Macrophotography Tips & Links

AndyAndy BicameralNew YorkPosts: 50,154Registered Users Major grins
edited June 25, 2005 in Technique
i hear ya, pf. i have a love/hate relationship with the damn thing. it's great for kids, family stuff outside, kids sports, candids. today, i did and experiment and drug the damn thing around nyc all day. it's a freakin' lead pipe that thing is, let me tell ya! after about 20 blocks, i'm asking myself "why am i doing this??" it is a superb lens though, sharpness, color all great. i love how it works indoors in places like grand central terminal, too.

i'm glad i have it, but it gets used by me maybe 20% of the time. my most used lens these days is my 16-35L f/2.8 - i really dig the wide angle!

macro - i'm thinking about a macro lens, could you tell me what some of the better choices are?

pathfinder wrote:
Dust motes are a fact of life.sad.gif But carrying two DSLRs is just too much weight for me, so I change as needed.

I have never developed the affection some shooters have for the 70-200 L. I bought one and it is probably my least used lens. It is sharp and precise but just not a length I go to.

I use the 28-75 Tamron (recently replaced with the 24-70 L) most of the time, the 100-400 L, occaisionally the 17-40 L, and the rest of the time with the 180 Macro. But the 70-200 rarely gets called by me - I am not sure what this says but I find the 70-200 too long on the 10D indoors and too short outdoors. Maybe if I shot candids and portraits more I would use it more frequently.

It sounds like Baldy is like my brother who rarely uses any other lens but the 70-200.
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Comments

  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited August 6, 2004
    Andy wrote:
    i hear ya, pf. i have a love/hate relationship with the damn thing. it's great for kids, family stuff outside, kids sports, candids. today, i did and experiment and drug the damn thing around nyc all day. it's a freakin' lead pipe that thing is, let me tell ya! after about 20 blocks, i'm asking myself "why am i doing this??" it is a superb lens though, sharpness, color all great. i love how it works indoors in places like grand central terminal, too.

    i'm glad i have it, but it gets used by me maybe 20% of the time. my most used lens these days is my 16-35L f/2.8 - i really dig the wide angle!

    macro - i'm thinking about a macro lens, could you tell me what some of the better choices are?
    Andy rolleyes1.gif I neglected to mention that the 70-200f2.8 L IS is one of the heaviest lenses that I own and that MAY contribute to my lack of affection. Like you said, outdoors for family, kids, and for basketball games it can do a great job. It is fast, sharp, and handles nicely.. thumb.gif But heavy! And can intimidate some subjects also.

    In the macro world I have strong opinions. My first good macro was a 90mm f2.5 Series One Vivitar for an Olympus OM-1. I know it was a really good lens because whoever stole it, thought so too apparently and liked the OM-1 as well.Laughing.gif That was over 25 years ago. After that I had an affair with a 60m Nikkor and a 90mm Tamron f2.8. Both were quite satisfactory for film.
    There are many fine 50mm macros by Canon, Tamron and Sigma. I think these may be fine for copy stand work of flat subjects, but not much else. Just too short a focal length.

    Currently for the 10D I am using a Canon 100mm f2.8 and a Tamron 180mm f3.5 Di. Tamron's DI lenses have been highly regarded.
    Much of my macros are of bugs and butterflies and flowers and I think that the 180 is the cats meow. The 180 gives much more working distance, less depth of field, and a narrower angle of view - all of these traits I think are helpful in controlling backgrounds. Butterflies are flighty, and the extra elbow room of the 180 is very helpful. Getting close enough for the 100 or 90mm lenses might be tough. I would add one of Canon's macro flash units as well if funds permitted.

    If I were doing it over now, I would pass on the Canon 100mm ( which is an absolutely superb lens and tack sharp and I really like a great deal) and pass on the Tamron 180, and belly up and buy the Canon 180 USM macro.


    This is an expensive lens but the USM motor is much nicer than the Tamron motor. I found with the 10D that I did much focusing by moving the camera and lens back and forth, but with the 1D I prefer autofocus because it WILL nail it. I think that the Canon 180 would be faster and quieter in autofocus. I really doubt the Canon would be much sharper than my Tamron 180- you can see many of my macros at pathfinder.smugmug.com. Some were with the 10D and some were with the 1dMkll. If price is a major consideration, I would look at the Tamron 90mm macro. It is excellent and may be long enough on the 10D. There are articles on the web suggesting that the Tamron 90 is sharper than the Canon 100mm Macro.

    Canon publishes an MTF graph of their 180 Macro and it looks like this
    ef_180_35mtf.gif In the Nikon world the 200mm f/4D ED-IF AF Micro-Nikkor is very highly regarded also.

    In the end, it depends on how much you plan to use the lens and what your budget is. I have several Tamron lenses and like them a lot, but I have found that the Canon lenses have more robust mechanicals - lens barrels, focusing motors, etc. Makes me think the iris mechanicals might be more durable too. ALtho Canon is very proud of their lenses, I have never regretted owning their better grade of lenses. They truly are better than I once dreamed of owning. And do not forget the Canon macro flash units - they can really help - I also like the macro flash brackets of reallyrightstuff.com as well

    Enjoy ( very close up) photographyclap.gif

    addendum: I just found this link via google afer I posted : Gives very good reviews of the Vivitar Series One 90 f2.5 and the Tamron 90f2.5. Both of these might be found used if AUtofocus is not a concern.
    http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=007MLq

    Addendum#2: Because of Baldy's and many others love of the 70-200 f2.8 IS L Lens, I will offer one other possible style of macro lens -- That is to use the 70-200 f2.8 IS L with Canon's 500D filter style close up lens. Canon says it does not degrade the image quality of EF lenses. Canon also makes a 250D filter-lens for 30-135mm primes lenses. Some information about the 500D is here - http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=productlist&A=details&Q=&sku=87503&is=REG

    I own and use a 250D in the 58mm diameter size sometimes - It seems to work very nicely - but of course you cannot focus at distance without removing it first. But the 250D and the 500D are chaper than macro primes.
    Canon recommends the 250D 58mm diameter specifically for 1:1 macro for the G5 style digicam, and that is what I bought it for.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • BaldyBaldy SmugMug co-founder Posts: 2,853Registered Users, Super Moderators, Vanilla Admin moderator
    edited August 9, 2004
    I received a Canon implant and the 70-200 IS is now part of me. I never look at my arms and think, "bummer...wish I only had to lug one of them with me today." They just grow out of my shoulder sockets and I don't think about it.

    My 70-200 is like that. Doesn't matter where, how far, how small the luggage....it's with me.
  • DoctorItDoctorIt vrooom! Posts: 11,940Administrators moderator
    edited August 9, 2004
    Baldy wrote:
    I received a Canon implant and the 70-200 IS is now part of me. I never look at my arms and think, "bummer...wish I only had to lug one of them with me today." They just grow out of my shoulder sockets and I don't think about it.

    My 70-200 is like that. Doesn't matter where, how far, how small the luggage....it's with me.
    rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif
    Erik
    moderator of: The Flea Market [ guidelines ]

  • photocatphotocat camera crazy kittie Posts: 1,334Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 8, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    Thank you ... Thank you..... Here is another with the same Canon 100mm Macro...

    11015070-L.jpg

    great insect shots...Such vibrant colors. I find the top one (a cricket?) a bit oversharped, but that can be my eyesight. Love the ladybug...
    You made lovely animals out of these critters with your photography.
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 9, 2004
    photocat wrote:
    great insect shots...Such vibrant colors. I find the top one (a cricket?) a bit oversharped, but that can be my eyesight. Love the ladybug...
    You made lovely animals out of these critters with your photography.

    A cricket!!!umph.gif My subjects feelings are truly crushed - He is not a wimpy cricket, but a predator of predators - a gigantic 4 inch long preying mantis!!
    I went back and looked at the psd file of the mantis on my monitor with the head 15 inches wide and do not believe it is oversharpended. I can see the individual facets in the multiple eyes clearly. There is some moisture on the antennae that may look overbright - but remember that smugmug resharpens the images in the process of downsizing them for presentation on the web. SO maybe it seems oversharpened as displayed here on dgrin. ne_nau.gif

    Here are a couple more images so you can never forget what a high level insect predator looks like - It never seemed to fear me and my camera and my flash - more like it was curious than afraid.....

    11084438-L.jpg

    11084430-L.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • photocatphotocat camera crazy kittie Posts: 1,334Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    A cricket!!!umph.gif My subjects feelings are truly crushed - He is not a wimpy cricket, but a predator of predators - a gigantic 4 or 5 inch long preying mantis!!

    Offer my sincere appologies to the beast. I am dutch speaking and can goof up really bad, I hope it will forgive me.
    Having said that, I really really like the second color shot. There is some pink on both sides that frames it nicely. It seems to laugh at the camera.
    Beautiful animal that got a worthy of eternity shot out of YOUR camera.
    Macro at its best.
  • snapapplesnapapple Major grins Posts: 2,093Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    pathfinder wrote:
    A cricket!!!umph.gif My subjects feelings are truly crushed - He is not a wimpy cricket, but a predator of predators - a gigantic 4 or 5 inch long preying mantis!!

    11084438-S.jpg

    11084430-S.jpg

    Wow!! I love that head shot. Looks like an alien from outer space. Great work!
    clap.gif
    "A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds." - Francis Bacon
    Susan Appel Photography My Blog
  • GREAPERGREAPER Major grins Posts: 3,113Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    Are you SURE thats not a criket?

    rolleyes1.gif
  • AndyAndy Bicameral New YorkPosts: 50,154Registered Users Major grins
    edited November 9, 2004
    mandibles of death!
    great shots :D
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited November 9, 2004
    GREAPER wrote:
    Are you SURE thats not a criket?

    rolleyes1.gif

    Crikey! Crikey! It's a MANTIS!

    umph.gifumph.gifrolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gifdeal.gif
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • ian408ian408 More wag. Less Bark. Posts: 21,332Administrators moderator
    edited November 10, 2004
    Wow! Those are both fantastic!

    Ian
    Moderator Journeys/Sports/Big Picture :: Need some help with dgrin?
  • windozewindoze a life long newbie Posts: 2,843Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 14, 2005
    with Spring coming - I find this a very useful thread.... BTW - i just realized theres a search engine on here! They should make it more obvious for people like me.......


    troy
    Andy wrote:
    okay, pathfinder.. today, i went to b&h and amongst other things, i bought myself a canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

    now, can you give me some pointers? :D
  • USAIRUSAIR Picking and Grinning Posts: 2,646Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 14, 2005
    Pathfinder
    Man I need to go rob a bank for all the lenses I want:rambo

    Please contribute to the USAIR lens fund

    A photog without lens is a terrible waste:help

    Thank You
    Fred
  • TOF guyTOF guy Big grins Posts: 74Registered Users Big grins
    edited March 14, 2005
    I want to thank everybody here for sharing tips and pictures ! Wow !

    clap.gifclap.gifclap.gif

    Andy, you should consider reading John Shaw's book: it's a classic !

    Thierry
  • fishfish Site Megalodon Posts: 2,950Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 14, 2005
    pathfinder wrote:
    Crikey! Crikey! It's a MANTIS!

    looks more like a grasshopper.
    "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk." - Edward Weston
    "The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over."-Hunter S.Thompson
  • Jekyll & HydeJekyll & Hyde Major grins Posts: 170Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 18, 2005
    J: Your Mantis is just outstanding!

    H: I've yet to see one of these, but I have no shortage of crickets!
    J&H
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 18, 2005
    J: Your Mantis is just outstanding!

    H: I've yet to see one of these, but I have no shortage of crickets!
    J&H

    Why thank you Dr. Jekyll!! I'm sure my mantis would be only too happy to eat one of your crickets. :D He's practicing on one of his own legs now....
    17758077-L.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Jekyll & HydeJekyll & Hyde Major grins Posts: 170Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2005
    pathfinder wrote:
    Why thank you Dr. Jekyll!! I'm sure my mantis would be only too happy to eat one of your crickets. :D He's practicing on one of his own legs now....
    J: rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif

    H: And Mantids aren't the only ones who like to dine on crickets!

    32343907.jpg
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 19, 2005
    J: rolleyes1.gifrolleyes1.gif

    H: And Mantids aren't the only ones who like to dine on crickets!

    32343907.jpg


    Cool!! I like how the predator is just barely visible. Is this your entry for minimalism too? :D Is that a mantis in the background - doesn't look like a spider to me...... Hmmmm
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • Jekyll & HydeJekyll & Hyde Major grins Posts: 170Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2005
    pathfinder wrote:
    Cool!! I like how the predator is just barely visible. Is this your entry for minimalism too?
    J: Thanks! I've been experimenting with minimal DOF lately. Searching for a different look.

    H: I sure wish there were insects and flowers out and about this time of year! (To enter into the challenges). Nothing but snow (another blizzard just blew through this weekend).

    J: I suppose snow would make for some pretty minimalist photos. Thanks for the reminder re. the current challenge. I haven't been over there yet.

    H: A couple more minimum DOF macros. Do they work for you?

    Thanks,
    J&H



    40511518.jpg


    and:


    35771329.jpg
  • gusgus Major grins Posts: 16,209Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2005
    Andy...just go & buy a 2nd hand C-5050 olypmpus for about $200. Its just a button.

    13800396-M.jpg
  • Jekyll & HydeJekyll & Hyde Major grins Posts: 170Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2005
    pathfinder wrote:
    Is that a mantis in the background - doesn't look like a spider to me...... Hmmmm
    J: It's a Funnel Web spider all right. She was camped out in the bushes in the back yard.

    H: Funnel Webs are pretty ferocious. They'll attack just about anything that walks across their web (except Ladybugs oddly enough).

    J: I've taken some MPEGs of them, and they are just terrifying.

    H: This unsuspecting Wolf Spider certainly strayed into the wrong territory! (And became dinner).
    J&H

    32162908.jpg
  • nzmacronzmacro Major grins Posts: 200Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 19, 2005
    Heck Andy, there is nice work being shown in here M8t, I think I'm in love :): iloveyou.gif
    Just have to say, gorgeous macro shots guy's, impressive clap.gif

    Danny.
  • KhaosKhaos Mr. Creative Pants Posts: 2,435Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 20, 2005
    I have a couple of questions for the Canon 100 macro users.

    1. Do you manual focus? I notice the focusing when close with the 100 tends not to work most of the time. Is that the case, or do I need my lens serviced?

    2. For those fantastic insect shots, are they full crops? Are you using an extender or extension tube? If so, which one.

    3. J&H has a great write up on his home made diffuser in another thread. Does anyone have any experience with the Canon diffuser? It's only $18. Does anyone have any experience with it, the 100, and a 580 Speedlite?

  • joechiujoechiu Photog imposter Posts: 60Registered Users Big grins
    edited March 20, 2005
    photocat wrote:
    I did not use a tripod, it would have been extremely difficult to keep myself up the counter and a tripod too...
    I could easily do macro with my minolta handheld, and they were rasor sharp.
    I don't even see to good if the moth is really sharp.
    I should have kept my minolta for macro probably...
    Anyway, I guess it all comes down to learn your camera and find out in the long rum what works and what doesn't.
    The nikon has also to be on 80 mm to be able to do macro, so not much DOF...
    I used shutterspeed 1/320, aperture of 10
    Is that the Minolta with anti-shake built into the camera? I saw the sales brochures -- the stabilizing is quite amazing! I believe they claimed 2 stops of speed gain. That would explain for difference in blur.
  • Jekyll & HydeJekyll & Hyde Major grins Posts: 170Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 20, 2005
    J: For those deciding on which macro lens to buy for your DSLR, check out Jason Ng's galleries.

    H: He uses the Tamron 180mm SP Di, and does quite well with it.
    http://www.pbase.com/mr_jason/insects

    J&H
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 20, 2005
    Khaos wrote:
    I have a couple of questions for the Canon 100 macro users.

    1. Do you manual focus? I notice the focusing when close with the 100 tends not to work most of the time. Is that the case, or do I need my lens serviced?

    2. For those fantastic insect shots, are they full crops? Are you using an extender or extension tube? If so, which one.

    3. J&H has a great write up on his home made diffuser in another thread. Does anyone have any experience with the Canon diffuser? It's only $18. Does anyone have any experience with it, the 100, and a 580 Speedlite?


    1) I usually use AF with my Canon 100 Macro or my Tamron 180 Di macro - but frequently it is easier and faster to just shift the camera fore and aft to achieve final fine focus - Trying to focus manually for me on moving butterflies can be frustrating to say the least. AF should work fine for the 100, but at the near end it requires a fair amount of light which may be absent in the shadows shooting bugs......

    2) Neither the 100 or the 180 requires the use of extension tubes or filter accessory lenses or telextender - but some folks use those devides to gain greater image magnification - greater than 1:1. Canon Telextenders CANNOT be mounted to a macro lens without an extension tube on the lens itself to prevent the two optical surfaces from colliding. This you do not want to happen.

    3) Stofen makes a diffuser that fits over the front of a flash head - Photojournalists seem to like them - I own one and use it for candid famliy shots. I don't find it much use for macro work though.

    I just bought the foam board to build a diffuser like J&H described. Seems like a very useful tool. But remember that even a stock flash head like the 580EX is a very large light source relative to a small insect when it is held within 4-8 inches. I piece of paper or a white handkerchief can also be placed over the flash to for diffusion. J&H's difuser functions as a HUGE softbox in the macro world.

    Don't forget the ability to use reflectors and diffusors with sunlight also.

    http://www.naturephotographers.net/gs/gsmacrokit1.html offers a little kit with a nice translucent diffuser and reflector for macro work that is pretty sweet also.
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • pathfinderpathfinder Drive By Digital Shooter western IndianaPosts: 14,490Super Moderators moderator
    edited March 20, 2005
    J: For those deciding on which macro lens to buy for your DSLR, check out Jason Ng's galleries.

    H: He uses the Tamron 180mm SP Di, and does quite well with it.
    http://www.pbase.com/mr_jason/insects

    J&H

    I find the 180 Tamron to be very sharp - a little noisy focusing, and kind of slow, but optically very capable

    This was shot with a Tamron 180
    7038072-M.jpg

    But never forget that the smaller sensor P&S cameras can shoot nice macros as well. Humongus posted lots of them. This is one of mine shot with a Canon G5 without any auxilliary lenses
    7185254-M.jpg
    Pathfinder - www.pathfinder.smugmug.com

    Moderator of the Technique Forum and Finishing School on Dgrin
  • wanderingeyewanderingeye Wandering Eye Posts: 43Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 17, 2005
    Canon ring flash?
    Thanks everyone, Pathfinder especially, for all the great info on macro gear and technique.

    Is anyone using the Canon MR-14EX Ring Lite Flash? I'm wondering how well this works with the 100mm macro. Do the focusing lamps really help with autofocus? Is it pretty good as a stand alone flash for this lens or does it really need a slave for the main?
    David Cothran (Wandering Eye)
    http://www.wandering-eye.com

    "the days run away like wild horses over the hills"
    Bukowski
  • wanderingeyewanderingeye Wandering Eye Posts: 43Registered Users Big grins
    edited June 18, 2005
    MR-14EX vs MT-24EX?
    Anybody used them both? Thoughts?

    I'm starting to think that the greater power and flexibility of the 24 is really worth it.
    David Cothran (Wandering Eye)
    http://www.wandering-eye.com

    "the days run away like wild horses over the hills"
    Bukowski
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