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03-21-2012, 04:59 PM   #1
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Jumping Spider macros

Hi All,

It's unusually warm around here, so I'm getting an early start, and it's a good thing because there's a lot to learn about using the Q with adapted lenses.

The first shot is to provide perspective. This is a jumping spider, and these are very small -- 3-4mm (less than 1/8") long including the legs. The little dot is the spider on some siding where the plank is about 9" (23cm) wide. This shot was taken long ago to provide this type of reference for those not familiar with these little guys.

The first macro shot is with the Q and my D FA 100 2.8 (1:1) macro at MFD. This is my second experiment using the Q with a dedicated macro outside in daylight. I shoot macros handheld. It was shot with the popup flash with no modifier, 1/13 sec, f16, ISO 125, jpeg with both Sharpness and Contrast turned down in the Custom Image settings. I've applied a light NR with Topaz DeNoise, sharpened significantly with Topaz InFocus (deconvolution and micro contrast only), and downsized in steps to 1024 on the long side. This is the full frame taken, no cropping.

The third shot is with the Q, and my A 50 f2.8 (1:2) Macro at MFD. This was taken with available light, 1/250, f4, ISO 125, jpeg with Sharpness and Contrast turned down. I've applied light NR and significant sharpening, and downsized in steps to 1024 on the long side. This shot was cropped about 40%.

Now some will say that with the Q sensor, f16 is not a viable aperture because of diffraction. There are few choices in these circumstances. With the limitation of 1/13 synch speed, ambient light will add blur to even flash shots unless you limit the ambient light contribution to exposure with either a very small aperture or 4-5 stop ND filter. The ND filter would allow me to shoot at a wider aperture to avoid the diffraction, but that would also give me literally razor thin DOF, even with the small sensor. This is shown in the third shot -- probably less than 1mm.

Please don't bother critiquing the shots for harsh shadows, focus mistakes, or composition as these are not the points of this post. These were first attempts shooting live creatures with this camera, and I'm working on establishing the techniques I'll need to get the results I know I can get with this camera.

The first point is that though a definite handicap, the 1/13 synch speed with adapted lenses is not a total deal breaker for handheld flash macro shooting with high levels of ambient light and the Q as it is. You can minimize the contribution of the ambient light using small apertures or ND filters so the light for the exposure is very predominantly from the flash.

The second point is that even very small apertures, while not optimal by any means, should not be dismissed out of hand totally for use with the Q if needed. The magic of PP can overcome much of what is lost to diffraction, if done competently. Very small detail might be lost, but more than enough is left to give acceptable results, at least for my purposes.

The other good news is that the camera, even with DSLR macro lenses, is incredibly easy to handhold with virtually no fatigue factor, and the LCD is really only a slight handicap most of the time. At wide apertures, focus is very hard to establish and hold with the very thin DOF, but stopped down, it's pretty manageable. Focus Peaking as a focusing aid would be very desirable, as I assume it would not be disabled with a touch of the shutter button like the magnification focusing aid is. My tendency is to half press and hold until I get the pose I want, and this makes the magnification useless.

If Pentax releases their K to Q adapter with a shutter in the adapter, I'll definitely want one, (almost regardless of cost ). Hopefully, we'll also get a firmware update that cures some of the flash anomalies and erratic behavior that exist with adapted lenses.


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03-21-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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That third shot is quite good. Even if it is F16 and has a bit of diffraction, you can't really spot it on a web-sized picture. It's really quite usable.
03-21-2012, 05:59 PM   #3
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Great post snostorm. The Q offers nice macro capabilities. So far it isn'the easiest to use in this situation. The ultra slow flash sync speed is very difficult to work wth and useless handheld. I also labor with the half press shutter release turning lcd mag off. The Pentax adapter would be nice for macro. Looks to be expensive and not much advantage for large tele lenses vs the Chinese adapter ( except the tripod foot must be better). Hmmm, will have to see.

Hope there are feature enhancements with the next firmware update. Would like wireless P-ttl. Lower ISO would be nice. Many P&S cameras go lower than ISO 125.
03-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Very cool stuff! I especially like that 3rd one. Have you considered using a small tripod for your macros? It's a must if you want to try focus stacking.

03-22-2012, 10:51 AM   #5
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That spider is so cute.
03-22-2012, 11:50 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by northislander Quote
That spider is so cute.

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