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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 30 Nov 2009 (Monday) 14:15
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Macro photography limits?

 
weeatmice
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Nov 30, 2009 14:15 |  #1

This is a purely interest/hypothetical question, but what are the limits of macro photography? By that I mean what are the limits of magnification that can be achived with a camera and lenses (rather than a microscope).

From what I have read, it seems to be dof or diffraction caused by increasingly tiny apertures. But this does not apply to flat subjects.


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LordV
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Nov 30, 2009 16:17 |  #2

Rather depends on what you mean by lenses. Many people go upto 10to 30X using odd lens setups on long bellows or extension tubes or use microscope objectives mounted onto the camera. This often goes hand in hand with focus stacking to get round the DOF/Diffraction issues.
For normal photography with a lens system you can walk around with then 5X or perhaps 10X (using an MPE-65 with a 2XTC) is probably the limit.
Brian V.


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pharp
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Nov 30, 2009 20:38 |  #3

The physics of visible light determines the absolute limit, see http://northlight-images.co.uk …e_2/Physical_Li​mits_2.pdf (external link) . In practical terms, 40x is probably it. Several manufacturers used to make lenses designed for such [e.g. 16mm Zeiss Luminar (external link), 12.5mm Leica Photar (external link), 19mm macro nikkor (external link), etc.] - all discontinued. Visible light microscopes and then Electron microscopy is used after that to circumvent these problems.




  
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weeatmice
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Dec 02, 2009 18:33 |  #4

Thanks for that, kind of both answers I was looking for.

I'm aware of Airy disks and such and the limits of light microscopy which is one of the reasons this stuff interests me. I was wondering what kind of things can be resolved in a photo as apposed to a (light) micrograph.

Brian, I see you managed to image plant cells :) I suspected this was possible but there arent many examples (yours showed up in a google image search).


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LordV
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Dec 03, 2009 00:42 |  #5

weeatmice wrote in post #9123805 (external link)
Thanks for that, kind of both answers I was looking for.


Brian, I see you managed to image plant cells :) I suspected this was possible but there arent many examples (yours showed up in a google image search).

Yes you can resolve some plant cells at 5:1 (MPE-65) - think this is really the practical limit of a handheld system. I have been playing with a 10X microscope objective mounted on a lens cap on the end of 75mm of ext tubes recently- not suprisingly this is very difficult to use like this but pic of an orchid petal below. Most people would be using rigs at this type of magnification which really look a bit like microscopes lying on their side. So the limit without using a microscope setup is really a handling difficulty one rather than an optical one.

Brian V.

IMAGE: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2666/4126848409_6f3016fd73_o.jpg

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Macro Hints and tips
Canon 600D, 40D, 5D mk2, 7D, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma 105mm OS, Canon MPE-65,18-55 kit lens X2, canon 200mm F2.8 L, Tamron 28-70mm xrdi, Other assorted bits

  
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Macro photography limits?
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