A Quick and Easy Guide to Macrophotography with Fujifilm and More
Updated: Jan 3
Macrophotography is the type of photography I truly enjoy to look at. The level of details that can be retrieved from these photographs is just incredible and really gets me locked into looking at some of those shots. I could easily imagine a leaf on the ground, a drop on a leaf or a blooming flower. There is nothing as simple and common as those, but when looking at them from very close, this reveals the essence of nature. Small and natural things that are actually full of details and meaning.
Macrophotography is one of the numerous landscape photography style out there, and if you areintersted in knowing more about landscape photography, feel free to check out my article where I expose 13 amazing landscape photography styles.
In this article, I will be presenting what equipement is needed for macrophotography while shooting with Fujifilm as well as some tips to enhance your chances of great shots. I will be providing you with the macrophotography workflow you could follow while on the field shooting macrophotography.
Most advices and tips would also work for any brands, but the details I'll provide on cameras and equiprement will be targeted towards Fuji users.
I. The Equipment
You're in luck here, Fuji and other brands have got you covered to either do highly professional macrophotography or only hobbyist with nonetheless fairly good results.
Camera: I mostly know the X-T series, therefore I am sure that any camera in this category would work. I am also convinced that the X-H series would work as well. I also have the feeling that any of the interchangeable lens camera that Fuji has under the X series would be a good fit.
Recording card: you want to have the fastest SD card as possible. For example, it tends to buffer very quickly with my X-T3 as it tends to buffer very quickly. If you have other type of cards like CF express, this should not be an issue given their better performance.
Tripod: a tripod is mandatory while doing macrophotography. It will obviously help to assure you shake free images, but also similarly framed picutres. Since a focus stacking is highly recommended, the tripod will help o have a set of similar framed picutres.
Lenses; there are two Fuji lenses for macro with a third one expected soon and three third parts lenses:
Fuji XF 80mm f2.8 OIS Macro
Fuji XF 60mm f2.4 R Macro
Fuji XF 30mm f2,8mm Macro
Laowa 65mm F2.8 2X Ultra Macro APO
Samyang 100mm f/2.8 Macro
7artisans 60mm f/2.8 Macro
Not selling yet
Not selling yet
Extension tubes: BUT, for those who don't have the money to buy a new lens, or like me, who don't want another lens for an occasional photography fun, then Fujifilm got you covered with some extension tubes. Extension tubes are tubes you put between the camera and the lens as you would put a regular lens, which will allow you to use your lens as a macro lens when screwed on it. The advantages are that you do not lose any quality on your lens, they allow for autofocus, they are tiny, and they are definitely affordable. However, they do not allow you to focus at every distance in your photograph and therefore need some time to understand how to best manage your focus. So, below are the two Fuji's extension tubes available. The difference between the two is the actual focus distance to your subject and magnification of your subject.
MCEX-11 - Amazon
MCEX-16 . Amazon
Here is the magnification table provided by Fuji for these two devices
Take note that the extension tube is mostly efficient on shorter focal length as per Fuji's magnification table. Up to 55 mm, the effect will be really noticeable. Beyond that, the shooting distance will get bigger and using the exxtension tube will not make a big difference.
I personally own the MCEX-11 and for the time being I am happy with it. To be honest, if I were to get more serious about macrophotography, I would most probably invest in one of the dedicated lenses. Bur for now, the extension tube is fulfilling my needs.
Beware that some third parts extension tubes are sold much cheaper than the Fuji's, but users have reportedly mentioned that they are damaging the bayonet mount on their camera. Therefore I would stick to using the Fuji gear. In addition, it keeps value in case of resale.
Flash: In some cases, using a flash can help emphasize your subjects and especially its details like some droplets on a leaf orhair on a plant. It can also help you to shoot your subject with interesting backlight while still having a good exposure on your subject. This important thing is to test your flash to ensure that it doesn't totally blow the highlights in your image and that it's in the right direction. But keep in mind that using your camera in-built flash should not be an option for great result,
II. Tips for Macrophotography
Macrophotography is an entire photography style and following some advice is always beneficial.
1. Watch out for breeze
Breeze is the nightmare of the nature macrophotographer. Since you are going to do a focus stacking on your photographs, all pics need to be identical to avoid any artifacts while processing them. If it's a windy day and there's no way to get no moving subjects, then it might be better to pass and shoot something different.
2. Don't hesitate to boost your ISO
ISO is the devil for most photographers. However, in certain situation, when the light is not that available, increasing the ISO to 400 or 800 will allow to shoot faster photographs which can help to reduce the risk of mnoving subject during the shoot. In addition, at that level, noise will be hardly noticeable for most cameras. Whether the shoot is made through manual focus or focus bracketing, increasing the ISO might help.
3. Get on your knees... and observe!
A friend of mine once gave me this advice: when doing macro, just get close to ground and start observing for few minutes. After that, you'll start seeing things that you didn't pay attention to in the first place.
That was a hell of an advice and you should give it a try.
4. Learn how to do Focus Stacking
I am stating below briefly how to do some focus stacking for macrophotography on Fujifilm cameras, but any cameras might a its own functionnality. Therefore it is important to learn how the camera works. Then, on Photoshop, the technique is the same for everyone and once mastered, you'll quickly increase your productivity.
5. Get creative with interesting lighting
While on the field, it's fairly easy to get creative in macrophotography, even with basic equipement. Just get a basic flashlight with variable intensity and just highlight your subject the way you want. Try to keep it look natural though, so that it remains interesting to look at for the viewer.
III. The techniques
Alright let's get into the tough part of the topic. This might seem a little overwhelming at first, especially for the neophytes. However, once the technique is understood, then it gets fairly easy.
You should keep in mind that in photography, there is a lot of process involved if you wish to take photographs with certain advanced techniques.