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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 27 Sep 2013 (Friday) 17:18
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The problem with the MP-E 65mm Macro Lens...

 
h14nha
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Oct 06, 2013 02:52 |  #16

Macro pictures are deceiving as you've already mentioned the very best of them are stacked. 1:1 is difficult enough but 5:1, that must be incredibly tough. The best macro shooters have multiple light set ups, something else to contend with. For me, I love the MPE 65 images but, couldn't ever see myself owning it mostly for the reasons you outlined. Hats off to the users who make this lens sing.


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paddler4
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Oct 06, 2013 09:04 |  #17

I guess I need to seriously look into focus stacking!

Yes, you will be glad if you do. Even at 1:1 or less, stacking is very useful. The majority of my flower macros are stacked, usually 3-5 images but more if the image is deep, sometimes over 20. I'll post one that was over 20. I think this was around 1:1, shot with either the EF 100mm L or the EF-S 60mm.

I and many other folks I know use Zerene for stacking. It's simple, quite fast, has two different stacking algorithms that behave differently and can be combined selectively, and a very useful retouching tool that allows you to paint selectively from any image in the stack (or from another composite) onto the final composite.

IMAGE: http://dkoretz.smugmug.com/Flowers/Wilted-flowers/i-4xLX7HN/0/XL/2012-11-23-17.25.46%20ZS%20DMap-XL.jpg

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JulianUK
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Oct 26, 2013 17:30 |  #18

I agree with the previous comments of the issues with MP-E 65mm. I had been using macro 100mm L IS USM lens for nearly over a year and wanted to achieve greater than 1:1 magnification and was fascinated by the extreme insect macro shots and bought myself a Canon MP-E ,MT-24EX twin flash & focus rail last week but find focusing a nightmare with this MP-E and the focusing distance is very minimal. Does anyone have links or posts on techniques to use this lens? When photographing live insects how do to we get multiple images for stacking? Whats the mechanism to keep the subject still?

Love Mark's Weewil shot...but if focus stacked...how did you achieve it with live moving subject?




  
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JulianUK
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Oct 26, 2013 17:32 as a reply to  @ paddler4's post |  #19

Hi Paddler4, how do you achieve this black backdrop? Is it by flash ?




  
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Madweasel
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Oct 26, 2013 17:49 |  #20

JulianUK wrote in post #16401456 (external link)
Love Mark's Weewil shot...but if focus stacked...how did you achieve it with live moving subject?

Thanks, but it does need the subject to stay mostly still. My weevil stood still and I slightly moved lens and camera as one, to put the focus point progressively further back on the weevil, keeping a finger on the floor to hold position securely. If the subject moves slightly, then by cutting and pasting it's sometimes possible to make it work, though that can be very time-consuming and isn't always possible. It can work for a moved leg or antenna, for example.

The shot below was also a (painstaking) stack of 13 frames, this time using a tripod and focusing rail, but made difficult by the fact that the bush was blowing in the wind, so matching the frames was difficult.

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amfoto1
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Oct 26, 2013 18:13 |  #21

JulianUK wrote in post #16401456 (external link)
I agree with the previous comments of the issues with MP-E 65mm. I had been using macro 100mm L IS USM lens for nearly over a year and wanted to achieve greater than 1:1 magnification and was fascinated by the extreme insect macro shots and bought myself a Canon MP-E ,MT-24EX twin flash & focus rail last week but find focusing a nightmare with this MP-E and the focusing distance is very minimal. Does anyone have links or posts on techniques to use this lens? When photographing live insects how do to we get multiple images for stacking? Whats the mechanism to keep the subject still?

Love Mark's Weewil shot...but if focus stacked...how did you achieve it with live moving subject?

Step one: kill it.

Okay, maybe not. Another trick is to refrigerate it. Cooling down insects will often make them immobile for some minutes, enough time to get the shots (set camera, lens and all up in advance).

Of course, you have to be careful not to get involved in a beer and forget the bugs in the fridge. 1. It's bad for the bugs. 2. It can have an interesting effect on other folks who use the fridge.

how do you achieve this black backdrop? Is it by flash ?

It wasn't asked of me, but I've used two methods....

One is a large piece of black velvet I bought at a fabric shop for just this purpose. I used some sticks to make a temporary framework and hung it up behind the flowers in this shot...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5149/5601622244_5784e7a28c_z.jpg

Another method is with a flash... If you set a Canon camera to manual mode, flash will automatically be treated as the primary light source. Then all you have to do is be sure that the ISO, shutter speed and aperture are set so that the flash overpowers ambient light completely, and any background will go dark or even black. This is what I did for the following...

IMAGE: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5007/5310747604_24629e0980_z.jpg

Both the subject and the background were about evenly lit in bright, midday shade. By using a low ISO, smaller aperture and higher shutter speed... along with a single, diffused flash as the main light source... the busy background of leaves, branches and blades of grass disappeared.

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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gfspencer
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Oct 26, 2013 18:45 |  #22

paddler4 wrote in post #16349752 (external link)
The majority of my flower macros are stacked, usually 3-5 images but more if the image is deep, sometimes over 20.

First of all . . . all of the shots are great! Macro photography really takes you to another world.

I know absolutely nothing about macro so these might sound like a dumb questions -

1. If you are shooting with a camera like a 6D which will put three shots together in HDR would that be similar to stacking?

2. If you bought a Canon 65mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lens could you use it like a "regular" lens when you weren't shooting macro?


Canon 50D - Canon 7DII - Canon 6D - 16-35mm f/2.8L - 24-105mm f/4[COLOR="red"]L IS - 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS - 50mm f/1.2L - 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS - 100-400mm II f/4.5-5.6L IS - Extender EF 2x

  
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moltengold
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Oct 26, 2013 19:22 |  #23

i dont use this lens for shooting insects
i use this lens for portrait one piece of rice :)

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Madweasel
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Oct 27, 2013 16:41 |  #24

gfspencer wrote in post #16401589 (external link)
First of all . . . all of the shots are great! Macro photography really takes you to another world.

I know absolutely nothing about macro so these might sound like a dumb questions -

1. If you are shooting with a camera like a 6D which will put three shots together in HDR would that be similar to stacking?

2. If you bought a Canon 65mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lens could you use it like a "regular" lens when you weren't shooting macro?

1. Similar in that several shots go together to make a single one, but HDR does it by brightness and focus stacking does it by focus point, so not the same.

2. The 100mm is quite useful for other things. The 180mm can be used for other things, but makes a very expensive 180mm lens if not being used for macro. The 65mm only focuses between 4 inches and 1 inch from the front of the lens, so is dedicated to extreme macro. I'm lucky enough to have all three and they are fabulous lenses.


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paddler4
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Oct 27, 2013 20:21 |  #25

Hi Paddler4, how do you achieve this black backdrop? Is it by flash ?

No, I never use flash with flower macros. I prefer ambient light so that I can see the effects as I move lights around. I use two "hair lights"--small boom lights that you can aim. I use 50 and 75 W halogen floods in them. For direct light, I put a diffuser over them. Baking parchment paper works fine. I also often use one of them with an umbrella for more diffused light. The black background is a fleece jacket.

First of all . . . all of the shots are great! Macro photography really takes you to another world.

Thank you. glad you enjoyed them.

. If you bought a Canon 65mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lens could you use it like a "regular" lens when you weren't shooting macro?

Sure. You shoot a crop, and on a crop, the EF-S 60mm macro, which is a superb lens, makes a good portrait lens. It's also great for flowers. It's short for bugs--doable, but you have to get very close. For bugs, 100mm would be my recommendation on a crop.


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dclary
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Oct 27, 2013 20:28 |  #26

Wow, love the rice grain picture, and the red background helps!




  
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moltengold
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Oct 27, 2013 20:44 |  #27

dclary wrote in post #16404091 (external link)
Wow, love the rice grain picture, and the red background helps!

Thanks
the red background is from a kentucky chicken box :D


| Canon EOS | and some canon lenses

  
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amfoto1
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Oct 27, 2013 23:20 |  #28

gfspencer wrote in post #16401589 (external link)
1. If you are shooting with a camera like a 6D which will put three shots together in HDR would that be similar to stacking?

2. If you bought a Canon 65mm, 100mm, or 180mm macro lens could you use it like a "regular" lens when you weren't shooting macro?

1. Agreed... Stacking images for increased depth of field is the same idea as combining images for HDR, except that focus stacking is done picking out and using the sharp, in-focus portion of each of the images in the stack, while HDR uses the "correct" exposed portion of each image to combine into a single image that "compresses" the dynamic range of the image into usable form.

As with HDR, there are specialized softwares that can be used for focus stacking. I haven't used it, but I understand Magic Lantern can be used to generate a series of shots where focus "steps" (but only with an auto focus lens, so it wouldn't work with the MP-E 65mm that's the primary lens being discussed in this thread). For post-processing, there is Helicon Focus, for example, which works to combine the multiple images into a single, final image.

HDR is now a common enough technique that there are processes to do it built into more general purpose s'wares. Photoshop has Photomerge, for example. Heck, some cameras can even do HDR in-camera (I've never tried it). Focus stacking is more specialized and would need to either be done manually or with one of the few s'wares designed for the purpose.

2. Yes, again I agree. Macro lenses often can be used for other non-macro purposes, with some limitations. The MP-E 65mm is strictly macro (1:1 to 5:1 magnification), so is not a dual purpose lens. But most others are capable of shooting anything from infinity to 1:1 or 1:2 and can be used for many purposes.

If you plan to do that, you need to know that most macro lenses are slower focusing than non-macro lenses of similar focal length. Don't expect to use them for fast shooting such as sports. But they might be fine for more sedate shooting, such as portraits, still life, scenics, etc.

I sometimes use my Canon 100/2.8 USM for general walkaround purposes... Shots of buildings or whatever else holds still long enough to focus:

IMAGE: http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2160/2328347260_2efcee71e1_o.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3223/2327530275_8e83d2fc6f_o.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3250/2327527077_7a94ed692c_o.jpg

IMAGE: http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7097/7012124581_56114f82b5_o.jpg
IMAGE: http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3255/2328346526_7988a778e2_o.jpg

I am currently trying out a Tamron 60mm f2.0 macro lens, hoping it might take the place of three lenses in my camera bag (50/1.4 and 85/1.8 I often use for portraits, as well as a macro).

The Tamron 60mm has a full stop larger aperture than the Canon 60mm, which should make it even more versatile. I haven't directly compared, but I suspect the Canon 60mm with USM is faster focusing.

Note that both the Tamron and Canon 60mm lenses are "crop only", so wouldn't be usable on a Canon 6D. These two lenses are designed for use on APS-C crop sensor format cameras (7D, 60D, 70D, the Rebel series, etc.)

But there are plenty of other very good macro lenses to choose among. Both the Canon 100mm lenses are top notch (100L IS and 100/2.8 USM). Tamron offers two 90mm (the original and a newer model with both VC stabilization and their USD focus, which is similar to Canon's USM). Sigma offers a 70/2.8, a 105/2.8 and a 150/2.8, the last two with OS and HSM (similar to Canon's IS and USM). Tokina offers a 100/2.8.

There are also Canon and Sigma 50mm macro lenses, but these give very little working distance when trying to shoot high magnification. They tend to be more useful for studio macro shooting, than for field work.

I also wouldn't be too quick to recommend any of the 180mm macro lenses for general purpose. They are excellent macro lenses, but tend to be slower focusing and somewhat more specialized. The Tamron and Canon do not have stabilization. There is a Sigma with OS that might be a little more usable for non-macro purposes.

Alan Myers (external link) "Walk softly and carry a big lens."
5DII, 7DII(x2), 7D(x2) & other cameras. 10-22mm, Tokina 12-24/4, 20/2.8, TS 24/3.5L, 24-70/2.8L, 28/1.8, 28-135 IS (x2), TS 45/2.8, 50/1.4, Tamron 60/2.0, 70-200/4L IS, 70-200/2.8 IS, 85/1.8, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, 100/2.8 USM, 100-400L II, 135/2L, 180/3.5L, 300/4L IS (x2), 300/2.8L IS, 500/4L IS, EF 1.4X II, EF 2X II. Flashes, studio strobes & various access. - FLICKR (external link) - ZENFOLIO (external link)

  
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