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Posts Tagged ‘lenses’

There is only one lens on the market that can take this shot

Only one lens can take this shot.

If you’ve paid attention to insect photography over the past decade, you’ll likely have noticed that a single lens, Canon’s MP-E 1-5x macro, has come to dominate the market.  Every professional insect photographer I know owns one, and many of the dedicated amateurs do as well.  Indeed, some photographers have even switched from Nikon to Canon just to be able to use it.

Yet the lens is also a throwback, possessing few of the electronic features of modern camera technology.  It is largely manual, with no auto-focus or image stabilization, and is notoriously difficult to operate.  So what’s the deal?  Why has a cantankerous retro lens become the glass of choice for macro?

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Canon's MP-E 65mm f2.8 1-5x macro lens mounted on an EOS 20D camera body, in many respects the ideal back for this specialized lens.

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I’ve got a new series of Dinoponera photographs up at myrmecos.net. Click on the image above to see the gallery.

These giant black insects are the largest South American ants, and although there is at least one Asian Carpenter ant (Camponotus gigas) that’s a bit bigger, Dinoponera weighs in as the world’s largest stinging ant. They would seem to command a great deal of respect for such distinction, but in reality Dinoponera are rather shy animals.

Because these ants are so large- reaching over an inch long- they open up an array of photographic possibilities that can’t easily be done with ants of more typical size. I had all sorts of fun experimenting with different lens configurations. Below is a sampling of images from the session.

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