Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Macro Mania--taking pictures of those tiny parts!

I'm still waiting for various parts to show up for different builds so I had a bit of time to revisit my basic photography setup....

I currently use a Nikon D40 with add on 600 and 800 flash units. A pretty simple setup, and I've always used the AF lens that came "stock" with the D40....

However with this setup I've never really been happy taking Macro shots with this rig. Even with autofocus turned off the D40's "stock" macro settings still leave a bit to be desired, and for taking pictures of itty-bitty model parts it didn't always get it done.


Ebay to the rescue! I read that the D40 takes older Nikkor lenses, as long as you're willing to set all the settings (Fstop, focus, lighting) manually. Well, from what I've read about macro photography you probably need to do that anyway, so there's no point in getting some uber-expensive auto lens for this as I see it....and you can get these old Nikkor lenses used for cheap, cheap, CHEAP!!!

The lens I ended up getting was a Nikkor AI F3.5 55mm. From my reading, this is/was a top notch lens, one that in its day (and even now) other lenses are compared to. I won't say what I paid, but believe me, compared to what the uber computerized-auto-everything macro lenses can set you back, this lens was PEANUTS.



It was a bit baffling getting this lens to work at all--but I found that once I set the camera to "M" (it's what Nikon calls a "pre CPU lens" so you have to set everything to manual--doh!) it would take basic pix....like this 1:25 scale battery. Out of focus a bit....but this is about 20 seconds of setup, no tripod, and me shaking a bit having just consumed a Snickers bar....



There was an old AA battery on my work bench, I just snapped a close up and this is what I got--again, no tripod or any lighting other than what's on my bench. Not too bad.....



....or the logo to a toothpick box...again, no tripod....the focus is a tiny bit out.



OK, after a bit of setup (not much)--mostly screwing with lighting, and using a tripod, I found I could get SUPER close up shots--like this tranny. This was after say 3 minutes of setup....


.
Another 3 minutes for the lugs nuts on this cool old wheel.

It's a school night so I didn't mess around with this lens as much as I could of--and will. But for a few minutes of setup I am really pleased with this purchase! Hours of fun!!!