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Archive 2011 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro
  
 
krason
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Hi All,

So I've been playing with my Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro lens.
I manage to get great portraits out of it. But my macro shots seem
to lack focus. Not sure exactly what I'm doing wrong.

At the site the image looks great in the viewfinder.
The aftershot looks good on my LCD, though it's hard to tell in bright sunlight.

Then I get it home and review it and they're all junk.

Found some neat bottle brushes today with Bees flying around.
I was very excited to grab some beautiful shots with the bees hovering
and landing etc. But not happy with any of the shots once I got them home.

VR is on for all of these.
No tripod, shouldn't be needed at 1/50s right?

Is the problem that I need a tripod when I'm this close?
Maybe I'm answering my own question.

Any pointers would be appreciated.

Thanks,

Kevin


Edited on Dec 03, 2011 at 09:56 PM · View previous versions



Dec 03, 2011 at 07:42 PM
JJuLLiAAn
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


I think that your problem is shutter speed. If you can, try getting your shutter speed to maybe 1/200th and use flash if you aren't already, if you have one you might think about using a tripod with a focusing rail.


Dec 03, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Seeing the Exif would help - personally, I cannot HH 1/50 and get uniformly sharp shots. In fact, most are unacceptable. In general, you'll likely find for macro: 1) tripod with cable/remote release, 2) manual focus, and 3) mirror locked up for a long exposure.


On final comment - f25 likely serves no purpose other than to introduce diffraction. I'm not familiar with the 105mm but its sweet spot is surely closer to f8 than f25. What body - FF? DX?

regards,

Bob



Dec 03, 2011 at 09:50 PM
krason
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Hi JJuLLiAAn, Thanks for the comments. I have a flash and used it in some of my photos.
I have it on a remote SC-29 cord and hold it off axis from the shot to avoid washing it out and losing the appearance of depth.

Should I increase my ISO? Or will the flash compensate as the shutter speed increases?
I'm in TTL mode and I believe iTTL can handle 1/200th no problem. So that should work.

Would hate to lose detail with higher ISO.

Thanks for looking and for the tips.



Dec 03, 2011 at 09:55 PM
sbeme
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Dont know which body you are using, but I would certainly bump to at least ISO 800. I agree, shutter speed is too low.
Scott



Dec 03, 2011 at 10:15 PM
krason
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Hey Bob,

My camera is a Nikon D7000 Box, so DX.

I was going high f to try to keep focus on more than just the front few millimeters of the content that close. But I'll play around with it and try f/8.

Thanks for the ideas.



Dec 03, 2011 at 11:36 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


What you should do is test your ability to hand hold and DOF when shooting macro.

As a starting benchmark shoot using a tripod at a relatively high shutter speed. Try focusing on different parts of the object and then compare the results in the photo.

Then take the camera off the tripod and try hand held shots at the same speed and slower and compare. That will give you a better idea of your ability to hand hold macro shots, which isn't easy because the degree of enlargement.



Dec 03, 2011 at 11:43 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


In my experience, particularly with macros, ignore diffraction if you need the DOF, particularly if you don't plan to print the resulting image quite large. It's true that such a small aperture isn't the sharpest setting, but any loss of sharpness due to diffraction is small and usually not an issue. (Kent and I go round and round about this. ) However, you'll usually need to use flash or a tripod because a small f-stop demands more light.

Is the image for this thread sharp enough? It was made at f22 at 1/15 second with a tripod.

http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1063041

Edited on Dec 04, 2011 at 11:03 PM · View previous versions



Dec 04, 2011 at 01:54 AM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


krason wrote:
@Bob - is this the Exif info you were after?
I can provided for the earlier shots if it would help.

Thanks everyone for your input.

Info for Shot 1:

File Info 1

Image Quality: Jpeg Fine (8-bit)

Aperture: F/10
Shutter Speed: 1/400s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority

Exposure Comp.: -1.3EV

ISO Sensitivity: ISO 100
Flash

Picture Control: [VI] VIVID
Base: [VI] VIVID

Sharpening: 4

Saturation: +3




Yes, that is pretty much it. Strictly my opinion and preferences: shoot NEF, you can do so much more non-destructively in post-processing; my preference would be to drop back on the in-camera PC Vivid setting, sharpening, and saturation unless your intent is minimizing post-processing; the last two posted are way over-saturated for my taste.

Lastly a question: why -1.3EV?

Thanks for taking time to extract the Exif,

-best,

Bob



Dec 04, 2011 at 04:07 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


To refer to the original posted question, unless the images you posted were small crops of the original, it's very unlikely the softness you found unsatisfying was due to diffraction. My issue is not whether an image shot with a small aperture is as sharp as possible, but is it sharp enough for it's intended use? However, don't take my word for it. Set up a test. Same setup with a sturdy tripod, shooting the same subject with the same light and shoot it with different apertures. Compare the results. It's worth doing simply to investigate your sharpness issues, and to know what you can do with your specific equipment.


Dec 04, 2011 at 11:32 PM
 

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krason
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Lastly a question: why -1.3EV?

Bob,

I was bracketing my shots 0.7 each side of right exposure.
And I was trying to under expose the shots a bit so I had set it up to EV -0.7.
So the one shot that turned out okay was the bottom of the bracket and offset by 0.7.
So it worked out to -1.3EV.

Kevin



Dec 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM
krason
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Hi AuntiPode,

The both look reasonably good. But when being hyper critical I can see what looks like chromatic aberrations around the apples edges in the second photo which cause the edges to get a little blurry. What's the f-stop on the second one? I would guess based on the discussion that it's the 22. But it could also be the 8 where the apple starts to go outside the focus range.

I think the Lemonade tag looks slightly better in the second photo.

Thanks for all the insights.

Kevin









Dec 05, 2011 at 06:12 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


I think Karen's point is that the tradeoff for the sharpness difference for the DOF difference tips the scales to the DOF when you need such DOF. To that I would definitely agree with Karen that if you absolutely want the additional DOF, it is harder to make up for DOF in post than it is the sharpness and contrast reductions imposed by small amounts of diffraction. Conversely, when working with very close macro, even the extra DOF may not be sufficient to encompass your subject ... to which I (personal preference) might lean toward a stop or two in favor of diffraction (and motion) reduction.

Also, Greg with his nice shot (nice to see you join this forum) has made a good point at the impact of lighting (diffuse/specular) regarding it's ability to counter or exaggerate the effects of diffraction. Not to bore with the physics involved, but it does come into play ... as do the variety of other issues that combine to the final product. BTW, pretty sweet for ISO 1600.

As Karen noted, if you're end use is going to be a 16X reduction, the difference that diffraction makes can be less noticeable than the difference of your DOF, and it (contrast/sharpness) can be made up for some in post. I'm just a bit old school on the matter and lean toward optics first, computer second.

Just to be clear ... I never meant to suggest that Karen was wrong, just that we differ in our opinion regarding the significance to which it should be considered ... which of course will largely depend upon someone's application as well as the individual glass/sensor being used.



Dec 05, 2011 at 04:10 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


I almost agree with Kent. In some situations, such as very large prints, enlargements of small sections of the original image and pixel peeping at 100%, yes you can notice some softening due to diffraction. However, at the size posted, the images were unlikely to *look* unsharp due to diffraction. I think the dispute is over the phrase "less noticeable". I suggest, and I believe my test examples defend the suggestion, if you post a reasonable sized image to the forum, it hasn't been heavily cropped and enlarged, and it has been properly sharpened in PP, it's unlikely anyone will notice ANY diffraction softening for typical images, ... unless they read the EXIF data, then they may notice it even if it isn't there.

Why belabor the diffraction issue?

- Because using small apertures is a reasonable option. Do not fear to use them. They are there for a reason, but understand the minor limitations.

- When searching for the cause of inadequate sharpness, know when to blame diffraction and when to ignore it as a possible cause.

- Even on a large print where diffraction can slightly soften the image, the degree of softening is usually unimportant and can be out-weighed by the advantage of greater DOF.





Dec 05, 2011 at 06:43 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


AuntiPode wrote:
Kent and I go round and round about this.


Cheerfully, respectfully & well-regarded for each other's perspectives.
I seem to be more pre-capture oriented, and Karen seems more post-capture oriented ... both perspectives have their relevance and interdependence ... hopefully, to the benefit of all.

It is but ONE piece of the puzzle.

BTW ... just to be crystal clear ... Karen ROCKS !!!




Dec 05, 2011 at 07:21 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Thanks, Kent. You rock, too!

I recommend good pre and post techniques, but to get adequate DOF with best possible resolution, focus stacking is a chore I haven't quite mastered, and, for some situations, it's impractical. I also screw-up "pre" often enough to need to know what I can fix with PP and what I can't. I don't want to waste good worry.



Dec 05, 2011 at 08:13 PM
krason
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Kent and Karen,

You both rock in my books. Thanks for the thoughtful insights and help.
Now to get my pictures to rock! :-)

Kevin



Dec 05, 2011 at 08:18 PM
gregfountain
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


AuntiPode wrote:
Thanks, Kent. You rock, too!

I recommend good pre and post techniques, but to get adequate DOF with best possible resolution, focus stacking is a chore I haven't quite mastered, and, for some situations, it's impractical. I also screw-up "pre" often enough to need to know what I can fix with PP and what I can't. I don't want to waste good worry.


Karen,

Focus stacking is an excellent tool for macro shots when the environment and subject can be controlled! I think you just motivated me go home tonight and set up the tripod, and a softbox and reshoot the orchid using that technique!

I'll post it in a new thread for feedback!

Greg



Dec 05, 2011 at 08:31 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Excellent, Greg!!!


Dec 05, 2011 at 08:35 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Thanks Bob ... but I didn't really do anything to change the physcial composition, per se (portrait orientation rotation obviously) ... that still belongs to Kevin and his eye. I did however change the tonal values (starting from 32 bit) and some sharpening to try and rebalance/redraw the eye a bit ... if that counts as a composition change.

Bring it on Greg ... and do tell about the stacking technique.



Dec 05, 2011 at 10:16 PM
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