Accurate Macro Focus With A FujiFilm X30 – Velbon SuperMag Slider + Really Right Stuff B2-LLR-II
I was slightly dubious about this one but the acquisition of the FujiFilm X30 convinced me to take a punt. One of the main differences in macro focusing with DSLRs and compacts is your closeness to the subject. In order to macro focus with a Nikon 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor you might be 50-75cms away from the subject. With a FujiFilm X30, for example, you’ll be as close as 1cm.. That can sometimes be tricky and it also means that moving 2mm closer to the subject can make a big difference. In order to use the macro function of the X30 you need to keep the zoom lens at it’s widest point so no matter what you do you are never going to be more than a few cms away. Moving the camera and tripod back and forth accurately is nigh on impossible so you’re probably going to want to get some sort of slider rail. Hence, the Velbon SuperMag arrived at my door!
For the price (I bought an ex-demo unit off eBay for £40 ($60)), it’s a decent piece of kit. It’s magnesium and plastic construction keep it light but solid enough to not feel cheap and nasty to operate and it should last. The first thing I did was add a lever quick release clamp to the upper end and a plate to the bottom. For using with a compact you’ll want to reverse it on the tripod, as shown in the pics above and below. Normally you’d use it the other way round with a DSLR and macro lens but if you do that with a compact you simply won’t get the camera close enough to shoot. You wouldn’t want to try using it this way round with a DSLR as the whole lot would likely tip over but with a smaller camera it works fine and remains perfectly stable. That said, you are balancing on the end of a levered rig here, so a cable shutter release or remote shutter release is a must. Once set up, the SuperMag will allow you to move the camera back and forth and side to side in small, smooth increments, literally allowing you mm perfect framing, which is exactly what’s needed on super-macro mode.