Best Macro Set up

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MegaColor, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. MegaColor

    MegaColor TPF Noob!

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    I have a D70 and I would like to start shooting Macro photos. Whats the best lenses and light set up? I have a ring light but its making the pictures look flat. I need a set up that will make my pictures pop and look sharp! Any help would be great!!! Thanks!!!
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Firstly what kind of macro work are you looking to get into? Namly still life or insect work?
    Also what kind of budget are you considering for this as there are budget and highcost options on the market.
     
  3. MegaColor

    MegaColor TPF Noob!

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    looking to shoot insect, reptiles and flowers. Budget is around $600. This is what I have so far...

    Nikon flash ring (not to happy with it, make pictures look flat)
    Nikon Macro 60mm f/2.8
    Nikon macro tubes

    I'm looking for a better set up.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ahh you have a good lens already :)
    Stage one you might consider upgrading to a longer focal length macro lens a Tamron 90mm, sigma 105mm, tokina 100mm are all options and there is the nikon 105mm VR but I think that is a bit out of your budget.
    All that will really give you thought is a longer working distance to use - and the lenses I listed (Barring the nikon) all have regular focusing setups not USM/HSM so slower and louder and no fulltime manual. The longer working distance can certainly be a help but the 60mm you have can still get the shots with practice.

    Out of interest then what is the method you use currently to capture a macro shot as it might be some tweak to your methodology might give you better results.

    edit specifically what ringflash do you have the nikon website does not list one that they make
     
  5. MegaColor

    MegaColor TPF Noob!

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    I have the Nikon TTL Macro Speedlight SB-29s...I shoot with tripod and also hand held. should I use my SB-600 instead of the flash ring?

    Whats the best setting for Macro shots? I shot at ISO 400, F12+

    I want to get as good as Cyrus khamak's macro shots.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2010
  6. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A solid tripod and off camera flash are the key to getting nice macro shots.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Hmm on the flash side of things I can't seem to find much info ( but I shoot canon so don't have as much grip on the nikon range) but does teh ringflash let you adjust each of the two elements independantly of each other? So you can have one a little more powerfull or weaker than the other? That would help to give you some shadowing effect in the shot. Failing that white tiolet paper or any similar material would act like a diffuser and iff attached to one side would lower that sides power output (and thus again help to create shadows.

    You could use your SB600 though I would fit it with something like a lumiquest softbox so that you get softer light. Idealy you want some sort of flash bracket (most macro shooters wind up with something slightly custom for this if they go this rout) so that you can position the flash above the end of the lens and angled toward the subject - gives a goo overhead lighting source that is similar to natural sunlight - and the angle allows it to light the lower areas of the shot rather than direct above he subject light which would give harsh shadows.

    I would keep going with the ringflash first though - as with some custom diffusion and such you can get some good light out of it.

    Settings wise myself I tend to use the following settings when shooting handheld:
    ISO 100/200 mostly as ISO 200 is my basic ISO I use but either works very well and idealy 100 should be used for the least noise. Higher ISOs will give you more noise in the shot but also have the advantage that the flash has to put out less power and so can help to bring the background areas out a little more - whereas with flash being dominent they tend to be lost to darker exposures than the main subject. Of course distances is very key here - close up backgrounds catch enough flashlight to be lit whilst far off ones do not.

    Aperture - f13 is my most normal and the lowest I go is f16. Around f16 (on most setups* ) diffraction starts to kick in and that will lead to softer overall shots no matter what you try. By f22 it should be quite noticable on most setups. Going wider (smaller f number) is possible, but the depth of field of course lowers

    Shutter speed - 1/200sec - fastest speed I can shoot with my flash and camera body without going into highspeed flash (whichstrips the flash of needed power to achive). for handheld I would go for the fastest you can whilst for tripod you can go slower, but bare in mind subject movement and wind might be factors to consider.

    Focusing wise full manual - more accurate and far quicker than auto focus in my experience.


    * the actual point depends on lens and camera used and often its not so much a hard line as a general drifting into softer settings.
     
  8. MegaColor

    MegaColor TPF Noob!

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  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Stick a softbox on the flash and something like that would be a fantastic setup to use indeed!
     

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