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Thread: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

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    Default Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    subject was a dragonfly at respectable distance, in just about all cases the AF locked on the tail or the segment where wings meet.



    Only when manual focused could get the head.


    Now that i think about it, should have used a smaller aperture but its pretty interesting using MF as instantly can see which parts are sharp and blur.
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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Aim correctly when using AF.

    This is what I'll just say on this matter.
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    Senior Member Halfmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    Aim correctly when using AF.

    This is what I'll just say on this matter.
    It is never easy to hit a aim with AF when shooting flying bugs... even stationary ones, I am having challenges.......

    But when I shoot a bettle at f22, it still seems the back is blur...
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    If I don't have a tripod with me, I'll definitely use AF because it would be tricky to zoom in on live view. I'll select the point AF.

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmoon View Post
    It is never easy to hit a aim with AF when shooting flying bugs... even stationary ones, I am having challenges.......

    But when I shoot a bettle at f22, it still seems the back is blur...
    Well, it takes practise. Your breathing technique must be good and you should not even waver for the slightest bit.

    There is a limit to the DOF it can provide due to the close focusing distance. In such cases, you may want to use a tripod and then stack a couple of pictures together to get your desired outcome. Personally, I just do with a decent side shot.
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    i find that alot of the time, and esp for macroa nd close range pictures, AF has little use. u only have a sway 5mm and your focus will be off. MF, or AF lock, and then move youre body closer/further untill you get the point you want in focus then snap. one of the best ways.

    i got tired of missed focuses, so i shoot mostly manual lenses now.
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    Senior Member Halfmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    Well, it takes practise. Your breathing technique must be good and you should not even waver for the slightest bit.

    There is a limit to the DOF it can provide due to the close focusing distance. In such cases, you may want to use a tripod and then stack a couple of pictures together to get your desired outcome. Personally, I just do with a decent side shot.
    For Macro..... I think beside breathing technique, using flash will be ideal too....

    Just side shoots for you?? I am wondering, when I was shooting the beetle, the front is clear, but the back is not, and was already at f22......

    I wonder how they can shoot an insect with almost full body in clear view.... maybe if they use a 180mm macro instead of 100mm, there will be some difference........

    Dangerous poison here.........
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Random tip:

    Say you are using a 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Set focus to approximately where you need it to be (say the head), then set your camera to continuous shutter mode. Depress the shutter and move slightly forwards/backwards and take about (arbitrarily say..) 10 shots. One will almost definitely be in focus.

    Don't have to waste time shooting one shot, check if its in focus, if not in focus take again and again. Its much faster this way. Digital shots are free anyways.

    p.s. Of course your shutter speed has to be reasonably fast to do this. Flash, High ISO, etc. may help in this regard.

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmoon View Post
    For Macro..... I think beside breathing technique, using flash will be ideal too....

    Just side shoots for you?? I am wondering, when I was shooting the beetle, the front is clear, but the back is not, and was already at f22......

    I wonder how they can shoot an insect with almost full body in clear view.... maybe if they use a 180mm macro instead of 100mm, there will be some difference........

    Dangerous poison here.........
    Yes, having flash is of course ideal. When I am shooting hand-held macros, a flash is a necessity as you'll need to freeze both the insect as well as your own movement.

    When you are shooting the beetle, was it a head-on orientation? If so, you'll never get the whole insect in focus. Having a longer lens is even worse as you have less DOF.

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    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonicAngelz View Post
    Random tip:

    Say you are using a 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Set focus to approximately where you need it to be (say the head), then set your camera to continuous shutter mode. Depress the shutter and move slightly forwards/backwards and take about (arbitrarily say..) 10 shots. One will almost definitely be in focus.

    Don't have to waste time shooting one shot, check if its in focus, if not in focus take again and again. Its much faster this way. Digital shots are free anyways.

    p.s. Of course your shutter speed has to be reasonably fast to do this. Flash, High ISO, etc. may help in this regard.
    Not a good idea as you may just end up with all OOF shots. I would suggest that you try to aim carefully and shoot one or two. No point squeezing off 10 shots when you are not in correct focus.

    Also the flash may not be able to continuously fire, esp. in low light conditions where the flash is the main light source.
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    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    I find the following very useful when taking macro:

    1. Live view

    2. Spot focusing; put the "+" (spot target) on the eyes

    3. Monopod
    Last edited by Diavonex; 2nd October 2010 at 12:56 PM.

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    Moderator PhotoProZero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonicAngelz View Post
    Random tip:

    Say you are using a 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Set focus to approximately where you need it to be (say the head), then set your camera to continuous shutter mode. Depress the shutter and move slightly forwards/backwards and take about (arbitrarily say..) 10 shots. One will almost definitely be in focus.

    Don't have to waste time shooting one shot, check if its in focus, if not in focus take again and again. Its much faster this way. Digital shots are free anyways.

    p.s. Of course your shutter speed has to be reasonably fast to do this. Flash, High ISO, etc. may help in this regard.
    Hahaha, DemonicAngelz, your random tip is super random!!!
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    Moderator PhotoProZero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Just to share:

    I've been shooting macro in manual mode ever since i started. Never used a tripod before. Started with a 50mm 1.8 ii Prime with Raynox; now using a 100mm macro lens. I have also learnt that other photogs' settings may not necessarily suit your set-up. More importantly, trial and error until you get the right Aperture and Shutter Speed to have a good Macro-Shot. i.e; my Tokina 100mm Macro is at the sharpest between F8 and F13 (max). Shutter speed of between 1/125 and 1/160.

    So it really depends on individual set-up.
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    Member pentriot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    I prefer MF with AF or MF lenses for macro, a monpod & ring flash.
    Beside the ring flash, we can try out various setup using external flash.
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    Senior Member Halfmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonicAngelz View Post
    Random tip:

    Say you are using a 105mm f2.8 macro lens. Set focus to approximately where you need it to be (say the head), then set your camera to continuous shutter mode. Depress the shutter and move slightly forwards/backwards and take about (arbitrarily say..) 10 shots. One will almost definitely be in focus.

    Don't have to waste time shooting one shot, check if its in focus, if not in focus take again and again. Its much faster this way. Digital shots are free anyways.

    p.s. Of course your shutter speed has to be reasonably fast to do this. Flash, High ISO, etc. may help in this regard.
    Then, I need to save up for the 7D a.k.a. GPMG of Crop.... lol... if use 400D.... sure = 100% blur shots!!!!........
    Art is perception; Perception is art.

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    Senior Member Halfmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    Yes, having flash is of course ideal. When I am shooting hand-held macros, a flash is a necessity as you'll need to freeze both the insect as well as your own movement.

    When you are shooting the beetle, was it a head-on orientation? If so, you'll never get the whole insect in focus. Having a longer lens is even worse as you have less DOF.
    What flash are you using for Macro????

    When I shoot the beetle, it was head on orientation..... I wonder how they shoot with whole insect in focus???? Using multi shots and PP is it????

    Anyway.... I am not yet a real macro shooter on insect.... just a leisure..... and for fun.....
    Art is perception; Perception is art.

  17. #17
    Senior Member zac08's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmoon View Post
    What flash are you using for Macro????

    When I shoot the beetle, it was head on orientation..... I wonder how they shoot with whole insect in focus???? Using multi shots and PP is it????

    Anyway.... I am not yet a real macro shooter on insect.... just a leisure..... and for fun.....
    I'm using SB-800.

    It's either it's a cropped shot of a further distance shot (to increase DOF) or you'd have to stack a number of pics to get the DOF correct for the whole body.
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    Senior Member Diavonex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Halfmoon View Post
    ..... I wonder how they shoot with whole insect in focus????.....
    You can try shooting with a P&S camera with a small sensor.

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    Senior Member Halfmoon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    Quote Originally Posted by zac08 View Post
    I'm using SB-800.

    It's either it's a cropped shot of a further distance shot (to increase DOF) or you'd have to stack a number of pics to get the DOF correct for the whole body.
    Interesting... is it possible the insect will not move and let the photographer take so many shots that they can stack it up????
    Art is perception; Perception is art.

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    Senior Member cichlid's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do insect shooters prefer manual focusing?

    When the camera is mounted on tripod, i use MF, much more accurate.

    For hovering bees (handheld), i use AF but I AF at reference point like a flower first, where u know the bee is going to be hovering nearby. When the bee flies near the flower just move the cam and fire at the bee and hope for the best

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