First shot with MP-E lens

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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P_T
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Location: Sydney, Australia

First shot with MP-E lens

Post by P_T »

Here's my first shot taken with my new MP-E lens. I know it's not the sharpest image but it serves as kinda like a time stamp for myself to see how much better I will get with this lens... hopefully a lot more. :D

I pretty much jumped in the deep end with my first try. Some sharpening in DPP.
x5 magnification
f/11 at 20s
ISO400

One thing for sure, now I realise how important that milling/drilling table is to get the focus. I had to move the specimen by hand for this shot and it's HARD!! :shock:

Image

Please excuse the eyes, they look kinda empty because it's actually been sucked dry by my White tailed spider earlier today. I'm sure I can find the puncture wound somewhere on the back. :twisted:

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Congrats on taking on a tough lens to use. This is excellent for a first effort with it. There is pretty wide agreement that if you want good sharpness, f/11 is too high with the lens. At least one user I know of only uses it wide open! I try not to go narrower than f/5.6 (set in camera). When magnification increases to the levels used in this lens, diffraction really ruins it for you when you stop down. The added DOF is still such a tiny increase that it very frequently isn't worth the loss in sharpness.
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

This is a good first image, especially for later comparison.

To put the f-number thing into perspective, remember that the effective f-number is equal to the marked f-number times magnification+1. *

So at 5X, that apparently innocent "f/11" is actually an f/66 in terms of softness due to diffraction!

--Rik

* This formula is appropriate with the Canon MP-E and other lenses that follow the thin-lens formula. The penalty is not so severe with some other lenses and cameras. Some Nikons, for example, work directly with the effective f-number and compensate for the magnification themselves.

P_T
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Post by P_T »

Oooh... Thanks guys!! I was wondering why it looked soft on the screen since it seemed much sharper in the viewfinder. I thought the lens might be defective for a while there.

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Well, not to sound depressing, but that's always a possibility too! :roll:

Try opening up, shoot with flash so that vibration is not an issue, and see if you get a nice sharp slice. It won't be very thick, but that's just the nature of the beast -- and all other beasts of the same magnification...

--Rik

Mike B in OKlahoma
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Post by Mike B in OKlahoma »

Rik's point is a good one. With a 20 second exposure time, stability of your mount on both the camera and the subject becomes really really fussy!
Mike Broderick
Oklahoma City, OK, USA

Constructive critiques of my pictures, and reposts in this forum for purposes of critique are welcome

"I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul....My mandate includes weird bugs."
--Calvin

P_T
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Location: Sydney, Australia

Post by P_T »

rjlittlefield wrote:Well, not to sound depressing, but that's always a possibility too! :roll:
What do you think of this result?

Just a fraction of yesterday's sharpening done and resizing.
f/5 at 1/3s
ISO200

Image
I think it's much sharper than yesterday's result so I guess the lens is not defective after all. I didn't bother with a diffuser so the lighting is a bit harsh.

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Some of those hairs look a lot sharper than the previous shot. Lens looks okay from that, although you should be able to tell better from the full sized image...

P_T
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Post by P_T »

Another test. I'd have to agree with f/11 being too soft. Even f/8 is still too soft at this magnification.

Still x5 magnification, 100% crop, no sharpening or any other postwork, all using ISO200.

What do you guys think? You think my lens is ok?
Image
Image

This is the full portrait at f/4, again no sharpening.
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3260/273 ... fc07_o.jpg

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Yeah at 5:1 I'd expect it to be sharpest wide open.(Is f4 the fastest this lens offers?). Looks to be the case with the images above. Next you'll have to try a stack! :)

P_T
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Post by P_T »

lauriek wrote:Yeah at 5:1 I'd expect it to be sharpest wide open.(Is f4 the fastest this lens offers?). Looks to be the case with the images above. Next you'll have to try a stack! :)
Thanks Laurie. Widest aperture is actually f/2.8. I took one photo with that aperture but the DOF is too shallow for it to be of any use.

As for stacking, I would have to build a rig for the focus stepping first. :D

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

My first rig, which worked okay up to 2-3:1 was just camera+bellows+reversed 50mm lens on tripod. Used the focus rail on the bellows for movement... Have you got any kind of bellows or focus rail yet? (I'm guessing you went for the MP-E instead of a bellows?)

If you don't have any kind of rail, could you not use the focus on the lens to do the movements? In fact didn't you post a stack the other day, how did you do the movements with that?

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Charlie Krebs ran a test series with his MP-E that may be helpful. See here. There may be slight differences between lenses, but Charlie's test is probably a good indication of what to expect.

--Rik

P_T
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Post by P_T »

Thanks for the link Rik. I think Charlie and I basically came to the same conclusion about the aperture. We even used the same f/stops in our test. :shock:

@Laurie
I don't have any bellow or focus rail, that would be on my to-buy list.

As for the cricket stacking, that was done using Canon 100mm macro lens which supports AF, I used the Remote Shooting software to change the focus increments. MP-E on the other hand, is a manual focus only lens so I definitely need a focus rail for it.

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Ahh I see! I guess the focus on the MPE is one of those fierce long helicoid mechanisms, too stiff to use in that manner without affecting the alignment, shame! Ahh well I fear you're going to have to find the cash for one of those Proxxon tables or something, at least it's a lot cheaper than the MPE!! ;)

For stacking purposes, particularly if you add any extra extension to this lens to go over 5:1 you will probably want to shoot at f2.8 or f4 to avoid diffusion..

At f2.8 DOF is no good on a single shot but if stacking that really doesn't matter. When I look through the viewfinder with my Nikon 10x objective at full bellows extension (for a rough magnification of 15:1) at something like f2.8 (the objective has no aperture control, it is just 'wide open' the whole time) DOF appears laughable (literally I did laugh when I first looked through it!) but the stacks still work, assuming you can do fine enough focus movements...

If I were you, at the moment, for live bugs I would stick to using this lens at 1-2:1, I can pretty much guarantee you will struggle a lot if you try to go much beyond this, it's /seriously/ challenging!! Once you've got good at that, start pushing the magnification!

Keep us up to date with your progress.

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