30D & Sigma 150mm macro & Sigma EM-140 DG

Started Oct 7, 2006 | Discussions
Trukk New Member • Posts: 15
30D & Sigma 150mm macro & Sigma EM-140 DG

Hi!

I would be grateful for any advice on settings for this macro setup:

  • Canon EOS 30D

  • Sigma 150 mm APO Macro DG

  • Sigma EM-140 DG (flash)

I haven't used the ring flash yet. I'm still using the cameras preprogrammed macro settings, but I'm not completely happy with it. I would really appreciate any advice on the settings (like ISO etc) on the camera for use with or without the flash. There are some settings on the flash as well which I haven't figures out.

/ Trukk, newbie DSLR & flash user

Sandman Forum Pro • Posts: 14,187
Re: 30D & Sigma 150mm macro & Sigma EM-140 DG

Trukk,

I don't have your flash ~ I have the MT-24EX ~ so please keep this in mind as I offer you some suggestions.

When I shoot macro with the Sigma 150mm I use one of two techniques.

For ambient light, use Av mode. For subjects the size of a butterfly, use f8 to f11 and set your ISO high enough to get a shutter speed in the 1/200 second range. Use a tripod when possible.

For flash photography, set your flash for E-TTL mode, camera in MANUAL mode, set aperture appropriate for your subject ~ f8 - 11 for butterfly sized subjects and stop down as the subject gets smaller. Set a shutter speed of 1/125 seconds. Use a tripod if possible. Use ISO 100 - 800 as needed.

If the BACKGROUND is too dark, increase ISO or open up the aperture or slow down the shutter speed.

If the BACKGROUND is too bright, decrease the ISO or stop down the aperture or increase the shutter speed.

With the exposure settings you can finely control how bright or dark your background is.

If your SUBJECT is too bright ~ the flash is too intense ~ use the Flash Exposure Compensation to decrease the flash intensity.

If your SUBJECT is too dark ~ the flash is not intense enough ~ use the FEC to increase the flash intensity.

So, you use the exposure settings of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to control the appearance of your background AND use the FEC to control the illumination of your subject. Between the two, you can exert very fine control over the shot!

Here is a sample:
Manual mode, f11, 1/200 seconds, ISO 100, E-TTL flash with MT-24EX, Tripod.

You can see more macro shots with the Sigma 150mm at:
http://www.pbase.com/sandman3/mixed_bag

Good luck. You will love this lens!

All the best,

jim

-- hide signature --

Shoot more, bitch less!
galleries at: http://www.pbase.com/sandman3
photography workshop schedule at:
http://www.pbase.com/sandman3/schedule

OP Trukk New Member • Posts: 15
Re: 30D & Sigma 150mm macro & Sigma EM-140 DG

Thanks alot Jim for taking the time to answer in both threads. Very clear advice. This will help me get started. I plan to take photos of insects, as tiny as they get, so DOF is important.

My gallery ( http://bugs.crex.se )

OP Trukk New Member • Posts: 15
Re: 30D & Sigma 150mm macro & Sigma EM-140 DG

I forgot to say - Marvelous photo of the butterfly larvae!

David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,358
great advice!

I don't have your flash ~ I have the MT-24EX ~ so please keep this
in mind as I offer you some suggestions.

Hi Sandman, I just got my 150 2.8 macro this weekend and started searching the forums. This is great advice and is exactly what I was searching for. I have a few questions if you don't mind (you seem to be very helpful and the photo you posted is super):

1 - why only 1/125 when using flash?

2 - I currently have a sigma dg super ef-500 flash and I use it with a ultrasoft "softbox" from lumiquest. Is this ok for macro? I don't know if I can get the wife to sign off on another expensive purchase, but just in case, which macro flash do you recommend? I see the MT-24EX at at $650 & the sigma ring light at $350. Looks like the canon is worth 2x but I'm not sure if I'd use it enough to justify.

Thanks for the tips.

Sandman Forum Pro • Posts: 14,187
Hey David

David,

Congrats on your new lens, you will love it! For flash in manual mode, 1/125 to 1/200 is fast enough, particularly if you are using a tripod. Honestly, I shot pretty decent macros without a tripod for a few years. On a whim, I shot macro one day WITH a tripod and was blown away with the difference in quality. I had always told myself that with insects, they were moving so much that a tripod was not practical. Well I was wrong. Certainly you have to use different techniques and perhaps use more patience, but it is possible to get the shot.

As for flash, you should be OK. I'm not fond of the RING flashes due to the ugly "comma" looking reflections. I have the MT-24EX which I like but is not necessary. If I had the opportunity to make this purchase over, I would get two Canon Flashguns and the wireless controller. Use it for macro AND use it as your portable studio!

Let's see some samples from your new kit!

All the best,

jim
--
Shoot more, bitch less!
galleries at: http://www.pbase.com/sandman3
photography workshop schedule at:
http://www.pbase.com/sandman3/schedule

David Banner Senior Member • Posts: 2,358
Re: Hey David

Let's see some samples from your new kit!

I managed to get some macros at the park yesterday, first time. Positioning tripod is difficult. I have a lot to learn so I really don't want to post my photos but I will post one or two later on (they're on my other computer) just for your amusement. While shooting I smelled dog poop which was weird cause I last stepped in dog poop on Friday night (it's everywhere here in Paris). Much to my amazement I had stepped in it again (same foot too) in the park! As they say in France, that brings good luck if it's the left foot!!

Shoot more, bitch less!

totally agree!!

Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads