Sunday, February 17, 2013

Miss B and the new lens

Tonight, Laurie spied a spider creeping out from under a bookcase to grab a tiny fly. One of Brownie's relatives; it's been a while since I saw one. We've had a long, almost critterless winter around here.

Time to test out the new macro lens. I took a dozen shots, then she objected to the flash and went to hide under the books again.

Photo #3, unedited except for lighting, and cropped to about 1/4 the original. (Click to see full size.)

The lens has its quirks. I'll have to do quite a bit of work to learn to use its good points and compensate for the problems.

I can't crawl in too close. That's good, and not so good. I'd never have gotten an inch from Miss B, here, as I would have had to do with the old cameras. But I'm also getting a lot of background, wasted pixels.

The closest I can manage to focus is at 6 inches. And there, the depth of field is next to nil. In the photo above, the tips of her legs and the back half of her abdomen are out of focus.

Miss B's fly, very small. Only a narrow strip of carpet is in focus; a quarter inch at the most.

The camera is quick, and has VR (vibration reduction) enabled. This really helps with camera shake, a big help when I'm on belly and elbows on the floor, hand-holding the camera, stalking a critter that moves about. Only three photos out of the dozen were badly blurred, a record for me.

And the flash works consistently, without a long wait to recharge.

Focussing, even in the semi-dark, is quick and accurate. When the spider wandered off, the focus followed her.

But. I'll have to work up to manual focus, to be able to aim at the part of the spider I'm interested in. Eyes and fangs, for example. The Auto focus just says, "Small object!" and aims for the center, ending up with a knee in focus and the eyes a blur.

Note: Steatoda bipunctata (Miss B and all her kin) make very messy webs. Even to their bug tie-downs. No neat butcher's packages for them.

Also: S. bipunctata's favourite food is sowbugs. With my nose on the carpet, I could see under the bookshelf. Miss B's stash of leftover dinners is a couple or three dried sowbugs.


  1. Yes, macro photography is tricky! One thing that helped me was to set up my camera's autofocus for a single center point (vs. averaging focus over mutliple points, which is the default setting). Then you just point the spot at where you want sharp focus (like on the eye).

  2. Thanks! I've been reading the manual tonight to figure out how to set it this way. (The manual is wrong. As usual.)


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