I’ve been shooting a lot of macro photos since my last post on this topic. Most of the time – almost exclusively, actually – I’ve used my Nikon 1 V1 and 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6, with or without achromatic close-up lenses. You don’t really need a close-up lens or a real macro lens for larger insects like damselflies or dragonflies. The following photos were captured without a close-up lens and show how close you can get to your macro subject with just the 30-110mm.
Note: Click on any of the following photos to view it large.
In case you want to shoot a portrait-style macro shot of a damselfly, a dragonfly or a butterfly you really need either one or even two close-up lenses or alternatively sufficiently long extension tubes. My preferred combo for portraits of damselflies is the 30-110mm and the Marumi DGH200 +5.
This combo is also very good for other, smaller insects, like smaller grasshoppers. Magnification ratio is sufficient for full-body shots.
If I want to capture an entire damselfly or a butterfly with the Marumi attached, I reduce the magnification ratio by zooming out. The effect of a close-up lens is less pronounced at shorter focal lengths.
If I shoot even smaller insects I attach my Raynox DCR-250 on top of the Marumi. This is more than enough magnification for most macro subjects – even for capturing insects as small as aphids.
This is the point where a macro photographer needs to start thinking about advanced macro techniques, such as focus stacking, because of extremely thin depth of field. You can stop down only so much, before your photos end up being soft due to diffraction. As you can see the photo of the aphid was taken at f/8, which is around f/22 on full frame. Despite this depth of filed is razor-thin. I wouldn’t recommend stopping down any further, because this is already well inside diffraction territory. The only way out is to start experimenting with focus stacking. And I’ve been putting off doing it for a very long time.
You can find a lot more of my 30-110mm shots in this Flickr set.
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