Canon MP-E 65mm macro

Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by kalgra, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. kalgra

    kalgra TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Im super excited! I picked one of these on Monday and got a chance to play with it a bit yesterday.

    I knew this lens would be difficult but had no idea how difficult. I definitely need a better flash system for anything above 3x magnification. I tried my very first stacked images but they didn't turn out so hot. This was the only decent shot I was able to get so far. Obviously not stacked. This was 3x at f/16.

    Does anyone else have experience with this lens that can offer some helpful tips?

    [​IMG]


     
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  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    1) Stop shooting spiders on super cool bases - you're showing the rest of us up ;)

    2) I hope that spider gets paid ;)

    3) The MPE is a challenge and as you've found 3:1 and greater it really gets hard fast. The twinflash setup that is often paired with it has a light in each flash that, with a quick double tap of the shutter button half way, turns on to illuminate the subject. This is invaluable as it gives you much needed light to help focus.
    I've seen people do similar with LED lights on those little flexi-arms. You attach the light to the lens end or to a bracket on the lens/camera and then adjust it so that the light falls where you're in focus. Focus lighting aid is very important, the lens closes down its effective aperture as you increase the magnification so you really do get much less light as you focus closer and closer; this is without the effect of you likely shadowing the subject as well with yourself/camera/lens.

    4) Sometimes I find it helps to use the left-hand-brace technique. At its most basic this is where you take hold of the surface the subject is resting upon or the subject itself (ergo a part you're not photographing) and then balance the lens of the lens on your wrist/hand. The idea here is that the lens and subject should now be wobbling at hte same rate as a result of your natural body motions.

    5) I find that often when the subject is on the ground or other firm surface; if you move your left hand down the lens so that you're balancing a few fingers on the surface and then the est balancing/holding the end of the lens - this is essentially bracing the lens and for ground shots really makes a huge difference.

    6) MPE 65mm test shot series Set has a description on that page with details of what was done and how if you want to do your own.

    Basically because of the effective aperture reduction (there should be a littel booklet with the lens that tells you the relative aperture values wide open at different magnifications) you have to select a wider aperture the more you increase the magnification. This is because your actual effective aperture is much much smaller; so if you keep the lens set at a small aperture then yes you get more depth of field; but diffraction will kick in hard and really harm the sharpness. At 5:1 you will see your shots softer even on the best aperture and with best of settings - that's because you're somewhere around f22 if memory serves me right.

    7) Practice practice practice - just gotta keep using it. It's a wonderful, nay fantastic lens but requires a good investment in time to get the best from it.
     
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  3. kalgra

    kalgra TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Thanks for all the advice and tips that is very helpful. I do plan on adding the twin flash as some point when I can afford it. I do have the Yongnuo Ring flash knock off of the Canon MR-14EX which works ok up to about 3x after that the lens and ring flash are too close to the subject and most of the light just goes forward and around the subject. I can really see now why the ability to tilt the lights inwards on the twin would work so well with this lens. I also now see why that Alien Bees ring flash I asked about before would not work well with this lens.

    I bought this lens second hand so it never even occurred to me about the effective aperture when magnified that makes a lot of sense and explains why those images I attempted were so soft. I assume at 5x magnification stacking images at f/2.8 is best? I will have to see if I can find that sheet for download.

    Thanks for your compliment above and no this spider didnt get paid in fact it got fed to the jumping spider used in my other photos. So the jumping spider, well he did get paid! :)
     
  4. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  5. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  6. davholla

    davholla No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  7. kalgra

    kalgra TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    These are two of the first stacked images I have tried. They didnt turn out so hot but I guess for a first try not completely terrible. I obviously missed focus in a few areas and photoshop didnt stack the antennas well at all or maybe I just moved things to much each time I adjust the focus rail. Can anyone tell me if Zerene stacker or the other one that starts with an H is all that much better over just using PS? I used a cheap $70 kiwi focus rail which I hope will get me by for awhile until I save enough for a stackshot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Zerine Stacker - Helicon Focus - Combine ZP (this one is legally free) - Photoshop.

    I think there are a few other and astro photography has a few although I think they work very differently but I've not tried them.

    In general each one works differently and most even have a few different modes within them and settings you can adjust (eg sometimes removing a frame if there is sufficient overlap in the shots either side can improve results). In most areas of editing changing programs for the same function results in marginal gains - in the case of focus stacking it can be the difference between a fail and a success and is one area where it is recommended to have access to several software options. Because they each work a little differently the properties that they work best with in a series of shots varies; however you cannot shoot to those properties so you can't shoot with a style for a specific program.

    Try them all and play around is the best advice I can give; the investment in stacking is significant at the camera end so having several software options incase your favoured one of choice fails is good.
     
  9. kalgra

    kalgra TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Overread, thanks once again for all your tips and advice. I really appreciate it and am so happy I have found a place I can continue to grow and learn.

    I have the opportunity to meet with an entomologist next week that works at a local children's museum called the butterfly pavilion. They are going to start giving me access to some different species in their collection. In return they can use any of my photos they like. I really hope they like them so I can keep coming back.

    I have no idea what's in store I know many will be live and some probably pinned. I really think the tips you have given me so far are going to help make the most out of this first meeting with them so again thank you very much!
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Oh nice; if you can focus stack chances are you can get some record shots of their work that will really be stunning.
     

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