Just purchased a tripod for macro work, was it the right option

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NStocks, Dec 19, 2008.

  1. NStocks macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I have just got my first professional tripod, the Giottos MTL9351B and ball head ( cost £130 in total ). I started to use it today, and I'm wondering if I should have spent my money on something else. For those of you who do a lot of macro work, do you feel the need for a tripod,or would something like a ring flash be a better option, or is a tripod a must have ( I have read through loads of magazines and books saying the tripods are essential for macro work )

    The tripod is excellent, can't fault the build quality, but I just feel that I'm slightly limited to what I can do with it, and the problem still occurs with a flash because most shots need flash, but I though if I got a tripod then the shutter speed doesn't have to be as fast.

    NStocks
     
  2. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #2
    The proof's in the pictures, isn't it? Are they sharper and better composed than before, with a broader depth of field (when you want it)?

    You say you're limited to what you can do with a tripod, and I guess if you want to make toast, or boil an egg, it won't be much use. ;) But, IMO, a tripod offers the best photographic value of just about any accessory... because it slows you down and makes you think harder about every shot.

    I use a tripod for just about every shot I take these days, and feel it's added hugely to the quality of my pix... for an outlay of less than £100.

    It's not a very exciting puchase (is this the problem?), but in six month's time I bet you'll wonder how you ever managed without one...
     
  3. Edge100 macrumors 68000

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    #3
    100% agree with that! Once you learn to use a tripod, you'll be amazed at the difference it makes, for all types of photography.
     
  4. NStocks thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #4
    I already have it, first I got a manfrotto 190XproB, but the centre column could only be locked horizontally or vertically whereas the new one can go right through 180 degrees, and upside down ! There's no question about it, the one I have got is right for my needs, but just wondered if there is anything else that would be a better accessory. I just took a close up shot in out kitchen without the flash, and granted the tripod did it's job be making a blur free shot, but because no flash was used the image was a horrible colour, and even Ps wouldn't ,make it that much better. If I used the flash then the shutter speed would have being faster and therefore maybe not needed the tripod ( although it was still only 1/60 ).

    I know what you mean about taking your time into every shot, it takes that long to set it up correctly, you need to get the right composition !

    NStocks
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #5
    Think of a tripod as a 'must have' accessory. The "better accessory" you're wondering about is simply the one you can't do without.

    The "horrible colour" may simply be a problem with 'white balance': ie a mixture of different light sources... which will give an unpleasant colour cast to your pix. Different light sources have different 'temperatures': warm (ie tungsten bulbs), relatively neutral (daylight), cold (tungsten bulbs).

    This problem can be addressed by using a single light source... and it doesn't necessarily have to be flash. Have you tried shooting your macros in daylight (plus some artfully-placed baffles and reflectors)? :)
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #6
    You absolutely need a tripod. But I would have not gone with a ball head. Cheap ball heads are not very strong and you can't make fine one axis at a time adjustments. Ball heads are good for tracking wild life outdoors.

    About flash. Yes that helps too. But you can us any old cheap flash. Your best option is to get a cheap Vivitar (they sell on eBay for $40) and a sync cord so you can use it off-camera. Then set some thin white cloth, rip-stop nylon is best. Make a wire frame and flash through the nylon. If working outdoors aluminum foil over cardboard makes for a good reflector to add light.

    You can't use any lighting equipment without having the camera on a tripod. Not unless you have eight hands. How to set up flash while holding a camera?
     
  7. NStocks thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Which head would you suggest, Ball and head I have heard are good for macro work.

    And if I didn't have a tripod I would have gone for a ring flash, because the only type of photography I'm into is macro, therefor a ring flash would be better as shadows may not be as harsh. Could you give me a link or model number for the cheap flash please. Also as it's a cheap flash would the output be rubbish compared to other flashes, I know that it may not have as many features but this may not be a compromise for me, and exactly how cheap would that setup cost because I was either going to get a tripod OR a flash ( saving for a car, and University expenses )

    Oh, though I would mention that one of my Photo's has being published in a very popular Photography Magazine, in the section that gets opinions and tips from professional photographers... they loved my shot !

    NStocks
     
  8. neutrino23 macrumors 65816

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    SF Bay area
    #8
    Use a grey card to set the white balance (or at least a bright white piece of paper). Often when shooting in low light the white balance will be so far off that it can't be corrected. (At least I find that on my Canon 40D.)

    Also, as mentioned above, experiment with bits of white cloth or aluminum to add small amounts of light to the image. I carry some white paper in my camera bag for this purpose. It is surprising the difference you can see on some moss or mushrooms in a tight macro shot. The light is already low so it doesn't take much to alter the shadows and highlights.

    Here is one card. WhiBal
    http://www.rawworkflow.com/whibal/
     
  9. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #9
    Congratulations on getting a shot published in a magazine (Which one? I used to be a staffer on a couple of UK photo mags...).

    Sounds to me like you need to spend a lot of time taking pix... rather than fretting about the equipment you don't have.

    There's a lot to be said for 'making do': doing what you can with what's available. Working with limitations makes you more creative, more imaginative.

    Try to get the best pix you can with the equipment you've got now... :)
     
  10. NStocks thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #10
    True, I do need to build up my library a bit more even though there are 100's only a percentage of those are excellent :p. The thing is, I don't know what to shoot, most of my library is flowers, nature and things with water, I know there are tons of different macro subjects, but not all of them look interesting or haven't already being done a million times before...

    I have bought a book, one by ross hoddnitt ( not sure the exact surname), but even that is just bugs an flowers, and I don't really need/want to buy books because you can get ideas from the internet that are similar and free.

    NStocks
     

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