10th December 2011, 10:01 AM
Hello once again,
I took this one in the Botanical Gardens in Canberra using the kit 55-200mm lens. I am assuming that due to my taking it at the long end of the focal length for the lens, as well as maybe the choice of f stop, is why it did not turn out that clear. There was no wind so the dragonfly was not moving about at all. Maybe I just need to invest in some better quality lens (I can hear my wallet screaming).
focal length 200mm
10th December 2011, 02:31 PM
Originally Posted by jstp
It's really not that bad.
The DoF is thin, but you have the focus in just the right place.
f/8 would probably have given a bit better image quality, although I am not familiar with the lens.
f/8 would have given a little more DoF
Does the lens have IS?
If not, the next most likely cause of softness is camera shake, but I don't know if you used a tripod or how good your technique is, so that may not be the problem.
Also, I wonder how much of a crop this is from the whole image, since that'll have the same magnification effect on camera (or minute subject) movement, as using a longer focal length lens and suggesting a higher shutter speed would have been wise (again, only relevant if no tripod)
Final thing is it may sharpen up a bit more, try USM at 100%, 0.3 px threshold 1.
10th December 2011, 04:33 PM
as Dave said there is nothing that bad with your picture, as shot.
If I was shooting it (by hand, no tripod) I too would have increased the shutter speed, to about 1/300 (200mm focal length X 1.5 = 300). If you were using tripod then perhaps mirror lock and remote release would have helped, just bring that slightly better sharpness to the shot.
10th December 2011, 08:04 PM
For a scene like that, Jason, I would have used F11 or if possible F14.
Otherwise, was this with a tripod? I find that is essential for any close up work.
Secondly, was this auto focus? The flower seems sharper than the insect. This is a common problem with auto focus which prefers to focus on a hard edged object instead of a soft insect body.
Any long bodied insect poses a potential problem unless you are totally 'square' with it because it's length can be longer than the available focus depth.
With this shot, I would try a little selective sharpness just applied to the insect.
ps. from that angle I can't tell if it is a Dragon or a Damsel. It looks a little delicate for a dragonfly but I'm not familiar with Australian insects. Did it close it's wings lengthwise along it's abdomen?
10th December 2011, 08:55 PM
Thanks Dave, John and Geoff, you advice and feedback is appreciated. The shot was taken hand held, I have yet to get myself a decent tripod, another item on the list. The lens does have Vibration Reduction. I was shooting in Aperture priority so the camera chose the shutter speed. I think I may have a go at the manual setting and see if my making the decisions on what settings to use makes a difference. I have never even thought to have a go a manual focus, just always left it in auto, another thing to try. This is why I enjoy photography so much, there is always and abundance of new things to try and you are always learning.
Sorry Geoff I did not notice where the wings were going when closed, I was just excited that one had actually landed and was staying still long enough for me to take a shot.
Thanks again for the help and advice guys.
10th December 2011, 10:06 PM
If you are going to use manual focus, Jason, I would definitely recommend using a tripod. It is very difficult to accurately focus manually while hand holding when you have such a shallow depth of field.
What I do for macro shots is: manually set an aperture of F11 to F14; shutter speed around 1/200 (to allow for wind movement); ISO 100 to 400. Then use flash unless there is sufficient sunlight to allow for these settings.
And, as well as a tripod, how about a proper macro lens. Just let us know your bank balance and we will spend the money for you. We are very good at spending other people's money here.
18th December 2011, 08:50 AM
Thanks for the tipe Geoff, I have myself a better quality tripod now. As for the lens, ah the dreamin will have to continue.
1st January 2012, 10:18 PM
Sometimes using a flash, in this case the camera's flash, can help with these situations allowing a quicker shutter speed while still keeping the ISO low even with a handheld shot using a non stabilized lens; i took this with an canon EOS 50D & 70-200mm F4L set at 200mm, i jockeyed to get just enough distance to manually focus while providing a "positional" background so its wings could be seen
Originally Posted by jstp
1st January 2012, 11:23 PM
I enjoy shooting that type of photo also. Not far from home there is a Nature Preserve that I go to often. I also shoot Nikon, with your D3100 I would suggest that you set your camera to automatic ISO (a low of 100 with a maximum of 800). In automatic ISO set the minimum shutter speed for that lens to 1/200 second. You can shoot up to ISO 800 without noise, and if there is some you can clean it up in post processing. For focusing set the camera to auto in the focusing mode. In the autofocusing area mode choose dynamic area. Then choose the point you want to use, I use the center focus point. In aperture priority mode select either f8 or f11 (the sweet spot for the 55-200 mm is between f8 and f16). Zoom in and put the center focus point where you want the best focus. Most time for birds and animals it is the eye. I would probably have chosen the head of the dragonfly. I hope this helps, it was a long journey for me to learn Nikons autofocusing.
2nd January 2012, 02:48 AM
Robert that is a great shot thanks for the tips.
Thanks also Joe, I will try out the settings you suggest, it is always good to hear and learn from those who have experience with the same brand of camera.
2nd January 2012, 12:02 PM
1/100 is not fast enough to hand hold at 200mm and compensate for camera shake. f/8-f/11 for better DOF and an ISO setting high enough to give you 1/250+ would have worked better along with a tripod. All that aside, with the settings you where at the image is not as dull as it could have been.