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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 16 Aug 2014 (Saturday) 09:49
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my macro sucks

 
wayne9999
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Aug 16, 2014 09:49 |  #1

I didn't expect to become National Geographic quality in 2 months, but my macro really sucks. I must to be overlooking or misunderstanding some salient principles in order to be so awful. I'm using a handheld T1i with 550ex a manual Tamron 90mm f2.5 with 2X tc and a Pringles diffuser that is properly aimed and only has a thin layer of packing foam that you can almost see through. I should be getting plenty of light, but sometimes I'm not, and oddly, it seems to be when there is more ambient light. But that's only one of my problems. Unfortunately I'm on stone age internet and can't post examples or shots of my setup. The other day I took a single shot of a bee with my SX130 and and no flash-I think it is better than any of the hundreds of shots I've taken with this macro setup. That was very depressing and discouraging, but I'm not giving up.

I think part of the problem is holding this lens still enough to get crisp shots, and/or being able to assess focus when it's stopped down a bit. But at 1/200 or less, I'm not sure that should be so big of a problem. I've experimented with all the different flash settings and nothing seems to make a difference. I'll admit I'm still a bit confused about how to get flash working properly for me, I don't seem to get what I expect from a super short effective shutter speed. I certainly don't get how people are using their flash at 1/8 power, because even in bright light I can't do that. Occasionally I get a pretty decent shot but it seems to be pure luck and I can't replicate my successes. I'm hesitant to blame it all on the lens as there is likely considerable operator error involved. But I'm not sure how to eliminate it.




  
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Sibil
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Aug 16, 2014 11:13 |  #2

With some sample shots + EXIF, the experts here ought to be able to help you out.




  
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wayne9999
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Aug 16, 2014 13:26 |  #3

As I said I'm on stone age internet and can't post examples or shots of my setup.




  
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Sibil
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Aug 16, 2014 16:24 |  #4

wayne9999 wrote in post #17100076 (external link)
As I said I'm on stone age internet and can't post examples or shots of my setup.

Sorry, I missed that.




  
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wayne9999
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Aug 16, 2014 17:04 |  #5

I was mostly ranting. I'm going to take the 2x off and see if that makes any difference, though I did try that once before and it didn't seem to. Not that I think its causing decline in image quality itself but making it a 180 might be contributing to shake and focus darkness.




  
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gjl711
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Aug 16, 2014 17:37 |  #6

Are you setting everything manually or are you letting the camera choose the settings. It sure would help if you could post an image but it sounds as if your letting the flash drive the cameras settings and having a diffuser on it throws everything off.


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wayne9999
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Aug 16, 2014 19:51 |  #7

gjl711 wrote in post #17100387 (external link)
Are you setting everything manually or are you letting the camera choose the settings. It sure would help if you could post an image but it sounds as if your letting the flash drive the cameras settings and having a diffuser on it throws everything off.

Well I've tried just about everything, but generally I'm shooting with the camera and flash in manual mode, ISO 100-200 (400 when necessary), and I've rarely stopped down below f8, because I can't! I've recently been trying HSS but haven't noticed any improvement yet. Even though I've read all the tutorials on flash I'm pretty sure I don't really understand it.

I'm working on images. I was finally able to get into my old photobucket account but so far can't load pics.




  
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Alveric
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Aug 16, 2014 22:22 |  #8
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If you're out in bright sunlit conditions your flash will be pretty useless. HSS might allow you to shoot at higher shutter speeds, but it also reduces flash power, if you're diffusing the flash you're losing at least another stop of light. In bright conditions I'd try with the flash bare.

Have you tried TTL mode? Macro is about the only area in which I use TTL. Manual flash is difficult when it comes to macro, especially if you're trying to make photographs of skittish and/or fast moving subjects.


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gjl711
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Aug 16, 2014 22:28 |  #9

Whenever i shoot macro it's all manual all the way. The camera gets squirrely when you get close and rarely gets the parameters right.


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wayne9999
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Aug 17, 2014 22:34 |  #10

Alveric wrote in post #17100702 (external link)
If you're out in bright sunlit conditions your flash will be pretty useless. HSS might allow you to shoot at higher shutter speeds, but it also reduces flash power, if you're diffusing the flash you're losing at least another stop of light. In bright conditions I'd try with the flash bare.

Have you tried TTL mode? Macro is about the only area in which I use TTL. Manual flash is difficult when it comes to macro, especially if you're trying to make photographs of skittish and/or fast moving subjects.

I have used TTL, I think I started off using it and used it for several weeks. Maybe I should go back to it. I may be trying to fix focus problems with flash/shutter speed solutions, which would be a pointless pursuit.

I'm not unhappy with the quality of light I'm getting, when I get the right amount of it. Its just the whole process of getting everything right on a given image-focus, exposure, steadiness, lighting-that is the problem. I get some right some of the time but rarely get them all right on the same shot.




  
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wayne9999
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Aug 17, 2014 22:54 |  #11

gjl711 wrote in post #17100707 (external link)
Whenever i shoot macro it's all manual all the way. The camera gets squirrely when you get close and rarely gets the parameters right.

My camera mode is almost always manual. I've tried all 3 of the flash modes




  
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grayline
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Aug 17, 2014 22:55 |  #12

;)Thats okay Wayne I suck tooo and Macro is why I sighned up for this shat;);)


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Aug 18, 2014 04:12 |  #13

High Speed Sync (HSS) works by pulsing the flash while the shutter is open. It's like taking multiple exposures with the flash, and any movement while the shutter is open is going to get recorded. I definitely do not recommend HSS for macro work.

That being said I really need to know what your camera settings are, if you're using E-TTL metering for the flash (or full manual), and what the lighting conditions are. Also gonna be like reading tea leaves if I can't see a sample image :(


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wayne9999
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Aug 20, 2014 21:25 |  #14

I think I learned something today, though I'm not sure what. I was in bright shade and had the flash on TTL and the camera at ISO 200, and was getting dark images at f8. I switched to manual flash and was a able to go to ISO 100, and stop down to f11-f16 and set the flash at 1/2. My pictured weren't suddenly awesome, but I definitely noticed the better depth of field. So what did I learn?

a) Maybe I learned that until I figure out flash better I need to shoot during brighter parts of the day. Most of my shooting has been morning and evening, but I played hooky from work today and was able to shoot early afternoon. Not the most desirable time for direct light but the open shade was not bad. I've never been able to shoot at f11-16 and see what I was focusing on before.

b) maybe I learned that I should shoot manual flash, but I'm not sure if that is a good lesson because I've struggled with that too




  
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chauncey
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Aug 21, 2014 11:31 as a reply to  @ wayne9999's post |  #15

You've been at this for two months and cannot understand why you suck...poor baby. :rolleyes:
Can you comprehend the words...learning curve! ;)


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my macro sucks
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