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Close-up & Macro Photography How-To

Keywords: micro, macro, close, photography, photographic, disciplines, guides, tips

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The basic set-up required for close-up photography apart from the obvious camera body is a lens with macro capabilities. These macro-capable lenses can come in the form of a (short/long) tele-photo lens with a close-up "filter", a standard zoom lens with macro mode settings or a specialized Micro Nikkor macro lens.

Nikon F3HP Mirror Lock-up (MLU) capability


For high magnification macro photography, the type of camera bodies used can make a very big difference in the sharpness of the image. The reason for this difference is the vibrations caused by the internal reflex mirror as it lifts out of the way when the shutter release is triggered. This is commonly known as mirror-slap vibration. 

It becomes a real issue when you combine high magnifications with slow shutter speeds, which is invariably the case in high magnification macro photography. There are a series of Nikon SLR bodies, like the F2, F3, F4 & F5 bodies, that have mirror lock-up (MLU) function, physically locking the mirror away to avoid this problem. 

The Nikon digital SLR D1, D1X, D1H & D100 bodies, overcome this problem with the “Mirror Anti-Shock” command menu setting which lifts the mirror a few fractions of a second in advance before tripping the shutter curtains. 

For all other Nikon bodies without MLU, it is best to use the self-timer function as the reflex mirror is normally lifted slightly more in advance (some longer than others) prior to the activation of the shutter curtains.

For users of digital compacts with macro capabilities, like the Coolpix, you simply turn-on the camera’s macro function to allow the camera to focus at very close distances. Other accessories described later are mainly used in conjunction with SLR or DSLR camera bodies but Coolpix users might still find these sections relevant, especially the tripod and cable release section.

In the following sections, the various types of lenses and accessories that can be utilized for close-up and macro photography will be introduced and briefly discussed.

(10 Votes )
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Originally written

Last updated


trevor smith (HappySnapper13) on October 11, 2020

Very Helpful and informative, The Challenge Continues !!!

Richard Carlson (rdcarlso) on August 10, 2020

Can the Nikon D7100 be used with the PB-6 Bellows Focusing Attachment?

Alvaro Correa (Alvacorr) on May 9, 2016

Excellent article

Dr. Patrick Buick (profpb) on April 15, 2015

This seems a bit out-of-date. Stacking, etc...

User on February 13, 2015

Awesome article! Any chance it can be updated to D610/D810 systems please?

Narikunni Jayanth (jaydoc40) on June 10, 2013

Is the bellows available in the market ?