Save 17% On All Regatta Jackets With Code: JACKETS17

TAMRON 90mm f2.8 macro

14 Sep 2020 8:28PM
I have had this lens since new and it is a very sharp lens. Any advice please on how i can shoot butterflies and insects on plants with this lens would be desirable. I keep the lens on FULL, VC and AF whilst hand held. My eyesight is not that good hence not using MF. I have a Canon 70D which effectively makes the lens become 144mm with the crop factor. Sometimes I get good shots, sometimes ones that are nearly there. I think most of my nearly theres are not selecting the right aperture and shutter speed and therefore practice makes perfect. . Should I use the setting 0.5 metres tom to infinity? When shooting the likes of butterflies you cannot measure how far the end of the lens is away from a butterfly, but as 0.5m is effectiveky something like 1' 7" in distance perhaps this setting is best. Am I right in thinking that the setting 0.3m to 0.5 m is for shooting the likes of hoverflies. As I say any advice welcomed. Thank you. David
justin c 17 5.1k 36 England
14 Sep 2020 10:32PM
I would use manual focus. As your eyesight isn't good, can you not select the camera to 'beep' when correct focus has been obtained.
A sturdy tripod would be a good investment if you want to get the best from that lens.
14 Sep 2020 10:45PM
Justin. Thanks for commenting. Will have to enquire about a beep. As to using tripods some photographers do use them and await for a butterfly to Alight at a certain location. But in my experience butterflies generally only stay in position for a few seconds if that. David
chavender Plus
10 507 1 France
15 Sep 2020 7:35AM
Hi David,
I assume that you are shooting without flash?
My approach would be to focus on the butterfly at a few metres and then move in slowly with no sudden movements whilst maintaining focus and shoot a few images.
I always use manual focus and find that my keeper rate is higher.
The af range/limit settings on the lens are to prevent the lens from hunting over the entire range therfore slowing down focus
Some butterflies will let you get quite close and stay still for a while whilst feeding.
Your keeper rate will improve with practice (we all have some "almost" images).
15 Sep 2020 7:43AM
Very helpful comments Bill. Much appreciated. David
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
15 Sep 2020 11:35AM
If you half press the shutter button whilst manual focusing the selected AF point and the focus confirmation indicator should light up (I presume if you have the 'beep' enabled then it will sound when focus is achieved).
If you do need AF then perhaps selecting continuous AF may help, it isn't perfect but can be usable as long as you are not moving the camera too much. With the camera on a tripod continuous AF works a lot better.

Butterflies and other insects are easier to photograph when they are roosting, so early morning before they have had the time to warm up in order to fly is perhaps the best time as is late in the day when they are preparing to roost.

15 Sep 2020 11:56AM
Thanks Phil. I can see from your portfolio you know what you are talking about. David
15 Sep 2020 1:25PM
As well as the issue of acquiring focus, there is also an issue with depth of field. The closer you get, the shallower the depth of field. For example, your 90mm lens on an APS body at f5.6 at 0.5m distance, you have a depth of field of 1cm which makes the focus point ultra critical.
To get a greater depth of field you need to close the aperture down to say f16 or even smaller. At f16 and 0.5m subject distance you have around 2cm depth of field, but of course, at f16 the shutter time will be much longer and, depending on the light, you will probably need to raise the ISO to avoid problems of movement (of the subject or indeed of your camera).
Macro photography often pushes the limits of what the camera (and photographer) can do. Just getting focus is frequently not enough, you need to focus on exactly the right part of the subject to make best use of the very limited depth of field. Because there is more depth of field behind the focus point than in front, usually that will be at about 1/3.
It might be helpful to practice on static subjects where you can take your time to focus and see what works best.
Philh04 Plus
15 2.3k United Kingdom
15 Sep 2020 1:37PM

Quote: Because there is more depth of field behind the focus point than in front, usually that will be at about 1/3.

Not at close up/macro distances, the DoF is equal front and back of the plane of focus, but yes as you get closer the DoF decreases, this is the reason I much prefer to use a tripod and find roosting insects. Smile
15 Sep 2020 1:40PM
Thanks Phil and David. From this David
bricurtis Plus
15 2.4k 51 England
15 Sep 2020 8:49PM
I see nobody has mentioned AF - fine tune, in the camera settings.
Camera tolerances and Lens tolerances can can cause forward or back focusing when the two come together.
Might be worth doing a test. You can download charts that will help you see where your focal point is and set as required. Camera on tripod for test.
I have 2 Nikon bodies and 2 macro lens - Nikkor 105 & Sigma 150 EX. Both these lenses back focused initially on both cameras until I had Auto tuned them. Camera will save settings.
15 Sep 2020 9:16PM
Brian. I think I would need someone with the technical expertise you have next to me so I could follow this. Thank you for being willing to assist. David
15 Sep 2020 9:46PM
I did the manual focusing as you suggested on a rubeclia. Worked
Thankyou. David

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.