Tuesday, January 10, 2006


Macro Lens Report - Canon 100mm f/2.8 USM

The macro lens arrived a few days ago. The first test photos seem to indicate everything is working pretty well! All photos taken in auto mode with a Canon 20Da.


This photo of red impatients shows two things. One, the detail at close range is a lot better than before. Two, and this is true for most of the rest of the photos in this report, that the camera doesn't seem to underexpose. Macro lenses generally require a step up in exposure. There's a table in the manual that came with the lens where increase in exposure steps from 1/3 to 2 were recommended. Because it varies so much depending on the other settings, in general photographers doing macro work bracket their photographs. In other words, multiple shots are taken in a short interval where the exposure is varied over a range. The best photo is selected from the bunch.


If anything, this very small white flower (the bloom is about a half-inch across at the most) seems overexposed rather than underexposed. However, the flowers do have a very flat look in "real life", so I'm not surprised at the way this shot turned out. The petals have a waxy dull look and feel.


Here's a shot that might be a bit underexposed, but it was in shade and the detail didn't seemed to be lost. Compare it to the following shot of the same species of flower taken with the Olympus Cammedia 1040Z.


The detail and color seem to be improved.


Here is a very small fuzzy leaf with a snail trail across the upper part of the leaf. Note that the lower curled-towards-you part of the leaf is out of focus. This indicates a very narrow depth of field, which is a hallmark of macro lenses like this one (100mm f/2.8). Anyone wanting to do macro photography needs to learn how to best account for this, and achieve photographs that aren't overly limited by the narrow depth of field.


Here is a happy little purple flower! It's nice to be able to get in this close. The texture on the petals showed up much more distinctly than I expected.


Picking the point of focus in order to best accomodate the narrow depth of field sometimes only requires that enough be in focus in order to achieve a focused effect. There's a very tiny bug in this rose interior that I saw only after looking at the photo when it was uploaded to flickr. I marked it with a note on the photo's home page at flickr. Just click to go see where the little bug is. I don't think that level of detail was possible with the other camera.


Things that are round, like this spray of Alyssum, seem like a challenge to macro. You have to pick something as the center of attention and then make sure that's captured in focus.

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