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10-10-2010, 08:54 PM   #1
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Sigma 105mm for bee shots - How to?

Hi,

Went for another photo shooting outing yesterday and as Spring is in, there are plenty of nice flowers and plenty of bees too.

I was using my DA35 Ltd macros on my K-7 and i was able to capture some nice shots using AF even though the bees are fast moving. My wife was using her Sigma 105 macro on her K-x and she has trouble locking focus in AF and switching to MF is even worse.

So we swapped lenses and i put on the sigma 105 on my K-7 and I have just as much trouble AF and MF on the bees as well!

How do you guys do it?? Pls share the techniques. Would want to get this right for our next outing.

Thanks
raider

10-10-2010, 09:23 PM   #2
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Just add toilet paper tube and close up +2 or +4 filter. Smile. I do use toilet paper tuhe with my FA 50mm f 1.4 and capture a bee and a flower. Smile.
10-10-2010, 10:33 PM   #3
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I recently shot some bees with the Sig 105. They were very interested in the flowers I have next to my house and stayed nice and still for me. Unfortunately the wind was blowing, so the flowers were swaying quite a bit. My technique was pretty much to set the focus to the minimum distance and move myself so the bees were in focus. It really helped that they weren't flying all over the place though. I also had the 540 flash with a stofen diffuser on it.
10-10-2010, 11:35 PM   #4
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With a similar lens (Tamron 90mm), I had also some pb with AF to shoot insects at close distance. (I am not the best shooter but I might not be alone.)

I tend to use two techniques for flying insects (butterfly, wasp, bee). In each case, I prefer to use MF (yes, even if the Tamron is AF).

- One option is to set the catch-in-focus On, and I move myself so the insect(s) is(are) in focus.

- With the other, I set the focus manually (typicaly to a short distance, possilby the shortest distance) and I use continuous shooting. It may help to 'adjust' slightly (by moving gently forward) the distance during the sequence. (The green hexagon/focus light is sometimes a good indicator that you get a couple of good shots out of the sequence.)

I tend to prefer the second method, possibly because I am familiar with continuous shooting.

Hope that the comment will help...


Last edited by hcc; 10-10-2010 at 11:37 PM. Reason: typo
10-11-2010, 12:05 AM   #5
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Thanks for the comments.

How do you set the focus to the minimum distance? Using the focus limiter? How do you set that thing by the way?

So when you set the focus to this minimum distance, I suppose you are using MF then?

Sorry but i am new to macro and this is all very confusing.
10-11-2010, 12:19 AM   #6
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MF is the way to go for Macro. Set as narrow an aperture as you can bare - for a 105mm macro you need to keep ypur shutter speed above 1/200 of a second minimum, so boost your iso to 1600 if needs be.

Then take shed loads of shots. Some will be ok. It's not scientific, but it works!

Alternatively, set up a tripod, mirror lockup and remote shutter.... then wait until a bee approaches the flower you're watching.
10-11-2010, 01:06 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
Thanks for the comments.

How do you set the focus to the minimum distance? Using the focus limiter? How do you set that thing by the way?
focus limiter exists to limit the available focus range so it would not take too long for the AF system to cycle through whole range of distances if it can't focus.

I haven't used the Sigma 105mm but by photos this lens looks very similar to Tamron 90mm I have.

Limiter has 2 states, "full" and "limit". When in "full" state, you can focus at any distance. when in "limit", there is a barrier at about 1.4 m. so when you want to only shoot tele, focus to some distant object and switch to "limit", and if you want to shoot macro then focus to close object and switch to limit.

QuoteQuote:
So when you set the focus to this minimum distance, I suppose you are using MF then?
yes. switch to MF (I don't know how is Sigma 105mm designed, but on Tamron 90mm I have to do this twice - on the lens and using body switch - it still can AF if lens is set to MF but it looks like the motor struggles so not recommended), pull it all the way out to the 1:1 mark and then move camera so the object would be in focus - this is the minimal focus range.

Anyway, my experience with Tamron 90 for macro is not very good so far. The main problem I have is that built in flash can't help with 1:1 macro since the lens body extension covers the object from flash.

At first I thought - ok, I'll shoot insects at sunny days.. but no - sun does not help as it did with kit lens at 55mm, when I did some nice ~ 1:3 macro shots. At the 90mm I get very bad shots even if the object is directly exposed to sun. I guess the main problem is that you need about F20 aperture for acceptable DOF (while at 55mm, F8-F11 was enough), which is impossible even at the sunny day - the powerful flash is mandatory for macro shots, it seems... So I am now planning to get Pentax 540 flash, which doubles my initial macro budget And I'm not even sure it will help since I also have to use 1/200 and shorter shutter speed to avoid shake - while at 55mm, 1/100 was enough.

Sure I can increase ISO but it seems to also reduce sharpness, which is counter productive - i'll have to rescale to get rid of noise, but then why shoot 1:1 if you get the same as you'd get at 1:2 or less.
10-11-2010, 01:54 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by raider Quote
Thanks for the comments.

How do you set the focus to the minimum distance? Using the focus limiter? How do you set that thing by the way?

So when you set the focus to this minimum distance, I suppose you are using MF then?

Sorry but i am new to macro and this is all very confusing.
To see the lens operation to MF, you need (with both Tamron and Sigma) to set the lens switch to MF and the K-7/K-x camera switch to MF. (Only some Pentax lenses have the quickshift ability to switch from ASF to MF (and reverse) with only one switch.)

Once in MF, I use the lens focusing ring, and I set the lens to the minimum distance (0.45 m with the Tamron).

Hope that it will help....

10-11-2010, 03:04 AM   #9
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With MF and with the focus limiter set on, how do you guys manage to catch the bee? I find this is almost impossible as the bee is just moving too fast.

I find that my DA35 has much higher success rate when it comes to bee macros.
10-11-2010, 04:49 AM   #10
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I typically observe the bee first, and wait until they stop on the flowers, then take. Sometimes the bee will fly in some predictable path around the flowers in front of you.

if the light is good, set high shuttle speed, with f8-f11 depending on your magnification level. (1:1 to 1:3) The closer to 1:1. the higher your f-stop is needed to get more details, which also mean need higher shuttle to reduce blur (double wammy in light penalty, so a flash is good). A tripod or a good shooting position that can remain still and stationary is required.

Use MF and turn to the magnification ratio desired, then move your body to focus. Snap when you see your target. Happy hunting.
10-11-2010, 06:01 AM   #11
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Thanks mike for the tips.

If I am on a flash, the max. shutter speed I can do is 1/180sec. But should i set the flash to manual mode? if so, what power should i set it to? is 1/180sec fast enuf for bees?
10-11-2010, 07:18 AM   #12
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When using flash, you will freeze the action, so 1/180 is fine.
10-11-2010, 03:59 PM   #13
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what about flash mode? I tried P-TTL but the response time seem to be too slow.

Should I use manual mode then? What flash power should i set to?
10-11-2010, 05:19 PM   #14
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I know your frustration ...

Hi, I was exactly in your predicament here on the other side of the equator during our spring/summer. I was experimenting in macro with my Tamron 90 and extension tubes but just couldn't get any shots that weren't blurry and out of focus. Added to my dismay was seeing the great macro shots others posted on this forum and why I couldn't do the same. Pleased to say I have gotten better and have produced some nice macro pics, thanks to the help, info, and tips I received from the members of this sites Macro Group. Check it out, I find it an invaluable resource. Good luck !
10-11-2010, 06:28 PM   #15
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I use both the DA 35 ltd and the Sigma 105mm for macro shots of stinging insects. It depends on the FOV I need. Both can get 1:1 or a little more if I use the kenko 25mm af tube. I usually use aperture priority and no flash on stinging critters.

Here are some paper wasps Polistes sp. These were hand held standing on a ladder.

DA 35mm




Sigma 105mm



Sigma 105mm

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