www.photomacrography.net :: View topic - New to Macro work - I need advice please re: tripod & ra
www.photomacrography.net Forum Index
An online community dedicated to the practices of photomacrography, close-up and macro photography, and photomicrography.
Photomacrography Front Page Amateurmicrography Front Page
Old Forums/Galleries
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
New to Macro work - I need advice please re: tripod & ra

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Beginners Macro
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
The Kooky Kiwi



Joined: 03 Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Golden Bay, NZ

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: New to Macro work - I need advice please re: tripod & ra Reply with quote

Hello Everyone!

I have recently begun photography as a hobby and have spent the past year or so learning my way around basic photography principles and gear. I am fascinated by the world of macro photography and have so far been dabbling with my kit lens (18-55mm 1:1), some extension tubes and a wide angle lens. I've had a great amount of fun with this setup and taken what I think are some interesting photos and am now ready (and excited) to take the next step and expand my learning and skill.

I have recently allowed myself some new purchases and now have the following gear:

Canon EOS 760D
MP-E 65mm f/2.8 lens
MR14EX mkII Macro ring flash

To date I've mostly worked hand-held but I am now (financially) at liberty to invest in a quality tripod and rails setup so that I can explore the world of photo stacking!

I would very much appreciate some advice and suggestions as to possible options in this regard.

A thought to consider: I do not have a dedicated studio space and I need to be able to "put away" my gear after a weekend of creativity so I'm happy to consider any suggestions related to "fixed" setups, but portability is, to some degree, a necessity.

Thanks in advance!
The Kooky Kiwi

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Overread



Joined: 27 Aug 2017
Posts: 18
Location: UK - England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the world of macro! Nice oil and water shot! Ringflash actually gives a neat reflection in them!

You don't state what your budget is, for anything (esp macro) there are low and high cost options that can get you what you want. As a result an idea of what kind of ballpark budget you've got would be most helpful. It might be that you've got enough to get all the best or that you might only have enough to get one really good item now and continue to save up for more.


Tripods - it sounds like you don't need to be highly mobile so you can likely discount the carbonfibre tripods and focus on a good stable, if heavier, set of legs. This means that you can often get what you're after cheaper or even second hand. A good solid set of legs is a must, as is a set that will go down nice and low.
Personally I'm not a fan of some of the low options such as the manfrotto 055XPROB legs. They are good legs, but the way they go low down I don't tend to like as I feel that, for macro, the arm design introduces a bit too much wobbling for its own good (esp if you're doing very high magnifications). So a set of legs where the head mounts to the middle instead of to a column (note most have a central column; but can remove it to allow direct mounting to the base; others have no central and mount direct to the base).
Manfrotto make good solid tripods; Gitzo make higher grade, but at a much higher price.

Avoid any of the dirt cheap and light tripods; they simply will not work.


Automatic rails I can't advise much save to say that I've had my eye on the Cognisys stack-shot for a long long while and just never been able to afford/justify it at yet. They also do a range of other attachments such as laser trips, audio trips and even a waterdrop kit that lets you control drop rates so that might be something that interests you as a kit you can expand on.

Manual rails I've found that I'm not a fan of manfrotto's design. It's ok, but if you use a battery grip then its near useless with a typical macro lens and lens collar (because of where they chose to place the turn-screws) unless you mount it sideways (as opposed to under the camera).
I've found that the cheap ebay-no-name rails like this
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Pro-Version-4-Way-Macro-Shot-Focusing-Rail-Metal-Slider-for-DSLR-Camera-Tripod-/162599385661?epid=2175512226&hash=item25dbadba3d:g:jC4AAOSwjk9ZXvx4
sold under a whole range of different product names (but the same rails). Are actually pretty good in general use. Next level up I think is looking at something like the Novoflex rails (which are very pricey).


Also don't forget that if you're going for a studio style setup - ergo tripod and rails- then you can also consider changing your lighting setup. Off-camera flash can be a big benefit in letting you have different control over the lighting. Furthermore getting the flash off the lens (in the case of the ringflash) means that you've got more room to diffuse the light through things like softboxes.
If you consider off-camera flash you can also look at your standard Speedlite design flashes. There's a whole myriad of setups you can use here from the expensive and newest Canon 600RT flashes which have built in radio control - through to 3rd party speedlites and cable triggers (which is far cheaper).

The great thing about macro is that many of the cheap approaches can produce results as good as the expensive; the expensive tend to offer more features; more breadth in what's possible and often get used outside of just macro. They also tend to be better built; but proper use of cheaper options shouldn't cause them undue damage.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ChrisR
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7181
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd say look here:
http://www.wemacro.com/?product_cat=extreme-macro
or
http://www.mjkzz.com/product-page/precision-focus-stacking-kit-sr-90p-usb

All of those appear to be good value.

If you find a Wemacro ( or Stackshot) rail not quite good enough at highest (in the future, perhaps) magnifications, then item 2, Micromate, on the Wemacro top row, coupled to a suitable used microscope base (eg Olympus CH-2 etc, quite cheap), would work well.

A Stackshot comes suiting smaller steps than the Wemacro, and Zerene Stacker will drive it directly, which is nice.

Next "smaller" from where you are, would be to use a suitable "tube lens" (from well under $100) with a microscope objective, eg a 10x from ~$60 new, upwards. A long way upwards if you want to push it.

A full-size flashgun would be very useful, with wireless trigger, something which can stand a lot of diffusion.

Look at the Manfrotto 410 geared head.

And a regular 100mm or so macro lens, if funds permit. Canon or Sigma are the obvious ones.

Trond or Jansjo LED lamps.

Plus Ping pong balls, really Wink.
_________________
Chris R
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Overread



Joined: 27 Aug 2017
Posts: 18
Location: UK - England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I forgot about tripod head recommendations!

I fully second the manfrotto junior geared head. A geared head lets you control each of the 3 axis of movement with fine control on adjustment knobs. You turn the knob and the plane moves very slowly. It's perfect for macro work. You can even twist each knobs lock to let you fast turn that axis.

There are other geared heads on the market, but they are very expensive and honestly overkill for most macro work.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 338
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You said that you don't have a dedicated studio.

Where are you doing your work?

If you are working in your living room or other room with a "live" floor, beware of movement of the camera relative to the subject.

I live in a [lousy] apartment and don't have an [optimal] dedicated work area either. I always work in the same place, but the floor is HORRIBLY unstable. When the camera was mounted on a tripod separate from the subject platform, you could see GROSS movement between the two just from shifting from one foot to the other.

It was so bad that I ended up abandoning the tripod for indoor macro work. I made a mount onto which I could affix an extra ballhead. I then clamped this to my work table. There was still movement, but at least the camera and subject were moving together. I recently replaced the wooden fixture that I first used with a security camera wall mount thrown out in the '90s by the NASA LeRC security office. I eventually plan to replace that with an optical breadboard.

If you're working in a typical room in a residential house or apartment, I wouldn't even bother with the tripod, unless it's small enough to mount on your work surface.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Deanimator



Joined: 23 Oct 2012
Posts: 338
Location: Rocky River, Ohio, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Overread wrote:
I forgot about tripod head recommendations!

I fully second the manfrotto junior geared head. A geared head lets you control each of the 3 axis of movement with fine control on adjustment knobs. You turn the knob and the plane moves very slowly. It's perfect for macro work. You can even twist each knobs lock to let you fast turn that axis.

There are other geared heads on the market, but they are very expensive and honestly overkill for most macro work.

I was interested in a geared head, but the combination of cost and non-Arca quick release on the Manfrotto led me to buy a conventional ballhead.

I might some day get a geared head, but as you point out, they're significantly more expensive than even decent ballheads.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Overread



Joined: 27 Aug 2017
Posts: 18
Location: UK - England

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The thing is whilst a ballhead is all well and good, you can't control it as easily for fine adjustments. They are much faster to initially position, but you can typically only control them in a more limited fashion compared to the fine control of a geared head.

Conversely a geared head is mostly useless for things other than macro and landscape. So its picking the right tool for the job.


Note OP - the Arca Swiss being spoken about is a quick release plate design. The plates are unique to specific camera bodies/lens collars/battery grips and feature a lip design that means the plate cannot rotate in any way around the screw. Manfrotto and generic plates have a rubber grip to try and prevent rotation.

Arca Swiss is very popular, but because the plate design is so different you either have to use arca swiss designed tripod heads or use an adaptor. There are many affordable ones for the standard manfrotto quick release system, but the geared head mentioned earlier has a unique quick release plate design.

There are some adaptors out there to let you mount an arcaswiss plate to the manfrotto geared head
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Hejnar-conversion-4-Manfrotto-410-arca-kirk-markins-wimberley-acratech-rrs-/331475512947?hash=item4d2d7aee73:g:IRgAAOSwNSxU2VY9

Not cheap, but then arca plates themselves are not cheap either
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
The Kooky Kiwi



Joined: 03 Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Golden Bay, NZ

PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you everyone for the comments and suggestions. I've been reading your suggestions here and browsing a number of other threads - and yep.. there are a LOT of options and factors to consider!

I will stress that I am only a beginner to the field at this time so, while I do not mind investing in some quality gear, I am limited by my experience for now and do not need super technical kit just yet.

To respond to some of the questions posted above:

* I have a budget in NZ$ of $800 or less.
* I will be predominantly working inside in the dining area as this has a nice open work area and loads of good natural light. I'm on the ground floor with a concrete base, on which there is an underlay then wooden floor boards. So yes I will get some movement but not too much.
* I do also like to get outdoors with the camera so I would like a setup that can cope with being out in the paddocks and down at grass/bug level. Weight isn't really an issue because all my outdoor haunts are accessible by either a short walk or by quad bike Smile No hiking required!
* My son is also an amateur photographer - his favoured settings are landscape and astral - so I'd like to be able to share this gear with him.

All of the above factors taken into account, how do you all feel about the following combination of options?



The Bieke 620 tripod (I can get the legs without the head but this combination is currently on special and this head may be practical for my son to use and for me when doing non macro work)

http://www.phototools.co.nz/beike-bk-620-heavy-duty-professional-tripod-1512

AND

The Manfrotto 410 Junio Geared Head - for the macro work.

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Overread



Joined: 27 Aug 2017
Posts: 18
Location: UK - England

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've not used that brand of legs before, but the appear well priced and appear solid so should be a decent choice.

Also note that you will want to add a set of rails like the ones I linked in my post earlier. The back-forward motion is very important for macro and gaining focus as you will find it very hard to move the tripod back/forth in tiny adjustments required to gain focus.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
The Kooky Kiwi



Joined: 03 Sep 2017
Posts: 3
Location: Golden Bay, NZ

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Overread!

Yes I have now ordered a rail based on your earlier suggestion. Here in NZ there were only "unbranded" options which all seem much the same when viewing via the internet. I'm rural and not at liberty to go into a shop to view the options for a proper comparison so I've had to make a judgement call, order via internet, and the proof will be in the performance once I get myself set up and put it to the test.

I'm hoping to have everything here and set up by the weekend. I've already informed the family that the dining area will be mine until further notice LOL.

Have a lovely day and thank you again. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    www.photomacrography.net Forum Index -> Beginners Macro All times are GMT - 7 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group