1. Manual always...
2. logically speaking yest, for greater depth of view, but watch out for diffraction which limits lens performance, try not to go beyond f22..
(unless u want a thinner dof and stack few pics together for clarity throughout, i will recommend f8-11)
I quote=Ryanchew;5842205]not sure abt the aperture >< some people say 8-11 , some say 11-16, confusing[/quote]
What is so confusing? It is already told to you that there is no fix aperture. It all depends on what you want to translate in your shoot.
But as a general guideline, f16 is minimun. Otherwise the DOF is too shallow, but then again if you want to shoot a flower & you just want to show the stamen, then you have to shoot at for example f2, so that you throw the rest of the flower OOF in order for the stamen to stand out & your focussing have to be spot on. But if you want to shoot insects, even if you shoot at f22 & if your camera & the insect is not on the same plane, you won't get the whole insect in focus.
Don't depend on some say this or that. You have to try it out & experiment & see the results if that's what you want.
Sometimes its not so much of the aperture, it is the focussing. Its lots of trial & error & practice & getting use to your gears.
So its not always f16 or f22 or f4. I hope you'll understand it now
Second to martian. As mentioned in your macro thread in macro section, there is no fixed aperture for macro.
What you need to do is to read up more on what aperture means and how it can make shots look different, even when the shot is taken at the same place, same distance & same position. No point telling yourself to have an aperture range and fixed yourself to a stagnent kind of shots. I use apertures from as wide as f/2.8 to as small as f/25, depending on how I want my shots to turn out. Creativity is in your mind so don't stagnent your creativity by fixing yourself to a range.
The widest aperture (lowest f-stop) will give you very shallow/thin DOF (Depth Of Field). With this, you need to aim and focus on a particular small area which you find interesting as only that focused area will be clear and the rest of the area will be blurred (bokeh'ed). For the smallest aperture, everything in frame will be covered, obtaining a very much deeper DOF to keep the shot sharp, make sure you have the area of interest in focused being the most important, the rest will generally be 85% to 90% in focus as well.
Light compensations also come into play when we are talking about apertures. Wider aperture allows more light to get through the lens so you will be able to use higher shutter speed. Smaller apertures will allows lesser light through the lens, this is where you need to use slower shutter speed and in many situation, increasing the ISO is another way.
Trust me, once you understand about how apertures can make a shot looks different, you'll start playing apertures to go with good composition and lightings.
Don't be disheartened as my 1st macro shots are worse than yours :embrass:. Just keep on shooting and post for C&C. Be able to handle harsh comments and learn from where goes wrong. Go to more outings with the macro section, the folks here are friendly and willing to teach you. This is how I learn to take better macro shots over the last 1 year. It's a learning curve in general .
Ya, don't give up ryan. Tell you what, practice on something at home 1st. Do your main trial & errors at home. Once you are pretty sure then go out to the field & hunt your shots. You don't have to shoot many insects at one outing.
If you manage to find a very cooperative 'model'. stick with it for awhile. Try out as many shots as you can with your 'model'. From there you'll see what went wrong & what you have to correct, ok? Don't be afraid to experiment. With such practice, I'm sure you'll have good shots in no time