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macro photo tips

Discussion in 'Through the Lens' started by BigBadConrad, Jan 26, 2004.

  1. BigBadConrad

    BigBadConrad Arachnobaron Old Timer

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    I've been working with my new Nikon Coolpix 4300 for a couple weeks now. Very jealous of all the great macro shots I see in the T forum! I have a pretty nice camera and gear, and I know it's up to the task, but I'm not so far. While I've gotten some good outdoor shots, even macros, I've had almost no success indoors, particularly with close-up shots and macros of my Ts and other bugs. I have tried every mode (scene, manual, even auto, which seems to only be a good choice for outdoor snapshots) and setting within each mode, but haven't figured out a best or even good combination yet. With close-ups and macros, I don't know if I'm to always use Scene Close Up mode for these, and if I do, if I have to be at the minimum distance and have zoom set to full wide. Or do I go to manual mode and zoom in? I get a reflection off the glass (which I can minimize by the angle I use), or the lens auto-focuses on the glass instead of the animal. Even though I've read the manual, I can't figure out the "manual focus," nor could the "expert" at the local camera shop (actually, he just said it didn't work well and not to bother with it, just stay in auto focus). I would think that manual focus would help. I also know that for best results, external flashes and backlighting is best. I'm working on that, but in the meantime I have a Nikon Cool Light ring flash. Also bought a 2X teleconverter lens. I've tried them both individually (can't use them together, of course) and in every mode. The ring flash helps for close-ups a bit and I think I can get better results with it with more practice. As far as the 2X lens goes, I get no better shots with it than with the built-in lens. Also have a tripod. All shots are either bleached out (if built-in flash is used), way too dark (flash off) or very out-of-focus (most of them). Anyone know what the optimal distance from the subject is for the ring flash, or does it depend on the mode you're in? Any suggestions how I can become at least a DECENT photographer with this gear? I know it takes much practice and experience, but I can't really practice until I know I'm doing something right, and trial & error is getting me nowhere so far.

    Where do I turn to get some of this basic info so that I can start practicing and know I'm on the right track? Is there a good book? Is there a class that's specific to Nikon digital cameras? I have some basic photography knowledge from my 35mm SLR days, but haven't been able to apply much of it to this camera yet and it's getting frustrating. A well as a general recommendation as to where I can learn, I sure would appreciate any tips on how to get better indoor close-ups.

    Thanks,
    John
     
  2. Vanan

    Vanan Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Still a beginner in the way of the camera but here's what I do with my Nikon Coolpix 885. For indoor macros, always make sure you have ample lighting. I usually just use a table lamp or a flourescent bulb. As long as the distance between you and he subject is right, there should be no reason you should not be able to focus well. As for flashes, I don't use em much for macros but I've been able to pull it off fairly decently lately. I reduce the exposure in the manual mode to like -1.0 and use the flash. Ring flashes are ok too since you have a tripod.
     
  3. dwdeloach

    dwdeloach Arachnosquire

    I am by no means very technical when it comes to cameras. I can tell you how I use macro with the Coolpix 4500. I think the 4300 is very similar in function.

    In any mode (I usually use auto) I adjust the zoom all the way down. The should be a button on the Nikon that will allow you to toggle between the timer, a picture of a white tulip, etc... Toggle this until the white tulip is displayed. Once this is displayed you can start to zoom in until the white tulip turns yellow. You are now in macro mode. I can usually get within a couple of inches.

    I press the shutter button half way and allow the camera to auto focus and then press all the way to take the picture when it's done focusing.

    A small tripod helps a lot. I have one that allows me to be about 5 inches away. In this mode and that close any movement can blur the photo. I think the macro ring light should help. I wish I had one.

    Hope this helps some. Sorry I couldn't be more specific with the camera's parts. All in all, take lots of pictures and pick out the best ones.
     
  4. Vanan

    Vanan Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Here's one taken with no flash and with a desk lamp for lighting.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Longbord1

    Longbord1 Arachnoprince Old Timer

    his eye almost looks like the eye in the lord of the rings!!
     
  6. Phillip

    Phillip Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I used the 4300 for quite a while before upgarding to my 5700 and it will do great macro for you. What I used to do was 99% indoor stuff with good flourescent lighting. Make sure you change the light to flourescent in the menu and this will help a lot with getting the color right. Next up I very rarely used zoom at all but rather shot from somewhere in the 4 to say 7 or 8 inch range from the subject. Sometimes you will have to shoot twice from the same spot to get it to focus correctly but with a tripod and a bit of patience it is far from hard to do. The dealer was correct in that the manual focus isn't that great but it will work. It simply requires more tweaking than I cared to mess with.

    Phil
     
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