BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 

Choosing a Filter

I recently purchased a Minolta Maxxum 5. I'm interested in macro photography, but cannot afford a lens at this time. I've read about supplementary filters, but am not sure how well they will work. Can anyone offer some advice on the subject? If so, which filters work best? Also I was a bit confused about filter size. My lens says 55mm on the outside. Is this my size? Thanks.

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3/4/2004 7:33:19 PM

Brenda Tharp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/9/2003
  First, you can buy diopters (also referred to as close up filters by many people) that screw on to the front of a lens and makes that lens a close-up lens. You can buy sets of 3 diopters - they come in +1, +2, and +4 combinations quite often - that you can use individually and also combine for a more powerful close-up effect. These sets are pretty inexpensive, but for the top quality diopters, such as those made by Nikon and Canon, you'll pay more and they don't come as sets.

Second, it's hard to say where you are looking if that's the focal length of your lens or the filter size. Look inside the lens cap - it often has thediameter written in there. Or, look at the inside ring of the front of your lens for the filter size. It usually reads something like 72 for a 72mm diameter. A camera store can help you determine this, too.

Whatever your filter size is, you might want to consider getting the diopters to fit a larger diameter, and using step rings to fit it to smaller diameter lenses. This is because as you develop your skills with macro, you will find that using the diopter on a longer lens (such as a 70-200mm, or 75-300mm) gives you really nice results. They're great on a 100mm, too, but anything wider puts you too close to your subjects, sometimes and you block your own light and might even bump the flower!

Hope this helps, it's a bit confusing to get started in macro but it's worth the effort!

Good luck,

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3/4/2004 10:26:50 PM

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