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Why Professional Photographers Love the MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

This is one lens that is often used by professional photographers. After all, viewers are naturally attracted to works that showcase the mysterious world that cannot be seen with the naked eye. In this article, we shall explain to you why professional photographers are fascinated by this lens as well as share some shooting tips that will help you reap its full benefits. (Reported by: Miki Asai)


The world of macrophotography is full of surprises and excitement

The world around us is filled with many subjects that are too tiny to be captured even by a regular macro lens with a 1.0x (life-size) magnification factor. But with an extreme macro lens such as the MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo, this tiny world can be captured clearly and in detail.

When I finally got the opportunity to shoot with this lens, I decided to look for subjects outdoors. I usually don’t pay attention to the sand under my feet, but that day, it seemed to glow under the sun. I decided to make it my first subject, and lay down on the ground to establish focus on it. I first tried with 1.0x magnification, but the sand still looked ordinary. I gradually increased the magnification ratio, and at 5.0x magnification, the lens turned a grain of sand of less than 1mm into a rough diamond.


An ant’s world with 2.0x magnification

EOS 6D/ MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo/ FL: 65mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/9, 1/30 sec, EV±0)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight
I placed an acryl plate and a towel under the feet of the tripod to make it easier to slide back and forth. This makes focusing easier. When an ant approached the water droplet, I moved the tripod gently back and forth so that the camera could focus on the eye of the ant. This was shot with 2.0x magnification.


Inanimate subjects are much easier to photograph than creatures that move. In any case, as is typical with macro lenses, the shallow depth of field makes it difficult to establish focus with the MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo. One tip is to move yourself back and forth instead of turning the focus ring.

The lens is not ideal for handheld photography, so use a tripod. But note that this will prevent you from catching up with moving subjects. To get around the immobility, I recommend folding the tripod and using it as a monopod, or laying something slippery under it.

Depending on your shooting position, you might end up with a stiff back, difficulties standing up and possibly even muscle aches the next day, like I did.  However, I had not thought about that at all when I was chasing after the ant - I was having way too much fun with the MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo.


Clear depictions of water droplets at minimum aperture

EOS 6D/ MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo/ FL: 65mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/16, 1/6 sec, EV+0.3)/ ISO 400/ WB: Daylight
In the actual scene, the stem from which the drops of water hung was horizontal. I tweaked the composition by tilting the camera. Note that If I had used a regular 100mm macro lens, the water droplets would have appeared smaller and there would have been unnecessary reflection. Here I adjusted the magnification ratio to about 1.5 times, establishing focus on the flowers reflected in the water droplets.


Check out these articles for more on what you can do with the MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo:
Macro Lens Techniques: Brilliantly Capture the Sparkle in a Water Droplet
Using Flash in Macro Photography

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MP-E65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo

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Miki Asai


Born in Obihiro, Hokkaido. While working as a company employee, she would get her hands on a camera to shoot small objects after finishing work and on her days off. In 2013, she bought the DSLR that she had been longing for and started shooting. One day, she was moved by the morning dew that she saw on a leaf through a macro lens the sight of which was “more beautiful than any gem”. It struck her then that she wanted to photograph the small and beautiful world which exists everywhere but is easily missed and hard to see with the naked eye. Since then, she has continued with her style of photography in pursuit of her goal.


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