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The Penny

Years ago, fall of 2002, I bought my first digital camera, a Canon G2. I also bought several lenses to go with it including a Canon 250D Close-up lens. Over 30 years ago a long time friend, Mike Smith, photographed a penny with his optical bench. I was impressed. That is why I took the follow picture. To see how close I could get with my new G2. Picture size is 640 by 480.

In the fall of 2007, UPS delivered my new 100mm Macro lens [Macro is for really close up shots. It can focus closer than a non-Macro lens.] I decided to see if I could get even closer with my new lens. I attached the Canon 250D Close-up lens to the front of my new 100mm lens to get as close as possible. Also 640 x 480.

Hey not bad. But I felt I could do better.

A lot of factors limited that 2nd shot.

  • The tripod limited the closeness of the lens to the penny.
  • I set the camera to "Auto" and it picked a wide open lens apperture: f2.8, causing a very shallow depth-of-field, making it very hard to focus.
  • I used "Live View" but didnt know I could blow up the image by 10X. (I read a review in Popular Photography and it lauded the Canon EOS 40D for those features: Live View and 10X magnification.
Oh boy. When UPS delivers my new Manfrotto 055 XPROB tripod I can get as close as I want because the center post can go horizontal allowing the camera to be off-center by quite a bit. Also read about that in a magazine. Some photographer had the old Bogen version. I couldn't find it on Amazon but later I spotted an ad for the new model and ordered it. See below.

I then used the new tripod, set the aperature at various settings, finally settling on f32 (max closed) and used Live View at 5x and 10x to focus carefully, and walla, a great closeup of part of the date on my penny. Again 640 x 480.

I felt real good about that shot.

The Setup

Please notice my new tripod, the new camera and the ring flash attached to the lens. Dangling just under the tripod head is a remote shutter release. If I didn't use it, the camera would shake something terrible at that magnification.

Here is a closer look at the setup. See how the camera is not directly above the center of the 3 legs but offset about 6 inches?

Note the ring flash and the penny taped to a bedroom door at a distance of only 3 1/2 inches between the penny and the lens. The Canon 100mm Macro lens specification is a minimum focus distance of 12 inches. By adding the 250D Close-up adapter, I was able to focus within 3.5".

Click here for a much larger area of the penny [1296 by 864].