Last edited by Geoff F; 20th June 2011 at 06:49 PM. Reason: photo added
Not bad Geoff - meaning waaaay better than I achieve
I really must try harder
Would you get a faster shutter speed with flash?~ so the shutter speed was a little low (1/250 at F14). Flash and tripod used
I wouldn't have thought it would make any difference to the subject, but the background might be darker I guess
If I was setting up for this sort of shot, Dave, I would have used the High Speed Flash option with a shutter speed of 1/500 or faster.
What lens did you use? And are you using extension tubes?
Mark, this was the Sigma 180 macro lens plus a 1.4x converter.
With this lens I can get within 12 ins which is usually beyond the 'fly away' point anyway.
Yes, there can be some image sharpness and light problems with a converter but I find most of the difficulties occur around the edges which doesn't really matter too much with this sort of shot.
Most of my macro shots are chiefly for identification purposes so getting the correct areas in good focus is more important to me than absolute overall photo perfection.
For instance, you will notice that the black abdomen bands have rounded corners, which must make this fly Epistrophe grossulariae. Without that being visible this would have been a tricky identification.
But sometimes, when there are only common species around or I have taken the necessary identification shots I do remove the converter and go for a 'nice photo' shot. But using the converter, I can usually get an identifiable image from 3 or 4 feet away which is an insurance against scaring the subject as I approach closer.
When I first started getting serious about macro though, I did use a 25 mm extension tube on my Canon 70-300 lens. There are a few pluses and minuses with tubes but I found it worked reasonably well in good light and just using the camera pop up flash did improve those darker scenes. But we are talking about tripod only use.
Without flash I mostly worked at ISO 800 but could half that, or less, with just the basic flash. I did remove the lens hood to prevent shadow problems.
What teleconverter do you use? Is it the matched Sigma one?
I think these are amazing shots, Geoff - I like the reference to an aircraft landing too.lol.
I have the equivalent Canon lens -a couple of reviews say they're as good as each other so I could have saved a bit of money. Ugh. I'll try my 1.4 X with it as you've mentioned how it gives even more distance from the insect but what put me off was what you've mentioned - light loss. I'll give it a go though.Have you considered the macro ring flash flash units that has the lamps either side of the lens ? Bit expensive though.
A couple of points about converters.
I already had a Canon converter, which was oringinally purchased for an unsuitable lens; but that is another story. This converter, due to it's design will only physically fit a small number of Canon lenses.
The crafty bit, is to fit a 12 mm extension tube between the converter and lens which acts as a spacer and allows compatibility. You do lose infinity focus but that doesn't matter in this case and as an additional bonus it also gets you a little bit closer.
There is a bit of light loss but I find that I can still work with an ISO of 400 during bright sunshine and 800 in slightly overcast weather. But I'm taking about F14 here.
I did originally look at a macro flash but rejected it on a number of specific points. That is a good bit of kit for studio work, if you don't have proper lighting, but I thought it was too delicate and cumbersome to carry around for the way I work.
I like to just throw everything into my backpack and set of on a walk to a suitable site. This backpack does get knocked around a bit and during use my tripod often falls over or the camera/lens gets bumped against branches etc.
So I wanted something simple and strong, plus I also needed a decent external general flash unit anyway. Now I find that the basic Speedlite 580 does everything that I need. Somepeople like to mount it off the camera but for me, wandering around the woods and cliff tops etc then grabbing quick shots as something occurs, I find that directly mounting onto the hot shoe works fine. And a lot of the time I am shooting through a small gap in the foliage.
But it may well be different for open settings, particularly flower photos, etc.
I did know about the extension tubes trick, I just didn't know if there were any side effects to it. I've been debating buying the Canon 1.4x TC for a while now, and that was one of the points I've been debating.