Advice needed

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Advice needed

Post  Richard on Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:27 pm

I have been trying to take some close up pictures of bees on the flowers in our garden. you will see from the (best of the bunch) image below, that the results have not been as good as I had hoped. I have tried a variety of shutter speeds and apertures and things haven't been helped by the fact that I was shooting in to the sun, but that the bees themselves were in the shade! My biggest issue though, I guess is my lens, a 18-105, which is the only lens I have. What sort of lens should I be looking for, for this type of close up work.

Thanks

Richard.


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Re: Advice needed

Post  Sheilsoft on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:14 pm

Richard,

That's not a bad shot considering the lens you have used.

The type of lens required for close-up work is called a 'macro' lens. Basically a lens, whose internal optics have been designed such that it allows focus at very close range. Most lenses by design have a dead band in this super close range, as they are expecting most of the focus requirements to be in the mid-foreground out to infinity (and beyond!).

You will get the very best from a dedicated macro lens, usually with a fixed focal length of something like 70mm, 105mm or 150mm... The longer ones allowing you to stand a tad further away from the subject. Because of their specialist design you'll be able to capture subjects at lifesize 1:1, and also have a good prime lens for general use. There are also now coming to market a new breed of lens, even zooms with a macro capability, although I suspect their resolution will not be as good as a fixed prime focal length macro lens.

Another thing to bear in mind, is that when taking macro shots, any camera movement is amplified when focussing on small details, so a tripod is essential, and find out how to take shots using either timer release or remote. Also, you'll find when focussing in macro mode, depth of field is tiny, so any movement of the subject, due to wind etc can take the subject in and out of the focus zone. The tripod will help, but you soon learn to take multiple shots to capture a winner!

There are other ways to get close in, either using add-on filters (rubbish), extension tubes, bellows or reversing ring adapter to connect a standard lens backwards to the camera body. All have their own pros & cons, but for best optical results I would recommend a proper lens.

Rgds,
Howard Very Happy

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Richard on Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:47 pm

Thanks for the swift reply Howard.

I took the shot using a tripod. The obvious trouble with bees is that they move a lot, so you have to look through the viewfinder all the time to make sure they are in the picture. I guess the only way to use the timer release facility would be to set a time delay of 1/2 sec or something like that, so that the bee is still in the picture!

Regarding the lens, as long as it has the words macro on it, will that do?

Thanks

Richard.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Sheilsoft on Wed Jan 30, 2013 3:38 pm

Yep, as I said... Shooting this close, there is a lot of movement, potentially from camera shake, taken care of by the use of a tripod... But annoyingly the subject itself. Ideally a little remote gizmo is best, although even with this there can be a bit of a delay. Easiest is to set up the timer for the shortest period available.

The other good thing about mounting your camera on a tripod is that you can select a small aperture (high f number eg f22) to stretch out the depth of field as much as possible.

The problem is... If the subject is moving, ideally you want a fast shutter speed... But, because of the shallow depth of field you want a smaller aperture (which will, reduce the shutter speed)... Doh! All a bit hit and miss, such are the joys of macro photography!

Also when shooting in macro, try using the 'Live View' on Nikon Dslrs (other brands available) to allow you to see the shot on your back lcd screen, although strong Spanish sunshine can make this problematic... They never said it would be easy!

Yes, pretty much any lens with the Macro tag should do the job, but as always some do it better, with either sharper results or closer minimum distances... Do a bit of homework on the review sites. Personally I've always found that Sigma IMHO are very good at Macro lenses.

Rgds,
Howard Very Happy

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Re Advice Needed

Post  VicA on Thu Jan 31, 2013 10:31 am

Hi Richard,

First of all let me say that I agree with all that Howard wrote, however I have allways been a devotee of extension tubes. IMHO they have a number of advantages they are:-

A. Less expensive than new lenses
B. Usable with any lens zoom or prime
C. Variable magnification by using a number of tubes
D. Less weight to carry round.

My rig is Canon but if it will help you to decide which is best for you, I will bring my gear to the meeting on Tuesday and you can have a play.

Regards

Vic
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Re: Advice needed

Post  Richard on Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:06 pm

Vic, never heard of extension tubes, so,yes, if you could bring them along on Tuesday for me to have a look at, that would be great.

Thanks

Richard.

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Re: Advice needed

Post  Sheilsoft on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:17 pm

Good stuff... Will probably have a little intro chat about macro photography on Tuesday.
I'll bring my macro lens and a bellows set along.

Rgds,
Howard Very Happy

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Re- Advice Needed

Post  VicA on Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:45 pm

Good idea Howard,

You can do the maths bit though, I can't remember it !!!!

Vic
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Re: Advice needed

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