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Thread: Guide To Insect Macro Photography

  1. #21

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    Great article azone, need to find time to put those pointers into practice...

  2. #22

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    I have a question here. If the closeup filter/lens will give you a fix working distance, then what is the pt of switching to normal focusing? Let say you are using +4 closeup filter which means that you have stand 25cm away(based simply on calculation) fr subject to get it in focus. If you were to switch to normal focus and stand 35 cm away, will the cam ever get it in focus?

  3. #23
    Senior Member zhapchit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guide To Insect Macro Photography For Digital Cameras

    Originally posted by azone
    Hi all,

    Did a simple writeout of the topic on Insect Macro Photography. The info inside is based on my own experiences, so the techniques and settings involved are more biased towards a specific model - Fuji S602Z. Of course, they can be used as references for any digital cameras as well.

    Those interested in insect shooting please feel free to have a look and please forgive me if any technical terms/interpretations/explanations are incorrect.

    Insect Macro Photography
    Well done azone

    Get that man a Tiger

  4. #24

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    One more question here.
    If there is ample light such as at F8.0, you can use use a shutter speed of 1/160 or faster, do u still use still your external flash? Or you shut it off?

  5. #25

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    Thanks everyone again for the comments!

    Originally posted by Falcon
    I have a question here. If the closeup filter/lens will give you a fix working distance, then what is the pt of switching to normal focusing? Let say you are using +4 closeup filter which means that you have stand 25cm away(based simply on calculation) fr subject to get it in focus. If you were to switch to normal focus and stand 35 cm away, will the cam ever get it in focus?
    Ah... good question. Normal focusing (AF) and Manual focusing (MF) has their own use under different circumstances.

    In the Sample Gallery page, noticed that I used MF when taking tiny insects. Usually they're under unfavorable lighting conditions, and AF at times do fail to focus properly. And even if they do, it tends to hunt the focusing for a while longer. Often, your hand would have shifted a little out of place during this short period of time, resulting in the DOF being diviated (see Getting It Sharp section in pg 2). MF is then preferred. Another reason is under a darker environment, it is easy to view from LCD (as you shift the cam to and fro) whether subject is sharp or not.

    Noticed that I used AF for bigger subjects like dragonflies and butterflies. They're usually under better lighting conditions, so AF hunts better and more smoothly. And at the same time, I can use Area AF too. Under bright environment, it is quite impossible to see the LCD clearly too, so manual focusing is definitely out too.

    To answer your qn, yes, at 35cm, AF will not be able to focus the subject. Therefore, it involves good estimation (thru experience) to position your cam at approx 22cm and then use AF to focus. Ever wonder why at times your subject is OOF? This could be due to incorrect estimation rather than handshake.
    Last edited by azone; 12th December 2002 at 08:37 PM.

  6. #26

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    Originally posted by Falcon
    One more question here.
    If there is ample light such as at F8.0, you can use use a shutter speed of 1/160 or faster, do u still use still your external flash? Or you shut it off?
    Yes of course! I used flash for all my insect shots. As explained in pg 03, very MILD flash is used to provide fill-in effect only(to fill up any areas under shadow). Coz you never know if the sun is against your favour, and thus casting shadows on the insect's side which is facing you.

  7. #27

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    great stuffs! Now this article got to go into the CS archives, it's a gem!

    azone, next time u going BG, sms me ya? I prefer a first person tutorial...hehe.

  8. #28

    Thumbs up well written

    clear, concise and with aptly illustrated examples.

    (takes notes)

    ok, i can try taking insects now..

    argent2

  9. #29
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    Default Re: well written

    Originally posted by argent2
    clear, concise and with aptly illustrated examples.

    (takes notes)

    ok, i can try taking insects now..

    argent2
    u mean, b4 this article u CANNOT take good insect shots eh?

  10. #30
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    great work azone, do u mind if i make a pda version and distribute?

  11. #31

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    Originally posted by azone


    To answer your qn, yes, at 35cm, AF will not be able to focus the subject. Therefore, it involves good estimation (thru experience) to position your cam at approx 22cm and then use AF to focus. Ever wonder why at times your subject is OOF? This could be due to incorrect estimation rather than handshake.
    But since it has a fix focusing distance, then you must be at that precise distance to get the focus right. As such, it makes no difference whether u r using AF or MF since you sort of have to manual adjust your camera to the subject.

  12. #32

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    Originally posted by azone

    Yes of course! I used flash for all my insect shots. As explained in pg 03, very MILD flash is used to provide fill-in effect only(to fill up any areas under shadow). Coz you never know if the sun is against your favour, and thus casting shadows on the insect's side which is facing you.
    Tks. Missed that pt. Was actually pondering abt this for quite some time already. Sometimes it is better to ask then to think too much.
    Last edited by Falcon; 13th December 2002 at 07:04 PM.

  13. #33
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    Originally posted by Falcon

    But since it has a fix focusing distance, then you must be at that precise distance to get the focus right. As such, it makes no difference whether u r using AF or MF since you sort of have to manual adjust your camera to the subject.
    but u can see from ur LCD or viewfinder very clear in this case, i tried AF and MF a few times, currently i prefer MF since the moment I see it's clear, or the moment i want to capture, no focus time is needed and i just press...

    this is result of my try on MF with nice moment.

  14. #34

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    Thanks to you all again!

    Originally posted by chenwei
    great work azone, do u mind if i make a pda version and distribute?
    Sure, its meant for all to see in the first place.

  15. #35

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    Originally posted by Falcon


    But since it has a fix focusing distance, then you must be at that precise distance to get the focus right. As such, it makes no difference whether u r using AF or MF since you sort of have to manual adjust your camera to the subject.
    Infact, this fixed distance is not exactly that fixed. I'm quite sure plus minus 1 or 2 cm the AF is still able to lock the focus.

  16. #36

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    Originally posted by azone

    Infact, this fixed distance is not exactly that fixed. I'm quite sure plus minus 1 or 2 cm the AF is still able to lock the focus.
    Oic. Tks.

  17. #37
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    azone going to be drunk soon. So many ppl give him tiger
    Canon Lover :)

  18. #38

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    wow !!

    kudos to azone for your efforts !!

    u ve stirred my interest in taking insect shots olady .. hehehe .. was rather discouraged by the shots which i ve taken so far due to the slow focusing speed of my cam (or cld it be the photographer ??) and most pics turned up blur ..

    ve a better grasp of what to look out for after reading ur article .. will try ur tips the next time i go to botanic gardens !!

    THANX !!

    coolz,
    coozie

  19. #39

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    An excellent comprehensive guide! Great effort for detailing both the settings and the approach to taking insect macros. You certainly didn't leave any stone unturned.

    However, I have a query,

    On Page03 you stated:
    Take note that if sunlight is very ample, you can switch to Aperture Priority (Av) mode instead of Manual. Set aperture value to within the recommended range. You may end up with a very high shutter speed (e.g., 1/600 or 1/800 sec), but its alright as long as it doesn't exceed 1/1000 sec, where it will be indicated in red color. The butterfly will turn out overexposed. One workaround is to set the Exposure Compensation (EV) to -1 or lower so that the speed falls below 1/1000 sec.
    When you set - EV at any A/P/S exposure, aren't you overriding the settings by forcing the camera to underexpose by x EV with regard to the current exposure?

    Hence in the case when the shutter speed is slightly over the 1/1000 A/P/S limit, applying -EV should actually be forcing/fooling the camera to use a higher shutter speed than what it normally accepts?

  20. #40

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    Originally posted by Zerstorer
    An excellent comprehensive guide! Great effort for detailing both the settings and the approach to taking insect macros. You certainly didn't leave any stone unturned.

    However, I have a query,

    On Page03 you stated:


    When you set - EV at any A/P/S exposure, aren't you overriding the settings by forcing the camera to underexpose by x EV with regard to the current exposure?

    Hence in the case when the shutter speed is slightly over the 1/1000 A/P/S limit, applying -EV should actually be forcing/fooling the camera to use a higher shutter speed than what it normally accepts?
    Thanks!

    Hmm.. thanks for pointing this out. My mistake! Will make the correction in a while.

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