Macro insects - help needed

Discussion in 'Nature & Wildlife' started by Overread, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have recently been working on my macro skills and would like some advice on my technique and ideas for developing my skills further - so any advice is very welcome.

    Photos:
    Taken with canon 400D+speedlite 580M2 (without diffuser) + sigma 150mm f2.8 macro + sigma 2* teleconverter

    Methodology:
    All hand held results, though often I am not standing but crouching on the floor - so some added stability there. I set the lens to 1:1 macro and manual focusing so it stays there and then go hunting - so far I have found it very hard/impossible to get a full insect into 1:1 macro focusing and have considered moving out to 1:2 macro and further to get more insect into a shot - unless others can tell me that one can get the average insect into 1:1 macro. I also tend to shoot either in the high parts of the day (lots of bright light out then) or closer to evenings, but would move to morning shooting more if I could get out of bed earlier ;) - for those slower morning insects.

    [​IMG]
    f13, ISO 100, 1/100sec
    larger:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3312/3229410001_d7791d7232_o.jpg

    [​IMG]
    f13, ISO 400, 1/40sec
    larger:
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3103/3235230008_1f47720af2_o.jpg

    So far these two shots have been my apex results that I have managed to get.

    Any advice, comments and crits are welcome - thank you
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2009
  2. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Very nice macros, but I tend to prefer them with deeper DOF. You might also consider adding a diffuser -- look at Daan's bug images with his lumiquest softbox.

    Do you really need the 2X TC with that lens? I have a 100mm macro and have never tried it with the TC.
     
  3. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Thanks :)
    I like the TC for the softness it helps add in the background (though I have a feeling I am losing my depth of field though!) - I got very used to my 70-300mm macros 300mm soft :)
    As for the lumiquest its definatly (for the same reasons) something I have consdiered and debated about and am almost certain to go for one - once I have cash ;)
     
  4. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    The problem with a TC is that it might also add softness where you don't want it (although that doesn't seem to be a problem with these images). You might try side-side comparisons with it and without it (maybe on a flower -- they keep still). I have the Sigma 1.4X and the 2X, but I only use them if I really feel I need them (and have never tried them on a macro).

    I bought a lumiquest last week, but haven't had a chance to try it yet.

    Do you know what f-stop you shot these at?
     
  5. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    f13 - I found that a wider aperture was rapidly losing me working light (and also on the go flexability) and I don't really want to boost ISO much as I find it adds a lot of noise quite rapidly to macro work.
    I think if I had a closer flash (one of those lens mounted ones) I would be able to take the aperture wider - and I might try again with f16 and see what I can get
    f16 and ISO 200 should not be too bad
     
  6. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Well I think @ f13, your DOF without the TC would have been fine (or it would have been with my 100mm macro, anyway). Remember you also lose 2 stops of light with that 2X TC and light is your friend. As you push the lens to it's smallest aperture you will lose sharpness too.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    true - I hope to get out and get my 1.4TC picked up at some point - that might prove to be more of a happy meduim to work with - though granted with 150mm at normal I do have a good working distance to start with
     
  8. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    [​IMG]

    I shoot all my macros with my Canon 100mm f2.8 and no TC and have found that I am able to get close enough (and my off-camera 430EX gives me enough light). Now if you don't want to breathe down the bug's throat, that's another story :)

    This guy was done before I bought my 430EX with on-camera flash fill.

    BTW I bought both my 2X and my 1.4x on ebay for very good prices in mint condition -- there are always some listed.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I think its the fact that I have been doing this for only 2 weeks so far that I am reluctant to sacrifce my working distance as I do lack the general experince of stalking insects ;)

    and I think the MPE-65 lets you do that breathing thing ;)
     
  10. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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    Breathing? Oh ... I forgot ... :p

    What's an MPE-65?
     
  11. icassell

    icassell TPF Noob!

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  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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