skinnybonedog said:Hey Guys,
Thanks for all the nice comments. I am using a Nikon D70 (which I LOVE) with a 105mm 2.8 AF-D (using it manually)...Nikon 4T close up lens and mostly onboard flash. I have an SB-29s macro/ring flash but find that the onboard does such a great job that is not worth the extra effort to set up the SB-29s. I am getting an extension tube this week so I can get closer.
Kyle, I do not find the 105mm too much...I assume you mean too close? There have only been a few times I had to back off a little to get the shot if the frog was right up by the glass. Most of the time I can not get close enough which is why I am going to try a 25mm extension tube to get closer. I have the 3t lens as well but when I stack it with the 4T, the DOF is just so short and I don't like the results. The sad thing is alot of the macro accessories render the D70 into a manual mode with no metering and no TTL....and while it is great to be able to preview the image to make sure I got what I wanted, it can also means I miss some great shots by having to mess around with the settings to much.
skinnybonedog said:Hey Kyle,
With the right flash set up you can stop the macro lens down more and gain more DOF....you start to lose quality when you add glass/closeup filters onto the end of any lens...and you also lose more DOF. How many frogs do you have that will let you get within 2cms from them....mine won't, so focusing that close would be of little value imho...my 105mm will focus on its own about 11 inches and with the 4T I think it is about 4-5 inchs but neither of those are exact. On most of my shots I have the lens right on the glass....helps a ton with stability.
You might see if you can try out some macro lenses also as I doubt the zoom you are thinking of would not give you results as sharp as a dedicated macro and unsharp mask in PS can only do so much without degrading the image...just some thoughts.
Most of the shots on my gallery are full frame or very minimally cropped!!! So I am not sure why you feel "it is tough" to fill the frame with a DSLR? I fill the frame on a regular/daily basis unless the frog is at the back of the tank...I am just speaking as someone who is doing this every day
as an example of full frame, no cropping
I have used a 70-180mm Nikon Mirco and while I did like it for the zoom I am not sure I liked it better than my 105mm...keep in mind though that the 70-180 is a specialized zoom that is optimized for micro work. I may be buying the very lens I tried in a few months when where I work sells it. I have used a standard/macro zoom, the 28-105 which has a pseudo macro that is about 1:2. something and the results did in no way compare to the 105mm....but have not tried a regular standard zoom. The problem with a standard zoom is there is no optimization for close up work...they were not designed to do that so they just do not do it as well as a lens made to do the job...the right tool for the job applies here. I am not saying you will not/can not get good or great results...I just doubt the results will be consistently good or great....again my opinion only but based somewhat on fact by the lens design.
....I am just trying to help you make a good decision from someone who is doing it now, as you seem to have an idea about DSLR that I do not find to be true (.ie the filling the frame idea) :wink: ....all just my experience of course from someone who has been shooting for over 25 years.
No, I do not have the aperture maxed...far from it...with the onboard flash the smallest I can get is about f20....I start getting underexposure stopped down more (and if I use compensation I end up with blown highlights...I have not had the D70 for long so am still learning how to set it up so I get the best results). So my plan is to test the macro flash and see how far I can stop down. While I would love to have the whole frog in focus I often do not like the results due to the snapshot look you get when more things are in focus...it looks very amaturish to my eyes. The blured background is something, that to me, makes photos stand out from everyday shots....and a good balance between the two is something to strive for. I was playing around over the weekend and took some shots in the f8 range and while the DOF was terrible, I managed to get one really weird shot...the frogs face was pretty sharp and further out in the frame is a fruit fly also sharp...makes no sense as they are not on the same plane so I don't know how the shot happened. I showed it to a photographer at work and he could not explain it either....so sometimes shallow DOF ends up being really cool
For most of the shots I am up on the glass with the lens. I have tried using a monopod (with the 70-180 micro) but it was too cumbersome and I lost shots....no way a tripod would be of use to me. I use the glass as a stabalizer....when you get that close ANY shaking or breathing will ruin the shot.
Not sure where you live Kyle but here in Calif. there are places that rent all kinds of gear....so check into it where you live.
I did not get the kit lens. I have read both good and bad reviews. I already had a bunch of Nikon glass so did not need that lens. I did just get the 12-24mm and am excited about that. While I know everyone wants the most for their money....skimping on the glass is not the way to go...get a cheaper body and better glass, never the other way around. I "love" seing people with the Nikon D1x or D2h who stick consumer grade lenses on Nikon's pro bodies. Just plain silly logic....
Anyway...let me know what you end up with.