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Thread: Macro shots with a 4 meg camera

  1. #17
    rattler's Avatar
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    Tony.....hard to say....i can do a custom white balance with my camera so its not really an issue....and if all else fails i can correct in Photoshop.....you can also bounce what natural or available light you have off a bright white sheet of paper to help amplify the light thats already there which shouldnt hurt your color balance.....
    cervid serial killer
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  2. #18
    I've got a magic window! elgecko's Avatar
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    Tony,
    As rattler mt said about the book lights, it would be hard to tell until you try it.
    I've had to use different white balance settings on my DSLR when adding other light to shots sometimes. Just trial and error to what looks closest to the real thing.

    I also do not like harsh shadows on my pictures. On my DSLR I diffuse my flash with a plastic white rubbing alcohol bottle on the flash. Works great on reducing the shadows.




    As for shooting macros. I've been learning since 1989 when I got my first SLR camera. At one time I had the total of 3 SLR cameras. My favorite shots are close ups in nature. A book that I learned many techniques from and still look at from time to time is John Shaw's Closeups in Nature. I would recommend this book to anyone as he does a very good job explaining how different setting will effect your pictures outcome.
    http://www.amazon.com/Shaws-Closeups.../dp/0817440526




    My Grow List Updated 8/24/17

  3. #19
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elgecko View Post
    Scott,
    Your shots are looking better.
    Thanks. My camera was a Christmas gift. I was never told how much it cost but I'm guessing in the $150 range. So we're not talking about anything that a professional photographer would use. I have what I have and just have to make the best of it. Sure beats that so-called "complimentary" camera that Earthlink sent me, back in 2004!

    Sheridan... thanks for the PM and I'd love to be more educated. I've read the users guide and gotten online advice, but having someone right there with me would be best. Not gonna happen right now!

  4. #20
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    I thought it would be fun to do a little followup. I have been fiddling around with the manual flash and Fstop. One thing I have discovered is that with very close macros you can clearly see the light coming from the side. My camera also has a flash power setting that you can adjust, which I fiddled with a little. I have not tried to diffuse it much but not sure how much that will help as the built in flash is 1.5" from the center of the lense. I think this will make it hard to overcome the 'flash from the side' look.

    I still lean towards natural sunlight since most of my shots are not real close up macros. For the few that I do though, I can still get a decent Fstop and shutter speed for most things when the sun is shining. I should also note that my greenhouse covering diffuses the light so even in full sun there is no glaring.

    Anyway.. a few photos.. Enjoy!

    D. gigantea was starting to open some traps.

    D. gigantea in natural light but a bit dark and light coming from behind me. I probably shaded the trap a bit trying to get in close for the shot.


    The same D. gigantea playing with flash on and 1/1000th shutter and F8.3 or something like that.


    We had a few days of nice sunny weather so I went back and took another photo since I wasn't entirely thrilled with the other two. This is a different trap after opening with some sunny days and showing some red flush. This has the sun coming in from behind the plant a bit. 1/128th shutter F5.4 or so. It isn't quite as sharp as the flash shot. There is a fan nearby and the depth of field is not quite as big. I like the way the incoming light from behind makes the dew POP!
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  5. #21
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    Great shots!

    Does this piece of advice make sense to any of you?

    Go into the Menu, scroll down and set the AF Zone to "Center Zone". As you say, using a tripod or other steady camera rest, such as a bean bag, is essential. I would also recommend going to the Menu and change the ISO setting to 80 or 100. That will give you the best image quality, but the shutter speed will be slower thus making the tripod/rest essential.

  6. #22
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Ohhh yeah I forgot to mention I don't use a tripod or anything. I am usually too busy to try setting much up in the greenhouse. So I try and keep my shutter speed at 1/60 or faster.

    Your ISO is basically your 'film' speed. The quicker (higher) the ISO the more grainy the photo but the faster you can go on your shutter so there is a balance to be had depending on your other factors. So if there is a sufficient light or flash and your subject and camera are steady you can use a slower ISO and get a finer image.

    As far as the autofocus, primarily you are looking for it to focus on the center of your field of view. It will make it easier to get your subject in focus since you are most likely putting your subject in the center on these shots.

    You may or may not have adjustments in your setup for all these things.. it depends. I couldn't find any ISO setting for mine unless they are hiding it somewhere.

    I would try not to get caught up in all the finer details at this point and mainly concern yourself with setting the Fstop and shutter speed. I found the best thing that works for me is to set the Fstop manually and let the camera set the shutter speed automatically and let the autofocus do it's thing. On a nice sunny day I can get my Fstop between 5-6 and keep my shutter at around 1/60 or a little faster so that I am less likely to blur the image as I freehand it or the fan is blowing the plants around a little. For my purposes this gives me enough depth of field so the subject parts closest and farthest away from me are also in reasonable focus when I focus on the center of the object.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

  7. #23
    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    The advice I received came from someone representing Kodak, so the what he said pertained to my camera. It took a bit of rooting around in the menu setting but I found both the ISO & AF. Since I am currently "free handing" it, until I can obtain or construct a stabilizing device, like a tripod, it would appear that maybe a higher ISO would work best for me, for now. And yes, I just want to be able to focus on one, small object, like a pygmy sundew or a Drosophyllum sprout or Utric flower.

    What is the difference between center spot and center weight?

    I am unsure of what to do with Fstop and/or shutter speed. How does that correlate with 80 or 100?

  8. #24
    Tony Paroubek's Avatar
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    Higher ISO makes things faster but reduces image quality.
    Fstop and shutter speed go hand in hand. Increasing Fstop gives you more depth of field and a bigger plane of focus but reduces shutter speed. So you can't keep increasing your Fstop without making it too difficult to get a sharp image if the camera or object are moving slightly.

    There are different ways of achieving the same thing. For instance if you wanted to do indoor photos but didn't have a flash you could use a low Fstop which would let more light into the camera but reduce how much depth was in focus but also increase shutter speed so you can take a focused shot without everything blurring. You could get a faster film (higher ISO) which reacts faster, making it easier to achieve higher Fstop and shutter speed. Or if you are taking stationary objects and camera and/or object motion is no longer a factor you can set your Fstop higher to get the depth you need with a really slow shutter speed.

    If you are freehanding it and your reasonably steady and your object isn't moving much then you should shoot for 1/60th shutter speed or so. Slower than that and it is hard to keep the photo from blurring due to motion. If you have trouble with that then aim for a little faster. Once you know the limit on how slow you can go on the shutter then you want to adjust your Fstop higher to maximize your depth of field to the point at which you reach your shutter speed slowest limit. Depending on your camera and auto vs manual settings you could either let the camera adjust your Fstop or your shutter speed. I prefer to adjust the Fstop and increase it until the camera says the shutter speed is 1/60th or 1/125th. How much room you have to play with or not will depend on ambient light, flash on or off etc. With the sun out I don't use the flash if I can help it. With careful positioning of myself the camera and the subject in relation to the direction the sun is coming from there is usually enough light to get a good Fstop and shutter speed.


    I have been playing with using the flash for when the sun isn't shining or I am having problems with a real tiny subject and getting sufficient light for proper depth of field. I haven't really found a combination I like yet.

    Just as a side note in some cases it is possible to have too much depth of field. Sometimes you don't really want all the surrounding stuff like pots and labels to be in focus as well. I think this is more an asthetic thing though.
    Is that a Nepenthes in your pocket or you just happy to see me?

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