Macros from a New Newbie

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Tony., Sep 26, 2009.

  1. Tony.

    Tony. TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone, first time posting here at photoforum. C&C welcomed!

    1. [​IMG]

    2. [​IMG]

    3. [​IMG]

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    Macro work on salt/sugar/chili powder grains.

    Pictures are small to compensate for the lack of sharpness (with the crazy shallow DOF, a change in a millimeter blurs everything).

    Setup used:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. niforpix

    niforpix TPF Noob!

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    They're not very sharp...
     
  3. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Nice to see some real photomacrography.

    Nice setup with one exception. You need a moving stage for the subject. Its much easier to move the subject for focusing than the whole camera rig. You need an expensively made smooth stable mechanism that's designed to move small amounts with no lateral displacement. I use either of these two "expensive" devices:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    The modified TLR was a thrift shop find, dead shutter, but a fully functional one could be used. Removing the back allowed it to sit flat. The second is just another lens. In both cases I use the focusing mechanism to move the stage up and down. The lens was "free" as it was already in the camera bag and the TLR was about $5.

    BTW, the illustrated rig has an old circa mid-1970's Olympus Zuiko Macro 35mm f/3.5 (microscope objective thread mount) with an adapter for Leica thread mount attached to a set of Leica extension tubes then a Nikon EL-F adapter so it attaches to a Nikon body.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2009
  4. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    Now that's macro! It's a good thing you said what they were cause I'd have no idea!
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Wile Dwig's suggestions are very sound there is two things lacking. These could account for the unsharpness, I can see a disteinct lack of stability in your setup. Your rig is very front heavy, even when pointed down the way you have it there will be some vibration. You would benifit considerably by finding a means of centering the weight of the camera, lens and extention tube. One way I can think of to do this would be to find tripod ring that would fit your extention tube. Granted these are ment for telephoto lenses but the same principal would apply, that being centerweight balance.


    I do mine considerably differently, I use a bellows enabiling me to move the entire rig with ease. It uses a focusing rail that I can either centerweight on the tripod

    [​IMG]

    or I can use the pin in the focusing rail to stabilize the unit. (not the greatest snap of it but...)

    [​IMG]


    What I'm getting at is stability, Stability is key in macro work, it's more important in macro than it is in telephoto photography.


    One way you can reduce vibration is use the mirror lock and shutter release delay, I use both regardless of how stable I have my rig set up.


    The second thing Dwig did not mention is the use of AF, Now given that you appere to be using a reverse lens setup so this does not apply to the current set of photos. But, for future reference, always use manual focusing when doing macro work even with dedicated macro primes and/or macro filters. The shallow DoF will nine times out of ten confuse the AF resulting in missfocus.
     
  6. Tony.

    Tony. TPF Noob!

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    @niforpix : Kudos for being the first person to speak your mind, always hearing compliments will not improve my photography. Thanks again.

    @Big : Haha, yea macros at this level almost become mysteries and I guess it's this element of surprise that brings me back to shooting them.

    @Dwig and Battou : Thanks for the tips guys. I was getting vibration all the time and I was wondering how I could counteract it. I thought shooting at 1/200-1/250 would freeze the action, and it looked fine on my camera LCD. But once I looked at the pics, I was disappointed for their lack of sharpness. I understand that stability is the key and I tried to find something that can move the subject rather than the camera itself, but I could not find anything around the apartment that was precise enough (Perhaps my crappy geared Dolica tripod might work). So I ended up twisting the focus rings until things looked sharp.

    I was thinking about buying a new tripod (the one pictured is not mine) and perhaps a geared head to allow for precise adjustments, but that thing is heavy and I'm not sure how the tripod legs are going to fair (055XPROB - mainly for its boom function).

    I never thought about using the mirror lockup function before and I think that should help dramatically.

    Thanks again guys, I'll shoot again and try to get a more stable platform. Hopefully I can pull some sharpness out of it.
     
  7. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yeup, that is exactly what the mirror lock up is for, to reduce vibration caused by mirror smack, when you couple this with the delayed shutter release the little bit of wabble caused by the pressing of the shutter release will have time to settle out. This is extremely effective in cases where the camera and macro equipment can not be balenced.

    I once used a similar setup you did...only larger

    for shits and giggles, I did this:

    [​IMG]

    The lighting used to get this shot is not the same as what I shot with the set up. The actual shots I took with this set up where done at one and two seconds at f/5.6.

    To get this:
    Shot with Canon FD 100-200mm at 200mm on Canon Bellows FL on Canon EF, ASA 800 (uncropped full frame)
    [​IMG]
    Bigger Here

    This should be ample proof that the mirror lock and the ten second delay should improve sharpness
     

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