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Old Sep 5, 2006, 6:50 AM   #1
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Alison,with her macro shots, is the envy ofmany. I was about to'hijack'her thread and take it a bit further in the hope learning a little more but decided it deserves a thread on its own.

Roy or someone had posted a link which I can't find right now and it had reconfirmed for me that, the shorter the focal length of the lense and the longer the distance from the lense to the focal plane - ie distance from back of lense to camera body, the better it is for shooting macro.

I don't want to sound like I'm an expert or anything but would someone please pipe up and expand on this - it would help many of us. There's always the inevitable question which I myself have asked many times "how far away were you?"

I personally dislike cropping but this is inevitable too. Of course the mega increase in pixels is allowing us to do that with increasing ease.

What are YOUR thoughts on these subjects?
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 7:57 AM   #2
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Hi nlp,


"Roy or someone had posted a link which I can't find right now and it had reconfirmed for me that, the shorter the focal length of the lense and the longer the distance from the lense to the focal plane - ie distance from back of lense to camera body, the better it is for shooting macro."

I think you're referring to extension tubes. Googled "extension tube" and found this:

http://www.shutterfreaks.com/Tips/ExtensionTube.htm

I haven't used them, preferring a dedicated macro and/or the Vivitar 2x Macro Focusing Teleconverter (or both) when playing with macro, and that's about all I've done with them is play. I had planned to do a lot of macro shooting this summer, but some mysterious knee problems have severly limited my mobility for the whole season.

I've also found that my usual tele setup of an FA*300/4.5 + PF1/7x AFA (510mm) works for "tele macro" in a pinch, and have used it to shoot flowers and butterflies, though it's not by any means ideal. Here's a dragonfly I shot while waiting to see if some egrets or herons that I had spotted might return. From @ 6 ft away with a monopod:




I have no problem cropping, as it's sometimes the only way to get the image that I want. Some think of it as cheating, that framing and such should be done with the camera. My problem is that handholding a long tele makes accurate framing virutally impossible, so I'll almost always crop the final image to get the composition that I want. I also don't usually print 4x6 or any other 3:2 format, so some cropping is always going to happen.

For quality purposes, I usually won't crop to anything less than @ 1/3 of the total frame, and if I have to go that extreme, it'll only be for a 5x7 print, though I have gotten some nice 8.5x11s from as little as 2mp files.

Oh yeah, one other thing -- with dedicated macros, the longer the focal length, the more distance between the lens and the subject, so for bugs and such, longer is better so you don't spook them. It also helps to have more working distance when you're using flash, so the lens doesn't get in the way, especially with the onboard flash (usually used with a bounce card).

Scott

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Old Sep 5, 2006, 8:19 AM   #3
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jc, not really sure what you are asking here but if it's distance from the camera body to subject @ 1:1then a 50mm is about 5-6'', a 100mm is about a foot and a 180mm is about 18''.
my vivitar 105mm is about a foot but the lens at 1:1 is about 7-8'' long so the front of the lens is 3-4'' from the subject.. using my 200mm prime with 60mm ext rings gives me about 1:3 from about 30-36''.. this is ideal for subjects the size of a dragon fly and gives enough distance not to scare them off..

roy
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 8:29 AM   #4
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Roy,

The distance you mentioned are about right. My daughter used to tell me not to scare the subject by being so close. Why not you like everybody else look at the LCD viewfinder (of a P&S) and stand 10 ft away. Photographers are weird bunch of people to outsiders. The need of close distance is an absolute pain for macro. That is why it is difficult.

Daniel

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jc, not really sure what you are asking here but if it's distance from the camera body to subject @ 1:1then a 50mm is about 5-6'', a 100mm is about a foot and a 180mm is about 18''.
my vivitar 105mm is about a foot but the lens at 1:1 is about 7-8'' long so the front of the lens is 3-4'' from the subject.. using my 200mm prime with 60mm ext rings gives me about 1:3 from about 30-36''.. this is ideal for subjects the size of a dragon fly and gives enough distance not to scare them off..

roy
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 8:41 AM   #5
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danielchtong wrote:
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Why not you like everybody else look at the EVF (of a P&S) and stand 10 ft away.
daniel, i'm not sure what you are talking about here?????
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 9:00 AM   #6
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Ooops. Average people with a P&S would have said why bother with shooting so close to a subject . Most people only look at the LCD display viewfinder of a P&S. I should have made that clearer.

Daniel

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danielchtong wrote:
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Why not you like everybody else look at the EVF (of a P&S) and stand 10 ft away.
daniel, i'm not sure what you are talking about here?????
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Old Sep 5, 2006, 11:11 AM   #7
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Scott thanks for the link. Its a good link but not the one, ofcourse it could be I saw it somewhere else - I'll try to look for it. Meanwhile here's another good link: http://www.insecta.co.za/ZArticles/r...revers.htm#Top

This is a vast subject and the whole purpose of my starting this thread is for people, including myself, to understand, in layman's terms or graphically what macro is all about - not just close-up. Even though I had tried my hand at macro 30 years ago, it is meaningless for me when someone posts an image with technical figures without posting lens-to-subject distances.

For this purpose I've actually pulled the Photographing Nature volume of TimeLife Series off the shelf and I'm going to try to freshen-up my own depleted memory perhaps I can help myself and others in the meantime.

I remember you mentioning the knee problem a while back, sorry to hear it hasn't gotten better but hey, close-up and macro are not just for summer.

Roy, thanks for yet again, trying to explain the magnification references. I'm sure Ira will come see us today at some point but he's gonna be pretty busy with the first day back on the job.


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Old Sep 5, 2006, 10:01 PM   #8
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Hey nlp (and Scott) thanks for the links. I am definately interested in learning more about macros. Right now they are the area of photography that is most interesting. And Allison does set a pretty high bar for everyone else. I don't know if this helps answer your question but using my Sigma 28-80 in 1:2 macro I need to have the front of the lens two to three inches (50-75mm) from the subject to be able to focus. That is why, thus far, all of my macros have been of slow moving or stationary subjects.

As far as cropping, the main reason I crop is to make an image that will fit in the forum. If the picture permits, I would rather crop it and preserve detail than simply resize it. I don't know if I would feel differently if I was getting my pictures printed as I have not had any prints created from my K100 shots.

Tim
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