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Mucksavage

Canon 100mm macro lens - poor results

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Hi All.

 

I'm not so much a beginner with UW photography but I am brand new diving with me Canon 100mm macro lens - 3 dives in all and it's been tough!

 

I am a Canon 40D user with Ikelite housing and strobes (DS160 and DS125). I have been shooting quite well for some months with a Sigma 17-70mm lens. I think I am OK lighting for macro and WA thanks to that lens' range. Now however I am mid trip and now got my 100m macro lens and port with me. I've struggled to get results. I know macro requires smaller apertures but even with half decent strobes I can't seem to get anything but a black shot on virtually anything lower then F8.

 

I've been very frustrated as I can't get a crisp shot on F5.6 (DOF is just too small) which seems to be all that exposes right. I'm keeping my ISO at 100 or 200. I just did a dive with a friend who shot with the Nikon 60mm and took everything on f22 with nice results.

 

I thought it was maybe a lens fault but I'm sure it's the photographer.

 

Any tips or advice on how to maximise the 100mm?

 

Cheers

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I guess the first question I'd have is this - are you shooting TTL or manual on the strobes?

 

For macro, I've never had a problem shooting TTL with a little +/- FEC.

 

At or above 1:1, I can easily shoot f8-f16 without getting a black frame at speeds up to the shutter sync (on my 30D, that's 1/250).

 

I'm not immediately sure what the problem is -- but I certainly haven't experienced the same issues and haven't had any problems with the Canon 100 f2.8 macro.

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I have been giving TTC a good run but have tried manual a few times with poorer results.

 

That's interesting that you can shoot f16 on 1/250th. There is simply no way I would get anything but a black frame on that combo.

 

Could it be something I have done wrong with the camera and how its speaking to the strobes? I have had a niggling feeling that where once I thought my strobe work was going very well - it might leave a little to be desired.

 

As mentioned I have taken 5000+ pics with the Sigma 17 - 70 and have done plenty of macro with it (not 1:1) with it and the lighting was fine.

 

I really thought that now I was shooting with the 100mm my shots would go to the next level. They did - one below!!

 

 

I guess the first question I'd have is this - are you shooting TTL or manual on the strobes?

 

For macro, I've never had a problem shooting TTL with a little +/- FEC.

 

At or above 1:1, I can easily shoot f8-f16 without getting a black frame at speeds up to the shutter sync (on my 30D, that's 1/250).

 

I'm not immediately sure what the problem is -- but I certainly haven't experienced the same issues and haven't had any problems with the Canon 100 f2.8 macro.

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Hey partner,

Let me see if I can help a little. I'm assuming your in fairly clear water, in a nice tropical location with a bottle of rum close by. :(

 

First is the camera lens combo working on land? Recommend you try it out in your room. Keep things simple. Try Manual, iso 200, f22, 1/200, strobes at about half to 3/4 power. Make sure the autofocus on the lens is on. Make sure both strobes are firing. Play with your strobe power until you get a sharp image with a proper exposure that looks good to you. ( be careful and don't blast away and overheat your strobes but a few times should be fine. Try them pretty close to the housing - 8" or so outboard and pointed straight ahead.(You can play with the lighting later after you figure out what's gone wrong)

 

When you get that to work, take the rig on a dive and find a nice rock or coral with a non moving subject to play with the same working distance you had in the room. Use the same setup and see if you get good results. You can take lots of shots of boring rocks to get the exposure dialed in for free. Keep the aperture above f18 or so and play with the strobe power. Keep things simple and adjust one thing at a time.

 

Let us know if that works for you. If you can't get a good exposure on dry land with those settings then we have other problems and we'll both be needing the rum.

 

Good luck,

Steve

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Just for reference; to give you an idea of the subject distance

 

Canon 40D, 100mm, iso 200, f/22, 1/200 and my ys250's on half power

 

2583988814_d905db10ca_o.jpg

 

:(

Steve

Edited by Steve Williams

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Simple and solid advice Steve. I will do precisely this on Monday when I am reunited with my housing.

 

And yes I am in The Philippines where the Tanduay rum is about 2 bucks a bottle!!!

 

Just for reference; to give you an idea of the subject distance

 

Canon 40D, 100mm, iso 200, f/22, 1/200 and my ys250's on half power

 

2583988814_d905db10ca_o.jpg

 

:(

Steve

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And yes I am in The Philippines where the Tanduay rum is about 2 bucks a bottle!!!

 

Great! Have one for me!

Cheers,

Steve

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Will do and thanks again. Incidentally - I did rum some tests yesterday with the camera and lens - no housing or strobes. I found that even a subject in direct light was coming out quite dark from f14 on.

 

Also not sure if you're Ikelite Steve but are you using manual focus with the 100mm or only AF?

 

Cheers.

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Will do and thanks again. Incidentally - I did rum some tests yesterday with the camera and lens - no housing or strobes. I found that even a subject in direct light was coming out quite dark from f14 on.

 

Also not sure if you're Ikelite Steve but are you using manual focus with the 100mm or only AF?

 

Cheers.

I'm using a Sea & Sea housing and I typically let the lens autofocus. It's much faster than I am.

Are you familar with using the camera light meter? What shutter speed were you using when you tried the f/14 exposures? It's not surprising you found this bad exposure without using some strobe. Give those settings above a try and let us know how it goes.

 

Cheers, good luck with the rum tests :(

Steve

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First is the camera lens combo working on land? Recommend you try it out in your room. Keep things simple. Try Manual, iso 200, f22, 1/200, strobes at about half to 3/4 power. Make sure the autofocus on the lens is on. Make sure both strobes are firing. Play with your strobe power until you get a sharp image with a proper exposure that looks good to you. ( be careful and don't blast away and overheat your strobes but a few times should be fine. Try them pretty close to the housing - 8" or so outboard and pointed straight ahead.(You can play with the lighting later after you figure out what's gone wrong)

 

When you get that to work, take the rig on a dive and find a nice rock or coral with a non moving subject to play with the same working distance you had in the room. Use the same setup and see if you get good results. You can take lots of shots of boring rocks to get the exposure dialed in for free. Keep the aperture above f18 or so and play with the strobe power. Keep things simple and adjust one thing at a time.

 

Steve - nice precise advice for getting things setup...can I ask whether you use TTL at all and if so, when ? Cheers, Steve

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Hi Mucksavage,

 

I use the Canon 100mm f2.8 too, on a 400D in an Ikelite housing, with a single Inon Z240 strobe.

 

Couple of weeks back was the first time I ever brought a dSLR uw for macros as I used a P&S before that, till I drowned it. I faced almost the same problem as you. After a couple of dives, I settled on the following for most of my photos. At >20m depth, mainly ISO400, 1/125s, f6.3 and strobe at full power and I even gave up using the diffuser (-0.5 stop loss). Once I move up to about 10m or so, I can work down to ISO200 and reduced strobe power, depending on natural light level.

 

Note this. The amount of light needed from your strobes to expose properly is exactly the same whether you are on manual or TTL mode. It is just which helps you to get there quickly. I used a syn cord and work on manual strobe adjustment. Oh, and also manual (M) settings for my camera, but with AF. Just from my personal habit.

 

Note also near to 1:1 magnification, which I imagine you will likely be trying to do with the 100mm, you are trying to collect light from a very small area to get to your sensor, so even if the strobes flood a good amount of area in front of you, only that miserable 22.1x14.8mm area at 1:1 mag is going to provide the light for your exposure, which is not a whole lot.

 

Basically, be adventurous, move into some camera settings which perhaps you might not thought of trying so far. If the lighting conditions demand that, you just gotta do that.

 

If it is of interest to you, here's what I got with my 100mm lens:

 

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d49/CPLa...en%20Indonesia/

 

and

 

http://s32.photobucket.com/albums/d49/CPLa...20And%20Snapped

 

I did have to adjust for exposure for quite a number of them still in post processing, as they were mostly "exposed to the left". :( I shoot RAW all the time.

 

Good Luck

Peng

Edited by Peng62

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I work the Canon 100mm and it's my favorite lens :( I tend to shoot (alway manual) at between f16-f32, ISO100.

 

My guess is that you'll need to work on your strobe placement. One way to shorten the learning curve is to keep the stobes modelling light on. That was you can see through the viewfinder how your strobes are placed. With the Ds125 and 160 you should have no problems with lack of light, quite on the contrary.

 

Something that might also help is to get strobe arm sections that allow you to more easily place the strobes in desired position.

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I'm shooting a Nikon rather than Canon but, fwiw, whenever I've experienced those kind of problems, it's invariably because I've screwed up the strobe settings and the strobe is firing on the pre-flash and not on the flash.

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Steve - nice precise advice for getting things setup...can I ask whether you use TTL at all and if so, when ? Cheers, Steve

 

 

Hi partner,

I picked up a S&S ttl converter for the 250's but I have only used it in the pool. No real life experience with it yet. I like varying the light between strobes and I haven't figured out how to do that consistantly yet with the ttl, the answer is probably in strobe positions but I'm still experimenting.

Steve

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Hi Steve

 

Just ran some initial (and slightly rushed) dry tests with strange results. All in my room, curtains closed so lowish light. Took shots of the same thing - all at 125th on f22. With strobes on 1/8th, 1/4 and 1/2 - all very underexposed. On TTL - perfect exposure . . . . . strobes on full - black screen! Happy that TTL seemed to nail it (although didn't underwater but at least I can be optimistic when I dive in the next day or 2) but black on full???

 

Something is afoot . . .

 

I will do more extensive tests when I get back from the city a little later but what are your thoughts on that?

 

Just to say - I use Ikelite DS160 and DS125 with the former on the supposed primary end of the Ikelite Dual Synch cord. Inside the housing the switch is set to DS125 (as the other option is DS200 and Ikelite advised me on this). Much more inclined to think strobes might be at the root of this (well obviously I am but you know what I mean . . .)

 

Hey partner,

Let me see if I can help a little. I'm assuming your in fairly clear water, in a nice tropical location with a bottle of rum close by. :D

 

First is the camera lens combo working on land? Recommend you try it out in your room. Keep things simple. Try Manual, iso 200, f22, 1/200, strobes at about half to 3/4 power. Make sure the autofocus on the lens is on. Make sure both strobes are firing. Play with your strobe power until you get a sharp image with a proper exposure that looks good to you. ( be careful and don't blast away and overheat your strobes but a few times should be fine. Try them pretty close to the housing - 8" or so outboard and pointed straight ahead.(You can play with the lighting later after you figure out what's gone wrong)

 

When you get that to work, take the rig on a dive and find a nice rock or coral with a non moving subject to play with the same working distance you had in the room. Use the same setup and see if you get good results. You can take lots of shots of boring rocks to get the exposure dialed in for free. Keep the aperture above f18 or so and play with the strobe power. Keep things simple and adjust one thing at a time.

 

Let us know if that works for you. If you can't get a good exposure on dry land with those settings then we have other problems and we'll both be needing the rum.

 

Good luck,

Steve

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On TTL - perfect exposure . . . . . strobes on full - black screen! Happy that TTL seemed to nail it (although didn't underwater but at least I can be optimistic when I dive in the next day or 2) but black on full???

 

Howdy,

Hang on a minute...... OK, I have the rum now. Couple of questions.

What is your distance from strobe to subject your trying to light?

Are you setup in the housing with the same sych cords you"ll use diving?

 

I'm glad the TTL seems to be working for you. Did you try different working distances or apertures with the TTL just to make sure it wasn't a happy accident?

 

Steve

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if your on an Ikelite system : are you sure that strobes and the TTL system are set on Manual : if you want to shoot manual, the TTL control system has to be t too.

 

When I asked Ikelite a question once about this : they answered : "The system was not designed to function in the manner . Both the strobe and camera must be in manual, in order for the system to work. Actually, it is best to leave the strobe in TTL, and control everything from the housing. "

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Hi Steve

 

Distance was about 1m - same synch cords - everything as per a dive. TTL seems to work on different apertures, distances etc so that is god news. I think it might either have something to do with the internal flash settings or indeed Cerianthus' post below might be bang on.

 

However I really need to tst again underwater to put all the detective work to the test. No rum for breakfast then . .

 

Thanks again

 

PS - My internet more sporadic now!

 

Howdy,

Hang on a minute...... OK, I have the rum now. Couple of questions.

What is your distance from strobe to subject your trying to light?

Are you setup in the housing with the same sych cords you"ll use diving?

 

I'm glad the TTL seems to be working for you. Did you try different working distances or apertures with the TTL just to make sure it wasn't a happy accident?

 

Steve

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Thanks Ceranthius - can you help clarify this - On Ikelite the housing has built in strobe functions - including a TTL and Manual setting. So if I have my strobes set to TTL I have the strobe setting in the housing on TTL.

 

However if I choose to dial off TTL on the strobes, whether for effect, exposure or whatever, and say I dial both strobes down to half settings - does that mean that I then need to also change the strobe setting in the housing to 'M'??

 

I think that's what you mean and it sounds right.

 

 

 

if your on an Ikelite system : are you sure that strobes and the TTL system are set on Manual : if you want to shoot manual, the TTL control system has to be t too.

 

When I asked Ikelite a question once about this : they answered : "The system was not designed to function in the manner . Both the strobe and camera must be in manual, in order for the system to work. Actually, it is best to leave the strobe in TTL, and control everything from the housing. "

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Yes, that's what I was trying to explain..... If you use one strobe, it doesnt matter, but if you have 2 (and you have) and want to use different settings for each it is a little cumbersome.

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Ditto on the set to manual on both the housing and the strobes for manual shooting, otherwise you'll get bad results.

 

Took me ages to figure that out.

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Hi Steve

 

Distance was about 1m - same synch cords - everything as per a dive. TTL seems to work on different apertures, distances etc so that is god news. I think it might either have something to do with the internal flash settings or indeed Cerianthus' post below might be bang on.

 

However I really need to tst again underwater to put all the detective work to the test. No rum for breakfast then . .

 

Thanks again

 

PS - My internet more sporadic now!

 

Your trying to shoot macro in a distance of 1m?

I use a distance of 0,1 to 0.3m from the flat dome for macro, beyond that I can understand you get black pictures.

My setup for macro is 1/100(1/160) from Aperture 16 and up to 32. My 2 Inon Z-240 is on full power. Canon 20D with Ikelite UWhousing. EF 100mm f:2.8 Macro

 

This picture is about 10 cm from the dome 1/100 Aperture 16 Iso100

macro.jpg

Edited by Nextwo

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Well it depends what I'm shooting. For example a Ghost pipe fish wont fit in frame unless I back off. I seem to be making headway.

 

Better lighting yesterday -always room for improvement.

 

Nextwo - do you use manual or autofocus?

 

Your trying to shoot macro in a distance of 1m?

I use a distance of 0,1 to 0.3m from the flat dome for macro, beyond that I can understand you get black pictures.

My setup for macro is 1/100(1/160) from Aperture 16 and up to 32. My 2 Inon Z-240 is on full power. Canon 20D with Ikelite UWhousing. EF 100mm f:2.8 Macro

 

This picture is about 10 cm from the dome 1/100 Aperture 16 Iso100

macro.jpg

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I use AF.

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post-23231-1241665785.jpg

 

 

Thanks to all for your help. I seem to be getting results - in fact taking the diffusers off the strobes also really helped too.

 

Cheers

 

MS

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