Macroroni And Cheese

Macroroni: Very small pasta.

Okay, we got that over with, not we can go on with the rest of the column. Spare a thought for the food bloggers – I’m going to put ” macroroni ” in the tags and I’ll bet they all think it is going to be golden and bubbly.

Well, I like close-up pictures, there is no doubt of that. My model car collection gets a thorough shellacking with the macro lens for months and if I can find someone with toy soldiers or doll houses I will cheerfully fill up the rest of the time. I leap upon all the macro lenses from the camera shop I write for and put them through their paces – I am also trying the in-camera focus bracketing and focus stacking programs when they are available. My personal jury is still out on some of this post-processing but I do have some successes.

I would dearly like to have enough influence to persuade the camera makers to produce more short macro lenses – and by short I mean focal length. The longer ones are popular for a number of practical reasons but my needs are close to my nose.

The definition of ” macro ” has always hovered around a lens that will produce a 1:1 ratio of subject to the sensor. I say hover because like all technical subjects a degree of fiddling can creep in as soon as the Advertising Department get a whiff of interest from the customers and the science or mathematical specification gets ” bent ” somewhat. I have seen lenses marked as ” macro ” that went no higher than 1:3. Close…closer than the average standard lens, but not close enough for a cigar. If the Advertising Department was imaginative enough they would come up with a new term for the close-up lens that still made it sound desirable but did not bodge the language.

Well, in terms of close-up, the Full Frame digital cameras frequently use 90mm to 105mm to 135mm lenses as their ” macro ” offering. The subject can be kept at a decent distance from the lens and lighting can be poured in upon it. The APS-C cameras can also use these lenses, but see less of the frame. Fortunately the makers also start to reduce the focal lengths – 90mm goes down to 80mm. 60mm is made. 50mm goes down to 40mm. And y favourite independent maker – Tokina – even made a 35mm ” macro ‘ a few years back. Fortunately I purchased one and have been smart enough to keep it even when changing camera systems.

I use APS-C – this lens gives me the equivalent view of a 50mm on a 35mm film camera – and I am happy with it. I note, however, that the usage is via an adapter onto my current APS-C system and I have pure manual operation. It is a slow studio lens.

I was very impressed with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II camera in a recent trial and see that they make a new 30mm ” macro ” for it. This would give an improvement for depth of field while still playing in the almost-standard range. I’ve no money to change systems, so I can only hope that Fujifilm decide to make a short close-up of their own one day.

Or – dare we hope for it – a dedicated closeup 1″ sensor camera with a tilt screen and a really short 16mm fixed prime  ” macro “? And LED lights around the circumference of the lens mount to push light into the field of view. I’d add something like that to the stable straight away.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: