TECH TIP: Getting real close
Most video camera lenses have a macro setting that lets you shoot objects
almost touching the front element of the lens. The catch is that the "macro
setting" is usually at the wide angle end and once set to that, the lens
can no longer be zoomed.
To overcome this limitation: stay in the normal zoom range of your camcorder
and fit supplementary close-up lenses to the front of it. These are often
called diopters, after the name of the unit in which lens strength
They are single element lenses that are attached to the front of your main
lens just like filters. They are numbered according to their optimal focus;
+1 diopter focuses at 1 meter, +2 at 0.5 meters and +4 at 0.25 meters. Once
fitted you can use the zoom through these lenses in the normal way. You will
find that the depth of field will be very shallow and lighting
something that close to the front glass can be a challenge.
They tend to be listed under Filters at the major equipment suppliers.
Such close-up lenses usually come in sets of three, +1, +2 and +4. They can
be used in combination to give even closer focusing, e.g. use +1 and +2 together
to give +3, focusing at 0.3 meters. As for price - in mid December 2009
www.amazon.com had a
Hoya 55mm Close-Up Filter Set (+1 +2 +4 Diopters) for $34.89.