My First Macro Shot C&C pls


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Mar 7, 2009
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St. Thomas, Ontario
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Here is my first attempt at macro. It is a common spider that is about the size of a dime. I happened to catch this guy inside the house because of how cool it is this morning. Unfortunatly it is on a white background because it is in the corner of a wall and ceiling.

first thing that stricks me is that this shot seems a bit soft - even for the 70-300mm lens (that I assume you used for this shot) - it should be able to give you a much sharper result.

First thing is to give us some details- what aperture, shutter speed and ISO did you use; did you use flash; a tripod/handheld; shooting mode (manual, auto, aperture priority etc...). For the shooting settings review the properties of the photo and go to the details tab and scroll down to find aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

I suspect that you shot handheld with natural light (no flash) and have also ended up with too slow a shutter speed for the shot (often happens indoors) and thus you have got blur into it.
Even if you don't have a dedicated flash (like a speedlite) you can use a cameras popup flash for this sort of macro work - just put a few folds of white toilet paper infront of the flash head (you can hold it there with an elastic band provided that the band does not cover the main element of the flash) and that will help to diffuse the light from it and reduce its harshness.
It was indoor, handheld with onboard flash.
ISO: 200
Shutter: 1/60
Aperture: F18
Focal length: 300mm

here is the original:

and the finished again so you can compare easier:
So strictly speaking this is a close-up image, not a true macro. The first thing to remember in is that when you're dealing with subjects which are fairly close to the lens, the DoF becomes quite shallow, and when you're using long glass, even more so. Based on your EXIF data, even if the subject was 5' away, your DoF was still only fractions of an inch, so getting focus spot on is very difficult.

Next is your flash. The built-in flash is useless for close-up/macro work because that's not what it's designed for. You need an even, diffuse light source. An off-camera flash (with diffuser) and reflector might work, or a couple of lights... lots of choices.

Lastly is the issue of a tripod. This really looks like a hand-held image to me. Remember that you should always try and have your shutter speed equal your FL in order to get sharp pictures, especially with longer glass. Ideally however, any image like this should be shot with a tripod and a remote release.

All that aside, it's a good start, keep practicing!

Just my $00.02 worth - your mileage may vary.

also whilst a smaller aperture will give you a greater depth of field it also increases the chances that you will lose sharpness in the shot due to diffraction. Its an area that I do not know too much about save that at and after f16 it starts to be a problem at times. I tend to prefer to work in the f13-16 range and when I was using my sigma 70-300mm I was more in the f8-f13 range - possible because it is not a full macro lens (As pointed out above) and so whilst it can get closeup shots it can't get true macro shots.

I do agree that the builtin flash is not the best, but for 1:2 macro (the max capable from the sigma 70-300mm) it can do reasonably well. I would also recomend shooting in good lighting conditions in general - indoors its very dim for a camera so it can be tricky to get good exposures and keep your shutter speed up.
In macro because I use flash so often I will mostly shoot in manual mode - setting my aperture and shutter speed to settings in the mind of using my flash to make up for the lack of sufficient ambient lighting to get the shot - so faster shutter speeds of 1/100 - 1/200 are possible (experiment and see for yourself what works).

A tripod can make a lot of difference as well - for static subjects like flowers or resting insects it allows you to use a slower shutter speed, less or no flash and still get a good exposure at a small aperture. A lack of wind is also important (I used a cheapy tripod for ages - not the best and it was limiting, but it did the job well enough at the time and was marked improvement over no tripod)

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