Sunday, July 1, 2007

Shooting with an MPE-65mm macro lens

The MPE-65 does not really have a focus ring -it is always focused at maximum magnification. No auto focus either -the focus indicators in the view finder don't work as well. So you have to be good at focusing the scene with nothing to aid you other than the image you see in the view finder. I try to key off of textures like hair, scales, etc. If you are using a standard macro lens now then get use to focusing it without using the focus indicators in the view finder -it will make moving to the MPE-65 a lot easier.

There is a ring on the lens that controls a variable length extension tube, and as you turn it you can go from life size to five times life size and every magnification in between. So you will only be shooting macro with it -not possible to get a shot with a lower magnification than life size.

The advantages: No need to add or subtract anything from the lens -to adjust the magnification you just turn a ring. If you've ever juggled a lens and tubes out in the field you'll understand how easy it is for the MPE to spoil you!

Image quality is on par with "L" glass -I do very little editing and I can get the colors to "pop". As an example I opened the RAW file for this shot of a dragonfly in Elements 5's RAW editor but made no changes, then went into Elements and removed sensor noise, auto adjusted levels, and bumped the highlights by 5%, and removed a few dust spots. Saved the file and uploaded it to Flickr. Total time in post processing was less than two minutes -if it were not for the dust spots I wouldn't even bother shooting RAW...

The downside to every macro lens is the working distance. I wish the MPE had more, but I could say that about every macro lens. It's not about getting close to the critters -I can do that no matter what I'm shooting with. But it's nice to have a lot of room to maneuver when I'm trying to compose a shot. The dragonfly is one of two frames I took at 5x. The working distance is 1.6" from the lens -less if you subtract the MT-24EX macro flash. If you shoot above life size and enjoy it then the MPE-65 is worth the money. But, like me, you'll find yourself wanting a solution for closeup photography...
Post a Comment