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10-17-2010, 07:23 PM   #1
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Help using Tamron 90mm macro lens!

Hi I just received my Pentax k-x last night and tried using the DA15mm, Sigma 17-70mm and Tamron 90mm macro. The DA15mm was fairly easy to use and my favourite lens so far. But I have a hard time figuring out how to use the Tamron since I'm a newbie to DSLR. Here's my questions, sorry if they sound n00bish:

1. What is the difference between the Full and Limit switch?

2. When I auto focus, sometimes the lens adjust the focus continously or adjust then stop, but I can't take a picture and there's a flashing icon in the viewfinder, does that mean the object can't be focused? Would moving back help?

3. For shootings macros, is it better to use the macro mode or AV mode? For AV mode, it it better to use a low f-number so I can use a faster shtter speed to avoid shaking?

4. I find it hard to avoid camera shake handheld shooting through the viewfinder, would it help to shoot macros through the live view?

5. In general, what settings should I use for AE metering, highlight and shadow correction? Is it better to have multi segment for landscape and centre for other things? What is spot used for?

Lastly, auto white balance seems to wrong indoors even during the day and i find it more accurate under daylight or cloudy....should I always adjust them indoors?

Sorry for so many questions and I would appreciate some help.

Thanks
Aaron


Last edited by catastrophe; 10-17-2010 at 07:58 PM.
10-17-2010, 08:22 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by catastrophe Quote
Hi I just received my Pentax k-x last night and tried using the DA15mm, Sigma 17-70mm and Tamron 90mm macro. The DA15mm was fairly easy to use and my favourite lens so far. But I have a hard time figuring out how to use the Tamron since I'm a newbie to DSLR. Here's my questions, sorry if they sound n00bish:

1. What is the difference between the Full and Limit switch?

2. When I auto focus, sometimes the lens adjust the focus continously or adjust then stop, but I can't take a picture and there's a flashing icon in the viewfinder, does that mean the object can't be focused? Would moving back help?

3. For shootings macros, is it better to use the macro mode or AV mode? For AV mode, it it better to use a low f-number so I can use a faster shtter speed to avoid shaking?

4. I find it hard to avoid camera shake handheld shooting through the viewfinder, would it help to shoot macros through the live view?

5. In general, what settings should I use for AE metering, highlight and shadow correction? Is it better to have multi segment for landscape and centre for other things? What is spot used for?

Lastly, auto white balance seems to wrong indoors even during the day and i find it more accurate under daylight or cloudy....should I always adjust them indoors?

Sorry for so many questions and I would appreciate some help.

Thanks
Aaron
Aaron, that's a hell of a kit to start off with. Congrats!

1. Full/Limit usually refers to the throw of the focus ring. That is, how far it can be turned. The Tamron 90 I had was an older version so I don't know that is in fact the use of that switch as mine didn't have one (Adaptal 90mm SP f2.8) that I remember. On some lenses, it's referred to as a focus lock.

2. Autofocusing a Macro lens is an exercise in futility. It can be done with some patience but your camera is not firing because you are on AF and the camera has given up on finding anything in focus. I suggest for now that you turn off AF on the camera and practice manual focusing taking photos of a shiny coin or something like that.

3. Forget about Macro mode. You can use Av or Tv if you wish but I would suggest going to M(anual) mode.

4. It could help but then again, sometimes it's more difficult to avoid shaking the camera when held away from your face. Chances are your camera shake (much like mine) comes from when you are actually pressing the shutter button. I find I have a tendency to Tilt the camera slightly as I press the button.

5 and other.. Have a look through the threads here.. Some real macro masters and they are full of good advice.

Macro Photography - PentaxForums.com

White Balance. I find it best to adjust for shooting conditions, especially indoors but it will still depend on your actual lighting. Best to shoot RAW+ so you can easily adjust it later. Pentax's Auto White Balance has become pretty good for outdoor shooting but still lacks inside IMO.

10-17-2010, 09:02 PM   #3
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Thanks for the suggestions Jeff!

In regards to auto-focusing, I find it better to use for oving objects as I can't manual focus fast enough. But manual seems to work good on still objects.

I shoot mostly in AV mode but do use the TV mode for moving objects, I don't really know how to get exposure properly on manual mode. Once again it might work if it's a still object as I can re-adjust the settings, but for bugs it's nearly impossible...
10-17-2010, 09:16 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by catastrophe Quote
Thanks for the suggestions Jeff!

In regards to auto-focusing, I find it better to use for oving objects as I can't manual focus fast enough. But manual seems to work good on still objects.

I shoot mostly in AV mode but do use the TV mode for moving objects, I don't really know how to get exposure properly on manual mode. Once again it might work if it's a still object as I can re-adjust the settings, but for bugs it's nearly impossible...
There is one universal truth when it comes to exposure. Unless you are under rapidly changing conditions, exposure requirements typically remain constant. Certainly within a correctable (in post processing) stop. This is all assuming of course, you haven't drastically changed position (gone from bright sun to dark shade).

The problem, as you are discovering, with autofocusing a macro lens on a moving subject is that you are so close that even the slightest movement will throw it off. I don't know if the lens has an AF/MF switch to shut AF off (on the lens) but if it does, look into Catch In Focus (or Focus Trap). Even things that you would think wouldn't move can give you fitz (like flowers and the wind kicks up). Probably 90% of my floral macros have Some motion blur because of the wind.

It takes a lot of practice and patience. A lot of people (and I was one of them) think we can hang a macro lens on the camera and get great results the first time out. I quickly learned how wrong I was in that assumption when I first tried to catch a bumble bee. He Just Would Not Stay STILL long enough for me to get the shot



10-17-2010, 10:57 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by catastrophe Quote
I have a hard time figuring out how to use the Tamron since I'm a newbie to DSLR. Here's my questions, sorry if they sound n00bish:

2. When I auto focus, sometimes the lens adjust the focus continously or adjust then stop, but I can't take a picture and there's a flashing icon in the viewfinder, does that mean the object can't be focused? Would moving back help?

4. I find it hard to avoid camera shake handheld shooting through the viewfinder, would it help to shoot macros through the live view?
Jeff gave you already some excellent advice. Let me add/comment on two points:

2- I suggest that you use centre focus and AF.S. (You are likely in AF.S if you cannot shoot without being in focus.) With centre focus, the lens AF will focus only on one point: the centre of your shot as viewed in the view finder. (Let us forget Liveview for now.)

4. Ensure that SR is on. Even if you hand-shake, the SR will improve the quality of your shots. You need however to wait 1-2 s after half-pressing the shutter to see the SR icon appearing. (Yes it takes 1-2 s to the SR to stabilise your shot.) Then you can take your shot.


I have the Tamron 90-mm and use it with a K-7. I like the lens although I have still to learn to use it better. I noted two points that may assist you:

* At very close range, I found that the AF has some hard time and I tend to prefer MF.

* Recently at a fair, I took some excellent shots of my children on the ride using AF.C and centre focus with the Tamron 90mm. I was impressed, even if the range (20-15 m distance) was not the typical macro range.

Hope that the comment will help.

Last edited by hcc; 10-18-2010 at 01:37 AM.
10-18-2010, 02:33 AM   #6
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And remember that the 90 is not just for macro:

10-18-2010, 05:05 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
And remember that the 90 is not just for macro:
Yeah I use the 90mm for tele and portraits too. Should I always have the lens hood on?

I'm still learning how to get exposure right, is it better to start off with AV and TV modes and use multi-segment or centre weighted metering first? I don't know how to use AE lock properly yet...
10-18-2010, 09:13 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by catastrophe Quote
Yeah I use the 90mm for tele and portraits too. Should I always have the lens hood on?

I'm still learning how to get exposure right, is it better to start off with AV and TV modes and use multi-segment or centre weighted metering first? I don't know how to use AE lock properly yet...
1) Leave the hood on--it can't hurt you for indoors, and it's a really good hood. (I know--when installed, it takes up a lot of room in the bag.)

2) Auto mode depends on what you're shooting. For Macro, Av mode. For fast action, Tv, like this shot from the Tammy 90 (which I don't have anymore):



For Av, I would shoot center-weighted mostly and learn to hit the Ae lock button. No big deal at all. But I only shoot manual anyway. Multi can screw you up with bright skies. And Spot is used when you REALLY want to determine your exposure surface, like a small bird sitting on a branch and you don't want the branch or leaves to affect the metering at all--you only want to meter for the bird's feathers. (Center uses a tiny circle in the center of the viewfinder to determine what to meter, and it ignores the rest.)

I always use fixed ISO, so when I shoot, I'm selecting the parameter(s) I want set in stone, and adjust the others to match that.


Last edited by Ira; 10-18-2010 at 09:18 AM.
10-25-2010, 09:58 PM   #9
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I recently tried some macros with the hood on at 1:1 and it's so damn close to the object that it blocks out the light. I find myself using less magnification that it truly offers. Would it be best to take the hood off for macro and only use it for normal shots? And is a f number from 8-16 be a good starting point as f2.8 seems really shallow...
10-26-2010, 08:13 PM   #10
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Hi Aaron,
I have the Tamron 90mm 2.8 macro and I love it. I use it a lot at home for the garden flower macros and in the house to photograph "things." Use the manual mode and a tripod. If you leave the aperature large to get the narrow depth of field you can get some awesome images, like the edge of a flower petal or detail on a piece of jewelry. Use a smaller aperature to get in more of the subject, like all of the flower instead of just a petal edge.

Also, you will find that if you try the automatic focus, while it hunts it is burning up your battery charge. When you see what you what to photograph, you can use the automatic at first, just to tell you where the general area of focus is. Then put it in manual and fine tune it yourself.

I tell you, this lens opened up a whole new world for me. Have fun!

Irene Sophie
10-27-2010, 03:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by catastrophe Quote
Would it be best to take the hood off for macro and only use it for normal shots? And is a f number from 8-16 be a good starting point as f2.8 seems really shallow...
About the hood, I never use it. This makes it possible to get as close as possible to the subject. Maybe in some cases it could be usefull (not macro), but for macro, never used it.

f2.8 is maybe really shallow, but everything depends on what you want.
Here are some examples

f2.8


f4


f9


f18


I hope this gives you a better idea.
Most pictures I saw in magazines are going from f2.8 to f11 or something.
Rarely saw macro shots beyond that. But this doesn't mean it is forbidden
Depends on what you want to "show".. Hope it is clear what I say

Last edited by ezechiel; 10-27-2010 at 07:21 AM.
10-27-2010, 06:16 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ezechiel Quote
About the hood, I never use it. This makes it possible to get as close as possible to the subject. Maybe in some cases it could be usefull (not macro), but for macro, never used it.

f2.8 is maybe really shallow, but everything depends on what you want.
Here are some examples

f2.8


f4


f9


f16


I hope this gives you a better idea.
Most pictures I saw in magazines are going from f2.8 to f11 or something.
Rarely saw macro shots beyond that. But this doesn't mean it is forbidden
Depends on what you want to "show".. Hope it is clear what I say
Wow! That's some really nice picture you took there! I really love that second one, the focus is spot on and perfectly exposed. Did you use a tripod and how did you focus so well? Did you use catch in focus mode? I find it hard to focus properly on bugs since they move alot, and even harder when I get close to 1:1....

These were some of my best first attempts I took handheld....

I took a much beter photo of a bee but it was ruined because I set the Shutter speed too slow and it was overexposed...I didn't take note since I was too happy shooting only to find out after I took them and the bee was gone...
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10-27-2010, 07:20 AM   #13
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Thanks for the compliment

For the focus, all in manual focus. Didn't remember if I centered first and then moved.
For macro, this can be dangerous since moving can bring the in focus spot out of
focus after de-centering.

1. f2.8 1/800 ISO 400
not moving subject, so it is easy and elbows were on the ground so had more stability

2. f4 1/125 ISO 200
average beetle so not very fast, elbows on the ground too

3. f9 1/160 ISO 100 + ring flash
this one was awake, slowly approach and it should give you enough time to center focus,
find focus and de-center. Think I adjusted a bit afterwards.

4. f18 1/160 ISO 100 + ring flash
I used a tripod here and focussed manually, without centering first.
The advantage of this one is that he (or she) was asleep.
I took pictures of him/her after this one with 3 extension tubes and reversed 24mm for a 10:1
ratio (but extreme shallow DOF).

For me, the easiest way for macro is Av mode. When shooting in manual, I loose too much time because I should adjust settings too often.. and insects don't wait for me

Also, stay in manual focus. After a bit of exercising, you will notice it is a lot faster than AF.
And also more precise (if your diopter is set right also).

Catch-in focus is maybe better for flying insects, but never tried it yet. I should

Your last two pictures are nice! Composition could be improved a tiny bit(think of the golden spots ) but I like them.

Only thing I should change is your exposure. Try to add +0.5 or more.
They will be even more attractive So it's good for your first attempts!
Mine were a lot worse
10-28-2010, 04:02 AM   #14
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Well I was shooting in full manual and manual focus too, most shots taken b4 sunset f7, 1/250, iso 400. I know some are underexposed but prefer that over being overexposed.

What do you mean be centre first than de-focus? You mean auto focus first then manually tune the focus?

And thanks for the compliment going to take lots of photos in my trip to Japan next week
10-28-2010, 04:18 AM   #15
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For the underexposure, you can still correct that in photoshop, lightroom or whatever.
It will make your photos a lot more vivid and beautiful
And don't forget to shoot in RAW ( DNG) if you ain't allready.

Unless you are experienced, exposure mistakes happen now and then.
Even the camera doesn't do the job allways very good.

Lucky you! Trying to find a job in Japan but must improve my japanese first!

About focussing, a technique that is widely used (you'll find some topics about that in this forum) is using center focus.
You focus on you subject and then, you recompose.

For example, you focus on the eye of an insect, so the eye is in the middle of the screen. But it isn't allways pretty.
So you move your camera so that your composition of your image corresponds with the rule of thirds or
the rule of the golden number/ratio/spiral.

But, by doing this, be careful that the subject - the eye in this case - doesn't get out of focus.
That is another reason why it is better to be in manual focus (or have quickshift or something similar).
Talking about macro of course

Here is some info:
Rule of Thirds
Golden Number (and others)
And another one if you like mathematics
Wiki - Golden Ratio
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