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Macro Magnification (Answers to your questions)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Thank you all for your interest in knowing my thoughts on Macro photography and my gears used to shoot Mega Bee and Mega Fly.
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In an overview of Macro photography a 1:1 Macro is defined as following:
In a typical crop sensor DSLR such as Canon 10D and 20D, Nikon D70, D50 and D2x, Fuji S2 and S3, the sensor size is around 15 MM by 24 MM or around 3/4 on inch by 1 inch. Now, if you have a subject which is 24 MM in length, for a 1:1 Macro, it should fill the frame from edge to edge, with NO room for further crops.

A 2:1 Macro is defined as following:
If you have a subject that is only 12 MM (1/2 inch) in total length, it should occupy the whole frame with no further room for further cropping.

And finally, for a 4:1 Macro, a subject 6 MM (1/4 inch) in total length, should occupy the whole frame

Now, there are those who think capturing a 4:1 or a 5:1 macro is a matter of having the lens but this sentence is so far away from the reality as many other factors come to play. One literally becomes limited by the laws of physics, the available technology and one's skills as a Macro photographer.

At a 1:1 macro level, under a bright sun at F32 at a distance of one foot (31 CM), your DOF with a 180 MM Macro lens is less than 1/16 of an inch or about 1 MM. (Here, Depth of Field Calculator)
Your shutter speed at ISO 100 is 1/25 second or at ISO 400, 1/100 second which is barely enough for a moving subject. The slightest movement by the subject and it's out of focus. And don't forget, as you move up to higher F stops to achieve more DOF, usually beyond F16, you become defraction limited which means that you start losing detail, HERE, some good reading.
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Now, at a 4:1 Macro level, the equation is quite different. For one thing, with a set up like the one that I used in my Mega Bee and Mega Fly (Tamron 180MM macro, about 150MM extension tube and one 2X converter), the effectiveness of your prescious light is reduced by 10 times and your DOF field much smaller. The tiniest movement by the subject or shake in the camera and you are out of luck and you have to locate your subject in your now much DARKER viewfinder.. This is all true for a live and moving subject. For a stationary subject, it's an easier task and that's why you see a lot of close macros made of dead or frozen subjects.

What I have mentioned so far is only a part of the whole story and that is why Macro photography is the most challenging. Even when you do get a high magnification, then you must expect to have good detail when viewed at 100%.

Now, by the above definition of a 4:1 macro, the following photo could be considered a 4:1 Macro:

DSCF1336=for-Maggie3

But, this is not a 4:1 Macro. It's actually an over sharpened crop of this:

DSCF1336=For-Maggie2-u

Which is a crop of the following shot which is barely a 1:1 Macro.

DSCF1336=For-maggie
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So, you see, sometimes it's hard to distinguish a crop from a full frame shot. Also, detail is not how sharp the hair sticks out but also detail in other areas, tonal range and transitions. Contrast is good but remember, it should not kill detail. Contrast essentially tries to fit all tonal ranges in an image, in a smaller box! Contrast also creates the illusion of sharpness and that's why you see over use of contrast specially in Macro shots.

I hope that helps.
Kind regards.
Originally posted at 9:52AM, 27 February 2007 PDT (permalink)
Cyrus khamak edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Robert Seber says:

I use a 65mm 5x macro lens, and the main difference I've noticed is that your shots seem to have a much deeper depth of field. I'm wondering if this is helped by using a 360mm focal length.

I'd also be interested to know if you use focus stacking, what apertures you use, how you support the lens and how you light your shots!
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
Robert Seber edited this topic 98 months ago.

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert, Good to see you!
First off, I don't do stacking. How can you do stacking with a moving object?
Since I'm in a rush now, let's take a subject at a time. I do get a DOF that I'm most often comfortable with. The main reason for being able to do this is the fact that I stop down my lens quite a bit.
Your lens's maximum aperture is F16, on one of mine, it's F32 and that is already two stop over F16 which could result in quite a bit of increase in DOF and the effective DOF could go all the way up to F45 and more when you get closer and closer and with the converter.
So, all you need is light and a decision to make whether or not you want to be diffraction limited and In most cases, depending on the subject, I don't mind. In most cases, again, depending on the subject, I don't see any softening of the file due to diffraction, even in prints and in poster size. Some subjects don't show any loss of detail that would matter, like the following photo which I'm going to post in my second response when I have a bit more time.
I presume you have the Canon MP-E 65, right?
Cyrus
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
Cyrus khamak edited this topic 96 months ago.

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Robert Seber says:

Yup, I've got the MP-E 65mm.

I'm surprised you don't see much softening at small apertures - I do. I get better overall results at f/8 than at f/16.

I'm wondering if the effects of diffraction are more noticable at 65mm than at 360mm then?
98 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
There are lots of formulas, lots of terms and lots of confusion. Let's do something interesting, Let's both of us take a 1:1 macro dhot of a US penny.
Put your penny in front of your lens, vertically at 45 degrees to the lens's focal plane. get as close as you can(highest magnification) to the penny where you can have a good focus of the edge closest to the lens and post your image here and I will do the same, deal? I will try to do it tomorrow.
Cyrus
98 months ago (permalink)

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Robert Seber says:

I'm not sure if I have a US penny, but I do have a UK penny.

In order to do a fair comparison we need to decide what apertures to use. I suggest one shot at f/16 (does your lens 'know' that there's a 2x adaptor fitted when displaying aperture?) and one at the lens' smallest available aperture.
98 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

You are right about the aperture, I actually forgot to mention it. if you are up to this, we are going to do a few shots at different apertire and magnifications but post a shot at a time to discuss.
And yes, my lens knows it, it's kinda smart! :)I'll do my first one at F16
Cyrus.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
I did four shots, F8, F16, F32 and F54. All shot at 1/80 at ISO 800.
As you can see, the best detail is in F8, like most other lenses but F16 is looking pretty good too. .
Like you see here, even at F54, which is giving you the deepest DOF, almost a good 7 or so MM, if you sharpen it you can get the whole picture. Now this picture is certainly NOT as sharp as F8 or F11, but even with more careful sharpening, it can look wholesome.
WHAT IS IMPORTANT is that by sharpening, we will never get details such as scratches back. But this is exactly my point when I talk about subject matter. The scrathes don't matter here, so we should not be that worried about difraction specially when moving beyond by a stop or so.
We will discus this more but for now, let's see how you've done.
The inages were strait out of the box, except for croping.
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all four_on one
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And here's a close up of all four shots plus one more, F54, sharpened.
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4-close
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Now, lets digest these!
Cyrus
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Robert Seber says:

f/8:

f/8 1:1

f/16:

f/16 1:1
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Robert Seber says:

To my eye I'd say that the 65mm, at f/16, has kept more of the penny sharp than your 180mm with the 2x converter. I suppose that the difference is that you can go to much, much smaller apertures. I suppose that, as long as the whole image is slightly unsharp, sharpening an image won't lead to parts of it looking over-sharp.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
this method is flawed and we know that but we just want to get an idea.
I did not use my 2x here, just my lens and my effective DOF on this goes up to F54
For the same magnification, lens's focal length should not affect it's DOF. DOF is, like you know, in front and in the back of the subject. Wider lenses, will give you a little in the back, rather than in front. Longer lenses do compress features a bit though.
Your apparent more DOF at F16 could be due to the following reasons in my opinion:
There is substantial difference in the Bokeh that our lenses produce, you get more specular highlights.
The design of the coin, yours have more prominent features.
We could have a different magnification. what does exactly your coin measures in PS looking at the full file?
Last and not least, the angle of your coin could be less that 45.
You can go higher on your F stop and still look good on screen and in print. Those scatch I lost at F54, are probably much smaller that the hair on an insect. Yes, you do lose detail at F54 but how much and for what purpose. I have a poster made of the Mega bee and it looks pretty good and prety close to what it does on the screen. Cyrus.
98 months ago (permalink)

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Robert Seber says:

- It was definately 1:1 - my lens shows 1:1 on it.
- The coin is 2170 pixels wide in the shot.
- The angle could have been slightly off 45 degrees

Does your camera body show you the effective aperture? I think that Nikons do but Canons don't.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
Robert Seber edited this topic 98 months ago.

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Robert Seber says:

I pitted my Sigma 150mm against my Canon 65mm. I focused on the Queen's crown:

1:1 65mm f/16

1:1 65mm f/16

1:1 150mm f/16

1:1 150mm f/16

I'd say that the two shots look pretty similar regarding DOF, although the 150mm looks a tad sharper to me (might be slight variations in angle or bokeh though).

My conclusions so far are:

- There's a trade-off between diffraction blurring and DOF
- You choose to go for maximum DOF then post-sharpen to counteract the diffraction blurring
- Varying the focal length while keeping the aperture constant doesn't make much difference but...
- Your lens offers smaller minimum apertures
- Your 2x teleconverter reduces the minimum aperture of the lens further
- I'm unsure of the effect of tubes

This makes me wonder if I should invest in a 2x converter for my 150mm lens in order to reduce its minimum aperture.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
Robert Seber edited this topic 98 months ago.

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Seluma says:

I have learned so much reading these threads. Thank you!

I have a couple of questions for you.

When you are using a converter and extension tubes, in which order do you put them on the camera? (Sorry if this is an elementary question.)

Is there a rule of thumb, or some mathematical formula, that would let one estimate the effect of a certain length of extension tubes on magnification? In other words, if your 180mm lens is 1:1, and you put on Xmm of entension tubes, your resulting magnification is Y:1.

Thanks for teaching and sharing.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
Seluma edited this topic 98 months ago.

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Brian-D says:

It's best to always have the converter on mounted on the camera,then tubes, then lens of course.
If you have a 180mm 1:1 lens, it would take 180mm of tubes to go to 2:1.
98 months ago (permalink)

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Seluma says:

That is so logical. I figured it couldn't be so simple. Thanks ever so much for the quick reply.
98 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Brian,
You are absolutely right and thank you so much for chipping in, appreciate this team work. Just when I thought this becoming too much for one person to handle, you guys stepped in!
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Saluma,
It has been our pleasure to be able to learn from one another and move forward to capturing some great Macros this coming spring and summer. Also, look for a way to be able to use off-camera lighting which will improve your results greately.
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Robert,
You are correct on all counts and thank you for the well written sum up. On the sharpening though, you can only do so much. If the detail is not there, then there is nothing to sharpen but you can easily move beyond diffraction by at least a stop and compensate, specially with the right subject.
The tube do not change the aperture on my lens. As a matter of fact, the effective aperture stays the same as F32 for Max aperture. There has to be some contacts missing in the tubes.
Since I have to put the tubes n the camera and then the converter, the aperture stays the same at F32 with my 180MM lens with all the gear mounted. The converter pushes the aperture on my Sigma 50-500, all the way to beyond F64 ans all the way to F76 which is exactly twice the lens's maX aperture of F38. With my Macro lens, it pushes the aperture to F64 which is twice it's normal max aperture of F32.
At F32, with some subjects, you can get a lot in focus.Not much need to go higher, unless your subject permits. Mega Fly, I think was shot at F27 and look at the crop I have inserted in the comments and ot looks pretty good. You do need tremendous amount of light tho.
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
One important note that I'd like to mention.
Looking at the close up that I have posted of the coin, you see that the edge of the coin, in F8 capture is somewhat out of focus but it gets better and better as I move up to F54, where there is more frontal DOF..
The reason for this is that I let the edge of the coin Enter the minimum focal length of the camera as a result, you get a slightly bigger magnification but that was not the intended purpose. The purpose was to be able to benefit a little from the acceptable sharpness of the frontal DOF and as a result, make more of the coin look in focus.(I focused a bit into the field of the coin rather than the very edge)
Now, with smaller aperture, as you can see, this is working acceptably and seem to be a practice in trying to squeeze more out the DOF at a certain aperture.As you know, this is a common practice, specially in landscape photography.
Also, thank you for the pixel size info of the coin but you have to also mention the pixel size of your full frame shot.
Cyrus
98 months ago (permalink)

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bertsnaps says:

Good day everybody,

Your experiments are clearly indicative of this sometimes difficult matter. There are some interesting articles on the net by for instance Norman Koren. Since digital some theorie must be looked at again due to new demands; that is big enlargements nowadays made and the Circle Of Confusion that was accetable for 35mm film, and used for calculating your lens marks for Depth Of Field.
I would like to bring this illustrative artikel to your attention although it is not dedicated to macro:

www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/Digital Focusing.shtml

I have examples of my aphid shot where smaller apertures are used that really start getting unsharp due to bending. This MPE is the best macrolens to my knowledge but optimum performance with an APS-C sensor is around f/5.6 not even taking into acount the bending effects. Of course there is also a lot to say about sharpening, but my experience is that very soon in the sharpening process things start looking unnatural. In the end it is always about trade-offs.
Greetings, Bert
98 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Bert,
Thank you for the input and your link to this excellent read, you are awesome!
Like you already know, diffraction is a collaborative phenomenon produced in combination with your film/sensor size, your lens and also on the nature of light used. In addition to that, I believe your subject matter is also important.
You are right about sharpening a diffraction limited file, as you cannot resolve an already merged circles of confusion. Having said all that, sharpening is a whole bag of tricks that can be used more effectively when examining the nature of a file. I wish we could go into sharpening in a different topic.
Now, The following photo, Mega Fly was captured at F27 and you see the following crop of this file. I also have a poster printout of this file and I must say, it looks darn good, specially when viewed from a distance of 6 feet (2 meters) or more.
Now, you tell me, does the crop of the file look any abnormal or over sharpened to you/ actually, I don't think I sharpened it too much at all.
And we have to remember, this is an almost 5:1 capture of this tiny creature and was captured using a 2X converter which has a somewhat softening effect.
The following example, the frog, was captured at ISO 800 at F38!!!
Why I chose F38, first because I'm crazy and second, it's because I wanted to have the front leaf in a relative good focus so that I may be able to see SOME detail on the lead and also some lines in the background. I Also have a poster size printout out of this one as well and it too looks good and acceptable.
I guess, after all, it depends how technical one wants to get and for what kind of scrutiny. The general public are not usually as picky as some of us may be as lomg as the photo looks good and attractive, won't you say?

Mega fly

A nd now, a closer crop of this fly. With the resolution you see here on screen, I can print a 5 foot print out of this.
DSCF1663_crop

DSCF8540_int-w
Now, this is a crop of thie shot above. and for all practical purposes, it looks good on a poster size print.

DSCF8540_f
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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bertsnaps says:

Hello Cyrus,

If a 100% technically pefect macroshot at 5x magnification would exist, would we recognize it as something of "flesh and blood" or real?
This very macro-world is somehow surreal to us anyway.
As such I do not recognize any "artifacts" or obvious technical shortcomings in your example pictures. I do not see any bending problems whatsoever. The picture of the fly is fabulous but it looks almost like some glorious airbrush from out of this world.
And my first tought about the frog was that is was artificial. This close a subject is out of it's recognizable surrounding. Strange enough as a photographer I have to get used also to seeing pictures without artifacts and noise. After realizing that it was real I was left in amazement of it's beauty.
Greetings, Bert
Originally posted 98 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Thanks Bert. I also wanted to bump this up for some friends who are visiting.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

After reading your tutorials Cyrus I went out and shot at 3x with my current rig (62mm of tubes + 100mm macro lens + 500D diopter) with the camera set to F16. Normally I'd shoot at F8, but the shots I took at F16 look great! Plenty of depth of field in their compound eye, and I got the tongue in focus as well. Yes, ants have a tongue...

Ants at three times life size series 6-5
95 months ago (permalink)

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Robert Seber says:

I ordered a 2x converter today to try-out with my 150mm macro lens.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

John, I'm glad you tried and the image looks great with lots of detail.
At F16, you are probably still fairly safe diffraction wise and the trade off between the gained DOF is really worth it to me. Also, it very much depends on the frequency of the detail in the subject. An image such as the frog I posted which has low frequency, looks pretty much good on screen and in print at F38!
So, what I'm trying to say is that gained DOF is sometimes a lot more important to me than the fine detail I may lose.
On cropping, I agree with you as I almost never recrop.
The image looks pretty good in it's larger size. Now you only need to shoot in raw and spend a little time in conversion, using the curve function CS to get a better and softer look to the image.
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Robert,
Glad you did that and I hope it works out for you. Just remember to go to a higher iso and over expose if you can. Do only noise reduction where it really matters and spend some time doing so, preferably in layers.
.
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Robert, do you think a full frame camera such as Canon 5D would be a good tool for Macro, considering loss of ODF and apparent loss of crop magnification?

Cyrus
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
Cyrus khamak edited this topic 95 months ago.

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

Hey Cyrus,
I shoot RAW, but only have Photoshop Elements. Do you have a tutorial on using curves that I could apply in Elements?
95 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

John,
Curves pretty much follow Adams's zone system. You can play with it to boost the contrast, recover your shadows, enhance your selective colors and even, enhance your lighting.
next time I do a conversion, I'll make some screen shots.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

Thanks Cyrus!

I found it in Elements and I'm experimenting now.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Brian-D says:

Lets get on that asap cyrus. LOL I'd like a detailed tutorial on your conversion process and how you do everything you mentioned above.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Brian,
I did a conversion for you and showed you how you could get more detail from your file than you already had. Also, you have to do as I suggest and over expose your file if you can, to get the most detail out at conversion.
There are a lot of factors that play a role in getting a photo you are really satisfied with, most of which I have already discussed, and there is no magic formulas and every little bit helps and has a cumulative effect.
For now, take a look at the files below below which I did for another friend who is probably reading this. You see a significant more detail in the new conversion and PP.
Also, revisit this other thread.
Cyrus
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B_A
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
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Brian-D says:

This is a nicely captured image. Which one is your conversion?
The 2nd one has bad banding in the background and looks washed out overall, contrast is way off. The color isn't doing anything for me either, it's also rather dull and could be punched up.
I haven't found over exposing in RAW giving me any benefit. In fact I get a nicer overall outcome with most of the data in the center or on the shadow end (but not clipped). Slightly overexposed images are hard to get nice colors from, you're so close to the edge that you have to be carefull. I did some that way on my recent fruit worm shoot and I wasn't pleased with the overall tone and colors of them.
This is what I came up with, taken from the darker photo. IMO just as much if not more detail, no banding, and color and contrast good to go. After brightening it up a bit it looks like my secret recipe was used on it lol.
I could of spent more time on it and took better care of the eyes and use of the highlight filter to stop a bit of faint halo's.




I just took you to school buddy. LOL j/k
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Brian,
We are talking here about Conversion and NOT post processing. Of course one could go crazy in post processing but starting with a better conversion is always better. For my extreme macros, I spend a lot of time in Post processing, including sharpening but I get almost all my colors through conversion.
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I edit and upload a lot of photos for other friends. So, I can't afford to have them all uploaded at low or no compression and as a result you may get banding.
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Your image however, is kind of flat and you have an over presence of yellow and red. This fly is not yellowish and not in those tones.
Also, you have to use your colors, tones and light to help direct the eye to the main point, the subject.
.
It's very clear that when you over expose, you give the shadows in the image a chance to be exposed more and the detail to be recorded better. The highlights, you can always pull down. If you are not getting better result, then there must be something you and I, or our equipments are doing differently.
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
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Robert Seber says:

Cyrus - regarding your earlier question I'm not sure that a larger sensor would help with sharpness much. In fact I often find that a crop of a shot taken at a small magnification is sharper than a shot with the same field-of-view taken at high magnification. I do wonder if using a camera with a tiny sensor but a good quality macro lens would work just as well as an SLR.
95 months ago (permalink)

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mplonsky says:

Thanx for sharing this info Cyrus. It has been an excellent read.
95 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
As we all know, the biggest challenge we have in Macro is DOF and not necessarily extreme sharpness at a very shallow DOF, it's the case for me anyway.
A small sensor on a point and shoot camera will give you a bigger DOF by virtue of the fact that the lens is closer to the sensor plain. We notice this in macros taken with a good P and S camera. As you know, a P and S camera is limited by it's usability as a serious tool for closer macro photography. It also depend on what we would like to do with our files after capture. Do we want to make a heavy crop. sharpen or over sharpen and present on the web or do we want to have the opportunity to be able to make a print, a big print or even a poster. In the later case, a "good" DSLR with proper glass and gadgets is a must, I think.
For the same FOV(field of view), the further your lens element is from the subject is better to achieve a bigger DOF and hence, a crop sensor with a decent MP count is a great help. Of course you can use a FF sensor, get closer to your subject and use the sweet spot of your lens to get a crop that would compete with the file from a crop sensor but you have to have a very high MP count in the FF to be happy with the result.
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My own finding is that a camera with a good high ISO performance and a crop sensor of about 1.5 and a resolution of about 8-10 MP would be our best choice at the present time with the high ISO performance being on the top of my list. Too often I see file taken at 100 ISO with heavy flash use which washes out the subject and kills the ambient light. I wonder if the same shot was taken at ISO 800 or even 1600, how would the result fare for the photographer. A good ISO performance of 1600 is FOUR stops over and this means a lot less flash use or even taking the shot in the ambient light. I don't think I have any shot taken at about a magnification of 1:1 where I used flash.
As you know, your 2X converter which you just bought, will make you lose light by 2 stops. When you receive it and put it on your lens, try it at a high ISO which would at least compensate for the loss of light and see if you like the result.
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Brian,
I have given up on using diopters as they are not really suitable for what we try to do. They generally are not of good quality glass and have a couple of elements with a very small sweet spot in the center. They also get you closer to your subject considerably. I would not bother with 500D on your good Macro glass as it is more suitable to be used on a longer zoom lens to give you acceptable macro capability. On the eye piece, yes, they and the focusing screens do help.
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Mark, thank you for dropping in. Your work has been inspiring to me and I believe, to a whole new generation of Macro photographers and I'm sure many will benefit from your knowledge and wisdom.
Kind regards
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
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Robert Seber says:

Tried out the 2x converter today. f/45 was neat! As was the extra working distance - I was able to capture a few flying insects that had been really hard to get before, plus shoot some bugs down amongst the leaves that I couldn't normally get to. Unfortunately my tubes can't go between the converter and the lens, so I guess they'll have to go on the body directly.

Even at ISO 1600 in bright sunlight I was strugging to get my shutter speed high enough to capture the fast moving bugs I was after while also using a small aperture and hand-holding the lens. I used flash a lot in the end I'm afraid! I'll post a shot or two once I've gone through them.

Anyhow, I'm enjoying using my 150mm macro lens a lot more now that I can go all the way to 2x with it.
Originally posted 95 months ago. (permalink)
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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Robert,
I'm glad you had a rather satisfying experience with the 2X. I use the 2X and the tubes in any which order and it works fine.
following the golden rule of F16, on a sunny day one should be able to get 1/100 shutter speed with a 2x converter at 400 ISO, mounted on a regular lens such as a 50MM. So, depending on the brightness of your subject, theoretically you should be able to get a 1/400 shutter speed at ISO 1600. That may or may not hold true as the subject may be a dark insect.
For shooting an insect with high frequency of detail such as body hair, F 27 seems to still give satisfactory detail such as in Maga Fly above.
Can't wait to see your shots.
Cyruws
95 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

I get into trouble on a regular basis where diffraction is concerned. IMHO there are a lot of other "defects" like slight motion blur (of only a few pixels) or focus that get blamed on diffraction. I wrote about it here and most people took it the wrong way. My own photography has convinced me that, at least with the MPE-65, diffraction isn't a big problem as long as I avoid F16 above twice life size. Here's an example of what I mean; this shot was taken at 5x and F14 hand held (I was resting the front of the lens on my hand). You can count the dimples in this ant's hide...

Ants with an MPE-65 series 1-5

Is diffraction robing me of detail in that image? Sure. Is it a show stopper? Nope...
89 months ago (permalink)

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

Thank you John for the feedback and your clear thoughts.
It all depends on what we are after when we shoot a macro. I personally would rather see the subject at a decent DOF and a good wholesome presentation, rather than having a small piece of it in sharp focus with the hair or what have you, sticking out razor sharp.
Having said that, the first image was shot at F20, almost a 4X magnifications and the second one, at F25. They were both shot at ISO 1600 and I am quite happy with the result, whether it's DOF or sharpness.
. .

_DSF7667
_DSF0911_int_w
89 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

I agree Cyrus -it's much better to have an image with a lot of uniform detail than to have one slice in sharp focus. Pixel peepers are the only ones impressed by the later -everyone else wants to see as much of the insect as possible...
89 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

One thing to add to the discussion: Shooting a life size image and then cropping it doesn't make the magnification increase. You might have the same field of view in a cropped life size image as you would a shot actually taken at 2x, but you would not have the same level of detail. In the cropped photo information would be lost because you're cutting out part of the image, and the resolution in the shot would be much lower than actually taking the same field of view at a higher magnification. Although I do understand where you were going with the analogy in the first post Cyrus, cropping doesn't equal magnification ;)

I do see it as one way to "cheat" at the depth of field limits imposed by shooting at higher magnifications, since cropping a lower magnification shot will give you an image that looks larger on screen and in print with the added bonus that the depth of field would also be greater than shooting at a higher magnification. I'm just not convinced that the loss in resolution would be a good trade for the increase in depth of field...
89 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

In emails with Robert I've been discussing the use of a teleconverter to get more depth of field,and I really don't see how it's possible. Does adding a TC really change the focal length of a lens, or is focal length just used as a way to describe how the field of view changes with the TC? Another way to phrase the question: What's the difference between a 280mm lens and a 200mm lens + a 1.4TC?

I've always been told that the loss of one stop due to adding the 1.4TC was because of the extra glass that's added between the lens and the film plane, and not because of the change in focal length. If that's true then the increase of one Fstop with the TC is just a way to compensate for the light that's lost by adding more glass -an apparent aperture and not an actual one. Like the difference in actual Fstop and apparent Fstop when shooting at life size: The lens is set to F16, but because the magnification is 1:1 the apparent Fstop is F32. But F16, and not F32, would be used to calculate the depth of field. So isn't adding a TC the same thing -the difference in Fstop is just a way to express how much light is reaching the sensor and not the actual Fstop that's used to calculate depth...

One last thing: A point and shoot camera will give you more depth because the actual focal length of the lens (not the 35mm equivalent) is in the single digits, and a wide angle lens will give you a lot more depth because it's the actual focal length (and not the 35mm equivalent induced by the small sensor size) that is used to determine depth.
84 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

To add to my rambling above (sorry folks -it's late here). From Wikipedia, on calculating the depth of field when the subject is close to the lens :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depth_of_field#Close-up_2

When the subject distance is small in comparison with the hyperfocal distance, the effect of focal length is negligible, and, as noted above, the DOF essentially is independent of focal length.

So how does increasing the focal length with a TC make any difference in depth of field? That quote from Wikipedia is consistent with all macro lenses: The depth of field with a 180mm L is the same as the EF-S 60mm when the two are set to the same aperture.
84 months ago (permalink)

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beachwalker2008 says:

I am no expert in macro or optics - below is what I believe to be true.

Does adding a TC really change the focal length of a lens, or is focal length just used as a way to describe how the field of view changes with the TC?
-Changes the focal length.

Another way to phrase the question: What's the difference between a 280mm lens and a 200mm lens + a 1.4TC?
- None.

I've always been told that the loss of one stop due to adding the 1.4TC was because of the extra glass that's added between the lens and the film plane, and not because of the change in focal length.

- Not true - the additional glass has very little effect on the light transmission - why would three/four/five lenses have that huge an effect when the five/six/seven (or up to 16 in a zoom) don't?. A 2x converter doubles the focal length, and - since aperture number = focal length/diameter of aperture opening - doubling the focal length will cost you two f-stops.

-The above is strictly true when the lens is used at infinity - the closer you get, the more things change - like below:

Like the difference in actual Fstop and apparent Fstop when shooting at life size: The lens is set to F16, but because the magnification is 1:1 the apparent Fstop is F32.

- and this has to do with the extension of the lens - same effect as adding an extension tube behind the lens.

But F16, and not F32, would be used to calculate the depth of field. So isn't adding a TC the same thing -the difference in Fstop is just a way to express how much light is reaching the sensor and not the actual Fstop that's used to calculate depth...

- The Depth of Field of a lens + TC is exactly the same as the depth of field of an equivalent prime lens at the same aperture. So a 300/2.8 with a 2x TC (600/5.6) will have exactly the same depth of field wide open (f5,6) as a 600/5.6 lens at f5.6 (or a 600/4 shot at f5.6)

So how does increasing the focal length with a TC make any difference in depth of field? That quote from Wikipedia is consistent with all macro lenses: The depth of field with a 180mm L is the same as the EF-S 60mm when the two are set to the same aperture.

- based on what is said there it should not make a difference at high magnifications.

Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
beachwalker2008 edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

Thanks Dieter!

"The Depth of Field of a lens + TC is exactly the same as the depth of field of an equivalent prime lens at the same aperture. So a 300/2.8 with a 2x TC (600/5.6) will have exactly the same depth of field wide open (f5,6) as a 600/5.6 lens at f5.6 (or a 600/4 shot at f5.6)."

OK, I follow. So there is no gain in using a 300mm lens + 2xTC over using the equivalent 600mm lens at the same Fstop.

But what we're comparing here is a little different: An MPE-65mm lens at F16 against the same lens + a 1.4TC. So would that really give me an MPE-91mm lens @ F22?...
84 months ago (permalink)

ivvi.photography-away for a while- [deleted] says:

dear Cyrus and friends of megashot group ,first of all thanx for this marvellous and interesting thread....
i have a question,because i'm on my first step of photography....
i have a nikon D300 and as macro lens i use a lens Micro Nikkor 105mm VR f/2,8 for macro shots.....
....now because i 'm not able to make extreme macro shots,my question is what type of converter or extender i have to use?

thanx
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
ivvi.photography-away for a while- edited this topic 84 months ago.

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beachwalker2008 says:

ivvi.photography wrote

Micro Nikkor 105mm VR f/2,8 for macro shots.....
....now because i 'm not able to make extreme macro shots,my question is what type of converter or extender i have to use?


Not easy to answer I am afraid. Nikon says this about the use of their own converters on that lens:

AF-I/AF-S Teleconverters TC-14E/TC-14EII/TC-17EII/TC-20E/ TC-20EII can be used. (VR and AE functions are available. Autofocus operation is not possible.)

So if you will manual focus - then any of those converters will work.

Nikon also recommends to turn VR OFF for macro as it becomes less and less effective the higher the magnification.

I have no info on the use of third party converters with this lens - I assume you will loose the AF and VR function.

Dalantech wrote

But what we're comparing here is a little different: An MPE-65mm lens at F16 against the same lens + a 1.4TC. So would that really give me an MPE-91mm lens @ F22?...


I get it, John. I found a webpage yesterday that showed graphs of DOF as a function of focus distance - can't find them right now though. Basically, at about 1/4 of the hyperfocal distance and closer, the DOF becomes independent of focal length - confirming what you said above: at the same aperture, DOF is identical for the 65 and a 180mm lens. This means that at the same aperture, your 65 and your 65 +1.4xTC will have the same DOF. Also, DOF is identical for same image size on sensor.

So, to get the higher magnification, what I assume behind your question is that you will keep the same focus distance when attaching the TC to your 65mm - and thus with a 1.4X TC magnification will increase by a factor of 1.4. Doing the calculation - assuming a symmetrical lens, identical focus distance, f16 for 65mm and f22 for 91mm, it appears that your DOF will decrease to around 80-90% of the value for the 65mm when you attach the TC (at the same f-stop, it would be about 70%). Now, one caveat, corrections for an asymmetric lens can be significant in this calculation - and I have no idea what the pupil magnification of the MP-E 65mm lens is.

If you were to use the TC to increase working distance and keep magnification constant - then your DOF should increase by 22/16.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
beachwalker2008 edited this topic 84 months ago.

ivvi.photography-away for a while- [deleted] says:

@ beachwalker2007 : many thanx for your precious answer!!!!!!!!!!!
have a nice time!
84 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

Thanks Dieter!

It seem to me that adding a 1.4TC to the MPE-65mm lens would convert the 65mm F16 to a 91mm F22. But adding the extra glass would also magnify any flaws in the MPE-65 and add new ones from the teleconverter so I don't think the extra stop would be worth it. Each Fstop of change equals about a 25% difference in depth of field, but in macro depth is measured in millimeters and gaining a fraction of a millimeter in depth wouldn't be worth the loss in image quality induced by the TC...
84 months ago (permalink)

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beachwalker2008 says:

John, any TC will degrade the optical quality of the lens it is attached to. In addition, most TCs are optimized for use with tele lenses - at least 100mm focal length and Nikon recommends them for 300mm and longer. For example, an TC-14E on a 300/4 AF-S lens will work well with an almost imperceptible reduction in IQ - measurable but negligible in everyday use.

Seems to me that a better way to get more working distance is the use of a longer focal length macro lens. And the better way to achieve more magnification appear to be extension tubes - provided you can get any closer to your subject.

Focus stacking - if possible - seems to be the only way to get more DOF.

Furthermore, at those apertures, diffraction will start limiting your resolution too - but as Cyrus and others have demonstrated, it is certainly possible to get high quality images at f27 or f32 - or even beyond - real life subjects are different than lines-per-millimeter in an optical lab (where the diffraction effects would be very clearly visible).

And let's not forget the intended use of the image - as this enters directly in what the acceptable "circle of confusion" is. Pixel peeping at 100% (or even higher) will reveal a lot of flaws that are not visible when the image is viewed at normal viewing distance - not many people will view a 2 x 3 foot image from 5 inches away.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
beachwalker2008 edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Cyrus khamak is a group administrator Cyrus khamak says:

"t seem to me that adding a 1.4TC to the MPE-65mm lens would convert the 65mm F16 to a 91mm F22. But adding the extra glass would also magnify any flaws in the MPE-65 and add new ones from the teleconverter so I don't think the extra stop would be worth it. Each Fstop of change equals about a 25% difference in depth of field, but in macro depth is measured in millimeters and gaining a fraction of a millimeter in depth wouldn't be worth the loss in image quality induced by the TC..."

But John,
Although DOF is extreme macros are measured in millimeters, but still a 25% increase, in DOF, is a 25% increase and quite noticeable.
In espect to TCs degrading image quality, well, it is true but our own experimentations count as well. The following image was taken with a 2X converter which is supposed to be more than twice destructive than the 1.4 TC. extension tubes we used as well and I still think it's a decent image enough, SPECIALLY, at this magnification.


_DSF8600_f_5_08_int
84 months ago (permalink)

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beachwalker2008 says:

My point exactly, Cyrus. One can take that lens/TC combo into the optical lab and prove that the IQ is much less than that of the original lens and much less than that of a prime lens of the same focal length (though I don't know of a 360mm macro lens). Without a doubt, one could find the onset of diffraction problems at f16 (where this shot was taken) and one could go even one step further and criticize the use of ISO1250 because of the noise introduced. OR, one can just ignore those "measurbators" and use the combination for its intended purpose - take some great shots like the one above with it and demonstrate that all that lab crap has often little bearing when taking real life images is involved.

After all, lacking the necessary 360mm macro lens - the only other way to get that image above would have been to move in closer - and I am fairly certain Cyrus already moved in as close as possible without scaring the ladybug off. Alternatively, yielding to the lab test result would have meant not to take the shot at all - what a pity.

I am equally certain that many macro experts would point out that an EXTREMELY sturdy tripod is mandatory for getting images like the one above - and my guess is that it was shot hand held.
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
beachwalker2008 edited this topic 84 months ago.

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Brian-D says:

Outside of the nerdy lab tests, I've seen no visible problems using TC's. That is the least of my worries while shooting anything. I'm not printing billboards.
I don't think expert macro photographers would support the use of a tripod outdoors at all. I've found it to be absolutely worthless unless you're photographing a completely still bug on a brick wall. You're going to miss 99% of your shots. I've started using a simple monopod that increased my hit rate quite a bit and doesn't limit me so much.

8:1 @ f/20
Daring Jumping Spider
84 months ago (permalink)

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stboed says:

What a discussion...thanks a lot Cyrus, Robert, Brian, n Dieter..... You're all very informative and helpful...I learned a lot from this thread and this group... Thanks, again:-)
84 months ago (permalink)

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Dalantech is a group moderator Dalantech says:

"But John,
Although DOF is extreme macros are measured in millimeters, but still a 25% increase, in DOF, is a 25% increase and quite noticeable.
In espect to TCs degrading image quality, well, it is true but our own experimentations count as well. The following image was taken with a 2X converter which is supposed to be more than twice destructive than the 1.4 TC. extension tubes we used as well and I still think it's a decent image enough, SPECIALLY, at this magnification."

Agreed. It really depends on what you're shooting. I took this shot with an MPE-65 at 3x and F16 + a 1.4TC (so that would be 4.2x @ F22):

Metalic Paint series 1-2

Acceptably sharp to me and the extra depth allowed me to get the top of the beetle and its eyes in focus. It's not a combination that I would use full time, because I don't always need the extra depth. But it's a valuable tool to have when I need it...
Originally posted 84 months ago. (permalink)
Dalantech edited this topic 84 months ago.

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