Macro focus manual or A/F

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by nixgeek, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    Hi All,

    I've been at this photography thing for a year or so, and I've just invested in a proper macro lens.

    Using A/F seems completely hit and miss, and I'm way too slow on MF to catch the spiders I love to photograph.

    I'm doing way more spray and pray than I would like. I'd really appreciate any critique and advice to help me improve.

    All images handheld, sometimes with a small light to keep the ISO under control.

    Nikon D810 / 105mm f2.8 micro VR.

    Some of my pics from the back garden are here.

    *warning - contains spiders*
    Macro

    Thanks in advance


     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Yes, shooting around the MFD with AF or MF can be challenging if your subject does move.
    I don't tend to shoot insects ... but I sometimes set the lens to a pre-set focus distance and then I take the image as I physically move the camera closer to the subject ... another method is to shoot at high speed drive mode while manually focusing as you get layers of DoF images that you can try to stack.
     
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  3. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, I'll try the manual moving back and forward to see. Thanks!
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Minutely moving the camera backward or forward a little tiny bit, and shooting in continuous high-speed is a long established trick of the trade. In the old days we were hoping for one super sharp and clear and well focused image. Today we might be hoping to make six images which can be stacked in software to create that super depth of field look.

    One option is to use auto focus and to use the focus lock thumb button, and to then minutely move the camera forward or backwards after the auto focusing system has driven the lens to its initial point of focus.

    This moving of the camera that I'm speaking of is done by bending very slightly at the waist. Or by using a focusing rail. The bend at the waist method is extremely fast, but is not all that accurate nor is it super precise, nor easily repeatable.

    The idea of shooting seven or eight shots to get one has become much more palatable now that we no longer have to pay for film and development costs for both good frames and bad frames, but instead today with digital, we throw away bad exposures or poorly focused shots

    My experience has been that auto focus is quicker to acquire the initial focus point than is manual focus,and I guess what I'm advocating is a hybrid approach.
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
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  5. Jeff15

    Jeff15 TPF junkie!

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    The idea of shooting seven or eight shots to get one has become much more palatable know that we no longer have to pay for film and development costs for both good frames and bad frames, but instead today with digital, we throw away bad exposures or poorly focused shots

    Ain't that a fact..............:)
     
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  6. weepete

    weepete TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I tend to put in in manual mode and move, Kurt (orionmystery) was the macro king on here, he had a few tutorials kicking about but not seen him here in a while though he is active on flickr.

    Here is his photostream Kurt (Orionmystery) G

    Could always message him there and ask, I'm sure he'd be able to advise
     
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  7. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Manual, rock, shoot
     
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  8. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    Those pictures are mind blowing!
     
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  9. petrochemist

    petrochemist TPF junkie!

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    As most other I set the focus them move the camera. At higher magnifications I usually have a TTL flash in my other hand to keep ISO low.
     
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  10. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is what I do for insect shooting with Macro lens

    1. In order to get the max 1:1 ratio, I have to set the lens to manual mode to 1:1 ratio.
    2. In order to get deeper DoF, I usually set the aperture from f/8 to f/12
    3. In order to get properly exposed image, I need to use a artificial light. (On camera flash with a custom light box - cereal box, aluminum foil, chopsticks for better support, some duct tape and a white plastic bag that DO NOT turn light to orange color with flash)
    4. To get a consistent results, I shoot with manual mode. i.e. 1/200, f/8 (sometimes I bump up the ISO up a little to lower the flash power in order to reduce battery recycle time)
    5. Center focus and rock the camera front and back. Take the shot once the focus firmed by the camera. Again, it may take few or more shots to get a good one (or none)
    6. Monopod definitely help!
    7. A small towel to wipe the sweat if shoot at hot days

    Fast moving subjects are harder to shoot. Most of the insect are quite active around noon time (i.e. bees, butterflies) Shoot at different time may help.
     
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  11. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    very good write-up!
     
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  12. nixgeek

    nixgeek TPF Noob!

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    Awesome, thank you. I'm going to try this today!

    I'll break the monopod out, and look for inspiration on custom flashes :)
     

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