Many photographers today want to know how to take macro photos thanks to a growing number of beautiful online images of small plants, animals, and insects.
Macro photography isn’t always easy, especially for beginners, but it’s one of the most rewarding genres of photography you can do. In addition to developing the skills to take these images, it is also important to have the necessary equipment. The stacking of the focus could be done manually, but also by a automated rail.
What is macro photography?
While there are many technical definitions of what constitutes a macro image, the simplest explanation is as follows. Macro photography is the art of making small things look big. You can do this by getting very close to your subject or by taking a telephoto lens and zooming in.
The correct definition for macro photography is an image whose subject is reproduced at least 1: 1. This means that the image on the camera sensor or the film plate is the same size or even larger than the real subject.
Depth of field for close-ups
With non-macro photography, your subject is not that close to your camera – maybe 5 or 6 meters, or even the horizon. At these distances, a normal aperture of f / 8 or f / 11 will usually render a sharp scene from front to back (apart from extreme telephoto shots, as telephoto images have a shallower depth of field).
Macro photography is different. Of course, when you take close-ups, you have a very shallow depth of field, even at small f-stops. At a magnification of 1: 1, your depth of field can be so small that the head and feet of a fly do not appear sharp at the same time, even though they are only millimeters apart! At magnifications greater than life size, the depth of field is very shallow, so you have to combine a large number of images to get everything in focus.
Automated focus stacking against macro rail
The problem with a macro focus brace is that it does nothing to combat the biggest complication in engineering: human error.
A macro focus rail requires the photographer to physically touch the rail (which is attached to the camera), creating the possibility of camera movement or misalignment. It also depends on the photographer’s estimate how far the knob needs to be turned between shots. The process is very imprecise and slow.
A macro focus rail has a motor and is controlled remotely. This removes much of the human error mentioned earlier. The photographer uses this device to program the starting point and the stopping point and decide how many pictures should be taken between these two points. The device automatically divides the distance into equal movements and does all the work for you. The setup is fully customizable.
In the market for electronic stages for stacking macro focus, the bar is set very high by Cognisys or MJKZZ. However, for almost five years there has been a new player that offers respectable quality at a lower price: WeMacro Focus stacking rail.
The WeMacro rail is a motorized macro rail and a camera shutter release. Once a shot is set up, you can press start and walk away. When you come back you can stack pictures.
1. Build quality & design
Black anodized aluminum is screwed together to form the frame. The machining of the aluminum parts is of acceptable quality. The linear screw and rails are of higher quality and free of defects. The device has a step accuracy of 1um.
Weighing 1.3 kg plus the weight of the camera and lens, equipment is required that can support that weight. Assembly shouldn’t be a problem as the underside of the rail has an Arca Swiss profile that can be clamped in place. Additionally there are a number of 1/4 “and 3/8” holes that alternate between thread and thread.
The WeMacro device has a minimum step size of 1 µ and, according to the manufacturer, can carry a load of 3 kg with a 12 V power supply unit. The motor that drives the WeMacro unit is a 47mm deep NEMA 17 motor with 5mm shaft size, and the threads on the rail screw shaft are very fine (1mm thread pitch – 10 turns gives 10mm of travel). The stepper has 200 steps per revolution (1.8 degrees per step), and the full motor step means 1000 microns / 200 = 5 microns movement; This includes 5 / 0.3125 = 16 microsteps. The motor is bipolar: 2 phases and 4 wires.
The splint can be controlled with a phone (iOS or Android) or tablet via Bluetooth, connected to a Windows or Mac computer and also synchronized with the Helicon focus. The WeMacro Android app must be downloaded from the WeMacro website. When the splint is switched on, the app automatically connects via Bluetooth.
4th Working outside
According to the manufacturer, the WeMacro stage can be operated on site with a 12 V lithium battery or a lead-acid battery that can deliver a current of around 2 amps (especially a DC cable with a 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm plug and positive pole inside). .
WeMacro runs in one of two modes: a fast “mm“Mode or a shorter”micron”Mode, which probably corresponds to step and microstep. The fast one “mmThe mode is fast and brash, moving 50mm in 17 seconds. The “micronThe mode is also fast, but very short.
- WeMacro rail
- Control box (built-in bluetooth)
- power adapter
- USB cable (approx. 1.5 m)
- Stepper motor cable (approx. 1 m)
- Lock extension cable (approx. 1.5 m)
- Release cable
- A 1/4 inch bolt for the camera
- A sample holder (Easy adjustment of the sample, 1 / 4-20 thread in the nut, easy to install on other devices.)
- A quick release clamp on the rail
In the worlds of Alec S.,
“We recently came across WeMacro products and just got excited about what they offer. It’s a simple plug and play solution. Easy to set up, easy to use. Very impressive manual with a very detailed description of the installation and software configuration. It only took me an hour to find out everything. Aside from Macro Rail itself, there is an amazing kit called the Raynox DCR 150 tube lens. I’ve spent tons of time researching the subject of using a microscope lens with DSLR cameras. And it’s not easy! It is good to try experimenting with different lenses and adapters, and to try different ways of doing the macro.
Basically, this tubular lens kit eliminates the hassle of doing too much research and unsuccessful experimentation with all of those ring adapters, etc. It’s already done for you. You are basically buying a macro kit that is well thought out and ready to go out of the box. Just mount it on your camera and off you go. Just focus on your photography instead of dealing with all the headaches of how to properly manage all of the hardware
Mount your favorite microscope lens and enjoy the magic! The build quality and general craftsmanship are surprisingly top notch. I couldn’t believe such devices were available at such an affordable price. “
Example of compatible gear
Macro photography via this automated rail could offer many equipment options for extreme close-up photography, such as the equipment Alec S. uses to create all of the images for this item:
- Nikon Z6
- Nikkor EL 50mm reversed
- Raynox 150
- Kenko extension tubes
- Viltrox L116T LED light
- Helicon Focus (stacking photos)