$99 Wal-Mart Digicams

Budget digicams and camera phones come with little to no control over any of the image capturing process.  My daughter's Kodak EasyShare CX6200 is a good example.  It is a fixed-focus camera with two modes: still capture, and motion capture (movie mode without sound).

A key feature to the reef tank photographer is a macro mode, which of course, this camera does not have.  Earlier we saw that macro mode works by changing the focal point of the integrated lense.  We can use this information to our advantage.

fish@chips29 $99 Wal-Mart digicam Magnifying Glass Technique
Joe brought up a technique he uses on his budget digicam to take macros where he uses a magnifying glass in front of the lense.  This technique changes the focal length of the lense much the same way the macro button works, thereby reducing the minimum focus distance.

Photographers typically refer to this magnifying glass as a dioptre, or close-up filter.  Some manufacturers offer this as an add-on accessory.  Some are available from third-party manufactures.  Most of these have optical coatings and fittings that minimize the negative effects associated with adding extra glass to a lense.

In the worst case scenario, a magnifying glass will also do the trick. The key is to hold it as close to the lense as possible and keep the magnifying lense parallel to the front lense element.

Same Rules
All the same rules, tips and techniques presented in these lessons still apply.  In this example, an off camera flash was used.  Flash syncing was made possible with a Digi-Slave SA-10 Slave Trigger taped to the on-board flash and connected to a manual strobe.

We could also get the same effect turning off all light so there is no ambient lighting.  Set the camera on a tripod, activate the timer, and as soon as it counts down to 0, fire the strobe.

A third way to achieve lighting effects is to use a positionable halogen lamp as a hotlight.  Make sure it is the only source of light to make white balancing easier.  Two adjustable lamps can help with lighting ratios.