Help needed in macro photography


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android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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Hi everyone. I just gotten my first macro lens, a minolta 100mm f2.8 RS 1:1 macro, and promptly took it out to find something to shoot. Prior to this I've already read numberous guides on macro photography on the net,and know about the extremely shallow dof and I set about using f20 on my camera. However even at f20, I still find the dof way too shallow. I took some pictures of a dragon fly and it turn out blurry.

Just wondering what could be the cause of the images being blur? My shutter speed is 1/80 but image stabilizer is on. Aperture f20. No tripod was used as I'm trying to shoot living things... so is the blur cause by insufficient shutter speed, incorrect focus (mf) due to shallow dof,or is it diffraction caused by using to small aperture?

I have an external flash, but didn't use it when taking the photo of the dragonfly, as I'm worried the lights will scare it away lol. Should I hv use the flash?

Thanks.
 

titleist

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May 18, 2009
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#2
Not quite an expert. But I'm sure you need MF and flash. Anything for macro higher than f/16 will have some sort of diffraction. For macro, at such close focussing distant, the dof is really thin. Maybe some expert will help you out here.
 

android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#3
Already using manual focus. Not just for macros. I like using mf on prime lens, even with my 50mm f1.4.

As for flash, I did bring along but I never use it when taking the dragonfly as I'm not sure how it will react to sudden lights, ie scared and fly away.

Yup I know about the diffraction at small aperture, thus wanna check what's the compromise? Too wide aperture will result in way too shallow dof, yet too small and the diffraction hits.
 

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nysheng

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Sep 11, 2006
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hello.... i've been shooting macro awhile back..mainly plants and flowers.. what i discovered was that it was almost impossible to shoot without a tripod. IS is insufficient at macro level where the wind is ur worst enemy.

i'm not too sure why u are shooting at f20 in the first place.. for my macro shots..i've never gone into double digits for aperture. not only does ur subject not stand out properly, it increases the chance of slight movement which will blur ur picture.

my suggestion is to use a tripod and try again. i've also never used any flash for my macro shots..(mainly cause i don't shoot enough macro to warrant buying it).

EDIT: All my macro shots are done using remote shutter as well.. u will shake the camera when u press the shutter even if it's on a tripod
 

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tchuanye

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Mar 4, 2003
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#6
Its blurry because your shutter speed may be too low, or could be due to handshake.

I have used the same lens and use a Raynox 250 attached to it. Yes, DOF is paper thin, but you need to get it exactly right. Since the apeture is small, light is reduced. There are two ways to overcome it.

1) Use tripod, which allows for slower shutter speed. Flash use are also used to fill in the shadows. Many good macro shooters do that.

2) use flash to provide the light.

I shoot handheld using flashes and have been doing so for sometime. If you get the focus right, it will be sharp.

Use MF, fix the focus and move the body in and out slowly and snap at the sweet spot.

Here is an example:



And this at F22 for the SAL18250 lens with Raynox 250.
Maybe difraction, but looks ok to me.
 

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Diavonex

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Sep 23, 2008
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#7
Try shooting with tripod using different aperture; use remote shutter release if possible.
 

android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#9
Will try out flash next time :)

Tripods are impossible imo, the insects don't stay long enough for me to setup a tripod, not to mention the movements will surely scare them away.

So f22 handheld with flash is possible?
 

thomasq

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Jul 14, 2007
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#10
Hi Android17,
Follow the advise given by tchuanye who is an expert in macro photography and you will get good results.
I started shooting macro after looking at his gallery sometime back.

From experience, if you want to be extreme close using MF, no matter how small the aperture you set, it will still be shallow DOF, and with a small aperture, you willl need to compensate with a longer shutter to get the right exposure, meaning you need steady hand.
Shallow DOF can give you a good effect with blur out background.
Remember to rule of Shutter = 1/Focal Length to avoid shake. Flash(es) is handy tool even for a bright day to fill shadow, macro shooters usually use flash for better result. Another annoying factor is wind, so though you are ready to snap, a breeze can seriously cause image blur, so flash let you have a faster shutter to capture action.
Try out with a bigger aperture with you macro shooting and gradually explore the fun of macro shooting.
 

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android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#11
test pic, pic is resized but not cropped.

Handheld shot, my hand too shaky, thus when i took the pic, the coin shifted out of the picture...

 

ortega

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Nov 2, 2004
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#12
ways to increase DOF

increase the camera to subject distance, you do not need to shoot at max. magnification all the time
 

android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#13
thanks for all the advise.

Will go find some creatures to shoot tomorrow :)
 

android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#14
managed to get a few shots. Pictures here is resized but uncropped nor PPed.

Are these photos ok? Is it over exposed?

PS: Found some sensor dust. Time to send my camera for cleaning...





 

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M

maxtheevil

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#16
Its blurry because your shutter speed may be too low, or could be due to handshake.

I have used the same lens and use a Raynox 250 attached to it. Yes, DOF is paper thin, but you need to get it exactly right. Since the apeture is small, light is reduced. There are two ways to overcome it.

1) Use tripod, which allows for slower shutter speed. Flash use are also used to fill in the shadows. Many good macro shooters do that.

2) use flash to provide the light.

I shoot handheld using flashes and have been doing so for sometime. If you get the focus right, it will be sharp.

Use MF, fix the focus and move the body in and out slowly and snap at the sweet spot.

Here is an example:



And this at F22 for the SAL18250 lens with Raynox 250.
Maybe difraction, but looks ok to me.
awesome pics on the insects! beat the wannabe portraits on cs ( > 90% )
 

egnaro

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Dec 19, 2007
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#17
Give you some idea why some Macro shooter use long Tele-lens for macro and why they choose to use ext flash or some even use 2 flash and why use tripod

usually they will choose flexible tripod and sturdy BH. (it not cheap)

reason of using long tele lens,

1. narrower FOV = easier to get clean background
2. better working distance to prevent scaring away the subject
3. usually prefer not to use raynox or ext tube due to shorter working distance and shallower DOF, 1.4x Tele-converter preferred (it ok to loss 1 stop cuz usually flash will be use and smaller F-stop wil be use) not prefer 2x mainly becuz of degrade of IQ.
4. Tripod collar, more flexible

why use tripod?

1. can alway retake if shot is not what up to expectation provided subject still around (that y they prefer to go early in the morning becuz usually insect are less active)
2. usually they will take a document shot, if subject allow, Live view can be use to check focusing.
3. slower Shutter, usually 1/60-1/80 prefer otherwise BG may turn out dark.
4. sturdier shot, usually use together with cable remote.

why use flash? of cuz there are a few amazing pic shot without flash(use nature light)

1. reason is to fill the light on the subject to draw the colour of the subject.
2. some use 2 flash to get more even lighting and to eliminate shadow as much as possible.
3. they usually use good diffuser to soften the light from flash (good doesnt mean ex. many DIY)
4. depending on situation, some use flash to achieve higher shutter speed

hope above help, btw i am no expert. just hope to let TS understand more abt usage. please add on if there is a need.
 

android17

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Sep 27, 2009
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#18
im using ext flash with diffuser for my shots already.

Didnt use tripods cos im purely into insects and bugs macroing. Not really interested in leaves and flowers... So i think tripod is not needed right? By the time i get my tripod ready they'll be long gone.
 

egnaro

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Dec 19, 2007
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#19
im using ext flash with diffuser for my shots already.

Didnt use tripods cos im purely into insects and bugs macroing. Not really interested in leaves and flowers... So i think tripod is not needed right? By the time i get my tripod ready they'll be long gone.
bro, to get best macro result even on insect, use a tripod... get a flexible 1 if possible.
 

famosa

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Oct 10, 2008
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#20
bro, to get best macro result even on insect, use a tripod... get a flexible 1 if possible.
Hi,
newbie here and I am interested in macro photography. Can you advise what will be the good tripod for macro? What about monopod, which is more flexible? Thanks.
 

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