Macro shot of moving aquarium fishes, how?


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Apr 11, 2006
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#1
How to take nice macro shot of moving fishes in an aquarium? can some expert give some pointers to help me along? Is it that i need to buy add on lens or i need to get a gd camera?I snap till my whole pack of 8 pieces battery went flat still unable to get a nice, clear and sharp one... I'm using a canon powershot A95. Using macro mode to capture the images.
Thanks a lot.
 

ortega

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#2
you need strong light to give you a fast enough shutter speed
while having enough dof to get the fish sharp as the fish will not stop to let you focus
 

zac08

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#3
Canon powershot?

Hmmmm, may be a tough one. You would really need more lighting just as ortega has mentioned above. The way most SLR users do it is with multiple flashes and off camera to give the fish more lighting.

Having a dedicated photography tank (1 ft long with a clean dark background) helps a lot more. Using another piece of glass to prevent the fish from moving too much also helps.
 

Apr 11, 2006
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#4
zac08 said:
Canon powershot?

Hmmmm, may be a tough one. You would really need more lighting just as ortega has mentioned above. The way most SLR users do it is with multiple flashes and off camera to give the fish more lighting.

Having a dedicated photography tank (1 ft long with a clean dark background) helps a lot more. Using another piece of glass to prevent the fish from moving too much also helps.
Thanks! Oh bro what u mean is powershot series not suitable for macro shot?
 

thomas.h

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Apr 14, 2005
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cyprichromis said:
Thanks! Oh bro what u mean is powershot series not suitable for macro shot?
I believe its possible.
Add more light. Try it out first.
 

ellery

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#8
You can use a consumer digicam to do this. You need to observe the fish carefully, understand route it swims there will be a position where it is positioned for a shot. You need to shot at an angle since you cannot position the flash at an angle to avoid reflection. Shoot in a tele setting not macro - of course I am considering that you are not shooting fish fry but fish of a decent size. Macro mode will screw up too much. Use a higher asa setting as necessary.
 

zac08

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#9
cyprichromis said:
Thanks! Oh bro what u mean is powershot series not suitable for macro shot?
Not to say not suitable... for a still-life object, you may still get away with it. But if you are talking about lively characins or cyprinids, then well.. I'd suggest you go borrow a SLR to try.


Cheers,
 

Apr 26, 2004
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#10
You'll need a smaller tank just for fish photography. Else the fishes will be moving all over the place. With a small tank it is easier to clean the glass and have crystal clear water (change just befor photo session).
Let the fish/es adapt to the smaller tank before beginning your session.
 

hwchoy

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#11
no wonder my ears are itching.

like others have observed, the key is providing enough light. there are a few other little details but basically it is an issue of lighting. depending on the size of your fish, if it is in the range of a couple of cm (i.e. not bigger fishes like the larger cichlids and bonytongues) you will need to use flash.

once you fix the light issue, then you can get reasonably good pictures with the advance digicams and of course DSLRs. click on my signature (the word hexazona) the pictures there are almost all taken with a Canon G5 with +4 to +9 close-up filters.
 

hwchoy

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#13
ellery said:
You can use a consumer digicam to do this. You need to observe the fish carefully, understand route it swims there will be a position where it is positioned for a shot. You need to shot at an angle since you cannot position the flash at an angle to avoid reflection. Shoot in a tele setting not macro - of course I am considering that you are not shooting fish fry but fish of a decent size. Macro mode will screw up too much. Use a higher asa setting as necessary.

knowing the fish's behaviour is very important too. depending whether you want a full side-on profile (like what I want) or you want them in various antic poses, you need to know where a fish is likely to be in the pose you want and wait accordingly.

As for the shoot at an angle thing, if you are flashing over the water, then it is not too important, you seldom get glass reflection, if the fish is not too near the front glass. shooting at an angle introduces distortion by the glass itself. For my needs it was not acceptable as I wish to see every minute details. if you are getting too much front glass reflection and HAVE TO shoot at an angle, get a photo tank with the thinnest glass you can find.

end of the day, after having all the necesary equipment, you need to have patience and practice. but you can get amazing shots from even digicams like the G5. Here is one taken with my G5 with +9 close-up. note this fish is less than 1.5cm long and transparent. the second pix is a 100% crop.




of course using the a DSLR with proper macro lens would be much easier, but your patience and practice will serve you well. A DSLR mainly gives you better image quality. here is the female of the same fish, you can even see the eggs in the belly (taken with 20D and EF 100mm Macro)

 

Canew

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#14
hwchoy said:
knowing the fish's behaviour is very important too. depending whether you want a full side-on profile (like what I want) or you want them in various antic poses, you need to know where a fish is likely to be in the pose you want and wait accordingly.

As for the shoot at an angle thing, if you are flashing over the water, then it is not too important, you seldom get glass reflection, if the fish is not too near the front glass. shooting at an angle introduces distortion by the glass itself. For my needs it was not acceptable as I wish to see every minute details. if you are getting too much front glass reflection and HAVE TO shoot at an angle, get a photo tank with the thinnest glass you can find.

end of the day, after having all the necesary equipment, you need to have patience and practice. but you can get amazing shots from even digicams like the G5. Here is one taken with my G5 with +9 close-up. note this fish is less than 1.5cm long and transparent. the second pix is a 100% crop.




of course using the a DSLR with proper macro lens would be much easier, but your patience and practice will serve you well. A DSLR mainly gives you better image quality. here is the female of the same fish, you can even see the eggs in the belly (taken with 20D and EF 100mm Macro)

The PRO has spoken. :)
 

hwchoy

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#16
some have mentioned using a smaller tank to shoot.

I mainly use two tanks, one is a 1ft cube and the other only 6-inches (a betta barrack). the 1ft is planted while the 6-inch is only with a layer of fine gravel (choose carefully for colour neturality and reflective characteristics).

Remember the recent hoohah about the world's smallest fish and vertebrate discovered by scientists in NUS? Here is a pix of my impromptu setup when we went to shoot in the lab of the Raffles Museum. Note the flash is placed in a white tupperware which serves as a diffuser, and is triggered by the wireless ST-E2 (works on digicam with hotshoes too).



the result (the world's smallest fish, less than 1cm)…

 

hwchoy

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#18
I mentioned colour neutrality and reflective properties of the substrate earlier. The problem with gravel is that it can give a colour cast to the fish belly when flashed. If the grave is too light in colour, the reflection becomes too strong. If it is not reflective, then the fish is poorly illuminated under the belly (depending the type of fish is round or knife bodied) because the flash is coming from the top.

Do note that gravel looks completely different (same goes for some fishes) when flashed vs viewed under ambient light. Here is a fish I just photographed yesterday. You can see the gravel is pale yellow, in ambient light it is actually dark grey! You can also see the reflection from the substrate help to illuminate those parts of the fish which would not have been illuminated by the flash. also internal reflection of the flash from the front glass helps to illuminate the fish from the side too. some people uses a slave flash from the front to do this.




 

hwchoy

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#19
DOF: you need as much as you can get at such macro distance. so on digicam like the G5 I use the max which is f/8.0 while on the 20d/EF 100mm Macro combo I use f/11-16 for side-on (depending on how fat is the fish) and up to f/22 for the face shot.
 

Apr 11, 2006
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#20
To all bro that reply my thread and esp bro hwchoy,
all your help and suggestions are deeply appreciated. Learning quite a number of stuffs from ur replies. Thanks!

Really nice macro u have there bro hwchoy, tats the type of macro i longing for.

Anyway i wanna get another new digi cam, what brand and model of DC u guyz recommend that can handle macro shot? My budget is less den 900... Thanks
 

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