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Old Aug 26, 2007, 12:29 PM   #1
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I find butterflies the most frustrating things to photograph. Street photography is difficult for me because I'm not very good at composition, something I'm working on.

Yesterday I was out wandering around the one tiny corner of the national forest near me that isn't under fire closure. I ran across these butterflies - they are really tiny, about as big as my thumbnail. This is one of those times I would have liked a 300mm macro lens so I could have stood back a bit and still "gotten close" to them. These were the best I could manage - they all have some flaws. An off-camera flash would have helped too, but not something I'm likely to carry on a rough, steep,abandoned logging road that isn't maintained as a trail any more.

To give you an idea of how small these really were:

K100, Phoenix 100mm macro, f11, 1/180 sec. I did not have the matched adaptor on the lens.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 12:31 PM   #2
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This was about as close as I could get with the DA*50-135:

K10, DA*50-135 @ 123mm, f5.6, 1/400 sec.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 12:35 PM   #3
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I like this one, in spite of the fact that it isn't a good picture of a butterfly. The DOF is way too small to do the butterfly justice, but does give one contemplating this type of lens an idea of just how tiny the DOF can be (I went for a faster shutter speed). I did have the adaptor on thePhoenix when I took this one.

K100, Phoenix 100mm macro with adaptor, f6.7, 1/350.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 12:38 PM   #4
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Last one - while this one also suffers from not quite big enough DOF, I thought it gave the butterfly more of a 3D effect.

K100, Phoenix 100mm macro with adaptor, f11, 1/350 sec.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 1:28 PM   #5
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I think all of these are quite nice. They are frustrating at times--some of them seem to fly in random patterns instead of going in a straight line from one flower to the next.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 2:34 PM   #6
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Frustrating, tantalizing, challenging -- they are all of that, but rewarding when you get them. These are Metalmarks -- inHarriet's area there are two or three similar species, all highly variable. but the one (according to the book) thatflies at this time of year (late summer and early fall) is the Mormon Metalmark.

Harriet - you are carrying two cameras (K100 & K10) on your hikes? Have you looked into one of the 300mm macro zooms for a walk-about lens? I have used both the Tamron 70-300 LD and the 28-300 LD with satisfactory results. The 70-300 yields 1:2 magnification at 3 ft, but has a macro switch for the 3-5 foot close distances, while the 28-300 focuses continuously to a distance a few inches closer than 3 ft. Both would throw a shadow with the built-in flash at maximum extension with the lens hood on, but not without. Current versions are DI, but the older 70-300 should still be around - a bargain in the $150-170 range - and the DI is under $200. The 28-300 is at least twice that. (Sigma has APO and non APO 70-300s, butI have no experience with those)

One thing to consider (at least according to a writer in this month's Modern Photography) in deciding between nondigital and digital lenses (in Tamron, LD and DI vs. DI II, and in Sigma DC vs. DG) is that the image circleprovided bydigital-only lenses is smaller (encompassing only the chip), so in the lenses calibrated for full frame and thosefor both digital and nondigital use the entire larger circle is not used in a digital camera, so lightfalling on the chip passes only throughthe central "sweet spot" (usually sharper than the edges) of the lens and therefore can be sharper on a digital camera than on a nondigital one. IF that is correct (?), then (especially in an inexpensive lens) there is an advantagein usingthe older model.This could also explain why people find that the oldermanual lenses seem to do so well on the digitals.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 3:00 PM   #7
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Thanks for the ID on the butterfly - I was hoping you'd stop by and let me know what they were.

Do I hike with two cameras? Quite often - I started carrying both when I was doing comparison shots with various lenses and somehow the K100 doesn't quite get left out of the bag for long. That's insane, I know, and I'll probably be less likely to do that as I keep adding lenses to my collection. I was never quite happy withmy DA 50-200, so I bought the A*300 - one of my favorite lenses, but certainly no macro! I've become really pleased with the DA*50-135 as a walk-about lens, and I already have the A*300 so I can't quite justify getting the Sigma APO 70-300 or the Tamron equivalent (well, I might have until this past weekend). And since it's so nice to have the lenses already mounted on cameras, I just keep carrying two cameras and a bunch of lenses. They, at least, migrate in and out.

My experience is that the older lenses CAN be very nice on the digital cameras - I have several that I occasionally use (fast primes) that are better than what I remember them being on film cameras. I also have a lousy zoom (SMC M24-50)that had been my fathers and it's still a lousy lens, so it doesn't always follow.
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 4:58 PM   #8
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I really like the third one Harriet. It may not have been the shot you were looking for, but the shot you got is has a very artistic appeal to it.

Tim
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 5:14 PM   #9
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H, i've used my 200/4 with ex tubes with great results. gives you about 1:3 at 30-36''. great for the larger inhabitants. i haven't used them with the A*300 tho. i'll hook them up next time i go out.
and people think that BFs inflight would be easy.. right

roy
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Old Aug 26, 2007, 6:19 PM   #10
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Tim - thanks for the compliment - sometimes the artistic aspects of a picture more than makes up for its technical faults.

Roy - I tried my home-made extension tube on the A*300 and loved the pictures. It's minimum focusing distance was lowered to about 6 feet (a little less perhaps), which wouldn't have been enough in this instance (did I mention that the abandoned jeep trail was a shelf trail and had pretty much washed out? It was a very long way down on one side and a very long way up on the other, with the narrow path a fairly steep grade. I really had no business being where I was - I don't think many people are aware that ridge is still open because it didn't look like anyone had been there for a while. The "trail" is abandoned, steep, isolated, and I was alone. Supid, right?). If you find a combination that will lower the minimum focusing distance to around 3 feet, let me know. I use a monopod/walking stick when I hike, so as long as the combination doesn't require a tripod I'd be OK.
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