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Macro Lens from a Pringles Can

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the things-that-bear-closer-scrutiny dept.

Hardware Hacking 241

isharq writes "In a cool little feat of extremely low-tech hardware hacking, Photocritic has created a macro lens out of a Pringles can. According to the article: "with less than £1 worth of equipment, a little bit of sweat and tears, you can build yourself a surprisingly good macro lens". The results are astonishing."

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241 comments

The results are astonishing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239831)

And the chips aren't half-bad either.

Re:The results are astonishing (1)

XzeroR3 (774011) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240030)

And the chips aren't half-bad either.

From the crumbs you make a "microchip" which helps with the zoom functions.

Re:The results are astonishing (3, Insightful)

Golias (176380) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240376)

Astonishing indeed.

NEWS FLASH: Hallow tube may be used to do the job of... a hallow tube.

Next on Slashdot: Make a crude beer stein out of an ordinary measuring cup!

(Insert oblig. "hacking is way cooler than just BUYING a beer stein like the rest of the sheep!!!1! It's about the JOURNEY d00d!!" comment in response to howls of laughter over such a useless activity.)

It doesn't seem like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239837)

Linux is any good.

Wrong. (5, Funny)

mrtroy (640746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239838)

Don't piss in my ear and tell me its raining!

Next, you are going to tell me that you can make some sort of 802.11 antenna with a pringles can.

And whats with this "do it yourself" building projects? My fingers are too greasy and fat to perform such feats.

Re: was the pringles can in english or spanish? (-1, Offtopic)

passingNotes.com (936024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239869)

and did you know that like a tennis ball canister, you can also fart into a pringles can and then leave it in there for some lucky soul to open up later on? i think that's a more promising application.

Yagi antenna using a Pringles can... (1, Informative)

MillenneumMan (932804) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239941)

Robert Cringely did just that; see the following link:

http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit20020207. html [pbs.org]

Re: yagi with pringles can (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240127)

The pringles can was a reflector being used with a yagi in that design, though I'm thinking it might be possible to make a periodic array out of pringles can snippings

Re:Yagi antenna using a Pringles can... (0, Offtopic)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240232)

Uh, you realize the grandparent was a joke, right? Not the first case of a slashdot geek not getting a joke, and admittedly, not as bad as this one [slashdot.org] .

What happened... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239848)

... to the magnetic north story?

Re:What happened... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240241)

Well sure, this was offtopic.

But there was a 'shift in magnetic north' story on the front page which then got replaced by this one.

I'm not a subscriber so it was released to the front page when I saw it, and when I refreshed a few minutes later it had been replaced by this one.

And personally I think that story was more interesting than pringles can hacks...

Hmmmm ..... (4, Funny)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239851)

Maybe they should have taken the money they saved on their macro lens and upgraded their server/connection.

Their server seems to have been reduced to rubble. Anyone got a mirror?

Re:Hmmmm ..... (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240024)

Yeah really. It was Slashdotted before there were any posts on the article, I think. Is that a record?

The Coral Cache seems to be working okay. Some of the photos seem to be missing, though, and the background is a little messed up (although perhaps it's that way on the 'real' site also). Link for the lazy:
http://www.photocritic.org.nyud.net:8090/2005/macr o-photography-on-a-budget/ [nyud.net]

Basically what the guy does is take a SLR body cap, cut it up with a dremel and use it as a mounting ring to attach a pringles can, which is essentially an extension ring to move a inexpensive 50mm prime lens further away from the film plane. I'm not knocking this guy's work -- it's a pretty neat idea -- but really he's doing a DIY extension tube, not a lens.

Re:Hmmmm ..... (2, Informative)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240118)

These kinds of extension tubes are quite common things, and cheap. I have a number of them for my M42 mount cheap-ass Praktika camera. I think they cost about 2 pounds overall.
The guy has a D20, if he is rich enough to pay for that camera, he should ne able to afford a proper and good macro lens. Extension tubes are a pain when you are holding the camera and trying to focus but they are cheap alternatives for the real thing. I think the correct terminology is bellows or something like that. I have the stuff lying around but never bothered the learn the correct terminology. :)

Re:Hmmmm ..... (3, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240363)

Yeah really. It was Slashdotted before there were any posts on the article, I think. Is that a record?

Hardly. Ever since slashdot got subscriptions sites have regularly been down and out before the first comment. Must be one of the only good things about being a subscriber, you could actually RTFA (though it seems optional). Anyway, I love DIY articles where you do a MacGyver with two bits of string and a chewing gum, but this is like.. "Ok, we have $X thousand dollars of SLR equipment, let's try using duct tape!"

How much would an actual extension ring cost? I did a quick search and I'm looking at prices in the $10-20 dollar range. Wohoo. It's like "How to build your golden Rolls Royce for $5: 1. Buy a can of gold spray 2. Spray it on your Rolls Royce." Let me know when you can make high-percision optics or high-quality CCDs on the cheap, and I'll attach this pringles can to it.

Slashdotted before the first post... (-1, Redundant)

dbolger (161340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239861)

Front page of Slashdot, and a weak server. I wouldn't particularly call that astonishing ;)

Re:Slashdotted before the first post... (2, Funny)

Georules (655379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239901)

Sshh.. they were just testing thier Pringles can server running on a Pringles can amplified wireless network while beating Pringles can drums.

Once you pop the fun don't stop, oh wait...

Lens, my foot! (3, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239866)

He built an extension tube from a Pringles can and stuck a Canon lens on the front. This is not "building a lens".

Re:Lens, my foot! (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239893)

He built an extension tube from a Pringles can and stuck a Canon lens on the front. This is not "building a lens".

From what I know, that's typically how macro lenses are done.

My father had all manner of steel-tubes and a billows arrangement for his macro setup. Ultimately, it was his same 50mm objective lens which was on the front of the camera.

Re:Lens, my foot! (2, Informative)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239920)

Most major camera lens-makers now offer purpose-built macro lenses. The advantage is you'll get more control over depth of field. Well, that and you can use it as a normal lens.

Re:Lens, my foot! (5, Informative)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239944)

Actually a true macro lens usually has additional lens elements to correct for various defects resulting from the decreased subject to lens distance. Also they stop down more. While a 'normal' lens can stop down to F16 (sometimes F22), a true macro will go down to F32 or even F45 for greater depth of field.

Re:Lens, my foot! (2, Informative)

fizzup (788545) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240176)

Uh, if you can stop a 50mm lens down to F16, and you put in a 50mm spacer, then the highest stop is now F32. You don't expect the markings on the lens tube to change automatically when you add a Pringles can, do you?

Re:Lens, my foot! (1)

mph (7675) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240231)

Uh, if you can stop a 50mm lens down to F16, and you put in a 50mm spacer, then the highest stop is now F32.
Wrong. I think you're thinking of a 2x teleconverter (which contains reimaging optics to double the effective focal length of the lens). An extension tube, which contains no optics and is used to shorten the close-focus distance of a lens, does not change the focal ratio.

Extension tube vs teleconverter (i.e. "extender") (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240379)

Adding an extension tube changes the minimum focus distance but doesn't change the focal length. Adding a teleconverter, on the other hand, changes the focal length but doesn't change the minimum focus distance. (Unfortunately, Canon and perhaps others call their teleconverters "extenders", which some people confuse with "extension tubes", although that's as wrong as confusing KDE with X.) Either way can increase the effective magnification factor of the stack, but the mechanisms are completely different (orthogonal, even).

Since the f-stop is related to the focal length and aperture, using an extension tube on a 50mm lens at f/16 will give you a stack that is still f/16. Using a 2x teleconverter, on the other hand, will double the focal length, giving you a stack that is two stops slower, i.e. f/32.

And for those of you who don't know what a "stop" is, stopping down (darker) one stop halves the amount of light that makes it through the lens per unit time. This is related to the aperture (opening) of the lens and to the square of the focal length, so multiplying the focal length by the square root of two (approximated as "1.4") will reduce exposure by one full stop. (Teleconverters commonly come in 1.4x and 2x, which reduce your f-stop by 1 and 2 stops, respectively.)

Re:Lens, my foot! (2, Informative)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240336)

I know the parent knows this, but for everyone else...

The reason you'd want greater depth of field with a macro setup is that macro photographs have incredibly short depth of field. With a good set of bellows (mine are probably the length of a pringles can), your depth of field can easily be only 1mm. This makes photographing things that are 2-3mm big a challenge because you have to have the object perpendicular to the lens to be in focus -- that's a pretty boring straight-ahead shot. Extra depth of field lets you look at whatever it is off-axis, which is usually much more interesting.

Dog bites man. No, not even that. Dog slobbers! (2, Funny)

Myself (57572) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240020)

And a pox on the editor that approved this trash. Sure, it's neat that you can use a Pringles can as a lens mount. I've used them as coil winding cores, waveguides, insect traps, drums, cookie cutters, and even food storage containers before. Doesn't make it news!

Of course, if I wrote up the cookie-cutter application as "Pringles can provides limitless food supply", it'd probably make the front page.

Re:Dog bites man. No, not even that. Dog slobbers! (2, Funny)

wik (10258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240106)

>Of course, if I wrote up the cookie-cutter application as "Pringles can provides limitless food supply", it'd probably make the front page.

It would be selected solely because it contains a grammar mistake.

Re:Lens, my foot! (2, Funny)

SlashSquatch (928150) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240195)

Yeah, the *nerve* of that guy to try to pass that off as a legitimate project. [SARCASM]

I had some "friends" who told me that since I did not grow tomatoes from seed I was not a gardener.

I ate very nice tomatoes that year. Nuts to gardening, I prefer to eat!

Re:Lens, my foot! (4, Insightful)

Don Negro (1069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240206)

You're corrent that he didn't build a lens. That misrepresetation is the editor/submitters fault. It's entirely possible neither of them knew any better.

I want to point out that any vitriol anyone needs to spew about this should be directed to the editor himself, and not confused with comments about this guy's work. He built a cool hack, turning several pieces of cheap equipment into one piece of expensive equipment in the finest tradition of geekiness.

Just because someone mischaracterised his work doesn't make his work of lesser intrinsic value. It's not what we were told it was when we clicked on the article, but it's pretty cool in and of itself. Let's not let that get lost.

Re:Lens, my foot! (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240284)

If you call sticking rags into your $1000 SLR a neat hack, so be it. I call it stupidity.

Two words: Sensor dust

Slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

Professional Heckler (928160) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239868)

The poor soul doesnt know what hit him. The website is moving slower than an ant caught in molasses.
Someone should set up a mirror.
Prof.

Re:Slashdotted (1)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239960)

A mirror? You mean to reflect the sun through the macro lense to toast the ant in the molasses?

Re:Slashdotted (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240029)

He he he... you said 'asses'.

Ah the dissapearing dupe (-1, Offtopic)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239880)

Slashdot, where we support freedom of speech and don't delete comments unless they embarass the editors!

Re:Ah the dissapearing dupe (-1, Offtopic)

mkw87 (860289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239999)

Slashdot, where we support freedom of speech and don't delete comments unless they embarass the editors!

=/ He's not joking, mine's gone already :(
I guess I should have put "Die Microsoft" at the end or something.

Re:Ah the dissapearing dupe (0, Offtopic)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240095)

Before mine went with the whole topic it got mod'd down to "0" for being "offtopic"... I'm new here, should I have ignored the fact that they had coppied and pasted from the "Old Stories" section... or should they re-name it to "old... and future topics"

Re:Ah the dissapearing dupe (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240082)

Slashdot, where we support freedom of speech and don't delete comments unless they embarass the editors!



Slashdot, where everyone is so american that no one has any idea what Freedom of Speech is, and how it doesn't apply to private websites you read in your underwear and never pay for.

Mirrordot to the rescue (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14239883)

http://mirrordot.org/stories/a6cd3d2482ab26fa99636 acc4d255044/index.html [mirrordot.org]

Why don't the /. tech monkeys include a Mirrodot/Coral Cache link as part of the story template? It would help defray the /. effect (smoldering servers and whatnot).

Re:Mirrordot to the rescue (0)

bram (490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240223)

Then the term "slashdot effect" would no longer have a meaning.

Cool (1)

joe 155 (937621) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239885)

If you can get the page to load the results are actually pretty impressive... he could have put the money he saved into a better server, but I assume he just likes to be thrifty... all I need to do to get this incredibly cheap lense now is to buy a crazily expensive camera... D'oh!

Macro lens? (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239897)

And what is a "macro lens"? How does it differ from a normal lens?

Re:Macro lens? (5, Informative)

cosinezero (833532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239935)

Most lenses are designed to focus on things in the FAR range - ~10+ feet. Macro lenses can focus on things very close or very small - in the 1' range.

So if you plan on shooting yet another flower and calling it 'art', you need a macro lens.

Note that many recent digitals offer moderate macro functions and do not require a macro lens.

A foot is way long for midlevel modern digitals (3, Informative)

ianscot (591483) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240381)

Macro lenses can focus on things very close or very small - in the 1' range... Note that many recent digitals offer moderate macro functions and do not require a macro lens.

A foot away is just tremendous distance for a modern mid-priced digital camera. I have a Minolta-Konica Dimage Z5 whose "super macro" mode, while somewhat depth-of-field challenged, can take pictures within a centimeter of the lens. That's on a camera with an image-stabilized 12x optical zoom, too, so it's not like it's the intended strong point of the model. IIRC there's a slightly more recent Canon, also with a longer-than-normal optical zoom, that can take snaps of stuff that's essentially touching the face of the lens.

That's on your $500-USD tier of cameras. Granted, the DOF is not perfect, and I'm sure it's less than a flat field, but the newest midlevel consumer digicams are lots better than a reflective Pringles can...

Re:Macro lens? (1)

mrRay720 (874710) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239954)

A Macro lens can also print out your address labels from Wordand format everything as bold italic.

Re:Macro lens? (4, Informative)

Annoying (245064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239970)

A macro lens is capable of taking pictures of things in much more detail than a normal lens. Think of a steel countertop at a moderate distance it would look much like an ordinary camera picture of it would, but if you look a littlem ore carefully even from a few feet away you can usually see scratches in the surface. A macro lens allows you to focus closer than the usual minimum focal distance so you can capture that detail. Normally you'd only be able to get so close and then it'd just get blurry instead of clearer macro lenses are designed to overcome that limitation.

Re:Macro lens? (5, Informative)

robathome (34756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240177)

Focusing distance is not sufficient to qualify a lens as a macro. There are close focusing lenses that are not macro, and there are macro lenses with long focal lengths that don't focus particularly close.

A true "macro" lens is defined as a lens that allows for at least 1:1 reproduction of the subject image on the recording media. For the sake of simplicity, we'll talk film. If you photograph an object that is 1/2" across, and the resulting recorded image on the film is also 1/2" in size, you're shooting macro. A "macro lens" is one that is capable of rendering at least this 1:1 reproduction.

Unfortunately, many camera/lens manufacturer have abused the term to mean "focuses at a (slightly) closer distance than a normal lens at an identical focal length, so that when printed to standard 4x6 the image is life-size." This, of course, is regardless of the reproduction ratio of the lens. A rather silly definition, really, since any reasonable frame at any magnification can be cropped and enlarged to "life size" up to a point before quality degrades enough to become unworkable.

Make sure you paint the outside of the can... (3, Funny)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239925)

...or you will end up looking like that biggest nerd on the planet.

It is also great for viewing microscopic flakes of potato chip residue. Paper towel rolls, in all their inadequacy, are known to be suffering from lenses envy.

The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (2, Insightful)

Ka D'Argo (857749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239971)

Occasionally there's some miswordings in article titles or you have to RTFA to really understand what the brief summary was trying to convey.

But this is the first /. I've read that is totally, wrong. Sure you can make a cool macro lens out of a Pringles can for less than $1 but you forgot the important part you need a lens slash full normal 35mm camera already to pull this off.

Totally misleading summary. Mod me down if you want, I'm not trying to flame but seriously this is just hitting a low for /.

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (-1, Offtopic)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240085)

Get use to it. The deceived part. This is slashdot, where misleading headlines is par for the course.

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (-1, Offtopic)

johnny cashed (590023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240104)

Oh, and bad spelling too. I meant, get used to it (the deception and bad spelling). There is also a lot of bad grammar. I'll stop now, I swear...

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (1)

croddy (659025) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240128)

Honestly, I'd have thought that most people who would be interested in a DIY macro setup would understand that it's not going to be an article about home lens fabrication, and that using a macro lens requires a camera.

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (1)

mikecm06 (907406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240193)

You do not need a full 35mm camera to pull this off. As seen in the article pictures, he is using a Canon 20D which is by no means a full frame 35mm digital SLR.

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (1)

M1FCJ (586251) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240271)

Well, since you are not connecting the lens directly to the camera, any cheap 35mm camera lens will work.
Out of current Ebay-UK, take this cheap lens [ebay.co.uk] , which with the current going price will cost 3 pounds (about 5 euros/dollars) inc. p&p. Now your cost is slightly higher. Unless you buy a expensive DSLR, you can go even cheaper by getting something like a second hand Praktica MTL SLR [ebay.co.uk] which I personally have one and in the past bought a couple and handed to friends (because they are truly reliable and wonderful cameras) and the usual going rate is around 5-10 pounds plus p&p. Now that's cheap. Usually they come with a 50 or 58mm russian/east-european lens and they are good enough to be abused in any way.
Now, considering all these, trying one of these mods won't make you destitute. You can increase the bid by modding the camera to hold a CCD inside. Now that'd be a good project wouldn't it?

Re:The first time I ever felt deceived by /. (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240304)

But this is the first /. I've read that is totally, wrong. Sure you can make a cool macro lens out of a Pringles can for less than $1 but you forgot the important part you need a lens slash full normal 35mm camera already to pull this off.

Yeah. Just like when someone points out that you can build an antenna for wireless networking with a Pringles can, it's all a big scam because you already needed to have a working computer and a wireless infrastructure, how lame. What a rip-off, you can't build the whole network with just the pringles can?

We should all feel greatly deceived when there are any pre-requisites for a DIY project. I'm still waiting to get instructions on making a supercomputer completely out of a pumpkin, but no luck so far.

Astonishingly.. lame (5, Insightful)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 8 years ago | (#14239993)

So all you need is:

  • A camera.
    • A SLR.
    • That you don't mind getting wrecked.
    • Due to getting Pringle-bits in the mechanical bits.
    • Or due to getting Pringle-salt in the mechanical bits.
    • With a removable lens.
    • But not a lens scheme that telemeters f-stop or focus or depth-of-field indicators or flash timer.
    • And not an old Retina-Reflex with the shutter built into the lens.
  • And you can stand putting duct-tape on a piece of precision equipment.
  • And you don't already have a lens with the twist-to-macro feature.
  • And you don't mind wrecking the lens when it falls off the end of the tube.
  • And you don't mind the idiocy of using a tube with reflective insides when optimally it should be just the opposite.

Otherwise, it's a swell idea.

Re:Astonishingly.. lame (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240060)

Oh yeah, but check this out, if you take a pringles tube and hold it up to one eye and then put your hand up right next to it it totally looks like you are looking through a hole in your hand... it's wicked awesome

Re:Astonishingly.. lame (1)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240084)

I imagine that a professional, or semiprofessional photographer is quite capable of having numerous unused cameras around, the same way that it's not hard to imagine that a guitar geek has numerous guitars and could part with one for a project, or a slashdotter has a spare machine to try out a new operating system.

Taste? (1)

trollable (928694) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240051)

Does it work with any Pringles taste? Build a color filter lens for exceptional sunsets with the paprika flavour.

Not 1£ lens (3, Insightful)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240055)

This is a nice contraption, kudos to the guy.

However it is a bit frustrating to see all these post lately 'build $$$ device at peanut cost' which then usually involve having all kinds of stuff in advance, e.g. "cannibalising a few of the lens- and body covers that most of us have laying around."

Tune in next week... (4, Funny)

Gigabit Switchman (16654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240083)

...when I show you how to construct:
      - A working fusion reactor
      - A 3" mortar
      - A simple teleportation device
AND
      - A cat ... from a Pringles can.

Re:Tune in next week... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240203)

Yeah, I'm a nerd... first thing I do when I read your post is try to figure out how to do just that.

I'm still trying to figure out how to do the 3" mortar without wrecking the can though... pneumatic maybe...hmm.

Re:Tune in next week... (1)

bfizzle (836992) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240292)

Duct tape... lots and lots of duct tape. Wrap the outside with few good wraps and you should be solid.

Think about the mortar fireworks, all they use is a cardboard tube.

504 error through proxy (0)

TWX (665546) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240090)

So, I guess we won't be using thep pringle-can macro lens to look at the server hosting the pringle-can macro lens site, unless we want to look at a charred, burned out hulk that used to be computer chassis...

Here [oreillynet.com] is a pringle can antenna.
This [exploratorium.edu] is a pringle can pinhole camera.
Another [kidsdomain.com] pringles project, a pencil holder.
A bunch more uses [about.com] for pringle cans are available here.

Whatever next? (2, Funny)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240100)

Next, someone's gonna discover that these cans make convenient containers for chips.

Re:Whatever next? (1)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240279)

Next, someone's gonna discover that these cans make convenient containers for chips.

But only for the chips that are identically molded and collected by machines, stacked neatly together in a precise, potato-lattice
(u = x^2 - y^2) fashion ready for rapid consumption by hungry animals.

BAH!!!! (1)

johnnyR (211170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240170)

Macro Lens from a Pringles can, BAH! I created an interstellar ram drive with one, yea, that's what I did!!!!!

Macro is where digital can shine (1, Interesting)

mrm677 (456727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240207)

The primary difficulty in macro photography is getting enough depth-of-field (DOF), which is totally dependent on the film area size. Although this is a gross simplification, in general, the smaller the film area the more DOF you get. This is where tiny digital sensors shine. If you are serious about Macro, forget about 35mm or larger film formats. And I might even forget about full-frame dSLRs too and instead choose the APS-sized sensor.

And this is coming from someone who shoots 4x5 large-format for most of my photography. Combine a 4x5" negative scanned at a modest 2400dpi gets you over 100 megapixels. However any large-format shooter knows that controlling DOF is much more difficult because of the large film area. In fact this is why our cameras have movements. Instead of fixing the lens completing parallel with the film, we can move it around in order to change the plane of focus. For a nice example, check out this image in which the plane of focus extends from the guys knuckle to his eyes:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_ gallery/2005/11/29/gallery.boxiing/content.11.html [cnn.com]

Of course you can mimic the effect in Photoshop, but this requires everything to be sharp to start with and sometimes this just isn't possible for the given subject distance and film area size.

Re:Macro is where digital can shine (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240321)

As you surely know, the old-school technique of mounting the lensboard backwards on a Speed Graphic is still one of the best approaches to a serious effort of high-quality macro/closeup photography.

Somewhere among my old stuff, I've got a bellows that fits Nikon F body. (Can your Pringles can do perspective correction?)

Extension ring, not a macro lens (5, Informative)

BobaFett (93158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240221)

What this guy built is an extension ring, not a macro lens. He used an existing lens, he chose non-macro lens, a macro lens would provide more precise focusing and flat focal plane but otherwise would work the same.

What he built is called extension ring, it fits between the camera and the lens and allows extremely close focusing of any lens. Extension rings go for $20-$40, sometimes you can find them used for less, or you can by a set of 3 for around $100. Factory-made rings usually preserve automatic functions of the lens, at least aperture control, sometimes even autofocus. They are usually much shorter than the pringles can, anywhere from 9mm to 45mm (and you can stack them).

So this little contraption does save you some bucks, just not as much as you might have hoped if you read the title and priced a macro lens.

Even easier (2, Interesting)

pqdave (470411) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240224)

I use velcro to temporarily attach a $1.99 jeweler's loupe to the front of my point and shoot digicamera. Cost is similar to a box of Pringles, image quality is fine for web pics. By buying the $3.99 set of 5 loupes, I get a variety of magnification levels, down to a 2mm object taking up the full frame.

Another cheap way to do macro photography (3, Informative)

Metrathon (311607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240283)

A very nice way to do macro photography is to place that 50 mm (or similar) lens reversed in front of your lens. You can buy a reversing ring for the purpose. It is easy to do if you only have threads for the reversing ring on your camera (many point and shoot digital don't). Just zoom in (to minimize vignetting) and stop down the lens you are mounting the (wide open) normal lens on.

No need for such fancy projects (2, Informative)

geogob (569250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240296)

If you are serious about doing macro photography but don't have to budget to buy a macro lens for your SLR, best would be to use a lesn reversing ring to put the lens backwards on the camera. That way you can use your regular lens as a very good macro lens. Focusable, zoomable, what ever... won't even cost you much more then a box of pringles and no risk of geasing up your SLR.

I can hear Homer Simpson saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14240338)

"Pringles cans. Is there anything they can't do?"

Poke a hole in a body cover or lens cap. (1)

jo7hs2 (884069) | more than 8 years ago | (#14240355)

Just poke a hole in a body cover cap or lens cap, instant pinhole camera with nearly or totally infinite DOF.
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