Trying to learn Macro Photography

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by hankejp, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    I'm trying to learn macro photog, but don't know where to start. I guess my biggest question is how are you able to get the subject to fill the frame? Is it done was cropping the picture? I tried it last night with a lady bug, using my Sigma 70-300. I zoomed the lens past 200, turned the macro feature on and shot the picture. I was maybe 3 feet away from it.

    Here are the results.

    Pre-cropped picture

    [​IMG]


    Cropped Picture:

    [​IMG]


    And then just another one I did goofing around:

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    nope that is as close as the siggy will go - its not a true macro lens - more of a close focusing telezoom. Its ratio is 2:1 - whilst real macro lenses are 1:1 - ergo your not going to be able to fill the frame with a tiny bug.

    The sigma is much more suited to things like flower heads and larger subjects where you can fill the frame with them - and infact on a tripod it does flower photography really well (I rate it as this lenses strongest point),

    If you want to get closer then your going to have to look at a better maro lens - the nikon 105mm macro, sigma 70mm, 105mm, 150mm or 180mm macro - all primes - these are full 1:1 macro lenses.
    I would recomend going for something of 100mm or greater for insects so that you get a longer working distance - the sigma you have has a very long working distance (which you will have noticed).

    As for working in macro make sure your focusing in manual mode - and if shooting try setting the focus to max magnification on a lens and then moving the camera and lens back and fourth to acquire focus.
     
  3. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    Thank you very much for the clarification. The wifey isn't going to like to hear that I "need" another lens. :D
     
  4. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    hehe its an endless cycle once you start ;)
    go for high quality ones though (though they do take longer to save for) and you won't need to replace them for decades!
     
  5. hankejp

    hankejp TPF Noob!

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    Maybe someone can help me understand the ratio part. I always hear the 2:1 or 1:1 or whatever. What does this exactly mean in simple terms.

    Thanks
     
  6. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    Imagine taking the actual size of your camera sensor height and width and drawing a rectange of that size. Then take your subject and place it inside the rectangle. The subject is full size (1:1) relative to your sensor size.
     
  7. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    To expand on this a little for your ratios. Let's say you are shooting a bug that was 1" long, then at these ratios, the bug would be this size on the actual sensor (or piece if film).

    1:1 - 1"
    2:1 - 1/2"
    4:1 - 1/4"


    You basically have three levels of small photography: close-up, macro, and micro. Close-up is down to 2:1, true macro is 1:1, and micro is closer than 1:1, hence the term microscope. To further muddy the waters, Nikon calls their macro lenses "micro", which a mistake, IMO.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  8. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes this is quite true but closer than 1:1 is more commonly called and easier to remember (or differenciate from Nikons terminology flubb) as Super Macro. I love Super Macro but finding subjects is trickey, but I digress. Super Macro requires some more specialized equipment and that is really what you would have needed for the lady bug to fill that frame.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2008
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    yep getting into the supermacro is a tricky area - lighting becomes very tricky and subjects tricky to find - though not impossible.
    If your with canon you can go for the MPE65mm which does up to 1:5 macro. However if your nikon you could look to using extension tubes, teleconverters and some macro filters to increase your magnification factor - of course most of thse are going to work best with a wide (f2.8 area) dedicated macro lens.

    also the Raynox close-up lenses might be worth a loook - I have read encouraging thoughts from users that they infact deliver a better image quality than using extension tubes - and the MSN-202 and DCR-250 closup attachments are versitle and also not back breaking to invest in.
    source: http://www.juzaforum.com/forum-en/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=3460
     
  10. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    A cheaper alternative is to use extension tubes. On your D40 though you will not have AF even with an "auto" set of tubes. Currently they don't work with AF-I and AF-S lenses. At least none that I have seen yet.

    My wife uses a set of Kenko auto extension tubes with her D-50. Sometimes along with our 105 macro lens. Can you say hair on a fly's legs. :D Works really good. Extension tube do not have any glass in them so they don't reduce picture quality. They do however reduce the amount of light reaching the sensor. So will need adjustment to settings. The camera will do it though. My wife useually sticks to aperature priority.
     
  11. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    AF really should not be used with Macro anyway so AF really is no real loss.

    Here is one of my Super Macros done with a Bellows and Macro filters. Even with a 50mm 1.4 Manual focus was necessary as the viewfinder was way too dark for AF to work if I had it.
     
  12. benhasajeep

    benhasajeep TPF Noob!

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    I agree, and still trying to ween my wife off of it. I also bought her an x/y axis tripod head to help with micro focusing. She is starting to get the hang of it. Love doing flowers.

    At work so I can't see pictures (that are in a link) not sure how they do it?? (blocking)
     

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