More precisely, how to take photos of snow crystals with off-the-shelf, amateur priced equipment? Is it possible with regular ~100-150 mm Nikon DX macro lenses and 10+ MP sensors? I know they are small, but not exactly sure about the size scale.

I read this article today: http://index.hu/tudomany/2013/11/18/lelegzetelallito_kepek_hopelyhekrol/ . The guy glued a lens on a compact camera, and took breathtaking photos of snow crystals. I've seen B&W electron microscope pictures of snow crystals before, so I didn't think this was possible, but apparently the crystals are not that small after all.


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You can't do it with the 100-150mm macro lens exactly. If you look at the images again you can see the fibres within threads that the snowflake is sat upon and that's some extreme magnification going on there well outside the parameters of a normal macro lens.

What the author of the images in the article has done is created a reverse mount setup. Normally a lens is used to focus a large scene into a small area (the film/sensor) and as the name suggests the lens is reversed using an adapter to makes the small scene big. This means you don't need a macro lens. Having a camera with a small sensor also helps as higher pixel density will increase magnification. The technique isn't without limitations, focusing is relatively limited and depth of field is exceptionally shallow and hard to control (if at all unless your lens, like most DX lenses, doesn't have an aperture ring) but you don't particularly need any special equipment.


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