Close Up Shooting Advice Required

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Olympus E300, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. Olympus E300

    Olympus E300 TPF Noob!

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    Hey all...I'm brand new here! In fact, I'm quite new to photography in general (in regards to more of the high end equipment). I've taken tons of pictures with cheap, pocket cameras but I got myself a new camera two years ago and I've only recently acquired some accessories to go with it. I want to be as universal as possible regarding where and what I shoot but my main objective is to :

    A) Shoot decent portraits of my daughter as she grows up (we're expecting a second in July)
    B) Wildlife photography (big game mostly such as white tail and black bear)
    C) Close up (insects, flowers, ect...)

    I pretty much have the equipment for my first two objectives (I think), however, I'm stuck on what I should aquire in order to complete my 3rd goal. Which lens would be best for me? Should I consider extension tubes? How about a macro ring light? I would think that it would be a accessory for close up shooting but which one is best? Here is a list of my current setup :

    Camera : Olympus Evolt E-300 DSLR
    Flash : FL-50R wireless TTL
    Lenses (Zuiko) : 14-45mm, 40-150mm & 70-300mm
    Tripod (legs) : Monfrotto 190XPROB
    Tripod (head) : Monfrotto 486RC2
    Filters : Sigma 58mm DG ultra violet
    Accessories : Vivitar wireless shutter release, Zuiko EC-20 2X teleconverter, flash diffuser
    Case : Pelican 1550

    Thanks for your suggestions!!
    - Daniel
     
  2. imp25rs

    imp25rs TPF Noob!

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    For good close-ups, a 1:1 macro lens is a must. I would suggest something like a 90mm or so. That way you can get the 1:1 ratio without being as close to the subject. I have had great luck with a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 and if I remember correctly the price was pretty reasonable. The other thing is get the flash off the camera, a macro flash may be ideal, but try moving your existing flash first. When I take pictures of insects I usually have the flash in one hand and the camera in the other. Probably not the best way to do it but it lets you play with different flash locations.
     
  3. maoparungao

    maoparungao TPF Noob!

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    For flash in macro mode, I use my tripod with an umbrella and flash adapter attached to it. I also use a reflector. I put the flash in TTL mode. I get more depth in my images when I use this. Hope you would try this!
     
  4. IgsEMT

    IgsEMT No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    40-150mm & 70-300mm - these are your portrait lenses. aperture around 5.6-8, shutter 1/125, iso 200-400, flash - adjust to for optimal exposure. And don't forget for portraits - fill the frame.
    There are thousands of tutorials online how to take portraits, look into various techniques.
    for Macro and such, once I realized that I was going to be a Daddy, my love for macro and landscapes dissapeared. I totally dipped into portraiture and people :)
     
  5. Olympus E300

    Olympus E300 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. Regarding a macro lens, I can probably afford to spend around $2-300 CDN right now (just spent over $2000 on gear this week). Do you think that the Olympus Zuiko Digital 35mm f/3.5 Macro SLR Lens would work well for what I wish to do? My FL-50R flash is a wireless remote TTL flash, which makes it easy to move. I'm still hung up on a light ring though...Not sure why? I doubt I'll spend the money and buy the Olympus one ($700+). I'll likely buy a cheap $100 knock off and regret it forever...LoL.

    You've all got a nice forum here...I think I will enjoy my stay!!
    Cheers!!
    - Dan
     
  6. imp25rs

    imp25rs TPF Noob!

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    Just remember that the shorter the focal length of the lens, the closer you will have to get in order to get the 1:1 ratio of the size of the subject to the size on the sensor. If you get close to most insects they will run or fly away.

    Another cheap alternative is magnifying filters. If I remeber correctly, they give a pretty shallow depth of field but they can be a good place to start.
     
  7. Turbo

    Turbo TPF Noob!

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    If you can save up a bit more, you can pick up the Zuiko ED 50mm f/2 macro. They go for about $400 USD new, not sure about used because I never see anyone selling theirs. It's tack sharp, even wide open.

    Nice to see someone else using a E300 around here.
     
  8. Olympus E300

    Olympus E300 TPF Noob!

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    I'll keep that in mind turbo...Perhaps I'll wait before buying my macro lens...My wallet could use the time off for now anyway!

    Cheers!
    - Dan
     
  9. bcshort

    bcshort TPF Noob!

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    Hi There,
    As you know, macro lenses are not cheap. Having been stung by the optical quality of some cheaper lenses, I now have to save up to by L Series lenses (Canon user). Where I am leading to is how big of a passion (and wallet/purse) for macro photography do you have?

    By all means, go by that lens if you have the cash and know this is where it's at for you, don't let me turn you off :) But if you are on a budget, maybe want to save up for a good lens or if you want to play around with macros and find that getting the DOF is tedius (I know I do), then it might be worthwhile investing in a close-up filter kit.

    Mine set me back around $120ish AUD when I got it, and I feel it does a pretty good job. It will NOT have the same optical quality as macro lens, but it will allow you to get your hands dirty in macro work reasonably cheaply.

    Samples from my website:
    Fun with Macros « Ben Short

    Photos were taken with a 70-300mm f/4-5.6 with typically a +4 close-up filter.

    As I said, this isnt to discourage you getting a Macro Lens (I have one on my wish list too...), this might be a more viable alternative to begin with.

    Cheers
     
  10. Olympus E300

    Olympus E300 TPF Noob!

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    Good looking website bcshort! Looking over your examples, perhaps close-up filters are the way to get started after all. Might you recommend a quality set for my Olympus E-300 (58mm)?

    Cheers!
    - Dan
     
  11. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Extension tubes work really well as a temp solution to a dedicated 1:1 macro lens, and then they work with a 1:1 macro lens later when you finally get one to let you get even closer. They have no glass in them, so you don't lose any quality from that.

    Macro filters are basically magnifying glasses that are placed in front of the lens. Of all the solutions, those were my least favorite. I tried them early on to try to get away with a cheap way to go, and was not very happy with the results, personally. Sticking cheap pieces of glass in front of my expensive pieces of glass seemed like a bad idea from the start, as well it should.

    As stated by others, the longer your glass, the further you can be from your subject. I chose a 180mm Sigma EX series macro lens that's working out great for me, but may not be in your budget range. I chose the long lens so that I could shoot bugs easier without capturing them first. For things that don't move so much or aren't as skittish, you can get away with a much shorter, and less expensive, lens.

    Another alternative that's relatively inexpensive is an old school solution: a lens reversal ring. This mounts to the front of your lens (often a 50mm prime is used for this) and allows you to then turn it around and mount it to the camera body. You will obviously lose any auto-focus ability doing that, but in macro, I find that AF is not terribly helpful most of the time anyway. I've got a couple of them around for different cameras and lenses I've used over the years, but they don't get any use now that I've got the right macro lens for the task.

    That's something to think about too. If you spend money on temp fixes up front, when you finally get the permanent 'right' solution, those temps will sit on your shelf unless you can sell them and get some of your money back. If you can, skip them and go right to the good stuff.

    Speaking of focus, usually when shooting macros I'm set to manually focus to get the closest I can, or to fill the frame with the subject if that's my goal, then move the camera forward and back to gain actual critical focus. That said, you might also think about macro focusing rails, especially if you're planning to shoot studio macros of still objects off a tripod, rather than winging it hand-held in the field.

    For lighting, there are a number of solutions available. Lots of folks use macro ring lights, and they're obviously adequate to the task. If you already have a speedlight that you can use off camera, you can just use that with some diffusion and minimum power settings, and it will work just fine. I use my two speedlights for that purpose and wouldn't even think of buying a separate, dedicated macro ring light just for shooting macros. I even built a bracket that can hold my two flashes for shooting bugs in the field while moving around: Buck's DIY Macro Flash Bracket

    If the macro work you're planning on is studio work, you can use inexpensive shop lights even, with any number of diffuser solutions, from umbrellas to DIY panels to a simple white sheet, or even a paper-paneled box ala Strobist DIY light tent.
     
  12. bcshort

    bcshort TPF Noob!

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    Well, 58mm is a fairly standard size :)

    I tend to stick by Hoya, B+W (Schneider) or Tiffen, and you tend to get what you pay for. If you can afford the Pro multi coated filters, go for it. otherwise the photos you saw of mine were taken with standard filters

    Close Up Lenses

    hope this helps :)
     

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