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Author Topic: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos  (Read 4690 times)

revup67

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Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:31:54 PM »
Finally opted to place the MP-E 65 on a 5D Mark III with the MT 24EX macro flash (+ stofen filters) and snapped off this shot of a Brown Widow (female) spider from it's under carriage.  The MP-E 65 was at 3.5 magnification.  MT EX24 (manual mode 1/1) was on a pair of gorilla arms flash holders as well as a macro rail on a Bogen tripod with a Manfrotto HD 701 video head.  With the wind swaying its web back and forth it was difficult to maintain focus but was fortunate enough to grab this beauty (1920 x 1280)
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 12:34:15 AM by revup67 »
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Rev
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Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« on: September 27, 2012, 09:31:54 PM »

Cgdillan

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2012, 12:29:04 AM »
Sweet shot! It's just a tad dark for my personal comfort but it is a definitely sweet shot!

How did you get so close to it with it wanting move away from you?
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revup67

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2012, 02:41:30 AM »
Hey Cg..the spider was hanging dead center in its web that dropped down from a rain gutter.  I'm 6'1 and it was about 3 inches above eye level.  I needed ultimate precision so I placed the 5D3 with MP-E 65, MT 24EX, a macro rail and gorilla arms for the flash heads all on a fairly heavy duty bogen 3021 with a manfrotto HDV701 video head.  This allowed a lot of flexibility of forward, side, up and down mobility and it was quite bulky and heavy so the tripod was the way to go.  After getting the female in focus the wind was swaying the web back and forth with quick moments of calmness. It was those moments where I seized the opportunity to snap a few shots.  This was over the course of 15 minutes or so with extreme patience I must say (it was hot that day).  The female did hit the lens a few times as it rocked back and forth in the wind but seemed undaunted.  I was about 2 inches or so away from the web at 3.5x zoom.  Perhaps I could have increased the exposure a bit but was we all know, photos are viewed by each differently.  I thought all things considered the ambient light was well balanced with the front legs being a wee bit brighter than the fang area as of course the object was anything but linear.  Hope that helps.
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Rev
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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2012, 11:51:08 AM »
Thats where a fast frame rate as well as focus stacking might be handy.  Focus stacking software can usually handle slight frame registration issues. 
I keep intending to try the feature in Magic Lantern.  I have used third party software with Breeze DSLR Capture to take images for focus stacking and it works well.

preppyak

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2012, 12:00:50 PM »
Thats where a fast frame rate as well as focus stacking might be handy.  Focus stacking software can usually handle slight frame registration issues. 
I keep intending to try the feature in Magic Lantern.  I have used third party software with Breeze DSLR Capture to take images for focus stacking and it works well.
The focus stacking in Magic Lantern is nice, but, I wouldnt say its fast enough to deal with a live object like that, especially not swaying in the wind. It uses live-view focus, which is slow by itself.

For a still object, like a flower, its really nice

Cgdillan

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2012, 12:07:02 PM »
Hey Cg..the spider was hanging dead center in its web that dropped down from a rain gutter.  I'm 6'1 and it was about 3 inches above eye level.  I needed ultimate precision so I placed the 5D3 with MP-E 65, MT 24EX, a macro rail and gorilla arms for the flash heads all on a fairly heavy duty bogen 3021 with a manfrotto HDV701 video head.  This allowed a lot of flexibility of forward, side, up and down mobility and it was quite bulky and heavy so the tripod was the way to go.  After getting the female in focus the wind was swaying the web back and forth with quick moments of calmness. It was those moments where I seized the opportunity to snap a few shots.  This was over the course of 15 minutes or so with extreme patience I must say (it was hot that day).  The female did hit the lens a few times as it rocked back and forth in the wind but seemed undaunted.  I was about 2 inches or so away from the web at 3.5x zoom.  Perhaps I could have increased the exposure a bit but was we all know, photos are viewed by each differently.  I thought all things considered the ambient light was well balanced with the front legs being a wee bit brighter than the fang area as of course the object was anything but linear.  Hope that helps.

Sounds fun! =-) really nice job on the shot. its great
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Cgdillan

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 12:08:06 PM »
Thats where a fast frame rate as well as focus stacking might be handy.  Focus stacking software can usually handle slight frame registration issues. 
I keep intending to try the feature in Magic Lantern.  I have used third party software with Breeze DSLR Capture to take images for focus stacking and it works well.
The focus stacking in Magic Lantern is nice, but, I wouldnt say its fast enough to deal with a live object like that, especially not swaying in the wind. It uses live-view focus, which is slow by itself.

For a still object, like a flower, its really nice

I agree. A web in the wind can be a very fast back and forth motion that live view focus could not handle. great for still things. as you said.
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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2012, 12:08:06 PM »

kirispupis

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2012, 12:33:00 PM »
Hope you don't mind some tips.

- You do not need a tripod + macro rail for this shot - especially if you have an MT-24EX.  Most insects shots are better taken hand held.  It will take some practice to get this down but I shoot all the time hand held - even at 5x and even with moving subjects in the wind.  The trick is to control your breathing and take lots of shots.

- This shot is too dark.  You should try adjusting the flashes on the MT-24EX.  Also consider putting it in manual mode.  I find that too often the camera (5D3) simply cannot meter correctly with the pair.  I therefore start off at 1/8 power.  For lower magnifications or bright subjects I will move to 1/16 or event 1/32.  For especially dark situations I use 1/4.  This is at ISO 200.

- Focus stacking may help here, but it certainly isn't easy.  You'll need to take a number of shots.  When it comes to stitching, Zerene Stacker is by far the best.  However for situations like this I find that I need to manually stack.  Stacking is possible if you only have a breeze or in other words your entire subject is moving.  If the subject is walking around or moving its legs it is much more difficult.

- Don't bother with Live View.  It is not practical for this lens.

The following shot is an example.  It was taken handheld with the flash set to manual (white things particularly throw metering off) and I manually stacked two images in PS.  The flower was blowing slightly.


Pollen Snack by CalevPhoto, on Flickr

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revup67

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2012, 12:55:08 PM »
Kiris
Quote
Hope you don't mind some tips.
- You do not need a tripod + macro rail for this shot - especially if you have an MT-24EX.  Most insects shots are better taken hand held.  It will take some practice to get this down but I shoot all the time hand held - even at 5x and even with moving subjects in the wind.  The trick is to control your breathing and take lots of shots.
- This shot is too dark.  You should try adjusting the flashes on the MT-24EX.  Also consider putting it in manual mode.  I find that too often the camera (5D3) simply cannot meter correctly with the pair.  I therefore start off at 1/8 power.  For lower magnifications or bright subjects I will move to 1/16 or event 1/32.  For especially dark situations I use 1/4.  This is at ISO 200.
- Focus stacking may help here, but it certainly isn't easy.  You'll need to take a number of shots.  When it comes to stitching, Zerene Stacker is by far the best.  However for situations like this I find that I need to manually stack.  Stacking is possible if you only have a breeze or in other words your entire subject is moving.  If the subject is walking around or moving its legs it is much more difficult.

- Don't bother with Live View.  It is not practical for this lens.

The following shot is an example.  It was taken handheld with the flash set to manual (white things particularly throw metering off) and I manually stacked two images in PS.  The flower was blowing slightly.

Thanks for the tips.  I have shot both with tripod and without.  The last time I shot a brown widow (yes they are poisonous and more so than a black widow) it was handheld.  I had gotten so close it disappeared and thought it ran up my clothes.  In fear of dropping the $5k worth of gear I avoided this scenario and used a tripod in case this happened again..  Manual mode is good and I had tried 1/4 and 1/2 but it did not produce enough light as I had indicated it was in manual mode above and at 1/1.  I got there by trying different settings.  I did adjust the gorilla arms until the lighting was workable but could only go so far with the web an inch or so in front of flash heads.  I didn't know whether I'd have the time to keep changing the manual settings before my subject disappeared so it does depend on the environment.  I am sure we are all familiar with the dynamics of trying to capture insects.  I enjoy focus stacking quite a bit but as I and others have indicated the wind was rocking the web on a continuum.  There was no option to focus stack in this situation.  All of your suggestions are good and they "all" crossed my mind but unless you were there it would not be possible for some of these.  And PS Live View is not a waste of time. When using Spot AF mode it's essential in combination with the magnifying tool.  I use this all the time and obtain spot on precision.  In this case the spider was over 6 feet high so handheld in eye piece is a mute point = no shot.  Again, all suggestions are good but it is scenario specific.  Here's a shot taken with live view, hand held that was during winter season in CA where the insect was immobile and on a screen door (no swaying) it was focus stacked in ETT-L mode thus more control in this scenario.  I've not heard of anyone being able to focus stack using this camera/lens and flash all being hand held.  Seems that would be near impossible though I don't everything so someone correct me if I am wrong.  I would think it would be next to impossible to have everything lined up a second time with body movement, object movement, etc.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 01:14:53 PM by revup67 »
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Rev
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kirispupis

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2012, 02:53:01 PM »
Actually, brown widows are not that dangerous - http://spiders.ucr.edu/brownwidow.html.  They are also not particularly aggressive.  While I have never photographed a black widow, I have photographed a great number of spiders here in the PNW (including likely a few hobos) and have never had any problems.  They are among the easier specimens to photograph - as compared to water striders which are a real pita.

It is certainly possible to focus stack handheld at higher magnifications.  I provided one example below.  Look up the work of LordV.  He does hand held focus stacks with a 10x objective.  It's possible - you just need patience and practice.

Live View is useful if you have a subject that is staying still for you and have your camera steady on a tripod.  I do use it when focus stacking flowers, but for insects I find it completely impractical.  If you pay attention to the eyes of your subject you can obtain focus with extremely fine accuracy.  There is also a custom function on the MT-24EX to turn the lamps on with a tap of the shutter button.  With a moving subject you really need to use your eyes for tracking.

BTW, why did you have the MT-24EX heads on the gorilla arms?  Was it to keep them from getting tangled in the web?  Generally I leave the heads on the front of the lens and adjust them as necessary.  The only time I move them off is when I need to adjust the angle of light due to a highly reflective subject (most often water drops).  In this case I use Wimberley macro brackets.  This is why you had to use so much power.  In this case you're probably better off just using two 580EX or similar flashes because you are losing the close light that the MT-24EX provides.
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revup67

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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 05:13:21 PM »
Kiris
Quote
Actually, brown widows are not that dangerous - http://spiders.ucr.edu/brownwidow.html.  They are also not particularly aggressive.


Correct, I noted they were more poisonous than the female black widow, not more dangerous.  And I agree. not as aggresssive however when you are bumping into them and pestering them as I was with the web & spider hitting the lens this would be good cause for them to be more aggressive as it would seem.

Quote
It is certainly possible to focus stack handheld at higher magnifications.  I provided one example below.  Look up the work of LordV.  He does hand held focus stacks with a 10x objective.  It's possible - you just need patience and practice.


Ahh, the infamous Lord V.  Yes I know of him for quite some time.  Been to his site and recall he is a biologist and lives in the UK.  If hand holding works for you on focus stacking more power to you.  No matter how you slice and dice it though, a tripod is going to be unequivocally more stable than a human holding all that gear.  Everyone's body shakes to some extent. You have less likely of a chance on getting the camera in the same location in space (X,Y,Z coordinates) so unless the situation doesn't permit for a tripod, I'd rather avoid hand holding all that gear for the aforementioned reasons.  In looking at both scenarios, accuracy would prevail on a tripod with a macro rail hands down.  Again, I am not saying what you are doing is not possible, however these are my preferences and those are yours.  I prefer to shoot with a tripod and rail when focus stacking if probable and the situation permits.

Quote
Live View is useful if you have a subject that is staying still for you and have your camera steady on a tripod.  I do use it when focus stacking flowers, but for insects I find it completely impractical.  If you pay attention to the eyes of your subject you can obtain focus with extremely fine accuracy.  There is also a custom function on the MT-24EX to turn the lamps on with a tap of the shutter button.  With a moving subject you really need to use your eyes for tracking.


Again, no hard fast rules here and this is why we have options.  I use the view finder almost exclusively for all my shots however for my personal preferences I use Live View for Macro work/video and photo review.  The 10x magnifier works great.  Also, my eyes are not your eyes.  If I had never used the VF then I'd say yeah I'll give a try but that is clearly not the case.

Quote
BTW, why did you have the MT-24EX heads on the gorilla arms?  Was it to keep them from getting tangled in the web?  Generally I leave the heads on the front of the lens and adjust them as necessary.  The only time I move them off is when I need to adjust the angle of light due to a highly reflective subject (most often water drops).  In this case I use Wimberley macro brackets.  This is why you had to use so much power.  In this case you're probably better off just using two 580EX or similar flashes because you are losing the close light that the MT-24EX provides.


You are right.  I was getting a bit too much reflective glare on beetles and other reflective objects and in addition the ring that comes with the 24EX was sometimes causing bumping into objects unintentionally.  I've read many complaining about this and the gorilla arms are a good alternative and less restrictive though the downside is possibly more light consumption.  So your point is well taken, having the flash off that ring would cause the need for more light no doubt as the key light source is further away.
Thanks
Rev
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Re: Canon 5D Mark III and the MP-E 65 Macro photos
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2012, 05:13:21 PM »