Essentials: The Lightweight Macro Shooter

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (1 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Essentials is a series where we round up specially curated kits for different photographers in different situations. Other items could surely be substituted, but these are what we personally recommend. 

When it comes to shooting Macro images, you often want to get close. But when you get close, you’ll also want to take other measures to ensure that you’re getting the sharpest images that you can possibly obtain.Whether you’re shooting the intricacies of a watch’s interior or a beautiful flower, you’ll also need good lighting and a reliable camera that can help you get the job done.

Luckily, this is now available and you can also keep the package down to something very portable and small.

Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit Macro

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (3 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 3.2

When shooting with a mirrorless camera, you’ll need a great lens to take advantage of what the camera can do. In a situation like this, we strongly recommend the Zeiss 50mm f2.8 Touit offering. Despite the fact that it is fairly large, it is super sharp and feels great in the hand when it comes to actually working with the lens. It is one of the few macro offerings available for both Fujifilm X and Sony E series cameras. But considering it’s a Zeiss lens, you can expect nothing less than the best.

You won’t get the token micro contrast that their DSLR lenses have, but you’ll still have some beautiful bokeh and edge to edge sharpness.

We’re currently in the process of reviewing the lens; and we promise you that you’ll be impressed.

Buy Now: Adorama / B&H Photo

Pro Tip: when using a macro lens at an extremely close distance, we very strongly recommend that you switch the focusing into manual mode. It'll just be so much easier and that also means much better battery performance.

Pro Tip: when using a macro lens at an extremely close distance, we very strongly recommend that you switch the focusing into manual mode. It’ll just be so much easier and that also means much better battery performance. Manual focusing can be made even easier with Sony and Fujifilm’s focus peaking feature that shows what is in focus by making little lines appear around it.

Fujifilm X Pro 1

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (5 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.5

When Fujifilm created the sensor in the X Pro 1, they created one of the best sensors out there. Despite the fact that the camera is starting to show its age, it is capable of delivering some spectacular images with great high ISO control, excellent color depth, and the ability to capture loads of detail in the shadows and highlights. The company’s current generation of X Trans Sensors don’t perform significantly better than the first ones–but that doesn’t mean that they are bad sensors. In fact, the sensor in this camera can outperform many full frame offerings.

The X Pro 1 is also a very lightweight and fairly small option that has received loads of firmware updates to bring it into the current timeframe. The dials are right where you need them and the EVF is one of the clearest that you’ll use.

Buy Now: Adorama / Amazon /B&H Photo

Pro Tip: Macro lenses are often longish focal lengths and can surely be used for more than macro shooting.

Pro Tip: Macro lenses are often longish focal lengths and can surely be used for more than macro shooting.

Cub and Co Shooter Shoulder Strap

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (4 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

Our favorite strap to keep with the X Pro 1 is Cub and Co’s shooter shoulder strap. Not only is it comfortable and strong, but it is also super strong. The straps are made in Long Island, NY and are created using premium American leather and stitched together by hand. They aren’t adjustable, so you’ll need to get the right size for your needs. We love the shoulder pad which provides just enough comfort for us while walking around on a hot day in NYC.

When you’re ready to get really into your shooting, the shooter strap wraps around the wrist very nicely and provides you with even better grip when holding the camera.

Buy Now: Cub and Co.

LumoPro LP-180 Flash

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (6 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

If you’re trying to get a better macro image without having to raise your ISO levels into the nuclear regions while actually getting something in focus, then you’ll need to flash. We strongly recommend the LumoPro LP-180 for not only its affordable price, but its powerful output. The flash was designed to be used by strobists off-camera but does very well in the camera’s hot shoe too. Lots of professional strobists use these and you can too. Just remember that it has full manual control and no TTL settings.

Buy Now: Amazon

Pro Tip: Rather than boosting your ISO levels, use a diffused flash to get the image that you want. And also remember that at the macro ranges very little will be in focus the  closer you get to your subject.

Pro Tip: Rather than boosting your ISO levels, use a diffused flash to get the image that you want. And also remember that at the macro ranges very little will be in focus the closer you get to your subject.

Large Rogue FlashBender

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Essenials the Walkabout Macro Shooter (7 of 7)ISO 1001-200 sec at f - 4.0

In order to give your macro subject matter some soft illumination, we recommend a large but super portable light modifier. The large Rogue Flashbender is just the answer. With the flash mounted in your camera’s hot shoe and this light modifier on the flash, it will blanket your subject is soft light all over. Wedding photographers have been using these for years now because of their pliable nature, large reflective surface, and the ability to clean them easily after use.

Buy Now: Amazon

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