A Technique for Macro Shooting with the Sony RX100 III Camera

I have received an interesting email message from Ron Pidot, a reader of my guide book for the Sony RX100 III camera, explaining how he used a novel approach to macro shooting with that model. Ron indicated that he did not mind sharing his technique with others, so I am posting the information here for use by anyone who would like to experiment with high-quality macro photography with this Sony model. It should work with other cameras in the RX100 family as well, though it has only been tested with the RX100 III. Here is what Ron explained:

“I thought you might be interested to know that I have been successful in shooting macro with the addition of a reversed Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens mounted on the 49mm adapter with a reversing ring instead of the usual close-up filters. I use manual focus with the aid of a focusing rail that adjusts front to back and left to right.  There is no discernible vignetting when zooming to 140mm. with the “clear image” zoom  setting. The  images are processed with the Photoshop Elements 11 Photomerge option using layer masks to achieve focus stacking. My subjects (small screws, dead houseflies and tiny shells) have ranged in size from 4mm-10mm in length. I lighted the subject with the YongNuo 560 IV strobe you mentioned, using the pop-up flash to trigger the slave.

Insects are not abundant now but I managed to capture an earwig about 25mm long and it filled the LCD screen. Perhaps your readers (if they don’t already know) might like to add this capability to other options for macro photography.”

5 thoughts on “A Technique for Macro Shooting with the Sony RX100 III Camera

  1. Will Drake

    Hello,

    I have the Sony RX100 iii and was wondering how you fit a reversing ring onto the lens and have it stay in place once the lens retracts? Or do you take off the reversing ring before the 30 minute maximum time limit before the lens retract?

    Also, the zoom is from 24mm to 70mm. How did the writer get his lens to zoom to 140mm when his combination should be the 24mm to 70mm on camera lens and the reversed 50mm lens attached to the front of the camera?

    Reply
  2. ron pidot

    Hello Will:

    I’ll do my best to answer you inquiry about my macro method.

    First you already know that the lens on your model Sony (and mine) do not come equipped with threads to accommodate filters. So in order to attach filters you have to buy a filter adapter kit.
    That kit consists of a base ring (that is contact cemented around the lens), and a clip on ring with threads that can be attached to the base ring by pressing on its “ears” somewhat like attaching a lens cap. My kit will facilitate the attachment of 49mm. filters although I believe some photo suppliers also have 52mm kits. Once the adapter is in place a variety of 49mm filters can be added to the front of the lens. Because my 50mm 1.8 Canon lens took filters 52mm. in diameter, I bought a 49mm-52mm (double “male”) reversing ring that I attached to the adapter. That allowed me to attach my 50mm. lens in reverse to the front of the Sony lens. The camera lens and its additions can be retracted without having to detach any of the add-ons.

    Regarding the zoom choice, i.e., 140mm. vs. 70mm., there are 3 selections available through the camera’s menu. Optical (24mm-70mm), Clear Image Zoom (24mm-140mm)and Digital Zoom.
    I chose the Clear Image Zoom option in order to extend the zoom range with a minimum of image loss of resolution. You can enlarge the image size with the Digital zoom but at a cost of some
    image softening. It can be argued that the Optical zoom delivers the best sharpness but I can tell you that the Clear Image feature is very good. With the 50mm. attached there is no discernible vignetting of the 50mm iris. I have photographed subjects ranging between 4mm.-10mm and can clearly see the tiny hairs and eye facets of flies tack sharp. As I mentioned in the blog, I use the Photoshop elements 11 photomerge option to achieve insect sharpness from “head to toe”.

    Hope this has helped.

    sincerely,

    ron pidot
    riverside ca

    Reply
    1. will drake

      Thank you for the clarification.

      I carry the camera in my jacket pocket in the winter and on a belt pouch in the warmer weather. Have you experienced any problems with the base ring being contact cemented to the lens snagging on the inside of a pocket or belt pouch?

      Thanks again for the clarification.

      Reply
      1. ron pidot

        I can’t advise you on carrying the camera in your pocket because I always stow mine in one of the small firm belt pouches that come as a recommended accessory, regardless of the weather. Of course our weather here in Riverside CA probably never gets cold enough to warrant using body temp to keep the camera warm. I have never had the base ring hang up in the case. The ring extends only about 2mm. and I doubt whether it would be a problem in even a fuzzy lined pocket. The only caution that I have heard pertains to the the exposed iris lens cap that is vulnerable to damage from a carelessly placed thumb or finger. I have had no issue with that, but I handle the body carefully while extracting or replacing it in the pouch. If this is a worry, you can always attach a UV filter to the base ring and leave it there. The only other caveat is that when replacing the camera in the pouch fitted with a small pocket that accommodates a couple of replacement batteries, I find it wise to face the back of the camera toward the battery pocket so that the slight bulge doesn’t press into the lens.

        but that’s more than you wanted to know I believe!

        Have a good day.

        ron

        Reply

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