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Hi there, 

 

Would anyone be able to advise on the best way to stabilise a lens. I am using a 70mm macro on a table top copy stand (so the camera is point down). The camera seems to shake itself a little on each image capture and gradually the lens extends slightly. 

 

I have to keep refocussing and this has led to my final RTI model being blurry/shaky

 

 

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Are you using Mirror Lockup? If you aren't, enable it. Some cameras have a "Quiet" shutter setting, which delays mirror return; this may also help reduce vibration if that's what is causing the lens to shift.

 

For the issue of the lens extending, get some strong rubber bands; one or two of them at the edges of the focusing ring, overlapping onto the lens barrel, will keep the lens from shifting. I use Staples #84 (3-1/2" x 1/2"); other people have used one or another of the elastic "theme" bracelets often sold for fund-raising, should you have one of those around. The rubber bands are much cheaper if you don't already have one of the bracelets.

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Thank you, that is good advice. I'm off in search of elastic bands! I wish there was a way to lock the focus of a lens though. 

 

Have you ever used a focussing rail? i'm wondering if that might also make it easier to keep the focus locked? 

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I sometimes use a focusing rail and they have their uses.  But I think for the problem you're having with the lens extending, it won't help, because it's gravity plus vibration that's causing your lens to extend.  This would still be the case if you put the camera on a rail and shoot vertically (effectively, it would be just an extension to the copy stand).  Jon's suggestions are your best bet and are the easiest, least expensive options, I think.

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Good advice here.  I agree with Jon and Taylor that the main issue is to lock down the lens to prevent movement.  We often use tape ( like painters tape that isn't sticky) There is also a product called "Lens Band" specifically for this purpose:  http://lensband.com

 

We haven't used it, but some of our collaborators have.  For our lenses, the tape method works well enough.  We use prime lenses, and only the Canon 50mm compact macro has this issue, because of how the lens slides out.  Also, if possible, remove any filters.  The extra weight from the filters can pull the lens down when it's pointing down.

 

Carla

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