Taking really sharp macro shots

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Taking really sharp macro shots

Close, closer, macro! Tamron has two lenses for ambitious photographers to discover the magic of macrophotography. Both offer maximum magnification of 1:1, meaning you can capture your subjects in their original size.

While the brightest SP 60-mm F/2.0 Di II is particularly good for general close-ups of plants and products, the greater shooting distance offered by the SP 90-mm F/2.8 Di VC also allows you to snap things like timid insects on flowers.

In any case, the most important thing is perfect focus!

Unfortunately, this is not always easy to achieve, because the greater the magnification and the finer the details, the more likely you are to experience camera shake and blurriness. But don’t worry. Below are a few tricks which will allow you to take sharp macro shots in any situation.

  1. Use the image stabiliser
    If you’re using a 90-mm lens without a tripod, always turn the image stabiliser on. This will reduce shake, and will also ensure sharp, in-focus images even in low light.

  2. Select a short shutter speed
    If you’re not using a tripod, the shutter speed should at least match the inverse value of the focal distance, i.e. 1/60 sec for 60 mm, and therefore 1/100 sec for 90 mm – or preferably even shorter. If you use the macro lenses on an SLR camera with APS-C sensor, you will be able to extend the focal distances. The 60-mm becomes almost a 90-mm lens, and the 90-mm a 135-mm lens. Bear this in mind when choosing the shutter speed, which should be appropriately shorter.

  3. Shooting with a tripod
    A tripod is highly recommended when taking macro shots. You can compose the image more consciously, and focus it precisely. Longer shutter speeds can also be used without any problem. Tripods with a tiltable middle leg are ideal, as you can position the camera very flexibly, even close to the ground. But please note: When working with a tripod, turn the image stabiliser off!

  4. Use a remote release
    Even just pressing on the shutter release can cause the camera to shake slightly during exposure, creating image blur. This problem can be avoided by using a cable or remote release. When enlarged later on, you will see that the images are much sharper. Alternatively, you can use the timer release for stationary subjects. Set it to 10 seconds, so the vibrations caused by the release subside before exposure.

  5. Turn on the mirror lockup If you want total sharpness, you can also activate the camera’s mirror lockup. You now have to press the release twice to start exposure. The advantage of this is that the mirror still clicks on the first press. Wait a few seconds until the resulting vibrations inside the camera have subsided. Only open the shutter for exposure when you press down the second time. The mirror lockup is of course only effective when combined with a remote release.

With these tricks, you’ll soon be taking beautifully sharp macro shots. Try out the different approaches for yourself, and compare the results in the enlarged images on your screen. You’ll be surprised at how the sharpness varies across the different shots.

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