When I first started doing focus stacking macro photography, I was using my smartphone.
I have a blog post where you can see all the details about my setup in 2016.
In 2017 I stopped doing macro photography because I didn’t have the time, I didn’t have the right place for my setup, I have already reached the limits of my previous setup and also I was fed up dealing with people that are against photographing dead insects.
Macro photography is not all about photographing bugs, but they are a very popular subject for macro and even though focus stacking macro photography of insects has been around for a while, some people are not ok with it…
Eventhough I wasn’t actively doing macro I was still looking up ways to attach a microscope objective to one of my DSLR cameras. The idea of getting higher magnification and better quality images has always been tempting to me.
But I wasn’t sure if it’s worth it, spending money for a DSLR macro setup, I was still sort of convinced that I must spend a lot of money and once again I realized that this is not true – If you look hard enough you can find many affordable options.
In 2019 I slowly started making my way back, I got my phone out again,
I got my little white IKEA table and I started doing simple stacks.
It didn’t take long before I decided that it’s time to try one of my DSLR cameras.
Of course I needed to get some accessories like – macro rail, extension tubes, reverse ring, LED lights.
There are three types of macro rails that I know about – digital, electrically controlled / motorized and manual.
With my smartphone I was using a digital rail.
I did notice that electrically controlled macro rails can be super expensive, and maybe for some people it makes sense to get one of them… but I wasn’t interested… First of all I cannot afford one and second – it really isn’t a wise purchase for me.
I got a manual rail, and for a little while I had my camera and the rail on a tripod…
I was used to the tripod because of my previous experience with the smartphone…
However – manual macro rail on a tripod is not a good option for DSLR camera.
This assembly is just not secure enough and not sturdy enough.
My camera was shaking a bit too much – no matter how gently I was handling everything.
I had to think of something else.
Motorized rail, as I said was out of the question (and still is) so I had to get creative. I found a great solution – on a budget 🙂
Watch my video if you want to see what I came up with and if you want to know more about my transitional macro setup.
I had the 58mm reverse ring and later on I bought a 52mm reverse ring to try with some of the other lenses I have.
I tried them with and without the extension tubes.
Here are some of the lenses I tested:
- 18-15mm Canon kit lens
- 24mm Canon prime ‘pancake’ lens
- 50mm Yongnuo ‘nifty fifty’ prime lens
- 55-250mm Canon lens
I might have tried few more but I don’t remember right now.
Soon enough I found out that with wider angle lenses I get greater magnification.
More about Measuring magnification in camera.
In terms of quality – I didn’t see any difference between using a prime lens or a zoom lens.
Mentioned products ↓
Focus Stacks Done With This Setup
After using this setup I did switch to using my DSLR camera with a Microscope Objective Lens