Extreme Macro Studio Accessories

by Johan J Ingles-Le Nobel
Last updated August 31, 2017


Like anything, the sky is the limit in terms of what you can spend on extreme macro studio gear, especially the non-optical parts of the setup.

Stereo Microscope

Low powered stereo microscope. Insect preparation for photography includes such activities as rearranging the legs into natural positions, and for this a stereo microscope is incredibly useful.

That said, I'd say that the necessities are really only the stereo microscope and Jansjö positioning lights.

A micro-manipulator is nice to have but a field microscope is more the product of a mistaken purchase, but the HDMI matrix is a vital component between the screens, camera and PC.

Extreme Macro Tasks

The major reason for purchasing gear such as this is non photographic - cleaning and preparing your specimens.

But in the extreme shots I do, cleaning and preparation are quite important, and whilst I might begrudge spending money on these like everything sometimes you have to spend money on things you might only use rarely.

Other Extreme Macro Studio Gear

An ultrasonic water bath is a useful accessory to own as specimen cleaning is quite problematic and time consuming, and anything to help that is quite splendid.

ultrasonic bath

Consumer model ultrasonic bath, usually used for cleaning jewellery but proven to work for cleaning insect specimens as well.

The really cheap £10 models are useless and you want to look for one that vibrates at a frequency of 25,000-40,000 Hz+.

Ultrasonic water baths cost about £50 but models for use in laboratories can cost several hundred pounds. If you can find an ultrasonic water bath with variable power get it - full power can break fly wings.

Another studio accessory that I'd like to build myself is a chilling chamber - a chamber that can be used to take images in which the temperature is just above zero.

It would be good to be able to take the same type of shots of insects that are still alive as it is to take images of preserved specimens. This is an Arduino project planned for a long dark Winter.

Extreme Macro Stages

Stages, both for moving the camera and moving your subject, are such an important part of the extreme macro studio that they have been given their own separate section. Stages can be automated and expensive, or cheap and homemade.

Entomology Equipment

My own extreme macro studio is as much an entomology desk as it is a photography studio. Cleaning, relaxing, pinning, spreading and rehydrating insects are all part of my workflow and all the insect-related studio gear is covered in the insect sections here.