What cameras and lenses do people use?

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David De Angelis
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What cameras and lenses do people use?

Postby David De Angelis » Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:51 pm

What types of camera and lens set-ups are people using to get close-up shots of frogs?

I have a digital SLR and am thinking of investing in a macro lens.

Cheers,
David.

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Postby Eipper » Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:24 pm

David,

I have a nikon d70 (I am upgrading to the d300 shortly)

I use a 105 sigma dx macro for frog and tadpole shots

I use a 18 to 70 nikkor zoom for landscapes/habitat shots

I have a manfrotto twin macro flash bracket

And 2 nikon sb 800 flash guns (but I am thinking of using 3)

I also have a tamron 70 300 telemacro/zoom that is handy for hard to get to places.

All up a lot of money...but I like my photography

Cheers,
Scott

David De Angelis
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Postby David De Angelis » Sat Oct 06, 2007 9:02 pm

That's a lot of camera equipment! :shock:

Would need to do some serious money saving and practice my technique some more if I wanted to get anywhere near that stage.

Thanks.

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Brad M
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Postby Brad M » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:07 pm

Nikon D70..

Use a 90mm Tamron macro frog frogs n tads

Also have the standard nikon 18-70 lens and another nikon 70-300 lens

and a nikon sb-800 speed light flash


Scott, does the D300 have 500th/sec flash sync? I know the D70 does thats why i like it a lot.

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Evan
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Postby Evan » Sun Oct 07, 2007 11:13 pm

I now use a Canon Powershot G7, and will soon add a small flash. I like to use compacts, as trudging an SLR around the bush isn't my idea of fun. Plus, the quality of this camera is amazing.

Still haven't tested it on really small frogs, but small to large frogs it works great. Clarity is beautiful.

Will post some pics of how well the new flash works when I get it.

Evan

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Nathan Litjens
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Postby Nathan Litjens » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:54 pm

Hi,

This is what I use:

- Canon EOS 400D camera body
- EF-S 60mm Macro (can fill the picture with a 5c coin)
- Twin 430EX Speedlites on a homemade aluminium bracket

Image

Image

Eipper
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Postby Eipper » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:40 pm

Brad,

Not sure about he flash sync..I image it would

The cour de gras for me on this camera.....a self cleaning ccd sensor!!!!!!

(it vibrates in 4 directions and pulses, in cleaning mode to remove any dirt etc!!!)

Cheers,
Scott

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Postby GrantW » Tue Oct 09, 2007 5:44 pm

Nothing special, just a compact kodak, lol, yes I know I need a better camera, but it gets the job done...

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Gulper
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Frog photography

Postby Gulper » Thu Oct 11, 2007 11:54 am

A digital SLR is a great idea, there are quite a few excellent ones on the market- www.dpreview.com is an excellent web site to compare features of different models and to look at the problems people might have with them. There are a huge range of macros lenses available, and a macro lens is an essential bit of kit for top class frog work. There are various focal lengths available, i generally use a 60mm Micro-Nikkor on my D200 but the 90mm Tamron macro lens has very good reviews. I also have a 150mm sigma macro lens but there is a bit of a yellow colour shift and the working distance doesn't lend itself very well for uncooperative subjects, and the depth of field is so small that critical focussing is difficult- so I don't often use it. There are as many opinions about lighting as there are photographers- while I do have a nikon SB800 (an expensive bit of kit) I actually USE a little "Nissin Snaplite" slave and a Starblitz 160-slave mini flash (second mounted on my camera). Both have been damped down with magic tape over the front or I would be over-exposing even at F18/ISO 100. I bracket by moving the slave in and out away from the subject and checking the histogram. I also use rechargeable batteries in my flash units- much more environmentally friendly than disposables and modern NiMH batteries last for ages. Bear in mind that most modern digital SLR cameras have a smaller sensor than a 35mm film frame so your field of view is effectively "cropped"- thus a 60mm lens on a camera with a DX sized sensor (the Nikon D200) becomes a 90mm lens. The thing about camera gear is that you get what you pay for (but shop around once you have chosen what you want), but even a basic digital SLR (and there are a lot of second hand ones on the market) with a good macro lens will be capable of delivering stunning shots once you get the composition and lighting right. Check out my frog galleries at http://www.pbase.com/gehyra/frogs

Consider the following though- a bright viewfinder will help you compose and focus in low light (which is an issue with some earlier Digital slrs and still dogs those four-thirds models, although some manufacturers are now making these with live view); dust reduction mechanisms can save a lot of frustration- but always be very careful changing lenses; more megapixels doesn't always mean better quality; and you have to carry the things about so consider weight and ruggedness- which is why I chose the D200 (it's rugged, like me hahaha..).

Also bear in mind pre-flashes and focus assist lights that flash can scare frogs (and other animals) and ruin your shots- unless you want a photo of an empty branch. I use my camera on manual- manual focus, manual exposure, manual flash output. This is what works for me.

I hope this helps.

Cheers,

Alex (aka Gulper).

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Postby Edgee » Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:38 am

I didn't realise that I was surrounded by a bunch of Nikon people or else I never would have spoken to any of you!!!! :lol:
I have a Canon 20D, 50mm canon lens for standard photography, my 60mm Canon macro lens for, well..... macro(frog) stuff and a 70-300mm sigma tele/macro lens for those hard to reach places.
I have recently purchased a Canon ring flash for my macro shots and still have to get my head around it.
I would have to say that Alex has made a good point in that you get what you pay for.
I used to have a couple of sigma lenses(standard and macro) but the canon lenses seem to be a lot easier to work with, especially on low light macro shots, as they seem to have a greater depth of field and the AF is much more effective.
I would also have to side with Evan and say that the hassle of SLRs in the bush/swamps, can become too great and effect the shot, whereas a good point and shoot can get a great, albeit flat, shot.

As the dollar is so good at the moment, you may want to check out: www.bhphotovideo.com as it works out a fair bit cheaper if you puchase over $400. Only drawback is that there is no warranty. Your other option is ebay and they usually have international warranties on their items. Ted's and camera house etc. are just too expensive.
The ball's in your court now.
Good luck.
Shane.

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Ring flash

Postby Gulper » Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:52 am

I bought a ring flash in about 1984 and got rid of it within weeks. There was always a little circle of light in the subject's eyes which was very distracting and generally it produced very flat results, which is what it is designed for. Unless you can control the flash output for different sections of the circle I suspect you will meet with the same frustrations.

Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm- all are capable of producing outstanding photographs in the hands of a good photographer; they are simply tools. When I show someone a photo and they say "you must have a good camera!" I feel like saying, "this is a lovely meal, you must have some good pots". Some people have an eye for composition and lighting, some of us rely on luck and practice. Rarely is a bad photograph the result of the limitations of the camera, just a photographer trying to work outside those limitations. You can have $10,000 worth of camera gear and still take awful photos, and someone else can take outstanding pictures with a "point and shoot"- although pictures of frogs at night can be a little tricky with a cheap digicam.

I have bought a lot of gear from www.d-d-photographics.com.au who seem to be very competitively priced and have good customer service.

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Re: Ring flash

Postby Evan » Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:02 am

Gulper wrote:When I show someone a photo and they say "you must have a good camera!" I feel like saying, "this is a lovely meal, you must have some good pots".


Hehe, I love it.

I'm hoping that the flatness problem can be remedied when I get the second flash. My camera has a hot shoe flash attachment, so I am not limited like most compacts when it comes to flash.

I have only printed one of my frog photos professionally, and it came out beautiful (Litoria barringtonensis), but I'll only print something properly if I am very happy with it.

Evan

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Nathan Litjens
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Ring flash alternative

Postby Nathan Litjens » Fri Oct 12, 2007 6:09 pm

Instead of a ring flash, get (or make, as I did) a double adapter and flash bracket. I designed my bracket in minutes and it cost $45 to weld up, as I don't have a welder. MY bracket allows the flashes to be swivelled, by loosening the wingnut holding them. I can point them forward to take photos of owls etc, and point them in for macro work. I can put the diffusing panel over one of the guns, or lower the power of one to allow excellent shape modelling.

Works a treat, and is cheaper and more versatile than a ring flash or macro flash.

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Postby Eipper » Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:09 pm

Here is the retail link to my macro flash bracket......awesome

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/3 ... acket.html

at the price, about $50 usd... great

worth checking this site out for any camera gear your chasing

Cheers,
Scott

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Postby Evan » Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:03 pm

I got a cheap, slave mini flash today (from B&H, they were the only people I could find that stocked it) and it seems to be working to remove the shadows that I'm getting. I've done a few test shots, and it seems to be going well. I'm sure the results will get better as I get more competent with it.

Click for larger

Just using the on-camera flash
Image

Using the slave and on-camera flash.
Image

Evan

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Gulper
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Sometimes the Olympus tilting screen would be good

Postby Gulper » Thu Nov 01, 2007 7:58 pm

That is what I was thinking when I was photographing this King Brown last night after shooing it off the road. It seemed like a placid snake, but because I had to focus through the lens I had to kneel down on the ground in front of it and from that position you can't jump out of the way very quickly.. Fast autofocus, live preview (with histogram) on a tiltable screen and a dust proof body.. C'mon Nikon, you can do it..

http://www.pbase.com/image/88232140

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Gulper
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Postby Gulper » Thu Nov 01, 2007 8:30 pm

Errr.. I filled the frame with a 60mm lens- I don't want to encourage stupidity through leading by example so I would prefer not to say, but given the DX crop factor on a 60mm lens I would say I was about 25cm from the snake- but it was outstretched and would have had to move its whole body to bite me and having watched it for a while I decided it was more curious than threatened. Still, I nearly got bitten on the nose by a King Brown in 1987- but that one was coiled. I was more concerned about the fact that I was waving my hand with the torch about near it which I thought might annoy it. It seemed pretty relaxed though.

After being in Kakadu where they used to be common (but I have only heard of one being seen this year) I was stoked to see this one.

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Postby Donna » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:51 am

I use a fujifinepix S7000, Ownership of a digital SLR is one of those things that will only ever happen to me "when I win the lotto!" :lol:

Donna

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Postby rionatindal » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:12 am

pretty impressive photo of snake. I only just found out my depth of nervousness about them, or rather a healthy respect.. of snakes when I photo simply because I can't see the whole body to watch for the impending leap to self defense attack..... so I guess I think cameras with the display unit at the back of body is good rather than eye view piece...

I use canon 350D rebel with just normal 50mm no marco... as my camera can photo images to the size of A3 it is easy to crop and blow up without losing pixels at all if the image is smaller and i rarely need to crop it anyway as its easier to get it right first time.

I do want G7 but G9 came out recently which lowered the prices of G7 so will invest next jan/feb.... dont buy rioch they are good cameras but they dont cope with being used so much and freeze up... great pictures yes, and quality is good, just not able to cope with heavy use of marco setting all the time which results in freezing (frigging hell) so I am getting it fixed for 3rd time and give it to someone in family who wont abuse it the way I do on marco setting haha...

Hope david took heaps of photos for the terrick terrick NP survey work...

Riona

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Postby rionatindal » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:18 am

oh donna, digital cameras are now getting cheaper and cheaper

go to ebay - my friend invested in canon 10D (cool stuff), and lens for only 500 for the lot, and I checked it when he brought it over and it was pretty new, as he bought off a photographer who quickly just kept upgrading his equipment for his portfolio whatever that is...

canon 10D new is about 3-4k... yeah I was dubious at first but when I checked it, it seemed to work ok no stratches and i also checked the number photo logged and it was only 600 photos taken so far on it, and he bought a new 2gb card.

anyway where there is a will, there is a way !!! the G7 is now 400 dollars... and going down slowly...it used to be 590......now with a new model G9 out it pushes the G7 down further.. just keep looking at internet....


I use flash as normal but sometimes i use my head light to play with it and I am not too bothered really for perfection as it does me okay for my own use as reference... Evan is stunning and he is keen for a good shot.. I have plenty of his in my laptop which I often enjoy just looking at them........(wink)
cheers riona


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