Stir crazy lockdown macro.

SteveC

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Even a worn coin, when you go to 100%, will show you lots of pitting and scratches; it certainly wouldn't look blurry. If it is in focus.

This could conceivably just be camera shake.

Hi Steve.
Again, I’m no expert, but could the lack of sharpness be from diffraction, I get using f/22 to capture the full height of the coin, but a shot from overhead giving a flat plain would allow A much larger aperture. I suppose the overhead shot might reduce contrast slightly?
I don't know. That's one bit of advice that someone gave me that I basically ignored. (He said to max out the number--choke down the aperture. But then he photographs the coins at a slight tilt.) I photograph head-on and use the lowest number (widest opening) I can use and still get the entire depth of the coin in focus. I have secondary reasons for doing it; it boils down to I don't want any more depth of field than I need.

I use a copy stand, and I also do tethered shooting, so I can readily zoom in and go for tack sharp focus. Also I check the entire coin to make sure it isn't tilted, if it's in a holder. (If it is, life is much more annoying.)

As far as lighting goes, you're better off going off axis with your lighting, if you want to show relief (I rarely, almost never find that necessary). If you're using a ring light, all you will get tilting the coin is the shadows from the relief will be hidden from the camera, because the light is in the same direction as your line of sight.

By the way, I don't use a ring light either. The reflective properties of metal basically dictate one to three directional sources works best, most of the time.
 

stevelee

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Yes, if I were taking photos of coins instead of using a coin as a handy test subject, I would have it flat on. I did find it interesting to see the sandwich magnified. I had never paid any attention to that on a dime.

The ring light will shine on one side or the other, so it might give more definition that way. I haven’t tried it.
 

Valvebounce

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Hi Steve.
I have an original 7D LP-E6 battery that is down to 1 block on the life indicator and that will give me almost the same performance as when it was new, maybe down by 20% if I had to guess.
Both my genuine batteries, one the LP-E6, the other an LP-E6n from my 7DII show the same on the life indicator and will give me several hours when paired in a grip, I often come home from a trip to the hide with a couple of hundred shots, lots of looking through the lens with IS enabled and 50 to 75% battery left.

Are you using a genuine charger, I opened a Chinese copy being sold as genuine, there was no where near the electronic content!
Link to the thread I created about it.
Also as mentioned in the thread I linked, it might be your charger (that is why I had a genuine one for comparison), in which case there are cheap alternative chargers, others will help on that if you look to go down that route.

Have you tried just keeping the camera on, (turn off sleep timer) and waiting for the camera to shut down from a flat battery, then recharge, then repeat, I have found this to have a slight but noticeable effect on my 40D batteries (BP-511A). My 1D asked me to recalibrate the battery on charging yesterday and I was lamenting the fact that you can’t do that with the LP-E6 batteries.

Cheers, Graham.

Ps the battery mentioned in the linked thread is still going strong today, 2 years later.

I think the camera battery may be dying. I’m getting just a few shots in. When I turn the camera off to change tubes, about the second time, it won’t come back on until I recharge the battery. The battery health indicator shows 2 out of 3, so it should hold a charge better than that. I got the camera in September of whatever year the 6D2 came out. I have smaller camera batteries much older and with many more shots on them that are still going strong. I turned off GPS, though it was already in the mode that turned it off when I turn off the camera. I don’t need to be told the coordinates of my house over and over, even with continental drift. Probably I should order a new battery anyway. I mention this to explain why my enthusiasm for multiple experiments has diminished, because of the tedium of dealing with the battery.
 

Valvebounce

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Hi Steve.
At the short distances I have found myself with 17-85 and tubes I have found that the ring light (Yongnuo copy of the MR-14EX) does not have the distance to completely light the subject so I have used 1 or more YN600EX RT II flashes with the YN-E3-RT placed you the side instead. Yes lighting from one side can provide some shadow detail, if you get the light too low it can cast long shadows like at sunset! :LOL:

Cheers, Graham.

Yes, if I were taking photos of coins instead of using a coin as a handy test subject, I would have it flat on. I did find it interesting to see the sandwich magnified. I had never paid any attention to that on a dime.

The ring light will shine on one side or the other, so it might give more definition that way. I haven’t tried it.
 

stevelee

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Jul 6, 2017
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Hi Steve.
I have an original 7D LP-E6 battery that is down to 1 block on the life indicator and that will give me almost the same performance as when it was new, maybe down by 20% if I had to guess.
Both my genuine batteries, one the LP-E6, the other an LP-E6n from my 7DII show the same on the life indicator and will give me several hours when paired in a grip, I often come home from a trip to the hide with a couple of hundred shots, lots of looking through the lens with IS enabled and 50 to 75% battery left.

Are you using a genuine charger, I opened a Chinese copy being sold as genuine, there was no where near the electronic content!
Link to the thread I created about it.
Also as mentioned in the thread I linked, it might be your charger (that is why I had a genuine one for comparison), in which case there are cheap alternative chargers, others will help on that if you look to go down that route.

Have you tried just keeping the camera on, (turn off sleep timer) and waiting for the camera to shut down from a flat battery, then recharge, then repeat, I have found this to have a slight but noticeable effect on my 40D batteries (BP-511A). My 1D asked me to recalibrate the battery on charging yesterday and I was lamenting the fact that you can’t do that with the LP-E6 batteries.

Cheers, Graham.

Ps the battery mentioned in the linked thread is still going strong today, 2 years later.
Both the battery and the charger came in the box with the camera. I bought it at Best Buy for full price. There is no reason for me to suspect that either is not genuine Canon. I've had enough experience with other smaller camera batteries for this to seem unusual.

I don't normally take tons of pictures at a time with this camera, certainly nothing close to running the battery down. So it has probably been recharged too many times when there was still a lot of charge left. Your suggestion of letting the battery run down a couple times sounds excellent, and most likely to the point. I will definitely try that.
 

stevelee

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To eliminate camera shake, I used a two second delay and an infrared remote. I used Av mode at ISO 100, letting the camera choose the shutter time. I went through the whole aperture range in one-stop increments. I've read up a bit on diffraction with extension tubes, and everything (just about) says that diffraction is based on the effective aperture, not the marked one. My rough and ready estimate then is that f/4 becomes f/12 or smaller with this set up, so diffraction becomes a factor with the lens practically wide open. And at f/4 very little of the coin is in focus. The moral to this story seems to be that if I want sharp pictures, especially when pixel peeping, don't use all three tubes. But, looking at the pictures as a whole, I get quite usable images when scaled to fit full screen on a 5K monitor. So the setup is not useless; one just needs to know the limitations, which is the point of my tests to find out.

As for lighting, the ring light will be fine for some uses. I don't normally have occasion to shoot coins. The dime was just something small with fine detail that I happened to have in my pocket. But I have learned some things if I ever shoot anything metallic, etc. With the set up as above, the autoexposure controlling shutter time gives overexposed highlights in the raw files. There are no blacks in the picture anyway. If I do further tests, I would try a couple stops down in exposure compensation, judging from the ACR histograms.

I first tried the tubes with the rented 24mm ts-e before I returned it. The ring light wouldn't fit on the lens, so I just stood it up near the subject as a side light. So that is an option for me anyway. In the past I have put a flash unit on the camera and put a piece of white paper nearby to reflect. That worked quite well, too. I have an LED desk lamp that would probably also work fine. I haven't tried it just because the plug is unhandy to get to. So I have several poor man's options.

Looking at 100% crops of the test pictures, I decided that the nominal f/16 hit the best compromise between getting the whole subject in focus and not being eaten up by diffraction.

f16.jpg


Since using all the tubes degrades sharpness from diffraction, and using just a small tube makes little difference in magnification, I conclude that for most practical purposes my best bet would be just to use the lens by itself, shoot at 1:1, and crop to whatever I want to use. I can use 1/4 the frame and still get decent print resolution for 19" x 13" paper if I so chose. I rarely need all 26.2 MP.
 

Valvebounce

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Steve, I don’t know if you looked at the post I linked but the gist of it is that the genuine Canon charger became available for dissection as it was faulty, my neighbour had similar issues, culminating in taking the battery off charge, putting it in the camera and the camera would not wake, my battery worked fine in his camera so we tried his battery on the cheap Chinese charger and it recovered (I wasn’t about to risk my charger to test it!). I complained about the charger not being genuine so the seller sent another non genuine item! I gave my neighbour the additional charger and all is still well.

Cheers, Graham.

Both the battery and the charger came in the box with the camera. I bought it at Best Buy for full price. There is no reason for me to suspect that either is not genuine Canon. I've had enough experience with other smaller camera batteries for this to seem unusual.

I don't normally take tons of pictures at a time with this camera, certainly nothing close to running the battery down. So it has probably been recharged too many times when there was still a lot of charge left. Your suggestion of letting the battery run down a couple times sounds excellent, and most likely to the point. I will definitely try that.
 

stevelee

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I looked at the thread. I had read it originally. I am not sure of its relevance to my situation. The battery charges right up, according to the blinking and then the green light. It shows a full charge when I put it in the camera. So to me it seems to act more like a battery memory issue, or whatever you call it.

After writing that, I went to the camera and turned it on and off a couple times. It seems to be acting normally. I took the tubes off and shot a series of pictures of the dime with the lens at 1:1 for comparison. The battery info looks normal. Something is 94%, and there are the two bars of battery health. I turned it back on again.

The odd factor here is that I am no longer using the wired shutter release. It doesn't sound likely that having that plugged in would sap the battery quickly. But I have not experienced the problem so far when not using it.
 

Valvebounce

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Hi Steve.
My friend‘s battery charger was going through the motions, flashing amber and turning green, just it was not charging the battery, I guess if yours is showing full charge in the camera then that is not similar to the issue mentioned. It does however sound like you may have found a cause, I guess some more testing may be in order!

Cheers, Graham.
 
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stevelee

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For comparison, here is a 100% crop from the lens shot without a tube at f/32 at 1:1. It seems to be as sharp as the one shot at f/22. Perhaps the lens itself is not as sharp as I have always thought it was. But maybe I've not pixel peeped on it before.

f32notube.jpg


And then here is the same dime shot handheld with the G5X II in its "macro" mode (therefore the original is a JPEG), 100% crop. My quick calculation suggests that it is 42.7% magnification.

g5x2.jpg
 

SteveC

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Here's my image of the back of a 1959 dime (it grades MS66 FB). There's some cloudiness here and there because it's in a plastic holder that has been scuffed up. Using a very shallow depth of field takes a sharp scratch and blurs it out; sometimes that's a benefit.

I7a_r_1959_Dime.jpg


When I zoomed in on it for a 1:1 crop I realized it was actually not as sharply focused as I would like, so I went to a different, older dime, from 1901, graded MS64.

To collectors, it's called a "Barber Dime" because the engraver who designed it was named Charles Barber. This style ran from 1892-1916.

Here's the reverse ("back") of this dime:

Barber Dime.jpg


And here is a 100% crop:

100 percent crop Barber Dime.jpg


Even this isn't quite as sharp as I sometimes get.

All images taken on a Rebel T6i with the 100mm (non L) macro f/2.8 lens. I typically shoot at about f/5.6 - f/8.0

The images are just short of 4000 pixels (top to bottom) because I start with a 24mp (6000x4000) sensor, and crop away the stuff that's not coin.
 
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stevelee

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That is certainly a lot sharper than what I got with the same lens. I'm shooting at an angle, but at least a slice in the picture should be sharp. I'm shooting on a full-frame sensor; that's the other difference that comes to mind, 24MP on APS-C vs. 26.2 MP on FF.
 

SteveC

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That is certainly a lot sharper than what I got with the same lens. I'm shooting at an angle, but at least a slice in the picture should be sharp. I'm shooting on a full-frame sensor; that's the other difference that comes to mind, 24MP on APS-C vs. 26.2 MP on FF.
Yeah, if the coin is tilted at least SOME will be in focus. Whereas if *I* get it wrong the whole coin is off!!!

(Something about "broken watches" and "twice a day" comes to mind here, but it's not really a good parallel. :D )
 

SteveC

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That is certainly a lot sharper than what I got with the same lens. I'm shooting at an angle, but at least a slice in the picture should be sharp. I'm shooting on a full-frame sensor; that's the other difference that comes to mind, 24MP on APS-C vs. 26.2 MP on FF.
Your dime filled the width of the sensor, and in spite of being tilted overflowed the height too. Even without the difference between 26.2 and 24.0 Mpx, you put more pixels on the dime. So your being on a FF should have worked in your favor. (I'm essentially really shooting a 16MP square photo. Recently I discovered I could crop it square in camera, so now I run it in that mode.)
 

stevelee

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Your dime filled the width of the sensor, and in spite of being tilted overflowed the height too. Even without the difference between 26.2 and 24.0 Mpx, you put more pixels on the dime. So your being on a FF should have worked in your favor. (I'm essentially really shooting a 16MP square photo. Recently I discovered I could crop it square in camera, so now I run it in that mode.)
I might try a setup closer to yours to see what kind results I get. Cropping from the 6D2 probably makes a better comparison than getting out my old T3i.

I have been very pleased with the results from this lens in the past, and I don't know of anything traumatic to happen to it. So this all is a mystery. I still don't understand why a wired remote shutter release would suddenly run down the battery, either. But nothing like that has happened since I quit using it.
 

SteveC

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I didn't shoot the dime when I was trying out tubes on the 24mm TS-E. Here is a 100% crop of the ruler taken at f/16 with a 12mm tube.

View attachment 189818
It seems noticeably sharper in the lower right than anywhere else. Even at f/16 depth of field is a killer, apparently!

I wrote a fairly long paragraph talking about someone's setup and how what he really needed was a tilt shift lens--then realized that was what you were using! (My forehead survived my SMH well.) I may need to get one someday, because sometimes you have to photograph the coin at a tilt for best results (and then make the resulting ellipse into a circle in post). I've never used a tilt shift but (if I understand it right) it should be able to lay the plane of focus along the surface of that ruler, precisely, with enough fiddling.
 

stevelee

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The point of using the ruler was to see how well I could keep things sharp beyond the normal DOF range. Here is the same setup, but shot at f/22, maximum tilt down. Magnification near the lens is around 43%. Without the tube it checks out around 33%.

IMG_2305.jpg


Cannon has a nice range of longer TS macro lenses. I may rent one to play with, but I'd have an agenda of real shots to take, not just tests with rulers and a dime. It sounds like one of those would be of interest to you.
 
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SteveC

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The point of using the ruler was to see how well I could keep things sharp beyond the normal DOF range. Here is the same setup, but shot at f/22, maximum tilt down. Magnification near the lens is around 43%. Without the tube it checks out around 33%.

View attachment 189827

Cannon has a nice range of longer TS macro lenses. I may rent one to play with, but I'd have an agenda of real shots to take, not just tests with rulers and a dime. It sounds like one of those would be of interest to you.
Well, I doubt I'd do as well as this with a TS lens on my first couple of tries! It sounds like one of those things you struggle with until *click* you get the idea then it's easy.

Good luck with your real shots, whatever they may be.
 

stevelee

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The method I mostly used was to focus on a near object with no tilt, and then to turn the tilt knob to focus at a distance. If needed, then adjust the focus and the tilt back and forth. It was easier than it sounds.