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Thread: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

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    Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    I'm not doing macro photography a lot, but I'm kind of getting fond of shooting tree trunks, one example attached, with pixelpeep crop (I just noticed some pepper noise in the pixelpeep, it was a longer exposure and I obviously didn't clean up it fully).

    I know a lot of theory about normal landscape photography, but I have only briefly studied macro so I don't really know what to expect in this area.

    Currently I typically shoot these with the SK90 (attached example is SK90), SK120 or SK180 at f/22. At this close range that f/22 probably is more like f/32 so you really get diffraction. On the other hand the depth of field is so incredibly short that I usually find f/22 to be the least bad solution, the tree trunks are curved and it's just too much out of focus otherwise. The pixelpeep crop show how it looks in the focal plane, that is soft from diffraction.

    I'm thinking of that maybe I should get a macro lens, mainly looking at the SK80.

    However, I'm not sure if it will get me any sharper results, without also shooting say f/11 and employ focus stacking to get the DoF I need. Rendering size for my images is about 1:4, I'm not into 1:1 macro or beyond.

    I don't find focus stacking to be very practical/enjoyable out in the field though, so I will then probably choose this fuzzy diffracted way of shooting, and I guess an SK80 macro at f/22 1:4 won't be any sharper than an SK90 at f/22 1:4?

    I use a 33 megapixel back, 7.2 um pixels. I'm not really dissatisfied with the results I get, I think I get enough detail for the subject, but I'm a bit unsure if I'm doing this right, say if a SK80 would produce noticably sharper results. It would also be interesting to know if anyone except me shoots this kind of images without stacking these days.

    Any advice welcome.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    The SK 120mm Aspeheric, is one to consider. Rod Klukas, the U.S. Arca rep, has reported that this lens can focus in quite close. I am not sure of the exact distances, but his note to me, were that it was surprising good as a close up lens.

    This is not the "macro" version but the newer 120mm. It might not be as close as you wish however.

    Paul
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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    The SK 120mm Aspeheric, is one to consider. Rod Klukas, the U.S. Arca rep, has reported that this lens can focus in quite close. I am not sure of the exact distances, but his note to me, were that it was surprising good as a close up lens.

    This is not the "macro" version but the newer 120mm. It might not be as close as you wish however.

    Paul
    1/4 of life size is not extreme, so perhaps it's not too close. I have the older version 120, so if the newer would be noticably better at close range that could be a solution, attractive too as I don't need to carry one more lens, just replace the 120.

    But the question remains, is it meaningful to have a sharper lens if I shoot at apertures as small as in my example?

    Say if a macro lens (or this 120 aspheric) will only be sharper up to f/11 it means that I will need to focus stack to be able to make use of the increased sharpness, and then I'll need a macro rail and lots of patience. Out in the field it's often multi-second shoots in unfomfortable positions so I'm not thrilled over the idea of stacking.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    The basic difference between a regular lens and a macro lens is field curvature is corrected for higher magnifications. This is important for flat objects--test targets, brick walls, and art work. Apart from that, there is nothing magical about a macro lens.

    At the apertures you are using, I am not sure there is going to be much of a difference. If you were shooting wide open or at large apertures, then a macro lens many have some real benefits.

    I too am a crazy let-shoot-at-small-apertures kind of guy. You know, something other than f/11. What I have found is how you sharpen the key. I have been playing with applying an unsharp mask twice, once at pixel level and then again with radii greater than 1. Sharpness is a perceptual quality and not really related to detail. Because diffraction is basically taking away higher frequency detail, sharpening for lower frequency detail is affecting the inherent frequency of the image. You need to be sharpening for the display/print image, not the 100% monitor view.
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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I too am a crazy let-shoot-at-small-apertures kind of guy. You know, something other than f/11. What I have found is how you sharpen the key.
    I'm really a beginner when it comes to sharpening images that are soft out of the camera, it's a much different thing than sharpening when the sensor is clearly outresolved. I don't remember what type of sharpening I used in the example, but surely just some basic setting in the raw converter.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Torger, most of what I have seen about sharpening is what you describe, when the sensor is out resolved. I have just been experimenting on my own. There must be a reason the radius of an unsharp mask can go above 1...


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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    1/4 of life size is not extreme, so perhaps it's not too close. I have the older version 120, so if the newer would be noticably better at close range that could be a solution, attractive too as I don't need to carry one more lens, just replace the 120.

    But the question remains, is it meaningful to have a sharper lens if I shoot at apertures as small as in my example?

    Say if a macro lens (or this 120 aspheric) will only be sharper up to f/11 it means that I will need to focus stack to be able to make use of the increased sharpness, and then I'll need a macro rail and lots of patience. Out in the field it's often multi-second shoots in unfomfortable positions so I'm not thrilled over the idea of stacking.

    The newer version should allow that range easily, you can get much closer with it than the older non macro version.

    Paul

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Hi,

    What I assume reduces sharpness is diffraction and I don't really feel a macro lens would help. Why?

    • As said the main cause of sharpness lost is the reduction of MTF by diffraction.
    • The main problem doing closeup photography with non macro lenses is field curvature. A good lens will be always good at the point of focus but most lenses increase curvature of field when not used at their optimal distance.
    • Macro lenses used to be optimized for short distances. To keep field flat from close up to infinity needs floating element design.


    Some ideas:

    • Shoot alternate focus with different focus settings. You don't need a focusing rail for that.
    • Take two shots one with large DoF and small aperture and one with optimal aperture and shallow depth and overlay in Photoshop.


    It has been said that high resolution is beneficial to diffraction, like using multishot or just more pixels. The only explanation I can see is that a high resolution image is more benign to extensive sharpening. I don't feel I could confirm this in mine experience, but I have neither multishot or a 36 MP DSLR. I have 24MP APS-C, which would correspond to 54 MP on FF 135.

    Best regards
    Erik








    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I'm not doing macro photography a lot, but I'm kind of getting fond of shooting tree trunks, one example attached, with pixelpeep crop (I just noticed some pepper noise in the pixelpeep, it was a longer exposure and I obviously didn't clean up it fully).

    I know a lot of theory about normal landscape photography, but I have only briefly studied macro so I don't really know what to expect in this area.

    Currently I typically shoot these with the SK90 (attached example is SK90), SK120 or SK180 at f/22. At this close range that f/22 probably is more like f/32 so you really get diffraction. On the other hand the depth of field is so incredibly short that I usually find f/22 to be the least bad solution, the tree trunks are curved and it's just too much out of focus otherwise. The pixelpeep crop show how it looks in the focal plane, that is soft from diffraction.

    I'm thinking of that maybe I should get a macro lens, mainly looking at the SK80.

    However, I'm not sure if it will get me any sharper results, without also shooting say f/11 and employ focus stacking to get the DoF I need. Rendering size for my images is about 1:4, I'm not into 1:1 macro or beyond.

    I don't find focus stacking to be very practical/enjoyable out in the field though, so I will then probably choose this fuzzy diffracted way of shooting, and I guess an SK80 macro at f/22 1:4 won't be any sharper than an SK90 at f/22 1:4?

    I use a 33 megapixel back, 7.2 um pixels. I'm not really dissatisfied with the results I get, I think I get enough detail for the subject, but I'm a bit unsure if I'm doing this right, say if a SK80 would produce noticably sharper results. It would also be interesting to know if anyone except me shoots this kind of images without stacking these days.

    Any advice welcome.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    haha~ I would do either~
    Shooting at f11 3 or 4 shots with normal lens or macro lens or aspheric for sharper image
    or do it as you would like and live with the weakness.

    Shaper image is not always better.

    But if you want sharpest possible image for all the image areas, there is not an easy way.
    Of course, there are between... In the end, we, as image maker, decide which way to choose~

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Thanks all for the feedback.

    As far as I understand the conclusion is that if I shoot at small apertures like f/22, macro lens will make no difference, and the quality I get now is what I should expect, but I could work on my sharpening techniques.

    Further, to get sharper results for a subject like this that is not flat there's no way around focus stacking, or aperture stacking if I think it's good enough improvement to have sharper in the plane of focus.

    What I probably will do is to continue shoot the way I do. I don't think this type of subject needs as much details resolved as say a grand landscape view, so f/22 does not hurt too much, except for the long shutter speed which sometimes creates problems.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Here a product shot which is only possible using focus stacking .
    The disadvantage is , that focus stacking changes the perspective a lot .
    Shooting distance is about 1 meter . The lens you see is 120 mm long from front ring of barrel to the mount on the camera . I wanted the few details of the camera body still to be in focus and used f=11 . 3 images stacked .
    No extra sharpening in PSCS6 .
    Shot with ARCA SWISS F-LINE METRIC + APO MACRO SIRONAR DIGITAL 5,6/120mm + CFV-50 at f=11 . Flashlight .
    Attachment 81239
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Nice shot, but I also like your subject, a nice head and a nice lens (IF version of the Distagon 40/4).

    Best regards
    Erik
    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Here a product shot which is only possible using focus stacking .
    The disadvantage is , that focus stacking changes the perspective a lot .
    Shooting distance is about 1 meter . The lens you see is 120 mm long from front ring of barrel to the mount on the camera . I wanted the few details of the camera body still to be in focus and used f=11 . 3 images stacked .
    No extra sharpening in PSCS6 .
    Shot with ARCA SWISS F-LINE METRIC + APO MACRO SIRONAR DIGITAL 5,6/120mm + CFV-50 at f=11 . Flashlight .
    Attachment 81239

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Anders,

    I made some experiments today, P45+ and Macro Planar 120/4 at f/11 and at f/22. They are closest focus of the Macro Planar which I think is about 1:5.

    Here are a few samples:

    http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Ar.../Stuff/Torger/

    File names are descriptive, I hope.

    Best regards
    Erik



    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I'm not doing macro photography a lot, but I'm kind of getting fond of shooting tree trunks, one example attached, with pixelpeep crop (I just noticed some pepper noise in the pixelpeep, it was a longer exposure and I obviously didn't clean up it fully).

    I know a lot of theory about normal landscape photography, but I have only briefly studied macro so I don't really know what to expect in this area.

    Currently I typically shoot these with the SK90 (attached example is SK90), SK120 or SK180 at f/22. At this close range that f/22 probably is more like f/32 so you really get diffraction. On the other hand the depth of field is so incredibly short that I usually find f/22 to be the least bad solution, the tree trunks are curved and it's just too much out of focus otherwise. The pixelpeep crop show how it looks in the focal plane, that is soft from diffraction.

    I'm thinking of that maybe I should get a macro lens, mainly looking at the SK80.

    However, I'm not sure if it will get me any sharper results, without also shooting say f/11 and employ focus stacking to get the DoF I need. Rendering size for my images is about 1:4, I'm not into 1:1 macro or beyond.

    I don't find focus stacking to be very practical/enjoyable out in the field though, so I will then probably choose this fuzzy diffracted way of shooting, and I guess an SK80 macro at f/22 1:4 won't be any sharper than an SK90 at f/22 1:4?

    I use a 33 megapixel back, 7.2 um pixels. I'm not really dissatisfied with the results I get, I think I get enough detail for the subject, but I'm a bit unsure if I'm doing this right, say if a SK80 would produce noticably sharper results. It would also be interesting to know if anyone except me shoots this kind of images without stacking these days.

    Any advice welcome.

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    Re: Tech cam macro lens/shooting tips

    Rehashing this recent thread.
    I too am a fan of shooting 3D objects at close (but not macro) distances. Examples of these would be: tree trunks, rocks, etc usually termed under the loose term: Intimate landscapes.

    I am currently considering a Rodie 90 vs a SK 120 for my setup. For a while I pondered whether my decision to go with the Alpa STC was an error and whether I should just have gone with the Techno (tilt and swing both standards) advantage. I am not quite sure of that yet.
    My most recent thought has been regarding the following 2 options:

    1. Focus stacking. Disclaimer: I have never used this before. But I know that processor power is the key to satisfaction and we all know where that is headed.

    2. Consider the Techno with the longer lenses and the Alpa STC for the wide angles.
    Then later sell one system depending on which route I take.

    This thread has revealed that for objects such as these, even the Techno is not of much benefit. I was however enamoured by Torger's recent image of the 3 diagonal water lillies, something that I would find very difficult to do with STC unless I focus stacked.

    Would love to hear the words of wisdom in regards to this !!

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