Sometimes, however, I like to break the mold and move into some more innovative ways of shooting close-ups. The procedure is simple, but the results can often be visually interesting and, for me, more exciting creatively.
For the second part of the equation I add either close-up filters (+1, +2, or +4), or to get even closer I switch to extension tubes. One other advantage to extension tubes is that they do not add an any extra glass into the optical path. as a close-up filter does. That said, sometimes the edge softening of the close-up filters adds something creatively soft to the image. So I choose my close-up attachments according to the effect I want to achieve.
|Here is my basic close-up kit, a Fiji X-E1 with 35mm f/1.4 Fuji lens used with an extension tube or close-up filter. With this system auto-focus and is still possible with the Fuji X camera.|
|Here is a set of Fotga extension tubes I have been using, one 10mm, the other 16mm in length. They are pinned to transfer information between the lens and camera so auto-focus is possible with them. I found this set on eBay, but they are also available on Amazon. They are made in China, and with many of the adapters I have used from there, the quality control may not be up to exacting standards. The pins on the set I have do not always line up properly. Usually, a little jiggling realigns them and I am on my way without much of a hassle.|
Addendum: Some readers have reported the same problem I had with some Fotga adapters being too tight in their fit to the camera body. I tried loosening the four adapter mount screws by a half turn and found that this did the trick. It allowed the lens pass-through pins to be just a bit farther away from the camera body.
|There are plenty of close-up filters available, many of them coming in sets like with one from Hoya containing a +1, +2, and +4 lens. They can also be combined for further magnification, but doing so begins to degrade image quality. Sometimes, though, this sort of softening is just what I'm after. The Fuji 35mm takes a 52mm filter. If you also want to use the filters on another lens, you can get them in a larger size and use a step up ring to adapt them down to the 35mm lens size.|
|This photo was taken with a +2 filter added to the Fuji 35mm lens. The glass globe was lit with a single tungsten light from behind. I also placed a plexiglas prism in front of the lens to create some extra blur at the bottom.|
|This photo of a glass with white wine was also taken with the +2 close-up filter on the 35mm lens. In all these examples the aperture was left wide open at f/1.4.|
|This close-up photo of an early Leica camera was taken with the 10mm Fotga extension tube mounted between the lens and camera. Lack of optical elements results in a very sharp image, even when used at f/1.4 as it was here.|
|Close-up of an old type writer key also taken with the 10mm extension tube and f/1.4 aperture.|
|This is very typical of the softness effect that often occurs with the higher magnification close-up filters -- in this case a +4 -- used with a wide aperture lens setting.|