MP-E 65 /2.8 Macro +

A forum to ask questions, post setups, and generally discuss anything having to do with photomacrography and photomicroscopy.

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Wayne Baker
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Post by Wayne Baker »

Personally I think hand-holding for magnifications above 1:2 is a waste of time. :wink:

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

The trouble with a lens like the MP-E is it encourages people to handhold at greater magnifications than a conventional macro lens which only goes to 1:1 and not use a tripod or take the anti-vibration measures they would with other set-up's like bellows.
There is probably a very good reason most manufacturers stop their consumer macro lenses at 1:1, not just from optical design standpoint, but they know most photographers would try and hand hold at greater magnifications with poor results and so get their equipment a bad name.
I would think it has more to do with a low volume, specialized market than with potential boneheaded users.

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

I would think it also has as much to do with the need to photo-stack to get usable depth of field at greater magnifications Charles. I have seen a few comments from people who have bought consumer macro lenses that only go to 1:1 who have seldom ever used them at the closer distances because they cannot live with the reduced depth of field.

As you say, manufacturers generally cater for the majority so will not bother producing equipment a majority cannot live with.

You can hand hold at down to 1:1 provided the shutter speed is high enough even using available light Wayne. I suppose hand holding at higher magnifications though is more feasible if using flash to minimise motion.

DaveW

sagarmatha
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Sensor size

Post by sagarmatha »

Which sensor would be best suited for MP-E: 10 MP as in 40 D or 15 MP as in 50 D? Maybe even 18 MP as in the new 7D?
As some of you know I'm still struggling of what system to buy. But the recent advirtisment of a 15-85, a new 100 mm macro and so on gets me slowly towards the Canon corner. And there's of course the MP-E as a possibility.
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Mike B in OKlahoma
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Re: Sensor size

Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

sagarmatha wrote:Which sensor would be best suited for MP-E: 10 MP as in 40 D or 15 MP as in 50 D? Maybe even 18 MP as in the new 7D?
As some of you know I'm still struggling of what system to buy. But the recent advirtisment of a 15-85, a new 100 mm macro and so on gets me slowly towards the Canon corner. And there's of course the MP-E as a possibility.
Diffraction is going to reduce the gain in image quality from more megapixels, though presumably there would still be some gain. Those pixels get mighty small when you cram a bunch of 'em onto a 1.6 crop sensor, and "only" a 50% gain in pixels will be just a modest increase anyway. I wasn't in the market, so paid only minimal attention to the user reports on the 50D, but I seem to recall many users were disappointed with the IQ of that sensor compared to what they expected. Don't make a choice based on my vague recollection, but it may be worthy of some research if you haven't checked already.
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DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

I too read of the image quality problems of the 40D v. 50D, but if you try and cram many more megapixels on the APS-C sized sensors you will have trouble at higher ISO's with noise since they are nearing their sensible limit.

As with most things size matters, and bigger pixel sites are better so the only way you can cram more into the same space is to make them smaller with the associated noise problems. That is the reason now both Canon and Nikon are going to the larger 35mm sized sensors in their professional cameras because they can add more megapixels but still use larger pixel sites for better image quality. Compact point and shoot cameras have probably now passed their sensible megapixel limits for their smaller sensor size.

Here's what others say, with a quote from the first link following:-

"Like I said from the very beginning, the image quality of the 50D is comparable and often worse compared to that of the 40D. Canon’s claims that the 50D offered a stop to a stop and a half better noise performance compared to the 40D were quite frankly very misleading. In addition, the 9 point autofocus is prehistoric by today’s standards and is absolutely worthless in AI Servo mode. Just like Camera Labs says, a lot of technology in these Canon cameras are very old fashioned, and one has to wonder when Canon is finally going to update them. In the same way, they also released a 5D Mark II camera, which contains the exact same old AF system as the 3 year old 5D camera. In 3 years, how can it be that Canon was unable to include a much better AF system in the 5D Mark II, when Nikon has a camera on the market for a year now at a much lower price level containing a 51-point AF system?

But let’s get on with another 50D review, namely the one from DPreview. When you read that review, you’re going to see that the 50D offers more noise, less detail (despite the resolution increase to 15MP!!), and less dynamic range compared to the 40D. If you look at the noise in RAW images from the 50D and 40D, you can clearly see the 50D images have a lot more noise and look worse compared to the 40D:"


http://www.kareldonk.com/karel/2008/10/ ... -part-iii/

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum ... 33558.html

http://photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00UF41

http://www.juzaphoto.com/eng/articles/c ... arison.htm

One problem is unless reviewers use a high quality lens when reviewing the camera you are often judging the lens not the camera, particularly if an entry level kit lens is used. Sometimes kit lenses are not even made by the camera manufacturer (though they all claim they are, until it is revealed years later they were not) but bought in from one of the independent lens makers and just badged with the camera makers name. That is because the camera makers cannot produce a lens at this price. However they hope their camera plus a cheap lens will hook you into their systems lens mount and so you will buy one of their own high quality lenses later. Some kit lenses are pretty good though, having said that.

I have tried none of the cameras listed, so have only listed what I have found off the web. I must declare that I am a Nikon user though, so search for your own reviews on the Web before you buy photo equipment.

DaveW

Charles Krebs
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Post by Charles Krebs »

Dave,

Be very wary of people who "review" cameras that they've never used for any length of time. Too frequently they just read over all the specs, and merely regurgitate the "common wisdom" and opinions of other people who have also never really used the camera (except perhaps to handle it briefly in a store).

One example. The first "review" you linked to (and quoted) also states:

"Live View on the 50D also is a complete joke."
This is absolutely absurd, and is but one example.

The "sharpness per pixel" concept that seems to have become all pervasive can also be very misleading and simplistic.

I have and use a 50D and a Nikon D300, and like them both. The feature set is different. Some things I like better on the Canon some on the Nikon. Not a big difference in "image quality"... here again, for my needs some things look a little better with the Canon, some with the Nikon.

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

True Charles, the only way you can really decide which camera is best is to use it yourself, just as with reviews of cars. However few of us have the money to constantly change cameras (or cars) on a whim if we make a wrong purchase, so have to rely on reviews to at least have a chance of getting the best, or one that is correct for us first time. Few of us in fact can afford to use two different makes of camera systems, so once locked into one with appropriate lens purchases we are stuck with that make often for good, even if we may later change camera models. Going digital was often our only chance to change makes.

The advantage many reviewers have over the man in the street is they get to test many makes and models against each other. Few camera shops would allow you to take cameras or lenses off the premises for say a week to test them as reviewers often can. The amateur is therefore is left to just fiddle with the controls in the shop. In the film days they could not even put a film through the camera before purchase, and even in digital days can only usually assess the image off the camera monitor screen.

What is a "fault" to one person is sometimes an "asset" to another. I use a Nikon D200 and no doubt there are plenty of cameras with better high ISO performance, but as I never go past ISO 400 that does not interest me. What interests me in a camera is it's low ISO performance, something reviewers seem to pay less attention to than if it can shoot "black cats in coal cellars".

The amateur therefore should never rely on one review but read as many as possible. The Web has made this far more easy to do and one should always pay attention to the bad as well as the good reviews, but take an average view as the more likely.

As to Live View I have not kept up with all its implications, but Canon and Nikon's versions are slightly different in that I think Nikon's can still autofocus (if slowly) with the mirror up whereas Canon's can not? Here is an article that details the differences between the two makes:-

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/revie ... d300.shtml

Since that was written the Nikon D3X has appeared with it's 24 Megapixel sensor:-

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond3x/

The remarks in the first link regarding the APS-C sized sensor are also interesting:-

"The sweet spot right now, and likely to be remain so for some time to come, is at around 12 Megapixels. A 12MP sensor camera can make about a 16X24" print at 180PPI. This is as big as most people need, or want, and about as big a print as we ever made in the chemical darkroom from 35mm film. It's also big enough for a double page magazine spread."

I was intending to switch to Canon when I went digital since I needed a new camera and all new lenses, having used my all manual Nikon f2 for 35 years. I had the Canon 20D in mind, but then it was said the 30D was coming out so I waited, but it was a disappointment and got a little bad press for only being a cosmetically enhanced 20D since it had the same sensor as the 20D. But then Nikon came out with a better camera the D200 so I stuck with the make I was used to. Canon did not catch up again until the 40D came out.

Both makes constantly leapfrog each other and seldom are directly comparable since their cameras usually do not occupy the exact same niche or price level.

I would just say to all we amateurs who cannot afford to run two different camera systems do your homework before purchase, and yes you will have to often rely on reviewers opinions because you will never be able to use the camera as they can before you buy. But always read as many reviews as you can and take the average opinion and then only for the features that are of use to you.

If you shoot "black cats in coal cellars" then high ISO performance will matter to you. If a flower photographer then probably low ISO performance is more relevant, but if an action photographer then a fast motordrive is essential. Me, I have never used my D200 motordrive yet after nearly 3 years, I just take single frames so how fast it goes is unimportant to me.

Also you will never keep up with digital technology unless you have plenty of money. Once you have bought the camera it will have to last you a reasonable time. New camera models now only have a life span of around 18 months before the replacement model is introduced.

Some reviewers recommend that as the differences in most new models regarding image quality are so small it is not worth upgrading until about three models ahead from the one you already have to see any significant improvements to the image, or in fact change your digital camera no more often than every 5 years to see any real improvements to the image.

DaveW

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Re the reviewers comment about live view - IMO some reviewers have a problem with live view on a DSLR because they see this as a P&S feature which shouldn't be there on an SLR...

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

I understood one of the presumed advantages of Live View on a stills camera was for remote shooting in say natural history photography where the camera could be placed on a tripod and could be coupled to a computer monitor, so viewed from a hide some distance away. Obviously in that case autofocus in Live View would be a necessity. Whether that system is yet in operation I do not know?

Otherwise Live View to me does not provide anymore advantage than using a viewfinder which shows the image until just before the shutter button is pressed. I would also think if hand holding a camera it is easier to hold the camera steady pressed to your face than held out at arms length to view a monitor screen on the back. However I have never tried a live view camera.

DaveW

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

If you shot mushrooms you'd appreciate live view on a tiltable LCD, it's saved my back and knees a lot of bother over the last couple of fungi seasons! :) (I used to literally lie face down in the autumnal dampness to get some of those fungi shots!)

I suspect Micro 4/3 may be the first system to feature a camera with a detachable LCD control unit, allowing you to remotely see what the camera sees, AF and shoot. (Note I don't know anything for sure, it just strikes me as an obvious thing that could be done with cameras like that!) I don't think such a thing exists today.

Re the 'face bracing', as an old film SLR user I tend to agree that's the most stable way to shoot but I know many people who've used P&S cams with better live view than viewfinders have developed various postures to get a steady shot at arms length...

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

You could shoot remotely with some tethered cameras pre Live View. I think some Pro's used it to show the client the shots they were taking as they took them:-

http://www.jibble.org/canon-tethered-shooting/

http://blog.tetheredcamera.com/2009/01/ ... amera.aspx

What really is the practical difference for taking mushrooms between a tiltable LCD monitor screen on a camera pre and post live view?

One of the problems presently when Live View is in use the sensor is switched on all the time and can overheat with prolonged use. Obviously in any case it will get hotter than if Live View is not in use. Given that situation I wonder if using Live View may not shorten the sensors life, as opposed to a DSLR used conventionally?

http://support.nikontech.com/app/answer ... a_id/14344

Also when discussing the totally electronic shutter elsewhere it was pointed out that for best image quality to avoid blooming the sensor needs really to be in the dark before and after the shot, which was why a conventional shutter was used in the higher quality cameras for capping electronic shutters, something not possible with Live View as the sensor is continually exposed to the light both before and after the shot?

DaveW

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Dave, I'm pretty sure no DSLR had a tiltable screen until the E330 I use, it was the first proper live view DSLR as far as I know - there would have been no point having a tiltable screen until that point...

Without this combination of features if I wanted to shoot fungi on the damp ground with a DSLR then I had to put my face near the ground to look through the viewfinder, or take the shot from a higher angle which tends to result in less good looking fungi!

There is some concern about sensors overheating, but LV is the normal mode of operation for P&S digital cameras, which seem to be 'settled' technology, you don't hear of people complaining their P&S sensor has melted! ;) My suspicion is that a LV sensor will still outlast a consumer grade DSLR shutter assembly, possibly not a pro spec shutter assembly. I could of course be wrong on this!

You could shoot tethered before LV but not preview what the camera could see, which for natural world stuff could be a big drawback. I love the idea of mounting a camera out near a bird table preferably on a remote control tripod head, and then retreating indoors to see what it can see, and shooting real close ups of birds without disturbing them..

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

I don't know about DSLR's, but a friend of mine had a Nikon Coolpix having a swiveling lens or body that he used for photographing small cacti in habitat needing low angle shots a few years ago:-

http://www.dcresource.com/reviews/nikon ... sq-review/

http://www.steves-digicams.com/camera-r ... eview.html

DaveW

ChrisR
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Post by ChrisR »

Otherwise Live View to me does not provide anymore advantage than using a viewfinder which shows the image until just before the shutter button is pressed.
Well, you can enlarge a tiny section of the view to check focus etc. On mine on a 3" screen, I think it goes to x27, which is quite a close view. Pixels, just/almost.
It's a lot brighter than the viewfinder, too.
Yes I use Live view quite a lot when preparing a macro/micro subject, and yes the camera gets pretty warm and the battery goes flat pretty quick!

If I didn't have it I'd plug in to a monitor, or just use Review, no big deal. I'm not sure it matters much what camera you have. Ways of skinning cats, an all that.

I'd like a Canon with an MPE 65, and the silent mode shutter and their better macro flash, but thinking about workarounds is keeping me off the streets, and a Canon can't use a 70 - 180 micro, or a 14-24 ... :)

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