Friday, September 10, 2010

New Canon EOS 7D and Macro Photography

As I've mentioned in passing earlier, since a few days before the earthquake, I'm not a proud/happy owner of a Canon EOS 7D.

In a way, the earthquake came at a convenient timing with-respect-to-the-camera, as it does pose some interesting subjects to take photos of (once I can get out and about to do so safely, that is).

I've got the main things I was looking for:
1) fast + responsive digital camera (it's just about if not faster than the old film camera we used to use, before it was retired after film processing became prohibitively expensive/inconvenient, and the long-suffering zoom lens got arthritis which meant it couldn't retract "unaided")
2) comfortable to hold and use
3) manual control when I need it

So, what has this to do with macro photography? Well, for one thing, I got a macro lens for this camera since I was having quite a bit of fun doing this, and being able to do it on nicer equipment would be, well, nice :D

Armed with a 60mm f/2.8 macro lens, I started trying to take some snaps of small items around my desk.

From Macro Experiments (Sep 2010)

From Macro Experiments (Sep 2010)

From Macro Experiments (Sep 2010)

While I initially tried using autofocus for these, I ended up manually focussing by the time I took these ones.
- For one thing, I still hadn't totally figured out how to get to grips with all the different ways to autofocus yet (and interesting target for another day), which meant that the camera was sometimes picking some rather "interesting" spots to autofocus with especially with closeups. Therefore, focussing manually was just the obvious choice for trying to see what could be done fast and easily.
- The other reason is that the autofocus was starting to behave a bit strangely: focussing right in/out until it got a blurred result and then refusing to budge (thinking that it had got the right result). I'm not sure what's causing this, as it worked fine for a few shots before the earthquake, and also for one or two when I started playing around with it in this session.

Anywhoo, what this does bring up is the focussing with shallow DOF is quite tricky to get right! Actually, the hardest part is trying to decide what to focus on, as it's very easy to knock out stuff you kindof wanted to showcase too. Oh, and I must remember to clean off the dust (that's what all that white/grey stuff was!) from the subjects before trying to do this again ;)

IMO I still have a very long way to go before I think I can consider myself even somewhat proficient at using a "proper" macro lens to do macros I consider decent. But that's all part of the fun I guess!

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