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05-13-2016, 02:14 PM   #1
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Please Critique
Lens: Pentax 100mm f/2.8 WR D FA smc Macro Camera: K30 Photo Location: Oklahoma ISO: 200 Shutter Speed: 1/90s Aperture: F6.7 

I'm a new macro lens user. Please let me know what sort of improvements I can make... Exposure, aperture setting, composition, anything? Thx...

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05-13-2016, 02:26 PM   #2
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Well, composition wise, the subject is right in the middle of the frame, rarely the best spot. Maybe crop off a little of the top? Very nice otherwise.
05-13-2016, 02:36 PM   #3
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If you're using AF with that lens, you'll not get the 1:1 macro you should be getting with that lens.
05-13-2016, 06:32 PM   #4
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I really like the idea of going Macro. I believe it is a very lovely photograph. I agree with photolady95 that manual focus is the best way to go. Auto focus for me is too condition specific and thereby is prone to producing inaccurate data. I see you used Pattern or Matrix metering. I have found that using Spot Metering works best on Macro Photography since the subject is directly in front of the lens. Try a few experiments and I am confident you will notice a marked improvement. Your subject, I believe is in a perfect location in the photo. There are exceptions to every rule and one in photography is that there are times when it is acceptable to have your subject in the center. However, your subject is not dead center, plus capturing the lean to the left is really a shot in the arm and works very well here. Nice color capture, great bokeh and again, the composition is D.O.T. (Direct on Target. So, now get busy and continue to provide us with more of your interesting and beautiful photography. )

Regards,
Antonio

05-13-2016, 06:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geodude Quote
Aperture: F6.7
Your aperture is also borderline. It should be at least f8 if not higher for more DOF. What Tony has said, because he's learning too, is spot on.
05-17-2016, 03:20 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by gbbrowning Quote
Well, composition wise, the subject is right in the middle of the frame, rarely the best spot. Maybe crop off a little of the top? Very nice otherwise.
No, I didn't crop. Probably could do an 11X14...

---------- Post added 05-17-16 at 05:21 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
If you're using AF with that lens, you'll not get the 1:1 macro you should be getting with that lens.
Didn't know that. Not sure why, though...
05-17-2016, 03:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geodude Quote
Didn't know that. Not sure why, though...
Because when you use AF on a Macro lens, it changes the POV (Point of view) that the lens is focused on.
05-17-2016, 03:34 PM - 1 Like   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tonytee Quote
I really like the idea of going Macro. I believe it is a very lovely photograph. I agree with photolady95 that manual focus is the best way to go. Auto focus for me is too condition specific and thereby is prone to producing inaccurate data. I see you used Pattern or Matrix metering. I have found that using Spot Metering works best on Macro Photography since the subject is directly in front of the lens. Try a few experiments and I am confident you will notice a marked improvement. Your subject, I believe is in a perfect location in the photo. There are exceptions to every rule and one in photography is that there are times when it is acceptable to have your subject in the center. However, your subject is not dead center, plus capturing the lean to the left is really a shot in the arm and works very well here. Nice color capture, great bokeh and again, the composition is D.O.T. (Direct on Target. So, now get busy and continue to provide us with more of your interesting and beautiful photography. )

Regards,
Antonio
Okay... My AE metering was set to Spot, but the AF Active Area was at 5 and the Contrast AF at Spot. I thought the latter two were for when using Live View. Changed them all to Spot, now (still a newbie). I also tried manually focusing and can see the diff. The biggest issue is the breeze moving my subjects around, plus I'm handholding the camera. Attached is my latest attempt. Looks like an improvement. Thanks to all of you for your comments, they help a whole lot more than "nice shot."

---------- Post added 05-17-16 at 05:35 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photolady95 Quote
Because when you use AF on a Macro lens, it changes the POV (Point of view) that the lens is focused on.
Gone to manual. Thanks for the advice!

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05-17-2016, 03:41 PM   #9
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Manually focusing is the same as non AF ing. You move you and the camera in and back til focus is achieved. Higher F stop number and smaller whole, such as anywhere between f8 and f22 are better for DOF. I shot RAW always, handheld, manual focus, and metering is on spot.

The link to my macro shots with an all manual Tamron Adaptall SP 90mm Macro lens is below. Check the exif info for information on how I got these shots:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/1photolady/albums/72157661876751273

Perhaps the info in the EXIF will help you see better.

I never understood why people say "nice shot" when you're looking for critique.

Oh and that last shot is much better.
05-17-2016, 05:17 PM   #10
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Yeah...it's too centered. However, I love the quality of light and the colors. I think you should keep exploring this place...experiment with viewpoints...and look for the best flowers to shoot.
05-17-2016, 05:20 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Geodude Quote
Okay... My AE metering was set to Spot, but the AF Active Area was at 5 and the Contrast AF at Spot. I thought the latter two were for when using Live View. Changed them all to Spot, now (still a newbie). I also tried manually focusing and can see the diff. The biggest issue is the breeze moving my subjects around, plus I'm handholding the camera. Attached is my latest attempt. Looks like an improvement. Thanks to all of you for your comments, they help a whole lot more than "nice shot."

---------- Post added 05-17-16 at 05:35 PM ----------


Gone to manual. Thanks for the advice!
One other issue if I may. You indicated that you had handheld the camera. Speaking for myself only, I have noticed a difference by using a tripod at just about every shot.
The more I use my tripod, the more proficient I am and it takes less time to set everything up. I use the self-timer for 2 and sometimes 12 seconds and it does make a world of difference. My Pentax K100D Super does have Shake Reduction, but trust me, a tripod is the best way to go to improve your photography. Well, I hope this helps and I agree your last upload is gorgeous.

Antonio

Last edited by Tonytee; 05-17-2016 at 05:22 PM. Reason: Grammar Boo Boo.
05-17-2016, 06:03 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Lenses achieve their maximum magnification at their minimum focus distance. This means you only get 1:1 at MFD. For that, you don't need AF, as AF will search the whole range and will probably not settle at the MFD anyway. You just switch to MF, and twist the focus ring all the way away from infinity, then you move towards the subject until it comes into focus - now you have maximum magnification. That said, not all subjects need maximum magnification. Also, at macro levels, the DoF becomes more and more shallow. This is why f8 was recommended, and even going as high as f16, though going above f8 will start to make the photo more and more soft. By f22, the image quality is fairly soft, despite the large DoF.

Sorry if I explained things you already know, but others who find this thread might find it useful.

Photo? I think you did great. Nice and sharp, detailed, good focus, nice exposure. Only thing I would say is to frame it so that the flower isn't touching the edge of the photo. Or so that the flower's edges get cropped out more. You should commit to one or the other, not something where its just touching. In the OP, I particularly mean the leftmost red petal leaf. But that's not really an "issue" and I often give my subject too much empty space around them.

I assume you used tripod and 2 sec timer (for MLU). Don't really have anything more to add. Good stuff!
05-18-2016, 05:24 AM - 1 Like   #13
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You can take measures to stabilize the flowers - a little light stand or tripod or just a plain old bamboo stake and a spring clamp or piece of string can help hold a flower steady in slight breezes. For side on compositions like the first shot, it's usually easy enough to keep this below the frame and out of sight. Top down compositions may require more creativity.

I'd also suggest trying a tripod + IR remote with mirror lock up for static things in ambient light, but frankly you've done pretty well without here. There's no one way to do this, but it's worth trying alternate approaches

As to manual vs auto focus, keep working with both. Manual is the clear winner if you're after a specific reproduction ratio, but auto focus has its uses in close up work so don't discount it altogether. Again, figure out what works best for you and when, there's no one technique that rules macro/closeup photography.

Likewise with the aperture, I think you did just dandy for the first one, but it's really personal aesthetics. Experiment! I would have liked a little more in focus in the second photo, just because the majority of the flowers are in focus so the bottom couple flowers start to stand out as being in that "nearly in focus but didn't quite make it" range. Possibly a slight tilt of the camera may of covered this, to get all the blooms more in line with the plane of focus, or you may have needed to stop down.

Either way, you're off to a running start

QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
Only thing I would say is to frame it so that the flower isn't touching the edge of the photo. Or so that the flower's edges get cropped out more. You should commit to one or the other, not something where its just touching.
I just wanted to highlight this great bit of advice. Making a commitment one way or the other is one of the composition guidelines that should almost always be heeded unless you have a really compelling reason. In-between things like just touching the frame edge or a slightly crooked horizon can look accidental and wishy-washy.
05-20-2016, 05:12 AM   #14
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I'd like to add my own bit of advice to the great technical tips already given on this thread. While I don't profess to be much of a macro photographer and mine are usually your run-of-the-mill 'nice flower' type of shots, I believe that when you want to improve beyond the usual exposure-focus technical things and flower snapshots you need to concentrate on composition and content.

What I mean is that many of us (including me) already have capable set of tools to technically capture nice macro pictures and we're basically swamped by 'nice flower' type of pictures. What elevates a macro shot beyond the 'nice flower' is composition and content. Similarly to general photography, pick your subject (not just what kind of flower, but the best flower etc.), pick the angle (side, top...), figure out the light (cloudy, sunny, artificial), framing (how close, what to eliminate), the composition (rule of thirds, golden ration, lines, numbers etc) etc. This seems often forgotten when getting up close to 'nail that smooth bokeh'. For an example of a bit of non-standard (I know it's not a flower) macro with more than just technique: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/174-pentax-k-3-photo-contest/259163-nature-king-castle.html

All that said, I don't mean to disrespect the nice flower pictures, hey, I take those myself!
05-21-2016, 10:47 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by fromunderthebridge Quote
I'd like to add my own bit of advice to the great technical tips already given on this thread. While I don't profess to be much of a macro photographer and mine are usually your run-of-the-mill 'nice flower' type of shots, I believe that when you want to improve beyond the usual exposure-focus technical things and flower snapshots you need to concentrate on composition and content.

What I mean is that many of us (including me) already have capable set of tools to technically capture nice macro pictures and we're basically swamped by 'nice flower' type of pictures. What elevates a macro shot beyond the 'nice flower' is composition and content. Similarly to general photography, pick your subject (not just what kind of flower, but the best flower etc.), pick the angle (side, top...), figure out the light (cloudy, sunny, artificial), framing (how close, what to eliminate), the composition (rule of thirds, golden ration, lines, numbers etc) etc. This seems often forgotten when getting up close to 'nail that smooth bokeh'. For an example of a bit of non-standard (I know it's not a flower) macro with more than just technique: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/174-pentax-k-3-photo-contest/259163-nature-king-castle.html

All that said, I don't mean to disrespect the nice flower pictures, hey, I take those myself!
Agreed. Sometimes the perspective desired will change the angle of viewing. So probably a readjustment of the aperture will help bring more of the flower into focus. Just have to keep trying... Thanks!

---------- Post added 05-21-16 at 12:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by fromunderthebridge Quote
I'd like to add my own bit of advice to the great technical tips already given on this thread. While I don't profess to be much of a macro photographer and mine are usually your run-of-the-mill 'nice flower' type of shots, I believe that when you want to improve beyond the usual exposure-focus technical things and flower snapshots you need to concentrate on composition and content.

What I mean is that many of us (including me) already have capable set of tools to technically capture nice macro pictures and we're basically swamped by 'nice flower' type of pictures. What elevates a macro shot beyond the 'nice flower' is composition and content. Similarly to general photography, pick your subject (not just what kind of flower, but the best flower etc.), pick the angle (side, top...), figure out the light (cloudy, sunny, artificial), framing (how close, what to eliminate), the composition (rule of thirds, golden ration, lines, numbers etc) etc. This seems often forgotten when getting up close to 'nail that smooth bokeh'. For an example of a bit of non-standard (I know it's not a flower) macro with more than just technique: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/174-pentax-k-3-photo-contest/259163-nature-king-castle.html

All that said, I don't mean to disrespect the nice flower pictures, hey, I take those myself!
Advice well taken, and your comments don't just apply to macro photography, but to all types, too. Still working on it...
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