Trouble Focusing with Macro Photography

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by bdavis, Jan 15, 2009.

  1. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I got my Sigma 105 for my D90 yesterday and went home last night to try it out and overall I am happy with it, but I have problems manually focusing. I took a lot of shots and got some good exposures, but a lot of my shots were out of focus. Does anyone know a good tricks or techniques to get my focus a little better or do I simply need practice at manual focusing?
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    for macro work I tend to set my focus to the point I want it at (normall all the way focused in for macro work - though larger subjects do require less of a focus to get them all in the frame), and then I manually move the setup closer and further from teh subject to get the point of focus where I want it.
    Importantly check that your diopter is set right -(read manual to check how to set this) as that can be a major factor in causing you to get soft shots with manual focusing
     
  3. modlife

    modlife TPF Noob!

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    #1
    If you're using auto focus, try setting focus to center only.

    #2
    Overhead's technique is the proper way - giving you total control of what point is in focus. I personally do both - but have learned to HATE more than center focus in AF at larger apertures.

    #3
    Practice. I love macro work.
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    oh one more thing - what aperture are you using for shots - for macro work you want to be using a small aperture to get the most depth of field into a shot as depths at macro ranges are very small. f13 is a good starting point - though you will have to use either flash for handheld or living subjects, whilst a tripod and longer exposure can work for static subjects
     
  5. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    I've been doing some reading this morning all over the internet and heard about the moving backwards and forwards method, I'll practice with that. I've also heard about focus stacking so I can try that as well. I guess I just need some practice.

    When doing the macro shots last night, I tried a wide aperture, but the depth of field was too shallow. I was getting a bokeh effect for nearly the entire image except for a small area in the center, so I stopped my aperture down to around f/11 or so and got much better results. Would it be beneficial to go down even further? I've heard most lenses are sharpest around f/8 - f/11 and I dont really want to sacrifice sharpness.

    I think tonight I'll make myself a mini studio out of a big box, tracing paper, and lights so I can practice a little more.

    Thanks for the advice guys!
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    f13 should be fine = from what I have read diffraction (loss of sharpness due to a smaller aperture) starts having an effect around f16 though its dependant on what camera you use and on the shooting conditions - some people have shot with f22 and not had a problem (though its a lesser chosen value)
    Image stacking is certainly possible with a static subect, but you need a rock steady support and subject to get away with it well
     
  7. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    If ur handholding open up the aperture as much as you can to get the desired depth of field, set your shutter release to continuous and fire away as you breath in and out... lots of frames... getting as much light through the lens will put less stress on your stobe for multi fire
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I have tried multishooting and it generally kills your flash power. Not too bad with a camera popup - but I have noticed that its not a good shooting method if your using a flashgun - like a speedlite - since you quickly eat through the battery power and then you end up with longer recycle times. That means you end up with many frames which might be focused right, but are exposed badly because the flash has not charged and fired. It might be possible with an external battery pack, but those cost quite a bit and are another thing to carry
     
  9. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    this is why i say open up the aperture as much as you can.... get your flash down to 1/16 and you have plenty of room for bursting without waiting for recycle....

    i'm not saying tape your shutter release down... short, effective bursts....

    as for carrying extra batteries... suck it up... you are there to get the shot...
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yah but changing takes time ;)
    and batteries cost - those bigger battery pack really do cost lots (like £100s)
    as for the flash speed do you really mean 1/16 - only handheld is going to be very hard at that speed even with flash support
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yah but changing takes time ;)
    and batteries cost - those bigger battery pack really do cost lots (like £100s)
    as for the flash speed do you really mean 1/16 - only handheld is going to be very hard at that speed even with flash support
     
  12. dEARlEADER

    dEARlEADER TPF Noob!

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    okay ... okay... you don't have mention it twice...:sexywink:

    I think we are talking greek to each other...

    I'm talking about 1/16 flash output power, not shutter speed..

    I'm talking about speedlites (SB600s, Vivitar 285s) that use 4 double A's not 100 pound battery packs....

    I'm assuming the OP (a D90) user is using the same stuff..
     

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