Question about Macro

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by mommy22, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. mommy22

    mommy22 TPF Noob!

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    So I bought a macro lense a few weeks ago (Nikon 60mm Micro) and like the pic it takes as portraits, but I am having a hard time with the macro. I went and got some books from the library and have done a fair amount of research online about how to take a good macro, and it seems I do need to use my flash in order to use a small enough apeture to get a good depth of field, but I guess I'm not getting it lol. Any tips? I will post some of my macros in a bit so you guys can give me pointers. I'm about to give up a sell the lense.
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Congrats, the Nikon 60mm is an excellent lens!

    DoF in macro work can be very problematic. Very often your DoF is only 1 - 2mm, so if your subject is a spider, the top of the body may be razor sharp, but the legs will be very soft. There are two ways to get around this: (1) Move farther back from the subject (The greater the distance between sensor and subject, the greater the DoF, or (2) by Focus Stacking, a process where you take a series of images with the point of focus moving slightly with each one, and then put them together using software in a similar manner to producing a panorama. I like the freeware program CombineZM for this.

    You will find that flash, or some form of suppimentary light is almost always necessary for indoor macro work because of the short lens to subject distance and small apertures. On that note, I would refrain from going much past f11 as you tend to lose some sharpness and clarity beyond this. As well, it doesn't make a great deal of difference to your overall DoF.
     
  3. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Depth of field is a function of lens length / aperture / distance to the subject. So, as you get closer to your minimum focus distance, your DoF gets smaller and smaller. On a 50 once you hit your MFD (especially on a 1:1 lens) your DoF will basically be non-existent.

    So basically, you need to stop down to f/16-f/22, which the exposure triangle means you need to add light. So, yes, you need some sort of flash.
     
  4. mommy22

    mommy22 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks guys. I have not tried focus stacking yet, but want to. Here are some of my macros from the other day:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    So I don't need to bring my flash on my outdoor garden adventures?
     
  5. mommy22

    mommy22 TPF Noob!

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    And one more:
    [​IMG]
     
  6. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, you bring the flash along if you 1) Cant seem to shoot a satisfying image without it or 2) Want to shoot with a flash.
    Flashes aren't only to add light. There are certain effects and feels given off by a flash. These, whether you like it or not, will come along with your flash. You have to learn and understand these effects and the proper use of a flash in order to know if you have to use it, how, and when to use it. I shoot outdoor macro almost constantly, dont use a flash. Of course, mine is supposed to be in tomorrow, so I will start. Its a completely personal choice.

    Mark
     
  7. NateS

    NateS TPF Noob!

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    1st....I disagree about the needing to shoot in the f/16-f/22 range. In fact, I would strongly advise against that. f/13-f/16 is going to be the sharpest range and your shrapness will start to drop off above f/16.

    Flash definitely helps....BUT, I don't see exactly what you are complaining about personally (this is a compliment..stay with me). I think the photos you posted are very good....much, much, better than I see from a lot of new macro shooters (better than I did my first week out with the Tamron 180. Don't sell the lens...stick with it and practice, practice, practice...it really does get easier the more you do it.

    That said, a flash setup can give you worlds of flexibility in your shooting allowing you to shoot scenes (like in the dark shade) that you normally couldn't get. An SB-600 or even 400 through a $20 minisoftbox mounted to a $20 flash bracket (will position the flash to the side) and a $35 sync cord will give you awesome and dramatic off centered lighting. Rather than sell the lens...save for a flash and the things I listed above.....until then, practice your technique.

    Technique is one thing people forget about...more important on macro than any other form of photograph...I'd venture to say more important than all other aspects combined. Tuck those elbows in and hold them tight to your sides. Hold the camera with a firm grip, but not overly tight. Set it at the mag ratio you want and rock back and forth for the focal plane firing at will as you pass through the focal plane in your viewfinder. When shootng....hold your breath. I always am out of breath after shooting a subject and it takes me about 10 seconds to catch my breath after a series of shots.
     
  8. Markw

    Markw No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This is the best part about Macro shooting. You get to work on your cardiovascular endurance! I love this part. Happens everytime. :er:

    I completely agree with what Nate said, by the way. To stay on topic.

    Mark
     
  9. mommy22

    mommy22 TPF Noob!

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    Yes, I am so anal about technique and also impatient. I want it perfect everytime from the get go. I think I could have gotten better pics, and more of them if my little girls would have had a bit more patience. My 7 month old was in the front pack and I took them in between her jumping/screaming/arching her back fits lol. 15 minutes into it and my battery was dead. I just came back from trying to go up there again, I got all the way up to the gardens, 2 girls out of the carseats, and realized, I forgot my memory card-Ugh. I guess 3rd time will be the charm.

    Anyways, I am going to stick with it and "learn the lense", I am not expecting perfect pictures right away (okay maybe a little), but want to master the technique of macro because the pics can be so cool and I really enjoy the outdoors/gardens/the little things in life.
     

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