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Damo

Focussing with Macro lenses-Nikon D200- frustration

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Hello guys and girls,

 

Im sure this topic has been touched on many times before.

I have been diving for the last few months (not as much as Id like tho') with my nikon D200- and the learning curve is slow.

I am just bowled over by the level of sharpness on fellow posters images- but I cant seem to get there.

Using 60mm and 105mm macro.

 

Just to ask about focussing for pin sharpness on macro.

I am using the autofocus mode on my macro lenses- on the camera body I am using single focus point mode- but have now started to switch the focus mode into manual to stop the lens hunting and am trying this 'move back and forth' technique with some success(?).

 

I cant use exposure or focus lock on my hosuing cause the button is not accessible on my DX-D200 housing.

 

Just want to know what do you guys/gals prefer to do when focussing with macro lenses? Auto or manual??

And also- how many times are you typically snapping the subject before you get it right- or are you applying some extra sharpness post camera using Photoshop??

 

Txs in advance guys

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Hi Damo,

 

Both the 105 and the 60 are very capable of producing sharp results. Though the autofocus on the D200 is not quite as good supposedly as the later D300 etc.

 

You might want to ensure that you have a decent focus light, more so with the 105 as mine also struggles without.

 

Continuous Autofocus usually works well for me ( not single servo ) - in fact none of my ports have a manual override of focus.

 

All digital images need some level of sharpening in post - but you will not be able to recover an image with fundamentally bad focus.

 

As to how many shots sometimes just a couple and sometimes dozens to get it right - in fact I can't ever seem to gauge if it is really good or not myself until it is up on the PC screen.

 

Paul C

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Just to ask about focussing for pin sharpness on macro.

I am using the autofocus mode on my macro lenses- on the camera body I am using single focus point mode- but have now started to switch the focus mode into manual to stop the lens hunting and am trying this 'move back and forth' technique with some success(?).

 

I cant use exposure or focus lock on my hosuing cause the button is not accessible on my DX-D200 housing.

Txs in advance guys

 

A couple of methods:

both require:

-a focus light (or diving in clear shallow water)

Note: I use a wide beam focus light to edge light the focus area, the main hotter area of the beam is used to spot subjects from a distance.

-flash sync to Rear curtain (flash button on left side of pentaprism, use back command dial until flash mode in LCD reads Rear)

-f16 to f22

 

#1:

-single servo mode AF

-single point focus (normally, the center point)

-maybe, change AF-S mode priority to Release (menu= pencil/a/a2/"Release")

Note: allows you to take shot with out camera locking you out when AF point thinks focus is bad. (AF-C is defaulted to "Release")

-focus on what you want tack sharp by pressing shutter release halfway and keeping it half pressed (locks focus until full press)

-recompose shot for final composition

-pay attention to depth of field (it can be very shallow when shooting 1:1 a 3-4 mm; maybe 10mm when shooting 1:3; one-third in front of optimum focus point and two-thirds behind will be "in focus")

-move camera in and out to achieve focus

-take the shot by fully pressing shutter release

 

#2:

-decouple shutter release and AF activation

-set the AF activation to the "AF-ON" button on the back of the camera (menu= pencil/a/a6/"AF-ON Only")

-maybe, change AF-S mode priority to Release (menu= pencil/a/a2/"Release")(see note above)

-set focus point and mode to whatever you want

To shoot:

-press AF-ON and get initial focus

-release AF-ON (focus is locked)

-recompose

-pay attention to depth of field

-move camera in and out to achieve focus

-shoot by pressing shutter release

 

Note: if your housing doesn't have access to AF-ON button, use single servo to focus on something of similar size, then switch camera to manual focus mode locking focus.

 

Take Care,

ChrisS

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Another suggestion:

 

1) use a focus light (red light does not work well)

2) use continuous focus (AF-C) but set the camera's menu for focus rather than release priority (ie the camera will strike a balance between immediate shutter release and focus)

3) avoid the focus areas out to the side as AF seems less reliable at these positions in the D200: using the larger focus areas rather than the smaller ones helps, but for low-contrast subjects the central focus area is best.

 

This usually works in macrophotography without manual recomposition, although the lens can hunt.

 

Tim

 

:)

Edited by tdpriest

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I cant use exposure or focus lock on my hosuing cause the button is not accessible on my DX-D200 housing.

 

Are you positive your problem is completely with focusing. It certainly can be tough with macros and the posts above offer good tips. Especially a focus light.

 

However, you're comment about exposure lock, or a lack thereof, makes me wonder if you're leaving the camera in auto exposure? That could result in either 1. a slow shutter speed, possibly leading to motion blur from ambient light exposure; or 2. a wide aperture leaving you with too small a DOF (depth of field).

 

If you're not sure, you can post some exposure info. 1/30th sec at f/4 would be bad, 1/250th at f/11 would be an appropriate macro exposure. Of course there are creative exceptions, but generally macro exposures cut out most ambient light to achieve good DOF.

 

Cheers,

 

Chris

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Hi Chris,

 

I use manual control most of the time.

Heres an example.

Shot at f/22 1/90 second ISO 100 on Nikkor 105mm Macro

post-18600-1288961712.jpg

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