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Makrokoltsa – article from Radozhiva

What are macro rings are ordinary hollow tubes that change the working length of your lens. That is, it’s just a tube that is placed between the lens and the camera.

How they work – imagine that you are focusing on a fixed lens, one of the old ones, where the entire lens unit (all lenses) goes when focusing, you twist the focus, all lenses go slowly (the trunk of the lens lengthens), leave and leave as far as the design allows you lens. But the focus is spinning to a certain value and in order to draw out (push back) we add rings even more. Of course, in modern lenses, focusing sometimes happens differently, because the explanations are given just for example.

For whom will it be useful to use macro rings?

First, I meet a lot of people who want to do macro photography, but from my own experience I know that this is not an easy thing, which requires a lot of patience, the ability to handle photo equipment and a lot of effort. Therefore, in order not to spend your money on the purchase of an expensive macro lens without full confidence in the need and desire to shoot the macro, there is a cheap alternative in the form of macro rings. Macro-rings will give a taste of all the charm and complexity of macro photography and will allow you to make the right decisions about whether you need to do macro shooting, or is it just a fleeting desire.

When using a macro-ring, it is important to know that

The length of the macro-ring affects the focusing distance; the longer the macro-ring (or their group), the greater the increase in such a bunch. Macro rings usually consist of 3-6 pieces, depending on the desired approximation they are added to each other, thus making the increase we need.
You can focus just like a regular lens, but it is much easier and faster to move the unit back and forth.
Decreases the actual value of the aperture. By the way, even when focusing from infinity to the minimum distance at which the lens can focus – the aperture value also changes, but not significantly. Although there used to be lenses, when focusing on which the slider showed the real value of the aperture.
As with ordinary macro, to increase the depth of field, close the aperture, and do it thoroughly before F16-F36 to get the whole macro object sharp. In this case, the shutter speed will be greatly increased, or it will be necessary to increase the ISO, therefore, when shooting a macro flash, the main assistant to the photographer. Ideally, for a macro it would not be bad if the photographer had portable miniature nuclear explosions to illuminate the object, but this is a joke from a number of fiction.

Modern macro rings can be with microprocessor contacts, that is, transfer control from camera to lens as well as normal – without any contacts, so often when using a macro ring you will have to do everything in manual mode. If you use rings without contacts, then a lens that has the ability to control aperture is best suited. New lenses with internal control of the aperture will not allow conveniently working with macro-rings without contacts.

For the examples in this article, I used old metal macro rings, which do not support automatic focusing and data transfer from the lens to the camera and vice versa. My rings consist of 8 elements and have an impressive weight. The photos in the article were made with their help, as well as with the lens of Industar-61 LZ MS 50mm F2.8.

Advantages when using macro-rings:

The relative cheapness of the rings, you can find very cheap options.
No need to buy a special macro lens, which is very expensive. For example, the cheapest macro lens for Nikon is Nikon 60mm f / 2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor, which now costs around 500 USD. The new Nikon 40mm f / 2.8 AF-S Micro-Nikkor will probably not be cheap either.
Easy to install, just add the rings between the camera and the lens and start shooting.
You can squeeze a good macro from almost any lens.
Normal picture quality, which may be fraught with a picture from modern specialized lenses.
The ability to shoot super-macro in a ratio greater than 1 to 1. If we apply the rings to a macro lens, you can get something like a microscope.
Photo using macro-ring. Plants
Photo using macro-ring. Plants

Disadvantages (depending on the type of macro-rings):

For some cameras, there may be no aft focus when using rings.
Cheap rings do not have contacts for transferring data from the camera to the lens and vice versa. In this case, the possibility of exponometry may be lost.

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