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Beginner's Guide to Close-up & Macro Photography

Chuon-Szen Ong (SzennyBoy)

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

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One useful and sometimes essential accessory for macro work is the focusing stage. This focusing stage comprises of a standard camera mounting unit that sits on a set of rails, allowing the entire camera and lens set-up to be moved forward or backwards while mounted on a fixed-position tripod.


Click for enlarged view of the PG-2

Nikon PG-2 Focusing Stage

The advantage of using a focusing stage is to eliminate the need of shuffling the tripod and losing the subject or composition while trying to get into that optimum position.

The Nikon focusing stage, the PG-2, allows the normally mounted camera body to be rotated 90 degrees for a horizontal format shot. Other third-party models may also allow the body to transverse left or right via various mechanisms such as a worm & worm wheel system.



Another form of a focusing stage is the Copy Stand. This is pretty much the foundation base you find on some enlargers; essentially it consists of a sturdy rail system mounted vertically on to an 18% Grey base, like the Nikon FP-4. Most copy stands would also include a set of lamps for general illumination, ideally fitted with proper daylight-balanced light bulbs!



Focusing adjustment with the
PG-2 Focusing Stage


Focusing adjustment with the
Copy Stand

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(7 Votes )
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Originally written on August 27, 2010

Last updated on April 28, 2016

Chuon-Szen Ong Chuon-Szen Ong (SzennyBoy)

Awarded for his shared hands-on experience in macro photography within the community forums and the Resources

London, United Kingdom
Basic, 2818 posts


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This seems a bit out-of-date.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...

Steven Clarke (steveclarke007) 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 ?