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MP-E 65mm On a 5D Mark II
February 5, 2010 11:30 AM   Subscribe

Macro Kingdom — things that can be done with today's DSLRs and editing software by even you and me.
posted by netbros (27 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very cool.
posted by brundlefly at 11:37 AM on February 5, 2010


Reactions, in order:

1) Yeah, if I have $1000 to spend on a single lens.
2) Wait...is this a viral?
3) These are pretty cool shots, though.
4) But seriously, how often do you have to mention the lens? Gotta be a viral.
5) Sounds from freesound.org? OK, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.
posted by DU at 11:41 AM on February 5, 2010


I thought that was going to be tutorials on how to use cool macros in Photoshop. The images were only somewhat interesting.
posted by HE Amb. T. S. L. DuVal at 11:44 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


1) Yeah, if I have $1000 to spend on a single lens.

If you have two to three grand to drop on a 5D mkii, you had better be able to drop some money on glass or you've just seriously overpaid for a paperweight. Shit ain't cheap, but compared to what it used to cost to get far-lower-quality video recording equipment it's kind of hard not to be impressed by the mkii as a within-mortal-reach platform for DIY HD shooting and it looks fucking gorgeous.
posted by cortex at 11:51 AM on February 5, 2010 [7 favorites]


Eh. Nice, but hardly "risky" or daring photography (in terms of subject impact); simply technically good.

I agree with DU: this requires pricey equipment, not for "you and me" - that implies just about anyone can get into it.

WAAAY cheaper, and (IMO) cooler effects, can be made by buying a cheap, old manual prime lens, reversing it, and hand-holding it in front of your open DSLR camera with a sleeve blocking side light (or building an extension tube). Tutorials: 1 2 3
posted by IAmBroom at 12:01 PM on February 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


it's the one thing about photography and video that drives me nuts. the barrier to entry for shooting passably attractive stuff is often just money. no amount of money spent on equipment will turn you into an award winning photographer or cinematographer, true. but no amount of training will allow you to shoot HD tight focus video without blowing a couple grand.

that said, this video was filled with the kind of attractive macro footage you see in the really pretty title sequences to movies and tv shows. it's pretty impressive he got that quality of work out of such an inexpensive camera.
posted by shmegegge at 12:17 PM on February 5, 2010


WAAAY cheaper, and (IMO) cooler effects,

Cheaper, sure. Cooler? No. Nothing is going to beat a proper macro lens for macro work. I've used a reversed 50mm lens a few times and it's really f'n difficult to get it to work.

it's pretty impressive he got that quality of work out of such an inexpensive camera.

Not so inexpensive, actually, but the 5DII isn't the cheapest way to do it. There are plenty of cheaper Canon bodies do HD video now - the APS-C bodies are just fine for this sort of thing. The viewfinder isn't quite as nice, of course, but whether or not you think the 1.6x crop is a good or bad thing for these applications is entirely personal.

I have an original 5D and while I haven't had a real need to move up to the 5D II, I want one for the video. I didn't think I'd want this feature, but after seeing what people are doing with it I really, really do. 1DMk IV might be where I go next.

I'm wondering what the lighting setups were here. That's the most difficult aspect of macro photography, and why people usually have a ring flash. It's relatively easy to get light for a still shot from a ring flash, but I'm wondering if any of them are suitable for video. I'm not sure that was on Canon's consumer-grade radar until recently.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:29 PM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can rent that lens for about $30/week.
posted by ryanrs at 12:29 PM on February 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


If you're thinking about doing video, the 7D might be a better choice. It's APS-C, but it's also cheaper and does 24fps.
posted by fremen at 12:36 PM on February 5, 2010


but no amount of training will allow you to shoot HD tight focus video without blowing a couple grand.

True, but that's a much lower barrier to entry than even a few years ago. What you can do for $10k today would have required a special-effect studio and monstrously expensive equipment only a decade or two ago; what you can do for $1k and a PC today would have been $10-20k worth of "broadcast quality" gear fifteen years ago; and there's not really any comparison in the past to the cheap-bordering-on-disposable digital palmcorders and cellphone video cameras, which allow almost anyone to record an event in a way that's generally recognizable to a watcher later on.

The barrier is still high compared to photography, but it's the lowest it's ever been and I think it's still getting lower.

The only thing working against this change is heightened expectations in terms of quality. A cheap flash-based camcorder (or even some cellphones) will give you quality comparable to consumer 8mm home movies, but the kind of person who might have been satisfied with that quality in 1960 isn't happy with it today: he wants 720 or 1080p. In a few years, the pros will have moved to 4k, and 1080p will be strictly for shaky handheld video of the kids hugging Mickey at DisneyWorld.

If you pick any particular "quality point," the prices have fallen dramatically. It's just that with video, expectations have kept up with (or ahead of) affordability in a way that wasn't true with audio recording (HD audio never took off like HD video) or still photography.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a strong, singular lust for this lens. I am shooting with the EF-S 60mm Macro, and just thinking about an additional 5x magnification makes me feel funny in my bathing suit areas...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:13 PM on February 5, 2010


True, but that's a much lower barrier to entry than even a few years ago.

absolutely. the frustration for me is that for the same price as the camera, I could purchase for myself everything else I need to edit the shots I have in my head, and publish it web-wise for free. I just can't shoot them, because I don't have the money. and that sucks. even with the considerable difference in price between a 5d Mkii and, say, the lower quality (but more expensive) XLHD1, I still can't shoot. Somewhere in our history we just decided that, everything else be damned, quality cameras and glass will perpetually be the last thing to come into an affordable price range.
posted by shmegegge at 1:15 PM on February 5, 2010


Lenses this precise are often hand-assembled from hand-ground lenses made from lab grown flourite crystals and calibrated by a tech. You can buy cheap lenses, but for this sort of precision, you have to pay for it. I'm sure the market size for such a lens is quite small as well.

More info and sample shots on the MP-E 65 can be found at Luminous Landscape as well.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 1:31 PM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


jimmythefish : I've used a reversed 50mm lens a few times and it's really f'n difficult to get it to work.

You speak the truth. I talked a bit about my experiences with doing this with my 30D in a previous thread.

I want one for the video. I didn't think I'd want this feature, but after seeing what people are doing with it I really, really do.

I know exactly what you mean. I figured it would be a novelty at best, but I keep seeing these unbelievable clips that I'm expecting to have come from a $100,000 studio camera and it turns out to be a guy shooting a 5DmkII with two or three grand worth of different lenses.

"Want" barely covers it.
posted by quin at 1:55 PM on February 5, 2010


Wow, IAmBroom, thanks for those tutorials. The second one made me realize how easy it is to make a reversed lens by putting two lenses together, so I did just that - I taped two manual lenses together (a 135 mm and 50 mm, with the 50 mm reversed) and just spent an hour shooting all kinds of small things and giggling like a schoolgirl. Here's a can of Ilford XP2 Super (well, a fragment of it), here's the head of a ball-point pen, and a coin (all are 100% crops).
posted by daniel_charms at 2:14 PM on February 5, 2010


But how EVIL is it? *he says with a maniacal grin*
posted by zombieApoc at 3:15 PM on February 5, 2010


If you're thinking about doing video, the 7D might be a better choice. It's APS-C, but it's also cheaper and does 24fps.

The 5D Mark II will do 24fps soon, too, and as of today has better audio. The extra "reach" of the crop sensor on the 7D might be useful for macro work, however. The MPE-65mm becomes a 8:1 macro rather than an already absurd 5:1.

*: I have both and prefer my 5D Mark II for video and stills since my wide angle lenses are really wide.
posted by autopilot at 3:45 PM on February 5, 2010


Lenses this precise are often hand-assembled from hand-ground lenses made from lab grown flourite crystals and calibrated by a tech. You can buy cheap lenses, but for this sort of precision, you have to pay for it.

WinnipegDragon, as an optical engineer formerly in charge of a single lens system that cost several thousands of dollars to produce, and required 40th-order aberration error correction...

... I'm going to call "BS" on those claims. The best lenses in the world are made by computer-controlled polishing machines, without exception. Humans aren't precise enough.

Most expensive lenses are hand-assembled. Most expensive lenses are calibrated by a tech. Most long-FL lenses are made from lab grown flourite crystals. None of that is special.

I'm not calling you a liar, but you've bought in to some specious marketing.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:00 PM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Good god, there's a whole lot of photography-knowledge dick-waving happening in this thread! That's all well and good, of course, but I just wanted to thank netbros for the link. The sound editing made it charming, the color choices and subject matter made it pleasant and fascinating, and the creator is obviously enjoying his new toy in a way that I felt his enthusiasm just by watching his video. I wish the pacing was slower, so I would have had more time to appreciate the intricate details in some of the clips, but all together it was a nice, and occasionally inspiring, way to spend two and a half minutes.
posted by Mizu at 11:30 PM on February 5, 2010


Beautiful.
posted by TheSarryHeed at 12:13 AM on February 6, 2010


No idea what you guys are talking about, but that looks pretty cool.
posted by dg at 3:54 AM on February 6, 2010


I'm not calling you a liar, but you've bought in to some specious marketing.

Er, I think you and I are actually agreeing on this with the possible exception of whether the lenses are ground/polished by hand or by machine. My point is that manufacturing a lens like this is time consuming and labour intensive, thus, expensive.

I do know that the elements for the Canon EF 1200mm *are* hand ground, for instance.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 7:44 AM on February 6, 2010


Very nice video, but you can also do this very much on the cheap with a 50mm lens and some Kenko extension tubes. Gives you a little more control than reversing the lens.
posted by phirleh at 8:04 AM on February 6, 2010


I had the Kenko tubes on a nifty fifty, and there is no chance of getting this clarity, magnification and exposure out of that combination. Any dedicated macro is heads and tails better than tubes.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 8:27 AM on February 6, 2010


I do know that the elements for the Canon EF 1200mm *are* hand ground, for instance.
For $120,000 (used), it had better be hand ground by unicorns during a total eclipse at syzygy using pieces of the shroud of Turin and lunar dust abrasive compound.
posted by autopilot at 9:03 AM on February 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yup, the 1200 is a pretty rare bird...
posted by WinnipegDragon at 12:07 PM on February 6, 2010


I do know that the elements for the Canon EF 1200mm *are* hand ground, for instance.

OK, WinnipegDragon, I'll defer to your experience here... but it stuns me. Years ago (1990s) I would tour small optics firms that hand-polished lenses, but even then, aspheres were on the way in, and there's just no comparison in cost effectiveness between hand-monitoring* the planetary polishers, repeatedly rechecking against the desired waveforms, and allowing an automated process to accomplish this. Given 20 years of capital investment, it's hard to imagine why Canon hasn't upgraded those systems.

* AFAIK, "hand-grinds" actually means that a human oversees the polishing machine, adjusting the piece positioning by hand throughout the otherwise-automated process. Precision lenses are polished to within 150 nm or better of the desired form; you simply cannot "hand hold" that sort of precision. OR, maybe that's the problem - what you're referring to as "hand-ground" is what I'd refer to as "computer-controlled, with minimal human interference".

Spherical lenses, which constitute the vast majority of glass lenses made even today*, are also more cheaply made by massive planetary polishing systems with computer control to ensure randomization of the polishing process (which will tend to shape a perfect sphere).

* Even in "aspheric" assemblies, typically only one lens is an asphere, due to their higher cost.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:37 AM on February 7, 2010


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