or on My ARAX 88CM with MLU

    For positioning and focusing I use a ReallyRight Stuff B150-B Macro Focusing Rail.

    http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/index.html
     
  7. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    With my rb I find the bellows focusing quite convenient for macro. What I sometimes wish I had is a ring flash but I haven't yet located one big enough for my rb lens diams (77mm).

    The one thing that made my life much easier with the rb was the metering prism viewfinder. That really helps especially for macro, when you would otherwise have bellows factor to worry about.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Yes, I like the convenience of the TTL metering prisms that I use on both my Pentacon 6TL and my ARAX 88CM. I have a variable output LED ringlight that I use for macro lighting.
     
  9. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Here's a discussion that's pertinent and covers a number of focusing rail options: http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000Zuq

    I use the Bogen 3419 rail and like it a lot. It's low profile, packs easily in the top of a camera bag, and has a threaded rod drive for fine focus (1mm/turn?) with a quick release for fast larger movements. I mostly use mine on the small geared Bogen head with a QR plate, which is really nice for "dialing in" the composition and focus in macro work.

    Lee
     
  10. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Your photonet reference does not correctly describe my RRS B150-B Macro Focusing Rail:

    With my RRS focusing rail, Gross focusing and composition adjustments can be achieved by sliding the rail within the jaws of the clamp with a movement range of up to 128mm. Fine adjustment is made with the lead screw; the lead screw delivers 1.25mm of travel per full revolution. Total adjustment range is 231mm.

    Of course, the RRS unit is compatible with all Arca Swiss type QR clamps.
     
  11. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Tom,

    Sorry if some of the pnet info was inaccurate. I posted for the general discussion on available models, not for any specific product features. I'm not familiar with that rail or possible changes to it over time, so couldn't judge from personal experience. It is the internet after all, so caveat lector and check your facts in all cases, right? It would seem odd for RRS to make something that "downscale" in features.

    Thanks for posting the correction. Anyone checking the info at Really Right Stuff would have seen the correct info there as well.

    Lee
     
  12. DJGainer

    DJGainer Member

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    I believe the changing tent is something that would fit my needs. Are the kits with the tent and lighting included worth the money or will I find myself dissatisfied with the quality?
     
  13. Bill Hahn

    Bill Hahn Member

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    Er, by "changing tent" are you referring to "shooting tent"?

    There's no way I can answer your question about being satisfied with various kits.

    I personally have used a cheap and small Photek Lighthouse Shooting Tent (about 18inchesx18inchesx27inches) and was pleased with the results. But I was shooting
    just for myself....
     
  14. DJGainer

    DJGainer Member

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    Yes, shooting tent (sorry I just read a thread on pnet about a changing tent and it must have stuck). I am just shooting for myself, so I do not feel the need to spend large amounts of cash to accomplish what I can with less equipment.
     
  15. polaski

    polaski Member

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    Bogen/Manfrotto 3419

    I'll second Lee L's choice. Features both gross and fine adjustment.

    One feature I liked was that if I ever want to be able to move the camera laterally as well as forward/backward, a second one of these will nest into what otherwise would be a bulky four way slider such as Adorama sells.
     
  16. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Member

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    This is another vote for the RRS focus slide.

    Also helpful is a geared tripod head, and maybe a tripod with a geared column - you don't want to extend the column much, but just having the geared movement over an inch or two is very helpful.

    For backdrops and lighting you can do an awful lot by improvisation, which is what I do a lot of the time. A laboratory jack (a small platform that can be adjusted in height by turning a threaded rod) is a useful thing for supporting the subject.

    I use daylight, flash, or tungsten at different times for lighting. Tungsten is easiest to control and to learn with, and you can pick up cheap used tungsten lights easily: you don't need really powerful lights, say 300W, and something like a used set of Lee Mini-Pro lights would be a good place to start. (Use the safety screens with them or, better yet, get a set of glass dichroic filters.) Small pieces of card or foamcore will serve as reflectors, painted black, white or silver, or with crumpled aluminium foil glued to them.

    Have a look at the Novoflex magic studio setup as well. This is like a very small infinity curve and can be quite versatile, giving you more flexibility than a tent or cube.

    Modelling clay, gaffer tape, cinefoil, bulldog clips, flower arrangers' wire, wooden dowel, etc., etc. will soon all be finding new uses in your house...


    Peter
     
  17. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    The limitations of a shooting tent are size of subject and lighting tends to be flat. If you're looking for "creative" lighting it may not work out for you.
    On the cheapskate front, build a frame from PVC pipe(1 1/4") & drape it with translucent material form the fabric shop & use any size frame you want, remove a side if you want a more harsh light etc. It'll cost more for the fabric than the pipe to build the frame.