Ok. I am pretty much a Luddite I guess. Even any of my questions are inferior here but I do have to ask... Why not a ring flash. I have found while I'm out rummaging in the under-story of our woods that it gives enough 'fill flash' to make shooting in lower light conditions worth while. Am I misleading myself?
The big advantage to a ring flash is that they are extremely simple to use -just attach it to the lens and start shooting. But the flash heads are so parallel to the lens that the light they produce looks "flat". In addition a ring flash will give you half circle speculator highlights that are distracting to most people. So I just can't recommend a ring flash for macro work -you're better off with a standard flash on an off camera bracket or a twin flash.
Ok, then I'll have to buy the MT-24 EX if I'm buying the tubes...thanks for all the help, I'm gonna buy all I can in a few months.
Anyway, it was your pictures that made me buy a 550D and an EF-S 60, and [link] is the first picture I uploaded. Unfortunately I just missed the face focus.
Your tutorials about not focus stacking and learning how to approach insects and to get more emotion and purpose in pictures rather than depth are amazing, and I hope I'll get some great pics, even at 1x, when I start going out for them next month.
I like the light and angle in this shot [link] but the light in these images [link] and [link] looks a little harsh. What are you using for a light source (flash / diffuser / how is it mounted, etc.) and how far away is it from the subject?
If you're going to shoot the whole insect don't clip the legs or antenna, and don't center the subject. For the high mag head shots study human portrait photography to get a feel for how to frame them.
Thanks! The one titled Antheaded was taken undiffused , I know I shouldnt have uploaded it. All other pics after (and including) 'The Weirdest' were taken with the built-in flash and a diffuser I made at home, which fits over the flash, extends forwards, and then points downward over an intended subject at 1x with the 60mm. I guess that's a little unusual. I don't know why the spider picture's harsh, i took it with the same lighting. Probably it's because I'm not used to changing the FEC, I keep it at 0. Is that bad?
Changing the Flash Exposure Compensation (FEC) will just change the exposure -possibly making the shot over or under exposed. Specular highlights, the shiny areas that the flash is reflecting off of, are determined by the size of your diffuser and how close the diffuser is to the subject. If those reflective areas look harsh then either use a bigger diffuser, get the diffuser / flash closer to the subject, or both.
I have a question along the same lines as TheGift73, but i'm using a canon 40d... I really want to try some macro photography, but initially don't want to shell out £400+ for a lens. I currently have an f3.5 18-55mm lens, this one to be exact [link] I have been looking at my options for macro work and also came across the Raynox DCR-250 [link] the images shown on amazon seem pretty impressive for a £33 bit of kit but could i get the similar results with the lens i have?
or would a 50mm prime with a lower fstop be better, such as [link] (i've been thinking about getting this lens anyway as i've been haveing lots of light problems trying to take close ups with the 17-55m, such as smoke shots)
I'd really appreciate your opinion on these, or any alternatives. If the only answer is to get saving then so be it, my long term goal would be to buy the 65mm you use for most of your shots (same as a lot of people i'd bet), but this being my first slr i don't really want to shell out that much cash right away.
i've ordered a macro book [link] which may well answer this but it's taking ages to arrive
The best way for me to answer your question is to direct you to this thread at the Fred Miranda Macro forum [link]
You can do a lot of macro just by getting a reversing ring for your existing lenses. Although, IMHO, for the 40D your very best option is the EF-S 60mm. Very easy to take that lens to 3x with a full set of Kenko tubes and the image quality is stellar!
Thanks for the info. I went for the tamron lens in the end, mainly because of price and the greater working distance but it was a hard choice, 60mm was on my short list. Been waiting a week for it to be delivered tho, had the mail the seller. hopefully it'll turn out to be a good choice. I assume i'll be fine using tubes on the tamron if needed?
My book still hasn't arrived but after doing a fair bit of research it looks like buying a macro lens is my best option, so i'm looking at the tamron 90mm macro [link] i've gone a little bit over budget but this lens appears to be a good compromise on quality vs cost, the canon 100mm macro is till over £400.
sorry for messing up your FAQ, feel free to remove these if you have nothing to add.
I have a Nikon D300s, but no macro lens. The only lenses I have are a 50mm f1.8, 55-200mm f4-5.6 and a 18-55mm kit lens that came with my D40. (all lenses are Nikon). I bought a Raynox DCR-250 (a cheaper way to see what macro photography is like before I buy a dedicated macro lens) on Amazon the other day and it arrived today, so I went out and took a few test shots after work, with the last 1/2hr of sunlight left. For some reason I couldn't get the Raynox to focus at all on the 55-200, but it was OK on the 18-55mm and 50mm prime. Do you have any advice on correctly using the Raynox DCR-250 properly, or if not could you advise on a decent beginners lens to get for the D300s. Sorry if I went on a bit, I do tend to waffle on a bit.
The thumb code doesn't work well in the forum posts here -give me a hyperlink.
Also you could add the filters to your lens, photograph a metric ruler, and then divide the width of the sensor in your camera by the number or millimeters you see in the image to get the magnification.
I have a question regarding close-up filters.. If Im shooting at 1:1 and using the Hoya +5 Diopter close-up filter, is there some sort of equation to calculate what magnification the +5 Diopter filter offers (i.e. +1 Diopter = 1.1:1, +5 = 1.5:1)?
PS. Congrats on being Macro Photographer of the Year!
To be honest I have no idea -but I'm pretty sure it would depend on the lens. I know that with Canon's closeup filters (the 250D and 500D) the magnification that I get is very dependent on the focal length of the lens.
The best site I could find on diopters is this page [link]
Hey, I have two questions: 1. Minus the camera body, how much would I be looking at to spend on a decent macro set up, roughly? I was already slightly daunted by the price of the macro lenses alone, and then I found on you need flashes and accessories.. I don't need an exact amount though. Just a very rough estimate.
2. How early do you get up to get the insects when they're sleeping? When I was at my grandmas house in the middle of nowhere, the bees were buzzing around like they had too much coffee at 7 AM.
With Canon shooting above life size is easy -just get the MPE-65mm and be done with it. Unfortunately there is no equivalent lens for Nikon, so to go above life size you're either going to have to do one of these: Get a small focal length standard macro lens (no more than 100mm) and add extension tubes and / or a teleconverter to it, reverse a small focal length prime lens (~24mm) onto your camera (there are companies that make reversing rings for macro), or reverse a prime onto the front of a macro lens (like reversing a 50mm onto the front of a 100mm macro lens -again there are companies that make the rings).
If you don't have any experience shooting macro then get a standard macro lens in the 100mm range (any brand since they are all optically excellent) and practice shooting at 1x before you go above life size...
You'll need to get a flash -either a standard camera flash on a bracket with an off camera cord or pick up Nikon's macro twin flash. I don't recommend ring flashes -the light will look flat even with ratio control. 99% of the macro photography in my gallery was taken with a flash.
I apologize for my ignorance first, John! I'm now using a Canon 100mm Macro lens, but not sure if technically only when I shot with the shortest distance with the max magnification of 1x could it be qualified as a macro picture (such as my [link] ). This is just my assumption, because I don't know how to judge if the picture is in life size or not. Appreciate your advise!
If you are using the lens with nothing else added to it (extension tubes, closeup filters, etc.) then they only way to take a "true" macro photo is to set the focus ring to the minimum focusing distance. Macro is defined as a life size to 10x life size image circle projected onto the image plane (film or digital). A lot of people make the claim that on a crop factor camera you can get higher than life size magnification, and it's just not true. The sensor is simply cropping the image (it's the same effect as using the cropping tool in post) and the subject looks larger on a computer screen or in print because it's cropped. But the magnification, on any camera body, is still only 1x.
Thanks, John. So I was not far off from my guess that by setting the focus ring to the minimum focusing distance, I can get a true macro photo. Otherwise, the shot would only be a close-up, right? If I put on a closeup filter, then how do I determine at what focusing distance can a photo be a true macro? Appreciate your patience!
If you have a crop factor camera, like the 40D (1.6x crop), then your sensor is about 22 millimeters long. If you take a focused photo of a metric ruler and in the image you only see 11 millimeters then you're shooting at twice life size ( 22/11 = 2).
Hi again, just checking that your using the gary fong puffer on the mt-24ex? what's it like did you have to mod it at all to not be so obtrusive? I use gary fong for all my other camera flashes but dont have anything yet for the mt24ex
I carved out the front end of a set of Sto-Fen diffusers to use them as a frame, then hot glued the Puffers onto the front. I've also got a piece of reflective material glued to the bottom (the side opposite the modeling lamps) to force more light out the front. I had all the materials laying around from other projects, but if I was buying everything to make a set it would run about $80 USD...
It depends: If you're shooting at a higher magnification than without it, but the Fstop remains the same, then yes the depth will drop with the teleconverter because the magnification is higher.
The funny thing is that a lot of people think that shooting at life size with a teleconverter will give you more depth of field than shooting at life size without one because you gain a little more distance between the lens and the subject when using a teleconverter. But the depth of field at life size is the same for all lenses, set to the same aperture, irregardless of the working distance. So the MPE-65mm with it's 4" working distance will give you the same depth at 1x as the 180mm L macro lens with its 8.9" working distance as long as both lenses are set to the same Fstop. It's the Fstop and the magnification that determine the depth of field at life size and higher magnifications and not the working distance.
I think part of the confusion that people have with teleconverters is that most macro lenses aren't really designed to work with them, so the lens doesn't communicate to the camera accurate aperture data when a teleconverter is connected. Since a 1.4x teleconverter is going to change the effective aperture by one stop the photographer thinks the lens is set to F8 (for example) because that's what the camera is set to but in reality the aperture is at F11 due to the teleconverter So the shooter thinks that their getting more depth due to a change in working distance when in fact it's an increase in the Fstop that's doing the trick.
In the above example metering still works just fine, since the camera's light meter is determining the exposure by the amount of light that's coming through the lens and the teleconverter.