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Author Topic: Canon 100mm Macro 2.8  (Read 5185 times)
HRL
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« on: June 04, 2007, 05:41:00 AM »
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I've had my Canon 400D/Rebel XTi for a couple of months now and recently picked up the 100mm 2.8 macro while on vacation in the US.

Love taking close ups of anything even vaguely interesting.

Problem I keep having is that I can't get enough in focus without using a narrow aperture, but if I do that I can't get enough light into the shot.

Really don't fancy spending 350 on a ringlight, does anyone know if the Canon 430EX can be used to improve macro shots?   I know it can be angled, but I'm almost completely new to photography and have no idea about this kind of thing.

Tips, please....  
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mahleu
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2007, 06:18:20 AM »
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The problem with using a normal flash is that the lens can block the light when you're focussing very close.

2 cheap ways around this are to get a off camera flash cable or simply use a reflector (or 2).
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HRL
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2007, 06:43:03 AM »
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Do you mean hold, say for example, a 430EX in my left hand and take the photo with my right?  Using a cable?

See what you mean about the flash being obscured by the lens if mounted. Was hoping that it might clear it.  Don't really want to buy one just to prove you right.
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David Anderson
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2007, 07:33:08 AM »
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You can also fire the flash on camera but point it up into a reflector that bounces the light down.
A small silver/white one will do and is easy to carry around.
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mahleu
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2007, 09:58:41 AM »
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Quote
Do you mean hold, say for example, a 430EX in my left hand and take the photo with my right?  Using a cable?

See what you mean about the flash being obscured by the lens if mounted. Was hoping that it might clear it.  Don't really want to buy one just to prove you right.
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Yes, either hold it, buy a bracket, put it on an extra tripod etc.

If you're using a lens hood the problem will be very bad, what you should probably do is go to a camera shop with your camera and lens and try the flash out there, they shouldn't mind.
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HRL
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2007, 10:27:37 AM »
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Pretty good idea actually.

Always feel a little bad trying stuff out in a shop and then buying it online for 30% less.

A friend at work has a 580EX that he's going to bring into work so that I can have a play.  Don't suppose you know if the 580 and the 430EX are a similar size?

I'd love the MT24EX but 600 is out of my league for a dedicated macro flash.  

At least if I can make do with the 430 then I'll have a decent all rounder.
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Hank
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2007, 12:57:13 PM »
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The discussion so far feels like a departure from what I thought was the compelling reason for the post:

"Problem I keep having is that I can't get enough in focus without using a narrow aperture, but if I do that I can't get enough light into the shot."

Stopping down the lens should not darken the view through the viewfinder unless you are pressing the preview button (I assume there's one on your camera) in order to check DOF and adjust focus.  Adding a strobe isn't going to change that.  Increasing ambient light on your subject will help when possible.  I don't know if they're available for your model, but a magnifying viewfinder of some sort might also help.  

I run into this problem all the time using 4x5, but usually solve it by better enclosure of my head with the dark cloth and a pause to let my eyes adjust to the low light.  An eyecup on your viewfinder and a pause to let your eyes adjust will likely help you in your situation, providing of course that I've interpretted you post correctly.

Edit:  And of course I reread everything after I posted the preceding, and see the point more clearly.  My recommendations will help your critical adjustments.  For extra light on macros I've had better luck using an off camera cable.  If it's inconvenient to handhold the light, there are lots of brackets available.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2007, 01:01:12 PM by Hank » Logged
HRL
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« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2007, 05:45:42 AM »
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Thanks for all the helpful tips, guys.

I'll try my friends 580EX when he brings it into the office and go from there.  Holding a flash with one hand and my camera with the other would be a pain in the butt.
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Hank
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« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2007, 11:40:49 AM »
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Painful yes, but a lot depends on the style(s) of images you need or want to create.  

Ring lights are the least versatile, mounting brackets somewhere between, and hand holding the most versatile.  Varying incident angles and subject distance to change lighting affects quickly demonstrates the limits and strengths of each.  Especially for stationary subjects such as flora or products, we mount the camera on a tripod and use an off-camera cable in conjuction with a cable release to gain freedom to move the light where it will do the most good.  

Add in light modifiers such as reflectors or difusers, and the power of single strobes really comes through.  We do a lot of multi-light shooting in our studio, but in the field it's awfully nice to do some of the same jobs with more portable equipment.

This site will be invaluable for you not only in evaluating your options, but also for expanding your creative possibilities with small strobes.
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BJL
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« Reply #9 on: June 06, 2007, 11:01:49 AM »
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Others have given more sophisticated advice, but let me mention the most basic technique: use longer exposure times by using a tripod, including perhaps a mini-tripod or bean bag for low level nature close-ups. (I hate flash, so failing this, would go with reflectors.)

Another idea is "in-camera stabilization", either in-lens or in-body sensor based, but for now Canon has no such option for macro lenses. But since every other DSLR maker now offers in-camera stabilization of macro lenses (Nikon 105/2.8 VR macro lens, in-body stabilization from Sony, Pentax and Olympus), I imagine that there will soon enough be either a Canon IS macro lens or Canon DSLR's with in-body stabilization.
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HRL
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« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2007, 04:40:58 PM »
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An excuse to spend more money.    

Guess my biggest issue is freezing the moment.  Bugs with wings are just impossible for me to capture unless they're stationary.

I was under the impression that using high-sync flash and a faster shutter speed might do the trick.  Slower shutter speeds aren't going to help are they.

Still waiting for that 580EX to try with my 400D.  
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2007, 09:22:50 PM »
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There is some more expert advice in John Shaw's book Nature Photography Field Guide, including details of a home-made boom that attaches to a camera and holds a standard flash level with the front of the lens and a bit to one side, to avoid lens shadows and flat head-on lighting.

John Shaw also has a book Closeups in Nature that sounds promising, but I have not seen it yet.
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trigeek
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« Reply #12 on: June 28, 2007, 05:50:57 AM »
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Hello,
A home made bracket is not that hard to make if you are handy. I made one my self after a trip down to the local Home Depot. Cost was < $10. Bought some aluminum stock and made some bends. Worked great. I then worked up something a bit more adjustable and mounted quickly on my L-bracket.
Jim
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trigeek
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2007, 06:03:41 AM »
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An excuse to spend more money.   

Guess my biggest issue is freezing the moment.  Bugs with wings are just impossible for me to capture unless they're stationary.

I was under the impression that using high-sync flash and a faster shutter speed might do the trick.  Slower shutter speeds aren't going to help are they.

Still waiting for that 580EX to try with my 400D.   
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I have been using a flash with a shutter speed around 1/60 and have not had much of a problem. Flash duration is around 1/10,000 of a sec (at least that is what I have read somewhere). Freezes motion just fine. Then again I use an f-stop around 22 in the evening. I think the point where the shutter speed is an issue is when the ambient light / shutter speed / aperture combo would approach proper exposure w/o the flash (I use an ETTL flash, so it adjusts flash output).

Another way I think about it, when using flash in ETTL mode, is to think of two components. The flash component and the ambient component. To have the flash dominate, I adjust the f-stop to get an ambient exposure that would result in extreme  under exposure. That way the flash output will be high and dominate.

Hopefully this is not confusing... FYI for macro work I use the Canon 220EX flash... Cheaper, more than enough output and easier to position close up.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2007, 06:04:45 AM by trigeek » Logged
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