Friday, March 30, 2007

Close-ups, Filter and Macro Photography

I have found out one thing. Shooting moving objects with the 500D filter on the front of my zoom lens is not easy. I have yet to get an image I like using the filter. The biggest problem I have is I don't use a tripod. It's way to difficult to carry a tripod around in the field and setup for a shot of bug that probably won't be in position when I finish setting up. So I handhold all my shots. Since the 500D sets focus along a thin plane at about 19.5 inches, if I move out or in from the subject, the camera can't compensate outside of that thin plane. With practice I could probably learn ways to do it, but nothing I have tried so far has helped.

I really wanted the filter for close-up photography. As anyone who has looked at my photostream can tell, I do like getting close to bugs. I thought this lens/filter combination would be the answer to my desire to get closer. I guess I'll have to continue searching for that answer.

I know there are macro lens which allow for close up photography, but whether they work with good enough depth-of-field for my purposes or not, I am not sure. I should ask the question on one of the many sites of the internet which might know the answer, but I have found, that in most instances, the answers you get are not what you need. Either the questioner asks the question incorrectly, or readers misread the question, and when that happens, the question isn't answered and the questioner is left wondering just what the correct answer is.

Maybe I'll ask the question and hope for the best. 8v)

If there is a knowledgeable Canon equipment reader reading this entry, I'll ask the question here. You can send me your answer through this site. And now for the question.

When used at its closest focusing distance, how deep is the depth-of-field of the 100mm 2.8 EF Macro? Does autofocus work as I move in and out? Those are the most important questions I have. I probably need to know more, but those are the problems I have encountered with my current close-up combination.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Close-up Problems

I've been out shooting with a new addition to my shooting arsenal...the Canon 500D Close-up filter. When attached to the front of my 70-300 zoom, it allows for close focusing to about 19.5 inches. Boy does it bring things close up. 8v)

But the "in focus" layer is extremely thin. Hand-holding to get a sharp, in focus shot, is next to impossible, but not totally impossible. It just takes time and lots of shots. I shot 27 images of ants today, getting some rather close views. But every shot was out of focus. I need to figure out a way of steadying the camera when using that filter.

Every photographer reading this will probably laugh and say, "You need to use a tripod, you idiot." I probably should, but I ain't much for lugging a large, bulky, hard to handle tripod with me when I go shooting. There are times when one is called for, but generally by the time I set up a tripod for shooting, what I want to shoot is gone. Besides, that's what I got image stabilization for. Works great for most of my shooting, but the only way I'll be able to get the really little critters that I need to include in my photostream is by getting closer to shoot them. You see, it comes down to minimum focusing distance.

On my stabilized 70-300mm lens, the minimum focusing distance is 4.9 feet...right around 58 inches. When zoomed out to 300mm, it works well on large bugs. With the six megapixel size of my sensor, I can get a good enough image to crop to 50 percent and still have a usable set of different colored pixels. Chances are, I'll never be able to print a 50 percent crop at 16x20 inches, but who would want to see a bumble bee enlarged that big? 8v) What I do for my 800x600 web posted images works well. But it doesn't work on things smaller than a bumble bee.

I have gotten good images of Honey Bees, but they also include a large portion of the flower they were one. Cropping some of the flies I have gotten shots of also appear decent when cropped, but again include a lot of what they were on when I got the image. Because of that, I purchased the 500D close up filter. Another lens I have -- the 28-80mm lens -- close focuses a lot closer than the 70-300mm. It focuses at about 19 inches. But shooting a shot from 19 inches with an 80mm lens instead of the 300mm, means the image I shoot is a little more than 3 times smaller than one shot at 300mm.

There is another option for my style of shooting. Canon has a 28-300mm, image stabilized "L" lens. It close focuses to 28 inches throughout its zoom range. That would be the perfect lens for my style of shooting. One of these days I would like to get one. Great color, sharp images, but it is heavy...close to three pounds. Besides, it also costs $2,400.

Please send contributions to the "Get Ashrunner A New Lens Fund" through my Paypal account. 8v)