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Supermacro tips?


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#1 james

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 07:59 AM

Hi Folks,

I'll be shooting the 105 w/ a 2x teleconverter on my S2 this weekend. That will put me well over 3:1 lifesize.

At the absolute minimum focusing distance w/ that combination, I would have to just about touch the port to the subject.

At the working distance w/ the teleconverter on, I will be shooting roughly 6" from the end of the port/lens. I will be using 2x DS125 or 2x SS200's if I need them. According to Ike they have a GN of 38 so I think I will have enough strobe power at an effective F-stop of 64 but this remains to be seen.

I would like some tips on strobe placement and lighting technique, as well as some good recommendations for subjects - preferable ones that do not move...heh.

I will be shooting MF, but I do have focus control gear, so I can move in and out and refocus if necessary.

Cheers
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#2 Kasey

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 12:05 PM

2 questions
1) why do you need to get that close with this setup? the mfd of that setup should be at least 8 inches - the tc doesn't change it.

2) How can you get an effective f64 - with the tc you'll lose 2 stops
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#3 james

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 12:54 PM

Hi Kasey,

I have shot a few photos of my aquarium, and when I put the 105mm and the 2x TC on and stroke the lens out all the way to get the closest focus - the close focus is less than 6" from the front of the lens. Maybe my teleconverter is different than yours???? I'm using a Tamron, but not the "Pro"

At f27 on the 105 (the best aperture to get the most DOF without getting diffraction problems) with the 2x TC on there and the close focusing effect, I'm just roughly estimating an effective f64 or so.

Cheers
James
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#4 Cybergoldfish

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:10 PM

No it's still f27, you just need enough light as if it were f54.

#5 james

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 01:23 PM

So if I'm using dual strobes with a GN of 38, then do I just take:

38*1.4(for duals) = 53

So I have the power to shoot at 1 foot and I may need to reduce or move the strobes back to shoot at 6 inches?

Ah, the beautiful of digital shines through! I can preset everything and try it - if it's too bright or too dark, I can move my strobes I guess.

Cheers
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#6 Kasey

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Posted 19 September 2003 - 02:59 PM

A couple things. Teleconverters don't change the minimum focus distance of a lens. My understanding, though, is that the stated mfd is actually the distance from the object to the film plane - so 6" from the front of the lens might be OK. I don't think I can get that close with my rig, however.

Not only do you need to consider the loss of 2 stops of light from using a TC, but you'll lose an additional stop by extension of the 105mm lens at mfd.

You'll also find it very difficult to properly and consistently position the strobes at this range - especially the big Ikes. My preference would be small strobes - like the YS 60s - mounted directly to the macro port. I've been investigating such a rig for my aquatica. The TTl ability of your S2 may be a big advantage in this range.

Theoretically lots of light and small apertures seem advantageous, I've changed my approach to moderate strobe power (or a little more strobe-subject distance) and medium apertures - this has made achieving optimal exposures easier, but may sacrifice a little DOF.
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#7 craig

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Posted 20 September 2003 - 08:06 PM

I shot the 2x 105 this week in Mauricio's class. I frequently used an external diopter to get closer than the mfd. I had no problem lighting the subject at this range and needed to set my Inon strobes at 1/2 or even 1/4 power to get proper exposure at f/27. You will need a dedicated focusing light though.

James, do you have the proper extension ring for this setup. If not, you do now as I brought one home for you.
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#8 Kasey

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:24 AM

Where were you for the class? Can we seem some photos?
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#9 craig

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:42 AM

I just got back last night from the Turks and Caicos Aggressor. I'll be working on photos today and hope to provide something before I leave again in a week. I got some good results with the 2x 105mm and had some interesting results with sunballs I'd like people to see. Maybe in the next day or two.
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#10 Kasey

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 02:47 AM

cool... I'm so jealoous of you guys that get to dive the world. I'll be taking my first liveaboard in November - Thailand on the Anggun. Its a trip I won in a contest last year, and I've waited until the last possible moment (expires the week I go) to take it. There were a few veterinarians that post regularly on this board - anyone interested in some relief work in the USVI?
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#11 james

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 05:22 AM

Well, my trip got cancelled due to bad weather. So I'll have to wait until next weekend to try it out.

At least now I can pick Craig's brain for pointers!

Cheers
James
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#12 scorpio_fish

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 06:39 AM

My experience with the 105mm + 2x is as follows:

1) With 2 SS200's I had plenty of light, even at an effective f/64, i.e. f/22.

2) Shots were somewhat soft.

3) Strobes were positioned at the end of the port, slightly above and slightly angle in and down, actually very little in.

The biggest advantage of the setup is not the higher magnification (how many 12-18mm creatures do we really shoot?) but the added working distance or combination thereof. The hardest part of shooting such small subjects is finding the darn thing in the viewfinder.

The kit is much easier to handle underwater than the 200mm and it can give you greater magnification. I could easily get closer than the minimum focus distance is some circumstances. The shots with the 200mm were definitely sharper, but I would definitely choose the 105mm+TC for easier handling, closer focusing and versatility.
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#13 james

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 06:48 AM

Thanks for the tips Geoge.

And welcome back.

Oh, and don't worry - we won't pressure you for a trip report - it's not in our business plan. But we DO expect to see some photos!

Cheers
James
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#14 Craig Ruaux

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Posted 22 September 2003 - 07:40 AM

There were a few veterinarians that post regularly on this board - anyone interested in some relief work in the USVI?

Ummmmm.... You know what they say about Bears, bowel functions and large groups of trees ? :D :D

Drop me an IM if you are looking for someone. I come with my own surgeon too (that would be the marital unit)

B)
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#15 Chris Bangs

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 12:34 AM

I posted this awhile back on another list and I actually managed to find it again. This was actually intended for extreme macro (5:1 and beyond) but the info also applies to 2:1 (wide angle for me).

When shooting at 2:1 +, the field of view is very narrow and if you try to use wide beam strobes most of the output will not be concentrated on the subject. I have tried using Nikonos SB 104s and Ike 200s but the size of the strobe made it very difficult to position and this resulted in many underexposed shots. Narrow beam strobes although usually a lot less powerful work much better for supermacro. the smaller narrow strobes can even be placed in front of the port face sometimes within a couple of inches of the subject. The Ike 50 and the SB 105 are well suited for this. Smaller strobes will also allow you to streamline the rig which is very important when you are trying to shoot something 6 inches or closer to the front of the port.

I gave up on dioptors for high magnification shots because they reduced the lens to subject distance so much, it became very difficult to place the strobes so that most of the beam would be focused on the subject. By stacking teleconverters combined with the Nikon 105 mm, I have managed to shoot in excess of 10:1, using only 2 SB-105s. If at all possible try to match a port that will end up with the lens almost touching the inner port face at max magnification. This will add some precious working distance.

Finding the subject can be the most difficult task, therefore, Get a small bright lite with a narrow beam (Ike PCA) to use as a spotting lite. I always adjust the light so that it is concentrated where the subject will be in best focus. I do this before approaching the subject by finding something that is easy to focus on like a relatively flat surface, making the adjustment and then moving in on the subject. I then focus the light on the subject while looking over the camera,I then try to hold the camera still and peer through the viewfinder to do the final search to lock in on the subject

If you do choose to use dioptors, only use the high quality multi element type. Kenko also has a good assortment to choose from. You may have to use a stepping ring with some lenses since these high quality dioptors are not available in every diameter and strength combination.

As for camera settings, I shoot everything in full Manual.

In the past I was quite limited on what I could do due the limitations of film based system. I am quite curious as to what the Fuji S-2 will allow.

This I will find out next week on Guam! Woo Hoo!!!.


In the future, I hope to try out my Nikon 200 mm micro. With that lens, I may once again try using dioptors if the reduction in working distance is acceptable. I am also have a custom ring made so I can mount small strobes directly to the port, This will allow the use of 4 strobes (sync/slave) or more without making the rig too unmanageable.


Sorry for the long winded post

Kindest Regards

Chris Bangs
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#16 craig

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:59 AM

I'd like to know the exact configuration that you used to achieve in excess 10:1 including film speed and aperture. Adding a 2x to your 105mm gets you 2:1. Are you saying you just keeping adding teleconverters to get to 8:1 then add a 1.4x? If so the the fastest aperture you lens will have is f/32 since you lose 7 stops inside all those teleconverters.

Just to be clear, 10:1 fills the width of a 35mm frame with a subject 3.5mm wide. You did in excess of that with only two SB-105's? Your whole field was just 1/8" wide? Assuming you shot f/32, bellows effect would make that f/352. You did that with two SB-105's?

Why recommend a narrow beam modeling light? A wider beam would make aiming of the light less critical with no effect on the image taken. Since you're aiming at a single grain of sand it might help to illuminate several in the area.

Inon makes a port-mounted ring strobe. See it here. 4 strobes plus builtin modeling light. Made for the Nexus 105, of course, and includes an removable, wet achromat diopter. Need to get me one.
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#17 Chris Bangs

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 04:32 PM

Hi Craig.

It took me about 15 dives to finally get some decent results using different film / aperature combinations. I have posted a sample shot in the introductions section of Wetpixel.

here is some of the basic info on the set up.

Lens Nikon 105 micro

teleconverters (3x,2x,1.4x)

Kenko +4 dioptor.

Film - 200 asa

lens aperture - F11 or f8

The working distance was somewhere between 3 and 4 inches

On my F8008, I had to preset everything before I sealed it up in the housing.

The strobes are positioned so that the flash face is actually about 2 inches beyond the front of the port. The lighting angle was top-left/top right with the strobes positioned just left and right of the top of the port at about a 45 degree angle. Again the strobe face was 50% closer to the subject than the lens.

As for the spotting light, I found that using a narrow beam lite made it much easier to locate the 1/8 inch subject. I adjust the light before approaching the subject, This is done by focusing the camera on something flat and while looking through the viewfinder adjusting the light until the image area receives the brightest illumination. This allows me to aim the camera quite close to the subject before I actually look through the viewfinder and start "hunting"


Regards

Chris
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#18 craig

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 04:47 PM

OK, I saw the picture. You are using a 3x + 2x + 1.4x + 105mm? With the diopter I see how 10:1 is possible. With the 6 stops lost in the teleconverters, I don't see how you have enough light to focus with. I can see how the strobes could work at ISO 200 and f/8-11. It seems to me you'd want more than f/8-11 though.

I'm leaving tomorrow for Indonesia. Hope to try out the 200 vs. 2x + 105 on some pygmies.
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#19 Chris Bangs

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:08 PM

The PCA lite is very bright and like the strobes it is positioned forward of the port face. The image in the viewfinder is not all that bright but there is enough light to see if the image is in focus. The kill rate on a roll may ony be 1 to 3 shots, but that is all I am asking for.

Regarding the ring flash, I think it would be useful for normal macro and even some super macro but it may limit access to subjects due to the added diameter at the port face.

I have attached a photo of the Bazooka setup. I am having a special adaptor made that will allow the use of the old threaded ports on the Aquatica S2 housing

Regards

Chris
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#20 craig

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Posted 28 September 2003 - 05:19 PM

With the S2 and the 200 you can take both the 2x and the 1.4x out and have essentially the same perspective (assuming a strong diopter like the +4). You'll get 2 stops back for focusing. Still, a 200 plus a 3x? Jeesh, that's no moon.

I imagine the ring flash is not intended for such extreme application. Might be nice for 2:1 though.
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