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Old 22nd of April 2001 (Sun)   #1
Mark Zarn
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Default macro focus techniques/tips

As I work with my G1 in the field, I have to admit that I DO MISS my old Canon 35mm cameras and the incredibly crisp viewfinder images that helped me to focus. I still have a tough time using the LCD to obtain precisely focused images under certain conditions and wonder if others have this problem too, and might have developed techniques or tools to help them with obtaining critical focus. When you get it right, the G1 really delivers on sharpness, but it's frustrating to come home from a shoot and find that you were a little to close, or a little to far away, and so the part of your subject you wanted to be really sharp is just a little bit fuzzy

I'm trying out two ideas for focusing macro images. First, I'm using an old Canon bellows rack mounted on my tripod, with the G1 mounted on the end of the rack. Once I have the tripod positioned, I can crank the camera back and forth within a range of about 6 inches. Don't know where you might find one of these, but mine is really handy - I've used it that way for years and would never give it up.

But that still doesn't help me determine focus from the LCD. I use an XTend-a-View Pro from Eagle Eye Optics, which helps to some extent, but it also tends to magnify the pixels on the LCD. So next time I go out (we're having a major spring snowstorm today) I'm taking along a small plastic or metal ruler. I figure I can place it next to the object I want to focus, and determine focus from the markings on the ruler rather than from the object itself. It seemed to work when I tried it here at home. Obviously this technique won't work for some subjects (like poisonous snakes ).

Any other ideas out there?

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Old 23rd of April 2001 (Mon)   #2
Eric F.
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Posts: 171
Default Re: macro focus techniques/tips

Hi Mark,

This is a great question about focus as I struggle with the same problem, especially with Macro.

On another post about 'MACRO Flowers", Tom reminded me of a technique for helping. This includes using the digital zoom to get your focus and then backing it off for the shot. I had read about it some time ago in the drpreview forum, but had forgotten to try it. This will not be the case in a couple of days.

If someone has perfected this technique. Sharing your tricks would be appreciated.
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Old 30th of April 2001 (Mon)   #3
Mike K
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Default Re: macro focus techniques/tips

Copied from my post in DPReview:
I would use the minimum number of close up filters and put the UV filter on the outside or remove it if you get any vignetting. The strongest close up filter is near the lens.

1. If at all possible use a tripod. If not possible, plan on taking lots of shots with a VERY low success rate. When you get really close for these macros you really have to consider the lighting. The internal flash doesn't work very well at these distances, tends to overexpose. You will also get some blocking of the flash if you have a Lensmate or Canon adapter.

2. Use F8 for max dof (see why you need a tripod?) in Av mode. Wide angle will get you the greatest image size but lighting the subject will be more difficult because you will be only 2 1/2 inches away or even closer with close up filters.

3. Manual focus set to minimum distance OR use autofocus with macro mode. If you use the manual focus method as described below (the reccomended approach) the macro mode is disabled as it only is used with autofocus.

4. If in RAW, switch temporarily to JPEG. If in JPEG use digital zoom to 4X by pressing set and telephoto lever together.

5. Using the enlarged image on the LCD move the camera (tripod) for fine adjustments to focus. This is a finer adjustment than using the focus motor in the camera. One can even buy tripod arms with a threaded adjuster for macros.

6. Reverse all actions in step 4 to 1X digital zoom (and RAW if used) and take pic. Good luck, its a lot of fun!

Regards, Mike K
Canon 6D, 1DmkII, IR modified 5DII with lots of Canon L, TSE and Zeiss ZE lenses
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Old 29th of May 2001 (Tue)   #4
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Default Re: macro focus techniques/tips

Hi Mike K!

Your hint for exact focussing macro shots is worth a lot! I think, it is the best post, I've read ever! Since I've read it and tried to focus with digital zoom, I get perfectly sharp shots!!!!

Thanks a lot,

P.S.: I'm currently trying to set up my first personal homepage to publish a few of my photos. When I've finished this, I will post a message in this forum, so that you can see, how sharp macro shots can be, if you use Mike's trick!!!
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