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By ctxuk  
Making do with what I have, shot with Nikon D700 Pk 13 and Nikon Nikkor 35 - 135 mm 3.5 - 4.5. Not the greatest of lens but do Nikon make a decent macro lens? I read the answer is no. Shot in Manual with manual focus.

As with all my images I look at how it views to myself rather than flags, although I have to say auto process in ACR blows both ends out, I checked what it produced then set all by eye. I am of a mind that if the image is pleasing to look at, it can't be far wrong. Hopefully this is that, pleasing to view.

I do realise that I am not going to achieve the dramatic macro's that people get adding a Raynox to a lens or by employing focus stacking but this wee beastie flew off to pollinate another.

Variable wind (gusts, low) and intermittent sunlight/shade
Thoughts, views and suggestions please. I will upload the capture file as a default setting jpeg in mods.

Tags: Nature Flower Insect Yellow Countryside Flowers and plants Close-up and macro English Stamen Pistils

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paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
15 May 2015 9:56PM
You have done quite well with the wrong gear. There is a slight lack of resolution and shots like this need the insect sharp. A zoom is never goung to be a decent macro lens despite manufacturers using the macro tag.

F45, too, is really not a good idea when you want good resolution. The lens will not perform well at alk at such a tiny aperture.

I would have thought the Nikon macro lenses will be pretty good. However, I use Sigma macro lenses. The 105 mm is well Priced and as good or better than rhe marque lenses. You do not need to use Nikon lenses.


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banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4051 Canada
16 May 2015 12:14AM
Its a decent close-up effort Martyn

The verion you uploaded as the mod, - the straight ACR output, as shot, is, in my opinion a much better image that the processed version. It still needs a little work, but the exposure is better.

What you are seeing in the ACR histogram looks like its blown on the right; however, clcik the triangle warning to enable the hot areas to become red, and you will see that its is the colour yellow thats over saturated.

This is addressed by reducing the saturation of yellow; the Bee is very dark in the processed version, but in the original raw, that shadow can be brought up easily one the exposure is not decreased.

Compare the mod Ive uploaded to the others. The exposure and all other settings, except shadow are thew same; yellow saturation is reduced; its cropped; and the Bee has been sharpened.

So some practice, and paying close attention to what the histogram is really telling you will get you in the direction you want.

The 27.5 mm extension tube allows you to magnify the subject as the lens is further from the camera; there will be some light lost I would think. As an approach, its superior to attaching a Raynor to the front.

f/45 will give you very roughly an image that 5 times less sharp than using f/16; this is true for all lenses. So a larger aperture, which would cause a faster shutter, would be a better bet.

Nikon do of course make decent macro lenses, as do many others. One point thats important in the discussion if you are thinking about a macro lens, - get a focal length longer than 100mm, which will allow you to be further from the subject, ensuring the insect isnt scared off and the light is also better as you dont risk the camera/lens causing a shadow.

There are many used macro lenses for sale, including older Nikon manual focus lenses that you could check out.


ctxuk 10 7 1 England
16 May 2015 12:19AM
Thanks Paul
Agree on the tack sharp and my lack of.
That f45 is dubious, my PK13 has suffered a tiny knock to the casing, a very very minor ding is affecting the aperture ring, that aside though, the lens only goes to f22 on its own, with it on i'm not sure what is true, my Fuji's never reported that from memory.

I saw your mod - left now wondering if I have monitor and calibration issues. Yours seems to have less colour saturation and is not as dark in the shadows.

Thanks to both of you though.
ctxuk 10 7 1 England
16 May 2015 12:21AM
ooops, Your post has now appeared banehawi ... will comment again in a few after I read and digest it. It wasn't there when i posted my previous comment
ctxuk 10 7 1 England
16 May 2015 12:27AM
banehawi - I read and understand it clearly!
I did click on the histogram and saw the red on the yellow flowers, it's not something I have seen before in all honesty and I thought an error somehow, I never realised they also reveal saturation as well as highlights.
Thank you.
paulbroad Plus
12 131 1286 United Kingdom
16 May 2015 8:04AM
In the film days, before digital, I managed macro for years with a 50mm and a set of tubes. 50mm of tubes plus a 50mm lens gives 1:1 on a full frame camera, more on a C sensor. That can work very well. Zooms are not ideal for macro.

banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4051 Canada
16 May 2015 12:14PM
You need to calibrate a monitor regularly if you are serious about accurate colour and tonal representations of images Martyn.

If its never been calibrated, you need to get it done.

banehawi Plus
15 2.2k 4051 Canada
16 May 2015 12:25PM
Martyn, its ok if you want the image oversaturated, where the problem can arise is when you reduce exposure on the entire image because you are addressing a problem with exposure that doesnt exist.

The mod IS less saturated in yellows only, however, you can see the Bee, and detail in the flowers that cannot be seen in the other version.

ctxuk 10 7 1 England
17 May 2015 4:54AM

Normally calibrated every two weeks, you must have missed me posting it previously. Monitor is a Dell U2410. Calibration with Xrite Huey Pro Pantone system, ambient light adjust switched off so its not changing as I work. Monitor on a corner desk, surrounded on all sides and set back 10 inches from front lip of sides so no direct light falls on it. The same as employing a hood really.

Being used to fuji colours, and thinking it looks a tad washed out, yes I would probably increase it a little, but not overtly. My main reason for knocking the exposure back was the fact the stamens were without detail, but, they are yellow, so reducing that as you have said may have fixed it. If you examine my mod, or should I call it default produced jpeg? you will see they are blown, the main image isn't.

It's funny, I semi have a recollection of being told of the saturation on the flags before, or perhaps reading it somewhere. That's half the battle with teaching yourself, using books, videos and intuition.

I did try lightening the bee in the body and also sharpening it in ACR as a selective process painted in, used two different pins so independent of each other, just to me looked wrong, but that I think more the sharpening on his head. Anyway, I cleared them both as I don't know how to remove one pin only and didn't trust leaving them reset to zero.
dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
17 May 2015 7:45PM
I'll second Willie's suggestion: for quality, a set of extension tubes should be the first port of call, rather than a clip-on device (which is, in fact, a glorified close-up lens).

I'm not a Nikon user, but I would be very surprised indeed if they don't make rocking good macro lenses: however, like Paul, I use a Sigma (which I bought secondhand several years ago). It's really very sharp indeed.

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