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Author Topic: Macro on a Budget  (Read 27019 times)
Terry-M
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« on: June 14, 2009, 10:10:04 PM »

Years ago I did a lot of macro photography using bellows, reversed standard lens and special flash set-ups and often brought my insect subjects indoors.
Recently Iíve been experimenting with freehand macro without having to spend much money on special lenses or equipment.
For some time Iíve used supplementary lenses as a cheap way to get close to subjects and recently Iíve tried it out using my 70-300 mm stabilised lens and a +2D simple single element supplementary lens. The long telephoto has the advantage of being able to keep a reasonable distance from the subject and not frightening it away. I have found that using a focal length of between 100 & 150 mm is the easiest to handle but have had a little success at 300 mm.
Here is an available light shot at 105 mm and f8; the dragon fly is about 35 mm long.

With available light it is difficult to get a small aperture for good depth of field so I tried using an ordinary flash gun mounted on the camera; I used the built-in diffuser. The camera was set on manual with an aperture of f22. Here are two shots at 165 mm and 300 mm. The Capsid bug is about 10 mm long.


I may buy the Canon 2-element coated +2D supplementary lens hoping that the quality will be improved.
Just thought Iíd share this experience  Smiley
Terry.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2009, 10:17:02 PM by Terry-M » Logged
hedwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2009, 01:54:27 AM »

That's pretty amazing on a budget. It looks like you're getting dangerously close to true macro size with that set up.

What lenses are you using specifically and what's the sensor size on your camera. I was thinking about saving for a macro lens, but if you're getting that sort of result out of cheaper equipment, I'll probably put that off for quite a while.
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Terry-M
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 06:28:26 AM »

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What lenses are you using specifically and what's the sensor size on your camera.
The lens used was a Canon EF 70-300 mm/f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM on a Canon 350D with a 8.0 Mpx sensor.

Quote
getting dangerously close to true macro size
At 300 mm it certainly is; I've not calculated it but the reproduction ratio is close to 1:1. Using a +4D supplementary lens would enable this at a shorter focal length. However the simple supplementary lenses I have at present do produce chromatic aberrations, especially the +4D.

Terry.
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BrianPrice
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 12:39:22 PM »

Terry
Great shots, the bug is a Sloe Shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) . I used close-up filters for years before I bought the wonderful Canon 60mm Macro for my 40D. They always worked better on prime lenses than zooms and I think any lack of sharpness is due to the zoom lens, and would not be improved by the Canon 2 element version. For slightly more money you could get a second-hand 50mm f1.8 lens, which I used to use in the negative days. It's a great lens for portraits as well as macro with a CU filter, and should focus faster than your zoom.
One word of warning - photographing insects is addictive!

Brian
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Terry-M
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« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 01:03:12 PM »

Brian,
Thanks for the complement and the correct name  Embarrassed I was too lazy to get out my field guide of British insects.
Quote
the wonderful Canon 60mm Macro for my 40D.
How do you get on with a 60mm f/l with respect to getting close to the subject? With a longer lens you can stand off more, particularly useful with some insects that see you coming.
Have you any link to some of your results?
If I bought a macro lens, I'm thinking 100 mm plus would seem to be better option.
Terry
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BrianPrice
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« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2009, 05:08:16 PM »

Terry
I used the 100mm for a time, but the problem was that at least 33% of shots were out of focus or had camera shake - you really need a tripod for it, and one is essential for longer lenses. With the 60 hand-held virtually every shot I take is sharp (as long as they stay long enough). I never really get the feeling that I scare the insects into moving - they stay or go in their own time Cheesy. Don't forget that with a modern DSLR you don't need to fill the frame, 1/2 or even 1/3rd is good enough for the web or an 8x6 print (using QI Grin), and shots with the beast a mere speck can be good enough for an ID. Here's one I shot recently, although I didn't know I had it until I got home



and another



I've got more on my website but I haven't touched this bit of it for a year and I've just noticed that the  thumbnail page has gone t*ts-up, but if you click on one of them you can click through the large pics.

http://www.secalis.co.uk/CWood/index.html

Brian

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hedwards
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2009, 12:47:55 AM »

Quote
What lenses are you using specifically and what's the sensor size on your camera.
The lens used was a Canon EF 70-300 mm/f4.5-5.6 DO IS USM on a Canon 350D with a 8.0 Mpx sensor.

Quote
getting dangerously close to true macro size
At 300 mm it certainly is; I've not calculated it but the reproduction ratio is close to 1:1. Using a +4D supplementary lens would enable this at a shorter focal length. However the simple supplementary lenses I have at present do produce chromatic aberrations, especially the +4D.

Terry.
Ah, that's fairly similar to my set up. Like I said earlier, those results are pretty impressive.

I have to admit, that I feel a little odd about buying the Canon close up lenses when they're as expensive as they are. I know that the Sigma 150mm macro goes for around $729, expensive, but completely the right tool for the job and I doubt that I'd ever want to upgrade it. But, with my current set up, I've got IS and can go to 200mm with it, which makes up a little bit of the difference. More likely I'll just go for the B+W close up lenses which seem to be much less expensive.
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Terry-M
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2009, 06:50:31 AM »

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But, with my current set up, I've got IS and can go to 200mm with it,
It is a pity no one makes a stabilised macro lens, perhaps there's a technical reason.
Quote
I know that the Sigma 150mm macro goes for around $729, expensive
Sigma also make a less expensive 105mm macro lens which would be better from the hand holding point of view.

The very close bug picture shown was at 300mm and it was very difficult to frame and focus; with 150 mm it is much easier so I wonder if a combination of that with a +4D close-up lens would work better.
I get definite chromatic aberration with the +4D simple lens, that's why the Canon 2-element item may be much better.
Terry.

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Terry-M
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2009, 07:37:12 AM »

Brian,
Quote
Here's one I shot recently, although I didn't know I had it until I got home
I love that bee shot.  Cool
That is one aspect of macro/close-up photography, you often see much more on the image than you do when taking it.
Terry.
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hedwards
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2009, 03:12:24 PM »

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But, with my current set up, I've got IS and can go to 200mm with it,
It is a pity no one makes a stabilised macro lens, perhaps there's a technical reason.
It's most likely because IS shouldn't come into play. IS isn't normally supposed to be active when the camera is on the tripod. I've noticed sometimes if I've got my tripod completely extended that the IS will kick in a bit, but under normal circumstances if you're needing IS then you're probably beyond hope of macro work.

Plus macro lenses are expensive enough as is, throwing in something as expensive as IS when there's so much else that the money could go to providing in a lens is a waste.

Quote
I know that the Sigma 150mm macro goes for around $729, expensive
Sigma also make a less expensive 105mm macro lens which would be better from the hand holding point of view.

The very close bug picture shown was at 300mm and it was very difficult to frame and focus; with 150 mm it is much easier so I wonder if a combination of that with a +4D close-up lens would work better.
I get definite chromatic aberration with the +4D simple lens, that's why the Canon 2-element item may be much better.
Terry.
Getting a 105mm macro isn't a bad idea, it's just a question of what one is trying to shoot and how much one values the extra working distance that the longer lenses provide. Probably the main reason I'd need the longer lens is to keep the shadow out of the area. But, I'm not sure how good of an idea natural light macro really is.

That's a good point though, if I do go that route, I'll probably splurge the extra $20 and get the 100mm f2.8 that Canon makes, from what I gather it's a better lens. I'm kind of curious why people seem to like the 150mm Sigma more than the more expensive 180mm f3.5L that Canon makes at the top end of their range.

That'll probably be the last of me thread jacking this thread. I'll have to look into it elsewhere, but I think that it looks like a good option if one can make due with one of the lower priced diopters, otherwise, if you start paying more than $150 or so, getting a 100mm macro starts to look really attractive.
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Terry-M
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2009, 07:51:16 AM »

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me thread jacking this thread
No worries,  Smiley the whole idea is for others to contribute, ask more questions and expand on the topic,
Terry.
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Terry-M
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2009, 09:28:38 PM »

Finale:
Brian said
Quote
One word of warning - photographing insects is addictive!
I know, been there done that.
I've just recently dug out my old macro slides from the 1970's and scanned them.
They can be seen here: http://www.pbase.com/tjm04/macrofilm
But one sample is below, a Lacewing Fly at 8 x magnification.


Terry.
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Fred A
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2009, 12:22:24 PM »

 Grin
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Lacewing Fly
Aha!
I knew I saw him before, but never knew his name.
He was in the movie the FLY, and entered the right side chamber of the matter transfer machine, and whose molecules were mixed with David Hedison or Jeff Goldblum.
All we heard was Help Me! Help Me!............ just like in Qimage!   Grin Grin Grin
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Ya Me
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2009, 12:16:22 PM »


I know this is late, but I never thought to use my 70-200 for macro.
I just know I will learn something from this forum  Smiley  Smiley

Great examples
Ya Me
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