Guide Journal

Macro with a Cheap, Light-weight Setup

20 July 2012
My camera was in the service centre to check on a little glitch, so I had the opportunity to experiment with a light-weight setup using my older camera – Nikon D80 with 50mm and an extension tube set. Actually, I hate to hear comments like “your camera must be very expensive!”… so this will be a cheaper option that I will use occasionally. 😛

As this was meant to be light-weight, I did away with all external flashes and used just the onboard flash, diffused by a flimsy piece of foam wrapper.

Cheap and Light Macro Setup
The results were not too bad, though there could be some improvement! Generally a good working distance is required for an evenly lighted subject. When the lens is too close, a lot of light is blocked by the lens itself. Also, with this diffuser, it is almost impossible to see the subject so I had to move my camera away if I wanted to see where the subject ran to!

Sample Shot of Flipside 200 - DSC_7093#1 Before starting out, I did a test shot on my bag. Never knew that it looked so complex inside the puffy exterior!

Darkling Beetle? - DSC_7098#2 Found a little beetle to try on! Light was well diffused, but as expected, such views would lead to darker parts at the bottom

Snail - DSC_7099#3 Victor was also testing his micro 4/3 setup on this snail and I joined in as well. Problem with extension tubes is… the narrow range of focusing distance. This was at the maximum focusing distance, I couldn’t zoom out any further.

Mangrove Longhorn Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) - DSC_7100#4 Found a common longhorned beetle to try on!

Mangrove Longhorn Beetle (Aeolesthes holosericeus) - DSC_7103#5 Traditional face shot

DSC_7106#6 Cute little planthopper, like a pill

DSC_7110#7 Going closer with the full set of extension tubes, but the DOF was extremely thin!

DSC_7111#8 View from the front was very cute as well. 🙂

Cricket - DSC_7112#9 Still fiddling around with the lighting, so I shot everything I saw

Derbid Planthopper (Derbidae) - DSC_7114#10 Derbid planthopper

Derbid Planthopper (Derbidae) - DSC_7118#11 Side view of the little fella

Mating Darkling Beetles (Tenebrionidae) - DSC_7119#12 Found the perfect subjects to test my lighting! A pair of ultra-reflective beetles… mating?

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_7128#13 Juvenile Huntsman Spider

Mosquito? - DSC_7131#14 Mosquito?

Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae) - DSC_7135#15 A tiny little velvet mite that stood still for a moment, long enough for me to steal a shot here

Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae) - DSC_7140#16 Ran onto a leaf and posed again

Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae) - DSC_7149#17 Shot from the other side

Velvet Mite (Trombidiidae) - DSC_7151#18 Couldn’t help shooting from all angles as these little velvet mites hardly ever stop running!

Giant forest ant (Camponotus gigas?) - DSC_7153#19 Close up of a forest ant. The lens was too close to the subject, so the front was not lighted up well.

Pseudoscorpion - DSC_7166#20 Found lots of Pseudoscorpions on the wooden railings too

Four-lined Tree Frog (Polypedates leucomystax) - DSC_7168#21 Walked down to the stream and found some sleepy amphibians – probably a Four-lined Tree Frog

Weevil (Curculionoidea) - DSC_7170#22 Maroon coloured weevil

Deaf Leaf Grasshopper - DSC_7181#23 While we were resting at the park entrance, I saw this little dead-leaf grasshopper

Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_7185#24 Also found a tiny jumping spider (Salticidae)

Jumping Spider (Salticidae) - DSC_7188#25 It turned around to reveal a super cute, bulging pair of eyes!

The complete album can be viewed here.



Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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