My Transitional Macro Setup – Switching to DSLR in 2019, Cheap Macro Setup

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 ↓

Canon EOS T6s / 760D – $614.95

Canon EF-S
18-55mm Lens
– $118.99

Extension Tubes, not great – $9.95

Extension Tubes, better – $17.99

58 mm Reverse Ring – $7.95

6″ LED Ring Light – $15.98

Mini Octopus Style Tripod – $7.99

Canon Shutter Release – $8.59

Manual Macro Rail – $11.90

Vacuum Base Vice – $19.98

Helping Hands – $7.99

Flexible Desk Lamp – $13.18

12W LED Light Bulbs – $16.99

Mini Flash Softboxes – $11.19

Product Photo Tent Kit – $12.09

Precision Tweezers Set – $6.99

Tiny Plastic Boxes – $7.55

 

Focus Stacks Done With This Setup

 

 

After using this setup I did switch to using my DSLR camera with a Microscope Objective Lens

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