JUST ARRIVED! got a 105mm macro!

Joined
Feb 6, 2006
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TX originally from Louisiana
Okay ya'll, I know it's "just a lens" but now I would love for some of ya'll to help me learn how to use it. In the morning I'm going to go buy a flower to play with.
Question - do ya'll shoot in manual? Do ya'll shoot in RAW? Do ya'll do anything special for lighting and white balance??? Let the fun begin!
 
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My SOP is shoot manual with auto ISO. .NEF all day long. No worries about white balance... if it's off, it's always 100% correctable in post.

My opinion: 100-105mm is the ideal, all-around macro focal length. Shorter, and you get too close, have distortion, affect your lighting. Longer, you have unmanageable razor-thin DOF issues. Plus 105 makes a great portrait lens.
 
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
The basics of photography don't change when using a macro lens.

My first tip for you when using a tripod is to capture the scene using multiple aperture settings. When you get to your computer and review the images, you can then decide which depth of field is ideal. My second tip in that situation is to manually focus using Live View (assuming your camera has that capability) by magnifying the display of the image on the rear LCD at 100% to ensure the focus point is exactly where you intend it to be. Depth of field may be surprisingly small compared to what you're used to with little to no margin for error, so it's important to nail the focus point where you want it.
 
Joined
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Winter Haven, florida
Welcome to macro. It is a blast. It is also very challenging.
As Mike noted above, focus and depth of field are vital.
But for me, lighting is even more vital.
The hardest thing for me, is the flower just sits there. There is no reason why it should be so hard to get a good image. The dang flower just sits there. You have complete control of everything. You have all day to shoot. You can control the lighting, you can control every shadow. You can take all day to get the correct focus. Yet it is still hard to do. Enjoy the journey.
If your camera body can focus stack or so called focus shifting that can really add a lot, and make some of this easier.
Congrats on the new lens.
Gary
 
What, no flowers in your back yard to experiment on? Not even some weeds? Walk around the neighborhood, take a look at what may be blooming in other people's yards..... Springtime is the one time I don't need to buy flowers at the store since they're available in ample supply everywhere outdoors! If it's pouring rain outside and you're just itching to shoot, look around the house, find some small object to experiment on....

I shoot in RAW (always!) and I shoot in autofocus but there are times when I do need to use manual focus. I often shoot handheld as opposed to using a tripod, or I'll shoot supporting the camera/lens on a surface as I'm approaching the subject. Auto ISO unless I feel there is a significant reason to change that. I don't worry about white balance, since, as Sparky mentions, that can be adjusted in post-processing anyway when one shoots in RAW. My software (DXO Photolab 3) has specific adjustments and settings that have been calibrated for my camera and each of my lenses, and I can readily choose from "As shot" to "Daylight" to "Cloudy", to "Fluorescent," etc., which provides a more accurate rendition of the actual lighting conditions during the shooting time. Mostly I just stick with "As Shot," though, as that works pretty well.

I much prefer using natural light to artificial light, but of course situations often require one or the other or a combination of both. Since I've just recently bought into a new system I am still at this point focusing most of my attention and funds on new lenses but at some point I will need to do something more with my lighting setup. Most of the time when I need to do so, such as doing a tabletop kind of thing at home, I use small LED panels for continuous light while shooting. I've got a big old Photek lamp, too, that still comes in very handy. I also have an old Lightbox that back in the day I used for reviewing film frames, and that has been handy for putting a subject (such as a leaf) on the surface so that the leaf is backlit by the light..... I have a larger, newer version of this (now an LED panel) that I have used a few times for either lighting a subject from underneath or from above.

There are some good books on macro photography and also undoubtedly some good videos and online classes on it as well.....one or more of those will help to get you started. The best way to learn, though, is to just DO it. Spend some time with the camera, the lens and the subject, exploring it from all angles and perspectives, getting super-close to it and further away from it, and also, as mentioned in an earlier post here, also shooting at different apertures as well so you can actually see what a difference one aperture can make from another aperture when it comes to DOF. See what happens when you get really, really close to part of the subject, and isolate that, and also see what happens when you shoot the subject as a whole......

Have fun!
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
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Melbourne - Australia
First off congratulations on your new lens.

If you are going to start on flowers and using natural light I would set the aperture around f/5.6 ~ f/8.0 and do closeup first off. Once you get a few photos of flowers then you can move in a little closer and see how your DOF reduces. If I’m photographing say roses, I will go just after sunrise, use natural light, matrix metering, aperture priority, with auto ISO limited to 1000.

Good luck, and I look forward to seeing your results.

EDIT: This is what I usually do for flowers

Take plenty of closeups

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When an opportunity arrises, I move in closer for a bit of macro

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Joined
Nov 14, 2006
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Good choice! If you get only one macro lens, that's the focal length I recommend.

I shoot on a tripod, aperture priority and manual focus in raw. I like to keep the aperture at f11 or below and ISO as low as possible. I'm normally shooting things in the field so natural light. Auto white balance is fine and can always be corrected in post if needed.

Enjoy your new lens.
Larry
 
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Joined
Jun 26, 2010
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Redwood City, CA
Congratulations - you're on a great new adventure.

I've been a fan of "macro" since I first got an SLR and now own 60/105/200 Nikkors and 50/100 Zeiss. I tend to prefer the longer lenses and occasionally use the 105 with TCs (both 1.4 and 2.0) for the increase in both focal length and reproduction ratio. I almost always shoot MF.

I recommend widely bracketing f-stops to compare DOF as Mike mentioned and usually use a tripod, so the framing is consistent. Live view can help in critical focus situations. I always shoot RAW, usually at base ISO and find the Photoflex reflectors extremely useful in filling shadows, providing plain backgrounds or the translucent ones to cut harsh sunlight.

When framing, pay attention to the background, it's easy to get caught up with the subject and find distracting elements later.

Have fun!
 
Joined
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TX originally from Louisiana
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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Okay, we found 2 interesting flowers/plants to play with. Couldn't believe the cheap prices! I'm gonna post the orchid first
settings were
ISO was 200 Shutter Speed was 1/125 Aperture 5.6 and am using my D500. I used a little table top light box with the white background. I tried to focus on the "angel's dress" All I did in PS was to crop, dehaze, and no sharpening. I feel like I've done something wrong.
 

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Joined
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TX originally from Louisiana
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I think I figured out what you meant by black and white points - levels - right? Okay, here's another example
ISO 200 SS 1/200 F stop 3.5 white bal. auto. This is part of a bromeliad . Gettin in closer is hard - I may see if there are you tubes on this.
DIA_8884_4364_edited-1.jpglevels.jpg
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Joined
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TX originally from Louisiana
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What characteristics do you not like? The more specific you are, the more we can help you.
Well, I"m just not sure - this kind of photography is way different from what I've ever done. I have 2 features on my lens I don't know exactly what to do with - FULL and LIMIT. It may be that my subjects were too busy - orchids with 2 blooming spikes and couldn't exactly single out 1 bloom. I've been playing with my settings on my camera - I'll try to post another pic I just finished doing.
On this photo the settings were
ISO 640 Shutter Speed 1/100 aperture 8 white balance auto. I tried focusing on the "bird"
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Joined
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Western Slope of Colorado
Well, I"m just not sure - this kind of photography is way different from what I've ever done. I have 2 features on my lens I don't know exactly what to do with - FULL and LIMIT. It may be that my subjects were too busy - orchids with 2 blooming spikes and couldn't exactly single out 1 bloom. I've been playing with my settings on my camera - I'll try to post another pic I just finished doing.
On this photo the settings were
ISO 640 Shutter Speed 1/100 aperture 8 white balance auto. I tried focusing on the "bird"
View attachment 1662659
Full and Limit simply describe those distances your lens will attempt to focus; Full is just like it sounds, and Limit will usually be more restrictive . . .
 
Joined
May 27, 2013
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Using Limit,......... well,........ limits how far the lens will 'hunt' for focus. Full means it may go to infinity, then to minimum focus, then back to infinity if it can't achieve focus.
 

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