Macro photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dagwood56, Dec 12, 2008.

  1. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Is a tripod absolutely necessary for macro photography? I do not like using a tripod. My husband put his camera on a tripod the day he bought it and he will not remove it! He never takes a photo without the camera being on a tripod. All he really shoots are flowers. I on the other hand like the freedom of using the camera for a variety of things at any given moment - shooting a bug perhaps, then being able to swing around and shoot a bird flying past for lack of a better way to put it. He prefers using a very low shutter speed for most everything he shoots. I like a more versatile shutter speed and 1/60 is about as low as I like to go.

    Is there a right or a wrong to this macro stuff or is it a matter of preference. I bought a book on Macro Nature photography - many of the photos within the book are of animals shot with small macro lenses or close up lenses and frankly I can get just as close with my telephoto. What I want to try is getting the stamen of flower, to see the fuzz on the stem of a flower, a fly so close you can see the veins in its wings. I have 105mm macro - so would I have to use a tripod with it, to get the really really close up stuff, or would hand held work? Thanks for your patience and responses.
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Nope I hardly use a tripod at all for insects - I tend to end up shooting away from dawn and thus they are way to active for slower tripod shooting - at dawn or thereabouts you can get great macro shots of insects as they warm up from the cold night (and thus just sit still as you setup)

    But for macro handheld what you really need is a good flash - that helps you since it lets you use a small aperture (to get the depth of field) with a fast shutter speed to freeze action and avoid camera shake without having to boost your ISO too high.

    Flash is the key - also a dedicated flashgun can be used off camera as well (with remotes and such) which can let you play with different light angles - though get used to oncamera first :))

    Along with the flash you will need some sort of diffuser for the light - myself I use a Lumiquest Softbox and that works well though in the past with my flash (as well as on my popup flash before I got the speedlite) I have used folds of white toilet paper held on with elastic bands to diffuse the light. Just make sure the bands don't cover the flash element.

    I tend to use the following settings - aperture 13, ISO 200, shutter speed 1/200 with the flash and that works well. This methodology is basically what I have copied from DoeNoe (member on this site) and he uses a similar setup.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Macro photography often means working with a very shallow DOF. Sometimes it's so thin that it's almost impossible to tell where the focus is...or it's hard to get more than a sliver of the subject into focus.

    To get more DOF, you stop down the aperture. When you do that, you use a slower shutter speed. Slower shutter speed could mean blur.

    So when doing macro and you want to maximize your DOF, you stop down and use a tripod.

    An alternative, as mentioned, is to use flash.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    insects though tend to demand a faster shutter speed by nature - though actual light (no flash) macro photography is possible you need very still insects, very still weather (no wind) and decent lighting. That is a lot of factors that need to be together and in some environments its just not practical to shoot that way.

    also - how do you (Dagwood) focus your macro shots at the moment? AF or MF?
     
  5. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the info --- right now I tend to use auto focus because my eye sight isn't what it used to be so I'm better assured of a sharp image if I use auto focus.
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Whether or not to use a tripod with macro photography (for me) depends on how much light there is.

    If I have a ton of light, I don't use one. If light is an issue I do use one.

    The subject matters too - inanimate objects = tripod; living insects = no tripod.
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    with macro I tend to find that it is far easier to use manual focus then set the focus to the magnification I want (usually 1:1 - but with larger insects or scenes I will focus out as needed) and then manually move the lens closer to the subject. When close enough that I can see the where the focus is I then rock back and forth with the shutter half depressed. This way the camera red light will still blip on when focus is achived and I can also press the shutter button quickly with minimal shake caused by the action.
    That way I find more accurate since it negates the AF starting to hunt after its own idea of what the subject should be and also allows for more freedom in framing - the point of focus does not have to be in the dead centre.

    If your having trouble with eyesight though that could be a limiting factor - firstly have you checked that your diopter is set right (check your manual for how to set this) you would be surprised at the number of people that don't set it right for their eyesight and then fund manual focusing a trial.
    After that there is the Canon Angle finder which will give you an increased image size to work with in the viewfinder - though its limit is that the tool must be used at right angles to the viewfinder - so its a little limited in some situations - but good for getting low down shots where you head can't quite get into position
     
  8. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I do the same.
     
  9. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks everyone - and I will keep in mind about the manual focus. I did adjust the viewfinder diopter when I got my new glasses a few weeks ago. Thanks again.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    If you find that the camera diopter is not powerfull enough for you the canon to make some higher powered adaptors
     

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