kindhearted mine [deleted] 11:12pm, 29 September 2014
I use a Nikon d600 with a 105mm vr macro on kenko extension tubes, a lot of what I do is hand held so I'm looking for advice. Any is appreciated!
Peter011235 4 years ago
If you want to improve the clarity and detail, then one of the best things to look into is lighting. Some swear by right flashes. Myself, I use a regular flash (currently a Yongnuo 560 II) with a home made flash diffuser. It's not the first one I made... and as I improved the design, I found my photos improved as well. Still far from perfect... I still get reflection (some degree of that is inevitable with reflective insects) and parts of the insects are underexposed, but it has made a big difference for me.
carsandkites PRO 4 years ago
As Peter said, lighting is key. You should visit the Macro forum at Uglyhedgehog. Lots of great info and smart people.
T0P cat PRO 4 years ago
I am relatively new to macro photography as well, but one thing I have learnt is the use of flash will increase your success rate quite drastically. If you choose natural light you will have to bump your ISO right up very high, especially using the extension tubes as well. Using the flash is very simple most can meter through the lens ( TTL ) which makes it even easier, just set it to your cameras maximum sync speed usually 200 and use a small aperture maybe F10 - F16, any smaller and you will start to notice the diffraction in your shots. The key then is having a nice diffused light as close to your subject as possible. The closer your diffused flash the shorter it's duration, and the shorter the duration the sharper the shots will be. I have made a few diffusers so far out of Pringles tubes but they are also quite cheap to buy if you never grew up watching Blue Peter.
Then all you need to concentrate on is the focusing. As I am sure you have found the depth of field with a macro lens is minute and it takes a lot of practise to get the chosen part in focus. I would leave off the extension tubes until you start getting the hang of it as they make it even harder to nail the focus.
Hope this helps if you stick with it you will get the rewards.
kindhearted mine [deleted] 4 years ago
Very helpful, Thank you very much!
carsandkites PRO 4 years ago
I posted a shot to give you an example how well the flash can stop motion. Here's a fly leaping away from a flower. I wasn't close enough to get a great compound eye shot, but it shows how well it can work. When I use the flash, I set it on manual and adjust after a test shot. I adjust the shutter speed for the exposure of the photo that are out of reach of the flash.

Leaping Fly crop
kindhearted mine [deleted] 4 years ago
That is great! Being that I have a lot of length with the 105mm nikon on extension tubes I'm thinking a 62mm macro ring with flash not LED.
carsandkites PRO 4 years ago
I normally would say try whatever you like, but most people don't like the macro ring. A flash bracket, swivel, cord and diffuser is the common direction.

kindhearted mine [deleted] 4 years ago
Wow, love your set up. Almost just like mine, so it appears I need to extend and soften my light for what I'm looking for. This makes sense as I was getting either too much glare or a bit of a fake look to the photos. Appreciate all the help and information!
What you need is speed :-) because you move the camera and ants don´t pose. If you use a macro extension it takes light- therfor I prefere achromatic closeup lenses. If you look in my stream you find a lot of examples that show the quality of the results. You find there also a pic of my PowerShot G1 X Mark II with Flash and that small piece of cardboard on - I use this on my DSLR ( canon 6D + 7D) too and it works fine together with a 100 Macro-Lense. I do have Macro-Ringflash and extension-tubes and Bellows and Auto-Reverse-Rings and diffusors and all that stuff, but this simple construction turned out to give best results and is easy to handle - and that is important. If you come with a big Bazooka you scare the flies and spiders away and you can´t move in the bushes ;-). A word about settings: set the shutterspeed on the highest value possible and the camera on Higspeed sync - that should allow two ore more shots with flashlight - chose the lowest ISO -degree possible - and aperture not to high, most Lenses deliver best results around between F:11 and F:16
If the html-code works - you find a pic of my 6D attached
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