First shots with Sigma 150mm macro

Well I now own a brand new Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens – and a fantastic lens this is. A league away from my sigma 70-300mm macro, this new lens is capable of 1:1 macro as well as up to 2:1 (twice life size) when combined with a 2* teleconverter. Its well built, light enough to handhold and has a few nice features that even Canon L lenses lack – notably:

a) The lens hood is thicker and more durable than the canon L plastic hoods.

b) the tripod collar allows me to remove and attach the lens to it without having to remove the camera first – this is great when working on the move and wanting to go from tripod to handheld – granted there are quick release plates out there, but you still have to hold the collar on the lens – which can be a distraction.

All in all I was very please to get this lens and – needless to say – I did a lot of macro shooting whilst on holiday; though conditions were less than perfect with wind being a constant bother (and me being too lazy to get up in time for early morning insects in their slow period).
So here is what I got on holiday – I was also in a bit of an f2.8 addiction, hence I messed up the depth of field in quite a few (note becomes 5.6 with 2*TC).

All shots taken with:
Cannon ESO 400D
Sigma 150mm f2.8 Macro lens (teleconverter used on some – noted photos)
Speedlite 580M2 + diffuser (its still the toilet paper idea!)
hand held

For exif data save and review properties of the thumbnail version only – exif not attached to larger versions of shots.

First shots – on the windowsill

IMG_0110
f5.6, ISO 400, 1/160sec + 2*TC

IMG_0121
f16, ISO 400, 1/200sec + 2*TC
first of a series of wasp shots – as you can see with the 2*teleconverter even f16 has a small depth of field to it – part of the trade off for a greater level of magnification.

IMG_0124
f16, ISO 400, 1/200sec + 2*TC

IMG_0127
f16, ISO 400, 1/200sec + 2*TC

IMG_0129
f16, ISO 400, 1/200sec + 2*TC
The side of the windowsill is starting to appear now – obscuring some of the wasp as he has a clean.

IMG_0131
f16, ISO 400, 1/200sec + 2*TC

In the Garden

IMG_0713-no-sharpen
f2.8, ISO 100, 1/160sec
Link to 100% crop
I still really like this shot – one of my better bits of composition, it’s just a real shame that I stuck to that wide open aperture and lost the depth of field – even without the teleconverter the line is very fine.

This next series of shots I took on the side of a tree due to the wind making focusing on insects on leaves extremely difficult – the tree eliminated on problem, and also acted as good support to lean on when shooting.

IMG_1265

f13, ISO 100, 1/1600sec + 2*TC
Link to 100% crop

IMG_1269
f13, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC
Link to 100% crop
I am very proud of this shot – aside from the cutting off of a whole section of the bug, the angle and depth of field have worked really well. To get the rest of the bug I would have to had moved the focus back to around 1:2 on the lens *which with the 2*TC would mean 1:1 magnification.*

IMG_1271
f13, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC
Moved the focus back in this shot – though clearly not enough to get the full insect

IMG_1278
f13, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC
First of a series of experiments in angles with a fly on the tree

IMG_1286
f16, ISO 400, 80sec + 2*TC
Going for a greater depth of field – though if I had a perfect overhead shot I should not (in theory) need such a great depth.

IMG_1292
f8, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC
Link to 100% crop
I rather liked this shot – interesting angle, even though the depth of field is – again – not perfect.

IMG_1311
f13, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC

IMG_1317
f13, ISO 200, 1/100sec + 2*TC
Link to 100% crop
I rather like the warm colours and sharpness to the face that I captured in these two shots.

Husky Eye shots

Don’t ask me the why, but one objective I have is to get a close up macro shot of our huskies eye – of course this proves to be very much harder than it sounds as the only time that her head is not moving its sleeping – and then the eye is somewhat hidden 😉 – so far my two best examples:

IMG_0004
f2.8, ISO 100, 1.50sec
See what I mean about sleepy shut eyes!

IMG_0180
f5.6, ISO 200, 1/160sec + 2*TC
Well a little better, but not the sharpness I am after.

Lessons Leant

1) Macro photography is not easy to focus on, I picked up loads of shots where the focus was just off the eyes, or totally missing the insect. Wind is a major problem with this regard.

2) The 2*TC is not the perfect addition – whilst I really like being able to get 2:1 macro, I am losing the depth of field many times – so I think changing to the naked lens for a while might be in order to get that depth of field back; whilst improving composition for other times when using the 2*TC

3) Keep an eye on settings and keep the aperture closed down as much as possible for the greatest depth of field.

4) No matter how hard macro insect photography is getting a huskies eye in macro is at least twice (if not more) as hard!

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