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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






Bottle Brush - Focus doesn't seem to be where I thought it was when I took the shot - ISO200 - F/22 - 1/50s







Close up of the above image. The red strings have a green bud at the end and it is pretty blurry







1/40s is probably too slow with a moving creature - f/25 - ISO400



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
AuntiPode
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Here are two camera jpeg images. One was taken at f8. The other at f22. The only PS change was to reduce the longest dimension to 1024 pixels. Is the f8 sharp enough and the f22 image not sharp enough?












Dec 04, 2011 at 03:49 AM
krason
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


AuntiPode,

Thanks for the link. The lack of detail is astounding. Are those Dice? Is that a 7?

Joking aside, nice shot. :-)

I think I'm just paying my learning dues. I believe what I'm dealing with right now is
getting my aperture and shutter speed set right, and I'm missing the mark.

I went out this afternoon and tried a few more shots. This time on a tripod with a flash in full afternoon sun. It was about 3pm with sunset around 5pm. So I was approaching sweet light, but still pretty harsh. Can't complain when the 3 day of december is 65 degrees in California though.

These are from the San Jose Rose Garden.

I tried at various apertures and I think best shots are where my flash wasn't ready so it didn't go off.
So I needed to either go into manual mode or underexpose. I was in Aperture priority on my Nikon D7000.

The roses were beautiful, but I don't feel I captured what I intended. The colors of the roses were over saturated. I was intentionally in Vivid mode, and perhaps this backfired on me.

Again any tips appreciated.

@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
File: _KPG9258.JPG
Date Created: 2011/12/03 15:12:38
Date Modified: 2011/12/03 15:35:51
File Size: 4.12 MB
Image Size: L (4928 x 3264)
File Info 2
Date Shot: 2011/12/03 15:12:38.00
Time Zone and Date: UTC-8, DSTFF
Image Quality: Jpeg Fine (8-bit)
Artist: Kevin Goodman
Copyright: KG 2011
Image Comment:
Camera Info
Device: Nikon D7000
Lens: VR 105mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 105mm
Focus Mode: AF-S
AF-Area Mode: Single
VR: ON
AF Fine Tune: ON(0)
Exposure
Aperture: F/10
Shutter Speed: 1/400s
Exposure Mode: Aperture Priority
Exposure Comp.: -1.3EV
Exposure Tuning:
Metering: Matrix
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 100
Flash
Device: SB-900
Flash Sync Mode: Front Curtain
Flash Mode: i-TTL, -1.3EV (Camera: -1.3EV, Speedlight: 0EV)
Zoom Position: Manual Zoom
Advanced Operations: Bounce Flash/Wide-flash Adapter
Image Settings
White Balance: Direct sunlight, 0, 0
Color Space: Adobe RGB
High ISO NR: ON (Normal)
Long Exposure NR: OFF
Active D-Lighting: Auto
Image Authentication:
Vignette Control:
Auto Distortion Control: OFF
Picture Control
Picture Control: [VI] VIVID
Base: [VI] VIVID
Quick Adjust: -
Sharpening: 4
Contrast: 0
Brightness: 0
Saturation: +3
Hue: 0
Filter Effects:
Toning:
GPS
Latitude:
Longitude:
Altitude:
Altitude Reference:
Heading:
UTC:
Map Datum:






1/400s - ISO 100 - f/10 - (-1.3 EV) - Flash wasn't ready - Camera on Tripod







1/160s - ISO 100 - f/10 - Flash Fired - Camera on Tripod




Dec 04, 2011 at 04:02 AM
 

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Bob Jarman
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · 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
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


I'm a big fan of hand holding below the 1:1 rule for low light work, and 1/40 vs. 105mm is certainly doable. However, that is more appropriate for "normal" subject distances. As you move closer to your subject, the magnification of those induced motions becomes even greater ... hence tripod's rule when you're talking about shutter speeds below the 1:1 ROT and shooting macro.

Karen & I differ on the matter of diffraction and it's impact. For your particular lens, the diffraction between f8 vs f16 is marginally noticeable in test shots on a D3X and probably quite negligible in practice on such larger pixels sensors than yours (not to be confused with high resolution sensors). However, by the time you get to f22/f25, it's going to be even worse than f16. Combining some motion blur and some diffraction, is going to produce a softer result. If you truly need the extra DOF, and you're shooting handheld ... you might consider stepping back a small amount (you can crop in PP) to reduce reduce the motion blur impact. Also, shooting @ 1/40 is getting closer to that range where mirror slap (especially for macro distances) is more prominent.

If I were shooting hand held 105mm and no tripod (assuming same EV @ 1/40 @ f/25) I'd probably shoot it 1/100 @ f16, but preferring to be around 1/160 @ f11 ish.

Skip the autofocus, skip the VR ... both are prone to induce error in these kind of shots. Retain control via manual focus and avoid the "offsetting" aspect of VR.

Motion is the bane of macro ... and some antidotes.

Camera motion (you) ... tripod, cable release
Camera motion (mirror slap) ... Mirror lock up, timer
Subject motion (wind) ... higher shutter speed, wind block, short flash duration
Subject motion (subject) ... higher shutter speed, short flash duration

The closer you put the subject & camera, the more these are amplified. The more pieces of the puzzle that are causing problems (even little ones), the add up and multiply. Toss on the impact of PP processing and those little details can turn into mush quicker than you'd imagine. It is really a matter of process control regarding technique (i.e. Demming) and macro simply magnifies the bad stuff as much as it magnifies the good.

Going back to the subject of diffraction ... it is also relative to the pixel size upon which you are projeting your image. Large pixels are less prone to diffraction (for a given aperture), whereas smaller pixels are more prone to diffraction. While there is more resolution on your D7000, the pixels are quite small and the ability for the airy disc to overlap those tiny pixels is much greater than an otherwise larger pixel. Using the Nikon D2X with a roughly 25% larger pixel, airy disc coverage looks something like this in the interactive link below: f8 (1 pixel wide) vs. f11 (1.5 pixel wide) vs. f16 (2 pixels) vs. f22 (3 pixels wide) vs. f32 (5 pixels wide). Conversely, shooting on something like a canon 5D the airy disc coverage @ f16 is only slightly more than 1 pixel wide.

Your smaller pixels are going to be even more prone to diffraction than the D2X. The more overlap you have among neighboring pixels, the more 'fuzzy' you're gonna be. Despite the fact that you have a stellar lens ... I'm of the opinion that your tiny pixels really shouldn't be shot much slower than f13, with f8/f11 being preferrable ... if you are striving for optimal sharpness.

http://www.cambridgeincolour.com/tutorials/diffraction-photography.htm

Bottom line ... handheld, mirror slap, slow shutter, close distance, diffraction, small pixels, AF, VR, wind ... that's at least NINE different things working against you. The more of those you can reduce or eliminate, the sharper you image is going to be. It's up to you to decide what you can live with or can't live without.

Good luck.

HTH

Also, Cranking up the saturation and going vivid isn't doing you any favors when it comes to your quest for detail for your jpg output. If you also shot them RAW (NEF) then you've probably got something to work with in post.

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/diffraction.htm

http://model-railroad-hobbyist.com/node/1495

http://diglloyd.com/articles/Diffraction/Diffraction-TechnicalChallenge.html
















Edited on Dec 05, 2011 at 01:32 AM · View previous versions



Dec 04, 2011 at 08:32 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · 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
krason
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Hi Gang,

Thanks everyone for the insightful tips.
I've made a couple changes and I went out to the rose garden to try again.
The results are much better. I still need to work on my composition and content,
but the details are much improved.

Getting a lot closer. I'll keep playing with it.

Thank you all!

Kevin






1/250s - ISO 100 - F/10 - VR OFF - on a tripod - Manual Focus







This is an elargement of the fly above the fly was about 2mm long. and I'm happy with the focus detail on this.




Dec 05, 2011 at 12:36 AM
krason
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · 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 #16 · p.1 #16 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Okay! I think I've got something here.

Please C&C. I like this one!

I've posted it as my photo of the day, where I'm always open to C&C:
http://kevingoodman.smugmug.com

For Detailed Critique Context, here is the ExIf information:

File Info 1
File: _KPG9310.TIF
Date Created: 2011/12/04 19:17:10
Date Modified: 2011/12/04 19:17:34
File Size: 92.0 MB
Image Size: L (4928 x 3264)
File Info 2
Date Shot: 2011/12/04 09:03:33.80
Time Zone and Date: UTC-8, DSTFF
Image Quality: RAW (14-bit)
Artist: Kevin Goodman
Copyright: KG 2011
Image Comment:
Camera Info
Device: Nikon D7000
Lens: VR 105mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 105mm
Focus Mode: Manual
AF-Area Mode: Single
VR: ON
AF Fine Tune: ON(0)
Exposure
Aperture: F/16
Shutter Speed: 1/160s
Exposure Mode: Manual
Exposure Comp.: 0EV
Exposure Tuning:
Metering: Matrix
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Flash
Device:
Image Settings
White Balance: Direct sunlight, 0, 0
Color Space: Adobe RGB
High ISO NR: ON (Normal)
Long Exposure NR: OFF
Active D-Lighting: Auto
Image Authentication:
Vignette Control:
Auto Distortion Control: OFF
Picture Control
Picture Control: [SD] STANDARD
Base: [SD] STANDARD
Quick Adjust: 0
Sharpening: 3
Contrast: 0
Brightness: 0
Saturation: 0
Hue: 0
Filter Effects:
Toning:
GPS
Latitude:
Longitude:
Altitude:
Altitude Reference:
Heading:
UTC:
Map Datum:






1/160s - ISO 400 - F/16 - 0EV




Dec 05, 2011 at 04:00 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Good Job ... much improved.

I took a stab at a little different processing ... as always, S&P to taste.






Edited on Dec 05, 2011 at 04:43 AM · View previous versions



Dec 05, 2011 at 04:06 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Yes, much better. I ran the experiment I suggested earlier in the thread, using a Panasonic Lumix GF1 micro four thirds camera to magnify the effect of diffraction because, unlike my Canon 5D, the GF1 has rather small pixels.

One was shot at f8 and the other f22. These are camera jpegs reduced from 4000 pixels to 1024 pixels on the log dimension. Is either unsharp at this size?












Dec 05, 2011 at 04:41 AM
krason
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · 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
gregfountain
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · What am I doing wrong? - Nikon Micro Macro


Not sure if I can offer any help beyond what has already been offered, but since I have the very same lens, I thought I could offer some of my specific experience with it. First of all, I use a D700, so I am not sure how it differs on a DX sensor, but like Rusty mentioned, any closer than 1:1 demands a tripod and adequate "soft" light.

Most of the macro guys rig their flashes with all sorts of material, including paper towels, to diffuse the effect of harsh light and shadows generated by a flash. I've used up to 3200 ISO on macros, but 1600 works fine and should on the D7000 as well. Remember, the larger the light source, the softer the shadows.

Here's my suggestion in order of importance for me:

Use a tripod!
Turn off the VR when using a tripod! Use it only for handheld shots.
Manual focus. Manual focus. Manual focus. I know, why have AF? It is also an excellent portrait lens. Use AF for those.
ISO 1600 on the D7000 is your friend, as is a fast shutter!
f/9 to f/11 seems to be the sweet spot for this lens for close up shots. Make your adjustments to accommodate this range.

Here is an example shot handheld (with VR on) at 1600 ISO, and a SB700 with the bounce card up, and the WB adjusted +2 Amber. Original file cropped to 8 x 10 ratio, levels, shadow & highlight adjustments in PS, zero sharpening, zero noise reduction.

Hope this help at least a little!

Greg








  NIKON D700    105.0 mm f/2.8 lens    105mm    f/11.0    1/60s    1600 ISO    -0.7 EV  



Edited on Dec 05, 2011 at 01:55 PM · View previous versions



Dec 05, 2011 at 07:01 AM
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