October 22, 2017, 06:59:21 PM

Author Topic: Beasties from a French garden  (Read 1639 times)

DrHook

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Beasties from a French garden
« on: October 01, 2017, 08:21:13 PM »
This summer I have been managing to get quite close to some of the inhabitants in my garden, here on the west coast of France. It's been a steep learning curve, but great fun. I'll also be the first to say that these are probably not true 1:1 macros shots for some, but I enjoy taking them - every insect is a challenge for sure, and I have enjoyed getting to know more about them all. But if only the little buggers would stay still, heh? Wouldn't that be easier? :D

A green cricket, Phaneroptera falcata


The Marmalade hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus


The Green shield bug, Palomena prasina


The Southern Emerald damselfly, Lestes barbarus


Atylotus fulvus, a green-eyed horsefly


A muscidae fly


The Common darter, Sympetrum striolatum


The Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum


All images taken handheld with a Powershot S120 with added achromats. I use constant lighting provided by LED torches on a rack that I made from a kitchen spatula. I don't think the wife has missed it yet.  ;D

Hope you enjoyed them.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 08:48:00 PM by DrHook »

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Beasties from a French garden
« on: October 01, 2017, 08:21:13 PM »

Click

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2017, 08:23:30 PM »
Beautiful pictures. Well done, DrHook.   :)

ethanz

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2017, 11:51:14 PM »
Very nice, especially with a powershot!
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DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 01:35:41 AM »
Thanks for the compliments, Click and ethanz. Turning my cameras on the small things in life has certainly changed the way I think about the ecosystem! It's a fascinating world.....

« Last Edit: October 02, 2017, 01:52:03 AM by DrHook »

Maximilian

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 02:43:28 AM »
Congrats to this really nice series, DrHook.

And I really wouldn't have expected such good results from a S120 setup. Kudos!

It seems you're having a fast learning progress ;)

As you like to do a lot of handheld macro shots you should start saving for a setup with the 100L HIS macro.
I really like this lens a lot for it's versatility.
sometimes you have to close your eyes to see properly.

DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 04:56:33 AM »
Congrats to this really nice series, DrHook.

And I really wouldn't have expected such good results from a S120 setup. Kudos!

It seems you're having a fast learning progress ;)

As you like to do a lot of handheld macro shots you should start saving for a setup with the 100L HIS macro.
I really like this lens a lot for it's versatility.

Thanks for the kind words, Max. The S120 is a surprising little camera for this, I know. Everyone says the same thing.

Is the lens you are talking about the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM? It just so happens that I'm saving up for a new rig anyway (I just lost my SX40, the D60 is like a dinosaur for fast-paced handheld macro, and the S120 is on its last legs) and am torn between a SL2 and the SLT a68. Any thoughts on that? Am I even allowed to say the Sony word here?  ::)

Mikehit

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 05:49:47 AM »
One thing that people forget about cameras like the S120 is that the lens focal length is about 8mm so has tremendous DOF for macro shots and the excellent quality of your photos shows it. But I have to say that the skill to get so close is exemplary!
Which achromats are you using?

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 05:49:47 AM »

Maximilian

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 06:32:16 AM »
...
Is the lens you are talking about the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM?
Yep! It has the so called Hybrid Image Stabilizer  (HIS) which helps you getting handheld macros.
One of my personal faves see below:

Quote
It just so happens that I'm saving up for a new rig anyway (I just lost my SX40, the D60 is like a dinosaur for fast-paced handheld macro, and the S120 is on its last legs) and am torn between a SL2 and the SLT a68. Any thoughts on that? Am I even allowed to say the Sony word here?  ::)
Feel free to say and buy anything you feel best for your needs.
Although Sony looks good on spec sheets and in tests personally I don't like them for several reasons:
  • bad service
  • bad service
  • bad user interface/ergonomics
  • bad product/customer strategy (did you recognize that they sometimes just discontinue some lens mount/product lines)
  • and - by the way - did I mention bad service

I wouldn't just simply recommend Canon, because there are a lot of reasons for choosing one system over another, e.g. size, weight, ergonomics, type of shooting, video features, etc.
But if you are into macro I would say that Canon would be quite high on the winner's podium ;)
sometimes you have to close your eyes to see properly.

Mikehit

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 06:53:07 AM »
If you are into macro a lot then one to seriously consider is the Olympus E-M1 mkii. It has in-built focus stacking where you tell it how many images you want to record over how long a distance and it adjusts the focus step-wise and builds a composite jpg with large depth of field. Or you can use the raw files to do your own stacking with photoshop (or other program).

DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 11:08:58 AM »
One thing that people forget about cameras like the S120 is that the lens focal length is about 8mm so has tremendous DOF for macro shots ......

Which achromats are you using?

That is precisely why I started this project, Mike - I loved the lens, the IQ of the small sensor and the features of the camera since I first got it four years ago, and I was determined to see if i could not 'achromatize' it. The DOF is wonderful, and let's me shoot all day almost at that low f/5.7 most of my pics come with.

Achromats in most of these pictures are a Marumi 200 closest to camera, then a Raynox 250 and then a Raynox 150, all joined by adaptor rings. This gives me seven choices of focal length (with just the Marumi and camera lens extended it's the same focal length as the Macro setting on the camera - but I have 12" to the target to play with and not just 2"). In addition, depending on light, ISO and the nature of the beast, I can also use the digital zoom in the camera for another 14 focal lengths. In practice I just use three - the Marumi by itself, the Marumi and the 250, or the Marumi with the 250 and the 150. Even with the latter set of lenses, it is still possible to shoot without a tripod, and in good light with the shutter up to 1/1000 or higher you can get some good results on manual focus by rocking through the focal plane at 12fps.  I tend to shoot as many as 50 or more pictures of an insect before taking away the best six or so. It is time consuming, and there is some work to do with each set, but the results make me happy and fulfill my criteria of (1) having a pocketable macro rig, (2) producing images good enough for what I want them for, and (3) using a camera and other equipment I actually have, including the LED lights (without which I suspect the results would be very different). The fact I love tinkering is just a bonus.

Hope this helps.....

[re-reading this I see someone might think I only get 6 shots or so out of 50 that are in focus - that's certainly not the case, unfortunately. On Autofocus you may find you have 30 shots to choose from, lol. Using this wee camera can lead to a serious case of image overload!]

DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 11:15:39 AM »
...
Is the lens you are talking about the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM?
Yep! It has the so called Hybrid Image Stabilizer  (HIS) which helps you getting handheld macros.
One of my personal faves see below:

Quote
It just so happens that I'm saving up for a new rig anyway (I just lost my SX40, the D60 is like a dinosaur for fast-paced handheld macro, and the S120 is on its last legs) and am torn between a SL2 and the SLT a68. Any thoughts on that? Am I even allowed to say the Sony word here?  ::)
Feel free to say and buy anything you feel best for your needs.
Although Sony looks good on spec sheets and in tests personally I don't like them for several reasons:
  • bad service
  • bad service
  • bad user interface/ergonomics
  • bad product/customer strategy (did you recognize that they sometimes just discontinue some lens mount/product lines)
  • and - by the way - did I mention bad service

I wouldn't just simply recommend Canon, because there are a lot of reasons for choosing one system over another, e.g. size, weight, ergonomics, type of shooting, video features, etc.
But if you are into macro I would say that Canon would be quite high on the winner's podium ;)

Interesting, thank you for all of that information, Max. I'm nowhere near capable of buying that lens though, hence my interest in the SLT a68 and the availability of some eBay A-mount glass from Minolta. I do though have an old 28-135 EF USM lens that would fit the SL2 to start with....choices choices.....

Mikehit

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2017, 11:40:32 AM »
One thing that people forget about cameras like the S120 is that the lens focal length is about 8mm so has tremendous DOF for macro shots ......

Which achromats are you using?

That is precisely why I started this project, Mike - I loved the lens, the IQ of the small sensor and the features of the camera since I first got it four years ago, and I was determined to see if i could not 'achromatize' it. The DOF is wonderful, and let's me shoot all day almost at that low f/5.7 most of my pics come with.

Achromats in most of these pictures are a Marumi 200 closest to camera, then a Raynox 250 and then a Raynox 150, all joined by adaptor rings. This gives me seven choices of focal length (with just the Marumi and camera lens extended it's the same focal length as the Macro setting on the camera - but I have 12" to the target to play with and not just 2"). In addition, depending on light, ISO and the nature of the beast, I can also use the digital zoom in the camera for another 14 focal lengths. In practice I just use three - the Marumi by itself, the Marumi and the 250, or the Marumi with the 250 and the 150. Even with the latter set of lenses, it is still possible to shoot without a tripod, and in good light with the shutter up to 1/1000 or higher you can get some good results on manual focus by rocking through the focal plane at 12fps.  I tend to shoot as many as 50 or more pictures of an insect before taking away the best six or so. It is time consuming, and there is some work to do with each set, but the results make me happy and fulfill my criteria of (1) having a pocketable macro rig, (2) producing images good enough for what I want them for, and (3) using a camera and other equipment I actually have, including the LED lights (without which I suspect the results would be very different). The fact I love tinkering is just a bonus.

Hope this helps.....

[re-reading this I see someone might think I only get 6 shots or so out of 50 that are in focus - that's certainly not the case, unfortunately. On Autofocus you may find you have 30 shots to choose from, lol. Using this wee camera can lead to a serious case of image overload!]

Thank you for the description. I have an old S110 sat in a draw - you may just have reignited my interest in it (having just dropped my 100 L macro and done it terminal damage, I am wondering about my options).

DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 12:21:35 PM »
Thank you for the description. I have an old S110 sat in a draw - you may just have reignited my interest in it (having just dropped my 100 L macro and done it terminal damage, I am wondering about my options).

Well, as you can see, the S110 should be capable of what the S120 is in most respects. Here's a picture or two of the setup, if that helps:








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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 12:21:35 PM »

Maximilian

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #13 on: October 06, 2017, 03:01:41 AM »
Hi again, DrHook!

Cool setup, that you've built up there  8)

...
Interesting, thank you for all of that information, Max. I'm nowhere near capable of buying that lens though, hence my interest in the SLT a68 and the availability of some eBay A-mount glass from Minolta. I do though have an old 28-135 EF USM lens that would fit the SL2 to start with....choices choices.....
Interesting thoughts. And if money is an issue I can fully understand that.
But if it comes to dedicated macro lenses they are really hard to beat. And you can also use them as a good portrait lens. Maybe you'll need to soften sharpness in post ;)

If the 100L IS macro is out of reach for you, even used, maybe keep saving for it or note that the old EF 100mm f2.8 Macro USM costs new about half the price but delivers almost the same IQ. It lacks the HIS, weather sealing and the focus range switch offers less good options (dedicated macro range 0.3 to 0.5 m is missing).
I don't know where you're located but in Germany you should be able to find one used below 250,- Euro (new about 400,-).
sometimes you have to close your eyes to see properly.

DrHook

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2017, 05:13:10 AM »
If the 100L IS macro is out of reach for you, even used, maybe keep saving for it or note that the old EF 100mm f2.8 Macro USM costs new about half the price but delivers almost the same IQ. It lacks the HIS, weather sealing and the focus range switch offers less good options (dedicated macro range 0.3 to 0.5 m is missing).
I don't know where you're located but in Germany you should be able to find one used below 250,- Euro (new about 400,-).

That sounds like a good idea, thank you. It's a little easier to target that than the other!  :D  I'm in France so not too far away. Thank you for the pointer....

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Re: Beasties from a French garden
« Reply #14 on: October 06, 2017, 05:13:10 AM »