Macro tips?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sathos, Mar 4, 2006.

  1. macrumors regular

    So, a while ago I got a Canon PowerShot A610, and I love it!! I've always liked taking pictures, though I'm not great at it yet. Recently I discovered the Macro feature.. the one with the flower icon. Having fun with it, but when I have the flash on it creates too many shadows etc, and when it's off the picture is somewhat blurry. Attached a photo of my eye, with the flash on. The big white spot at the top annoys me, but without the flash the picture is nowhere near as clear. Anything I can do about this?

    Attached Files:

    • eye.jpg
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  2. macrumors Penryn


    Dude, doesn't the light hurt from that distance? Anyway, use the flash, but move the camera further away from your face and zoom in so that the flash doesn't seem as bright. You may also avoid seeing a reflection of your lense that way.
  3. macrumors 65816


    $0.25 MacGyver studio

    Unfortunately, macro is an area (like birds and sport) where better equipment can help get better pics. I'm not suggesting you get a $4,500 DLSR... but an SLR allows you to have off-camera flash set-ups to control shadows.

    There is however a 'MacGyver' workaround: build yourself a few diffusers/reflectors.

    The first should be a diffuser directly in front of the flash so light goes out in all directions instead of in the focused one it's designed to (this is for power reasons, but in macro this shouldn't be an issue). You can make one of this with tracing paper: just build a 5-faced 'cube' of tracing paper you can attached to your camera in front of the flash unit.

    Then you can experiment with placing reflectors around the subject. A cheap way to make a good reflector is to get a piece of cardboard (maybe legal size or 2x legal size), crumple up some aluminium foil and flatten it back out onto the cardboard.

    The whole idea here is to get light bouncing all over the place, eliminating unwanted shadows. By experimenting, you can control the shadows.
  4. macrumors G4

    You need the "modify" the light

    I think you've figured it out. in photography "light is everything."
    The problem is the location and size of the flash. It's to close to the lens. and it's so small. The smaller a light source the harsher the light and the deeper the shaows. two things to try

    1) Make a diffuser. Use some kind of transulcent plastic like from a galon jug of milk. Put a sheet of the stuff between the flash and the subject and just a hair out of the way so the lens does not pick it up. One way is to cut a hole in a flat plastic sheet just big ebough for the lens to stick out. The idea is the flash hits the plastic and then the platic re-radiates the light. Get fancy and make a white or foil refletor to put more of the flashe's light through the plastic. BTW they sell these only _much_ larger in pro-photo shops. they're called "soft boxes".

    2) "Wein" sells what they call a "peanut slave" it attaches to the foot of a small external flash and fires it in sync with any other flash in the room. Duct tape a reflector to your camera to send the flash up to the ceiling. Aim the small extermal flash at the subsect with the peanut aimed aim at the ceiling. Stuff the flash in a cut up milk jug to make it softer and kill some o the brightness. A slaved flash is a grate (and cheap) addition to any point and shoot. Many of the slaves have tripod mounts.

    Outdoors bright sunlight is horrible lighting. some people wil modify the light with a big reflector (to fill shadows) or hold a big defuser between the sun and subject. People doing high end car photography will build a hugh white nylon roof over the entire set to get that smooth lighting. Compared to cars bugs and flowers are easy
  5. macrumors regular

    Oh, this is much more info than I expected. Thanks for the tips, I'll have to try a few of them!
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Try not using a flash. Use bright lights, and/or use a tripod. That way you can get excactly the lighting you want. You should not have to buy any new equipment either.
  7. macrumors 6502a


    Good Lighting and a tripod

    Don't use a flash, just make sure you have a lot of constant lighting. At the macro level, you'll have to bring the light in close. Several lamps with 60 watt bulbs should help you illuminate your subject well enough from all angles to avoid shadows. Use a tripod, set your camera to a 2 second delay if available, to avoid shake when you press the button and set the camera to the lowest iso setting available (if you have sufficient light), 50 on my sd300. As consumer models have smaller sensors, which causes them to experience noisy (grainy) images, this will help produce a better picture.

    Below is an example of a picture of part of a stick of RAM. I took this with my Canon SD300 in macro mode at a distance of one or two inches. The photographed region is approximately 1cm square. I used a lampstand with three adjustable canister lamps, which happened to be handy, to illuminate the the RAM. At this range, the flash wouldn't have even worked. There are some shadows, since the lamp only illuminated from two sides. I adjusted the color balance slightly in iPhoto to reduce a yellowish tinge, probably due to using incandescent light. While it's perhaps not the most inspiring composition, and I'm sure there are some technical flaws in it, for an amateur with no special equipment other than a tripod (for this pic, a necessity) and a high-quality point and shoot, I think it turned out well.

  8. macrumors 68020


    For this shot, I just used several lamps laying around. It's hard without the proper equipment, to get the right kind of lighting. I didn't use the built in flash at all.

    Here are details:
    Camera: Canon S50
    ISO: 50
    Shutter Speed: 1/6 s
    F-Stop: f/2.8

  9. macrumors 68030


    Wow that has more Chromatic aberration than I would have thought.
  10. macrumors G4

    It really _IS_ worth using a strobe. Look at the above numbers. He was forced to use f/2.8 when f/8 or f/16 would have been better also the 1/6 second exposure allows camera shake to spoil the sharpness. The Vivitar 283 is a powerfull and low priced strobe. The short lightburst will freeze motion and allow you to stop the lens down.

    A few years back I picked up a used studio stobe setup. It's a 800 wattsecond Norman power pack with three heads. You can find used pro lighting gear cheap. My 25 year old system works like new and was only a few hundred bucks. It's a real luxury to have unlimited amounts of light
    But for this kind of small scale work a $65 Vivitar flash and a slavaged 1 galon plastic milk jug would be perfect. Make a roof with the jug and have the light go through the roof this will eliminate any shadows
  11. macrumors 68020


    Yeah, there was quite a bit.

    Part of the reason I was using f/2.8 was because I wanted just the "VIA" part to be in focus, and the rest of the board to be blurred. I'm still experimenting with my macro techniques, though. This image is also cropped quite a bit. My camera's macro focusing distance isn't as close as I would like for it to be, but it's what I've got, so I have to work with it.
  12. macrumors member


    I have recently gotten into dslrs and picked up the canon 100mm lens and love taking macros!

    I have found the best way is to use a tripod and use a lot of light!

    Some macro pictures I have taken over the last year:


    All images are 100% non-cropped

    Comments are welcome, Have a GREAT evening :)
  13. macrumors 6502

    They're all really nice, especially the last one :) (I also like the bee one, it's very good).

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