Today I got a new package with something in it that I wanted since I started taking pictures in the 80s, a bellow used for macro photography. It’s something about the mechanical nature of it, the wheels that move the lens and the idea that you can get really close. So as every child does I ripped it out of the package, mounted my new Industar 50mm lens on it and went outside to try it out. But I first had to slow myself down and find a solution to get enough light so far from the flash mount on the camera and close to the front of the lens. I choose to use the little flash (EF-X8) that came with the X-T1 and use it as a commander together with the Yongnuo flash in slave mode. For now I have nothing to mount it so I used it handheld and pointed the flash in the right direction when needed. There was almost no wind so I decided to use my tripod, I wanted to take pictures of little bugs and plans and not from some fixed objects. But as most of the time when hunting for little bugs the tripod is a nuisance and there was almost no wind but there was still some movement and when you get so close the bugs move from one side of the viewfinder to the other, a tripod is useless in these circumstances. So I shot handheld and with my left hand I also held the flash in such a way that it illuminated the subject. It is not an ideal situation but parts of the pictures are sharp so it’s more a matter of finding the right angels so that the (really shallow) depth of field is used as best as possible. I had the aperture set at f5.6 with the shutter at the flash sync speed of 180/s, the ISO was set at 400 and the flash strength between 1/4 and 1/16 but holding the flash at the right distance was more important than the flash strength.
Today I used four different lenses to shoot insects. I used a flash for some extra light even though It was a sunny day. I shot at ISO 400 and an aperture of f1, I had to adjust the flash strength when I moved into the shade but for the rest I didn’t change settings. I also used a small and lightweight tripod for some extra stabilization.
Today I used the Mir-1b with a 12mm extension tube to see how it goes as a macro lens. The first thing I have to say is that even with my smallest extension tube you get really close with this lens. This is no problem if you want to take pictures of small flowers, they can not be bigger than 5 or 6 cm if you want to fill the frame but taking pictures of insect is more of a challenge because you have to get so close. The quality of the pictures is not bad but it is not as sharp as my dedicated macro lenses. I like the flower pictures, but even with f11 there is not mush in focus, as expected.
I bought a cheap reflector for my large flash on E-bay. It focuses the light straight forward or down if you want to. There are three reflective surfaces to choose from, i choose the gold one. It was sunny and with the shutter on 180/s and the lens closed down to f8.0 or f11 I didn’t need a flash but It provided some subtle light. I have to use it more but for 6 dollar you can’t go wrong.
The pictures are edited in Dark table, I did some extra sharpening and some levels but not much more.
Today i replaced the 36mm extension tube for a 12mm one and a flash for the LED ring light. The flash i use is a Yongnuo speedlite YN560 , a relatively cheap flash that works really good. On the Fuji i use it in manual mode whereby you can sett the strength relatively easy. You can also manually zoom it if you want, I put it in the widest setting and pointed it up and attache a peace of A4 paper as a reflector. I need to do this because I want to shoot close to the front of the lens and the flash can not be pointed that low. But reflecting the light via a peace of white paper also disperse the light more and can crate the effect of a sunny overcast.
The shutter was set to 1/250s because i like to shoot without tripod and with the 50mm lens you don’t have to worry to mush. I like to use the view finder and push it against my eye to stabilize the camera even more, your eyes is then like a third arm. If I use the back screen i I like to use the strep from the camera that hangs around my neck as a stabilizer by stretching my arms and put tension on it. I played a little withe the aperture settings, I used settings between 1.8 and 5.6 and I also changed the strength of the flash, most of the time the flash was at its weakest (1∕128) setting.