My Focus Stacking Macro Setup in 2016

In this post I want to talk about my setup for focus stacking macro photography,
which is completely different than the usual setup and equipment I use
for all the other genres of photography that I do.

I love macro photography but unfortunately I don’t earn money doing macro photography.
I earn money working with clients, doing events or private photoshoots.

This is one of the major reasons why I chose not to invest too much in my macro photography equipment.
Also – I kinda like challenges πŸ™‚ and working with what I have is yes, definitely more challenging.

When I started doing macro photography I was using a smartphone πŸ™‚

Here is the setup I had –

Estee White Photography

My Macro Setup in 2016

At first I started experimenting doing macro with my Samsung Galaxy S5 and I just got one of those phone lenses that are a set of 3 (macro, wide angle & fish eye).

That wasn’t ideal of course but it did give me a good sense of what to expect and for learning purposes it worked ok.

As soon as I had the chance – I got a better phone. I did a research, looked at what others are using, asked around and I chose to get the Huawei P9.

I saw some great reviews of that phone and it was available at my local phone operator so I got it on a nice payment plan.

One great feature is that I could snap the photos and change the focal plane using the headphones πŸ™‚

Before the Huawei P9 I was using an iPhone 6 so the switch from iOS to Android wasn’t too easy but… iPhone cameras are dreadful… sorry but they are…

After I got the phone I needed to get some lights.

I spoke to few people and ordered few things and I made this diy ring light using LED light strips with already attached power supply and an old CD case.

I rapped some paper around it to diffuse & dim the lights a bit.

I got one meter light strip, which unfortunately was a bit shorter than what I actually needed… at least I know what to order next time πŸ™‚

from LED Light Strip and CD Case

DIY LED Ring Light

Then it was time to get a better lens for my phone, so got a recommendation to get this one –

Apexel 12/24X Macro Lens for Smartphone

and I believe this stack was done with it –

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Focus Stacked Macro of a Beetle

The results are ok and this lens is definitely a good one to use with slightly larger insects.

But I wanted more magnification… so after some more research and after talking to few more people I figured that the best thing that I can do is to take an old camera apart and use a specific part of it’s lens.

Of course I found a somewhat old camera that I no longer needed and I started taking it apart…. This was not easy and I had to be so careful… Here is what is left from that camera –

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Old Camera Parts

I was able to get out the part that I needed… eventually… and here is my ‘DIY’ macro lens –

‘DIY’ Macro Lens

Here is a comparison between the two lenses I used ⬇️

Macro Photos Comparison | Estee White Photography

I had my phone on a tripod using a top part of a selfie stick.

As I mentioned above I was taking the photos and adjusting the focus using my headphones – that helps minimizing movements which is essential for focus stacking.

I used a make up sponge to hold the pin with the specimen – yep few girly things were present in my setup πŸ˜‰

The subject in this photo is a Brown Stink Bug and you can see the ready photo HERE

I want to say special thank you to:

They have all helped me along the way and I am really grateful πŸ™‚

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