Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Testing a 10X macro lens filter

The Olympus C-770 Ultra Zoom camera already has good macro capability, so there is no need for anything to help with that. However, experiments with a magnifying glass showed an interesting possibility for macro photography with zoom, and the 10X filter was very inexpensive at after the 2015 holiday $3 off $6 gift card.

Here's an nRF24L01+ module with C-770 super macro mode, without the macro lens filter. This is as close as I could get.
The 10x Macro lens filter allowed me to get a bit closer. It's a very slight improvement in macro capability, with a corresponding decrease in depth of field. Image quality degradation from the filter is minimal.
Using maximum zoom, it's possible to get even more magnification. There is significant image quality degradation, but you still get to see a lot more detail. You can see individual strokes of the laser engraving of the frequency on the crystal.

Taking these kinds of pictures required manual focus. Both the depth of field and the range of focus adjustment are very limited. It's easiest to set a specific focus, and then move the camera to optimize sharpness. The camera's focus adjustment would probably come in handy for focus stacking if it was mounted securely. 

For best magnification, I set the focus to the closest possible position. Due to the 10x macro lens filter, the actual camera distance is nice. It's not too close, allowing for good lighting, and not too far either.

I got the best sharpness at f/8. It seemed to minimize the hazy blurring seen in the above photos. It required good lighting to prevent blur from camera shake, but that's easy when the camera doesn't need to be too close to the subject.

With a more open aperture, there was an increase in blur when I half-pressed the shutter button, and f/8 decreased that. I nevertheless made my final focus adjustments with the shutter button half pressed.

This is a vacuum fluorescent display (VFD). You can see the cathode filaments which heat up and emit electrons, control grids used for multiplexing, and the anodes below them, which light up when electrons hit them.
This is an MC68705P3S microcontroller. The chip has a window because the program is stored in EPROM, which is erased by ultra-violet light.

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