Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Started Jul 8, 2012 | Discussions
Cerumen
Cerumen Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

I've spent many hours in the garden taking bee pics over the years, and mostly abandoned AF for near-1:1 work. Today I shot AF exclusively, and got some of my better results in years.

These images are all f9 or f10 at 185mm, minor cropping the first two, the last is uncropped.
Body: D700; 21-point AF; Continuous AF, de-coupled shutter.

What I noticed was that I still got a ton of OOF shots, but when the AF nailed it, it was perfect. When I use my own body motion for focus, I can miss all day. Of course, bees are known to be busy, so they're a challenging subject.
Light was from a medium Lumiquest on a bracket, SB800 with SC-17.

The Sigma 185 lost its luster to its shorter brother, but it's a fine lens. It's bulky, but it's worth carting into the garden.

Nikon D700
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dwa1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,457
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Eric,

Nice job on the bees. OOFs just come with these subjects - especially this time of year (high energy). As you may already know, they tend to slow down somewhat in late Sept. / early Oct. Yesterday, I spent over 6 hours in 100 degree sunlight chasing bees at Longwood Gardens (s.e. PA). Most were done with a Sigma 150 2.8 (non-OS) using a D300 with AF-S, Single Point AF mode. About a week ago I tried using the AF-On, decoupled shutter release button with AF-C and Dynamic Area AF mode. I had very few keepers. I went back to my AF-S, single point mode.

I was wondering which AF Area Mode you were using?

I never heard of the Sigma 185. I love the Sigma 150 glass, but it’s AF is just too slow for this kind of work. I get a much higher percentage of keepers with the 70-300 VR and Canon 500D diopter - but of course the IQ suffers compared to the Sigma.

Keep up the good work. Thanks for posting these images.

Wayne

 dwa1's gear list:dwa1's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D7100 Nikon D7200 Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR
Guidenet
Guidenet Forum Pro • Posts: 15,748
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Wow, Eric. You certainly can be proud of those shots. I really enjoyed them but have a single complaint. There were only three. I'd have liked more.
--
Cheers, Craig

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 Guidenet's gear list:Guidenet's gear list
Canon PowerShot G1 X Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon D3S Nikon D800 +31 more
Cerumen
OP Cerumen Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Hi Wayne,

I know of Longwood but have never been. I'm in N Jersey, so I need to go sometime. My AF Area mode was the middle selector (not the 51-point surrender control mode, and not the single AF point). Frankly, I shoot 99 percent of the time using a single sensor, but I sometimes go to this mode when the subject's buzzing around.

The Sigma 185 f3.5 came out around the same time as the original 150mm, but they were so close in focal length, and the 150 (original) was a good bit smaller than the 185. I went for the longer lens because it had more reach, and I got it for a great price. I favor it when I'm trying to eliminate background distractions. The ultrasonic AF isn't speedy, but it can lock in nicely if keep trying. Thanks for your comments.

Nice job on the bees. OOFs just come with these subjects - especially this time of year (high energy). As you may already know, they tend to slow down somewhat in late Sept. / early Oct. Yesterday, I spent over 6 hours in 100 degree sunlight chasing bees at Longwood Gardens (s.e. PA). Most were done with a Sigma 150 2.8 (non-OS) using a D300 with AF-S, Single Point AF mode. About a week ago I tried using the AF-On, decoupled shutter release button with AF-C and Dynamic Area AF mode. I had very few keepers. I went back to my AF-S, single point mode.

I was wondering which AF Area Mode you were using?

I never heard of the Sigma 185. I love the Sigma 150 glass, but it’s AF is just too slow for this kind of work. I get a much higher percentage of keepers with the 70-300 VR and Canon 500D diopter - but of course the IQ suffers compared to the Sigma.

Cerumen
OP Cerumen Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Thanks, Craig,

I try to show restraint.
I've enjoyed your posts here for years.

Guidenet wrote:

Wow, Eric. You certainly can be proud of those shots. I really enjoyed them but have a single complaint. There were only three. I'd have liked more.
--
Cheers, Craig

Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,414
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

dwa1 wrote:

I never heard of the Sigma 185.

Perhaps the original poster means a Sigma 180mm Macro, but that's not much help, since Sigma's made versions with maximum apertures of f/5.6, f/3.5, and f/2.8, with a new f/2.8 OS due Real Soon Now.

I have the 180mm f/3.5 version. Despite having an HSM motor, AF speed is slower than a 180mm f/2.8D Nikkor on both the D200 and D800. It's also considerably heavier, even with the tripod collar removed. Eventually I hope to do some bug hunting with it, but here's a couple of test shot taken at near minimum focus:

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I miss the days when I used to be nostalgic.

 Michael Benveniste's gear list:Michael Benveniste's gear list
Nikon Coolpix 995 Nikon D800 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D7200 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 +42 more
dwa1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,457
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Thanks for the info Eric. I sent you an email with some info on LG and another location that you may be interested in.

Wayne

 dwa1's gear list:dwa1's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D7100 Nikon D7200 Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR
dwa1 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,457
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

I was hoping that the new 180 2.8 OS would have an improved AF speed - even improved over the new 150 OS version. Most likely not though.

Thanks the "5 cents" too.

Wayne

 dwa1's gear list:dwa1's gear list
Nikon D300 Nikon D7100 Nikon D7200 Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG Macro HSM Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR
Cerumen
OP Cerumen Senior Member • Posts: 1,979
Re: Sigma 185 macro and AF bees

Michael Benveniste wrote:

dwa1 wrote:

I never heard of the Sigma 185.

Perhaps the original poster means a Sigma 180mm Macro, but that's not much help, since Sigma's made versions with maximum apertures of f/5.6, f/3.5, and f/2.8, with a new f/2.8 OS due Real Soon Now.

I have the 180mm f/3.5 version. Despite having an HSM motor, AF speed is slower than a 180mm f/2.8D Nikkor on both the D200 and D800. It's also considerably heavier, even with the tripod collar removed. Eventually I hope to do some bug hunting with it, but here's a couple of test shot taken at near minimum focus:

Regarding the mis-stated "185mm": First off, the lens is the Sigma 180mm, f3.5, but Lightroom (3.6) always reports that lens as being 185mm, so that's what sticks in my head. Sorry for the confusion. And yes, the AF is a bit slow, but as seen in the OP, it can really save the day, even at max reproduction.
Thanks.
--
Eric
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