MPE-65mm macro lens

Started Jul 25, 2013 | Discussions
John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
MPE-65mm macro lens
8

There are a few ways to get above life size, but none more convenient than Canon's MPE-65mm macro. No infinity focus, and no auto focus (the focus indicator lights in the view finder do not work with this lens). Check out the links in my signature for tutorials. All single frames (no focus stacking).

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@2x) + a diffused MT-24EX (0 FEC). I used a grape leaf to keep the background from being black. This image was selected by Deviant Art for my 4th Daily Deviation.

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F11, 1/250, ISO 200) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 2.8x) + a diffused MT-24EX (-1/3 FEC)

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F14, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 3.5x) + a diffused MT-24EX (-1/3 FEC) and a 320 EX set to group C and slaved off of the MT-24EX to illuminate the background.

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 4x) with an 81A warming filter + a diffused MT-24EX.

Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~3x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

Canon EOS-1D Canon EOS-1D Mark III Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro
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M Stewart Contributing Member • Posts: 544
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

John K wrote:

There are a few ways to get above life size, but none more convenient than Canon's MPE-65mm macro. No infinity focus, and no auto focus (the focus indicator lights in the view finder do not work with this lens).

An excellent set. Makes me wonder whether to buy a copy for myself.

I'm a little surprised that the viewfinder lights don't work - they do with my TS-E lenses, until I get them a long way shifted.

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M. Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK

 M Stewart's gear list:M Stewart's gear list
Canon EOS M Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 Canon EF 35mm F2.0 +15 more
alFR Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

Could you share some detail of the rest of your setup i.e. tripod vs handheld, studio vs outdoor, how do you get them to keep still long enough to get set up etc.?

lastcoyote Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

hi john! glad to see you back uploading a couple of images recently.

just wondering whether you're still using your same diffusers? (puffers, stofens, lumiquest materieal etc..)

i still don't seem to get quite as soft light as you do using my copies of these diffusers. though i always wonder whether that's more down to my 40D's metering...mind you that shouldn't affect the quality of light really.

also do you still have an 81A warming filter on your MP-E 65?

 lastcoyote's gear list:lastcoyote's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +8 more
Jane79
Jane79 Regular Member • Posts: 438
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

Very nice indeed! Nikon should really make a similar lens.

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

M Stewart wrote:

I'm a little surprised that the viewfinder lights don't work - they do with my TS-E lenses, until I get them a long way shifted.

It surprised me too -but you get use to it.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

alFR wrote:

Could you share some detail of the rest of your setup i.e. tripod vs handheld, studio vs outdoor, how do you get them to keep still long enough to get set up etc.?

All hand held -I don't even own a tripod or a focusing rail. Sometimes I will create a studio out in the field (http://dalantech.deviantart.com/art/Field-Studio-121845394). The trick is to shoot when it's cool outside, before they get a chance to get their metabolism going. Or to simply bait them:

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 2.5x) + a diffused MT-24EX (-1/3 FEC and a 1/4 CTO gel) and a 320 EX (1/4 CTO gel) set to group C and slaved off of the MT-24EX to illuminate the background.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

lastcoyote wrote:

hi john! glad to see you back uploading a couple of images recently.

just wondering whether you're still using your same diffusers? (puffers, stofens, lumiquest materieal etc..)

i still don't seem to get quite as soft light as you do using my copies of these diffusers. though i always wonder whether that's more down to my 40D's metering...mind you that shouldn't affect the quality of light really.

also do you still have an 81A warming filter on your MP-E 65?

Same diffuser, and these days I don't cut the front out of the Sto-Fens.

The light meter in the 40D use to drive me insane...

Lately I haven't been shooting with anything on the lens, and no CTO gels:

Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~5x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

Jane79 wrote:

Very nice indeed! Nikon should really make a similar lens.

Surprised that they don't...

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

DannH Contributing Member • Posts: 517
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

John K wrote:

There are a few ways to get above life size, but none more convenient than Canon's MPE-65mm macro. No infinity focus, and no auto focus (the focus indicator lights in the view finder do not work with this lens). Check out the links in my signature for tutorials. All single frames (no focus stacking).

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@2x) + a diffused MT-24EX (0 FEC). I used a grape leaf to keep the background from being black. This image was selected by Deviant Art for my 4th Daily Deviation.

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F11, 1/250, ISO 200) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 2.8x) + a diffused MT-24EX (-1/3 FEC)

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F14, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 3.5x) + a diffused MT-24EX (-1/3 FEC) and a 320 EX set to group C and slaved off of the MT-24EX to illuminate the background.

Tech Specs: Canon 1D Mark III (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ 4x) with an 81A warming filter + a diffused MT-24EX.

Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~3x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

Great shots as usual (have been following your work for a while on flickr). It always surprises me how much you manage to get in focus with the MPE-65 and always makes me considering adding it to my collection when I see shots like these! I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

asad137 Contributing Member • Posts: 693
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

DannH wrote:

I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

Hard to focus stack a moving insect.

DannH Contributing Member • Posts: 517
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

asad137 wrote:

DannH wrote:

I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

Hard to focus stack a moving insect.

Maybe so and it's hard to tell if the bee's are moving or not. But I was referring to the non moving insects that he shoots.

lastcoyote Regular Member • Posts: 205
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

John K wrote:

lastcoyote wrote:

hi john! glad to see you back uploading a couple of images recently.

just wondering whether you're still using your same diffusers? (puffers, stofens, lumiquest materieal etc..)

i still don't seem to get quite as soft light as you do using my copies of these diffusers. though i always wonder whether that's more down to my 40D's metering...mind you that shouldn't affect the quality of light really.

also do you still have an 81A warming filter on your MP-E 65?

Same diffuser, and these days I don't cut the front out of the Sto-Fens.

The light meter in the 40D use to drive me insane...

Lately I haven't been shooting with anything on the lens, and no CTO gels:

Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F11, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~5x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash.

-- hide signature --

Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

yeah i didn't cut out the front of my stofens per your advice re the change in plastic opacity that gary fong made to them.

I've been considering using the 81A filter less my self recently. Can be a bit heavy on an image and I find myself slightly altering WB in lightroom...which kind of defeats the purpose. I think I preferred the results of just putting some 1/8 CTO Gel on the flash heads.

i've actually got a 5d Mark III now that i've used with the mp-e 65mm and really pleased with the results. much better metering than the 40D. I kind of want to seperate my main camera from my macro body though. I may replace the 40D with a newer crop body sometime. Maybe a 7D Mark II when it comes along

Out of interest do you use a Canon CP-E4 battery pack with your MT-24EX flash?
I'm considering getting one to speed up flash recycling time as I sometimes get frustrated when I get a good position on a bug and start firing of shots and obviously going too quick for the flash and so end up with a few misfires often thinking....'that would have been a good one!'

 lastcoyote's gear list:lastcoyote's gear list
Canon EOS 5D Mark III Canon EF 135mm F2L USM Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.5 1-5x Macro Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM +8 more
OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

lastcoyote wrote:

Out of interest do you use a Canon CP-E4 battery pack with your MT-24EX flash?--

I don't use it, but for some of my table top work it's probably not a bad idea. Out in the field it might just end up being one more cord that gets in the way.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens
2

DannH wrote:

It always surprises me how much you manage to get in focus with the MPE-65 and always makes me considering adding it to my collection when I see shots like these!

It's not the lens -I'm pretty sure that all lenses, at the same magnification and fstop, will give you the same depth of field. The trick is to look for "magic angles" that will make the most of what little depth you have. I know from my own experience that, due to the way I was focusing a scene, I was wasting a lot of depth when I first started shooting. Odds are I'm not alone, and that's why a lot of people resort to focus stacking (it's a technique issue).

DannH wrote: I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

Moving subjects aside: I've taken several stacks, and at the same time taken a single frame of the same scene. After post processing both I always prefer the single frame over the stack. For me shooting single frames produces an image that looks more three dimensional -I think that we use visual clues to gauge depth and one of them is the separation between what's in focus and what's not. Focus stacking produces an image where almost everything is in focus, so the focus based sense of distance is gone. To add insult to injury most stacks also create unusually sharp transitions between what's in focus and what's not, and my attention gets drawn to them when I should be looking at the subject or the scene as a whole.

Last, but not least, most macro photographers focus stack because they're really trying to get a razor sharp image at 100% pixels. But no one prints 100% crops, or saves them to their desktop as wallpaper, so it's really kinda pointless (unless your goal is to impress other people who pixel peep). The scene as a whole is what's important, and pixel peeping is a prime example of not being able to see the forest because the trees are in the way...

I'd rather spend my time working on composition, and getting as many different compositions before the critter gets active, than to spend time focus stacking to get sharper images. Keep in mind that I frequently print poster size, and the pixel sharpness at 100% just doesn't translate to print, not at the distance that you'd normally view something that's a meter wide.

Here's another take on one of the bees in the first post -for me it's all about trying to bring out some personality in the subject. Does the macro discipline need another razor sharp, poorly composed image? There are thousands out there, and anyone can take them...

"Crawling Out of Bed". Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~2x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash. Hand held single frame.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

asad137 wrote:

DannH wrote:

I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

Hard to focus stack a moving insect.

I think LordV (Brian Valentine) did it once, but it really depends on how the subject is moving, and how fast. I also remember Brian saying that he got lucky, and no matter how good you are more often than not it wouldn't work.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

DannH Contributing Member • Posts: 517
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

John K wrote:

DannH wrote:

It always surprises me how much you manage to get in focus with the MPE-65 and always makes me considering adding it to my collection when I see shots like these!

It's not the lens -I'm pretty sure that all lenses, at the same magnification and fstop, will give you the same depth of field. The trick is to look for "magic angles" that will make the most of what little depth you have. I know from my own experience that, due to the way I was focusing a scene, I was wasting a lot of depth when I first started shooting. Odds are I'm not alone, and that's why a lot of people resort to focus stacking (it's a technique issue).

Yeah I wasn't implying it's the lens, more just surprising that you get so much in focus at those magnifications. At 1:1 or even 2:1 sure, but at 5:1.... I think I need to have a play with the angles but I guess you also compromise the composition sometimes that way?

DannH wrote: I'm curious why you don't ever focus stack your shots though?

Moving subjects aside: I've taken several stacks, and at the same time taken a single frame of the same scene. After post processing both I always prefer the single frame over the stack. For me shooting single frames produces an image that looks more three dimensional -I think that we use visual clues to gauge depth and one of them is the separation between what's in focus and what's not. Focus stacking produces an image where almost everything is in focus, so the focus based sense of distance is gone. To add insult to injury most stacks also create unusually sharp transitions between what's in focus and what's not, and my attention gets drawn to them when I should be looking at the subject or the scene as a whole.

Last, but not least, most macro photographers focus stack because they're really trying to get a razor sharp image at 100% pixels. But no one prints 100% crops, or saves them to their desktop as wallpaper, so it's really kinda pointless (unless your goal is to impress other people who pixel peep). The scene as a whole is what's important, and pixel peeping is a prime example of not being able to see the forest because the trees are in the way...

I'd rather spend my time working on composition, and getting as many different compositions before the critter gets active, than to spend time focus stacking to get sharper images. Keep in mind that I frequently print poster size, and the pixel sharpness at 100% just doesn't translate to print, not at the distance that you'd normally view something that's a meter wide.

Here's another take on one of the bees in the first post -for me it's all about trying to bring out some personality in the subject. Does the macro discipline need another razor sharp, poorly composed image? There are thousands out there, and anyone can take them...

"Crawling Out of Bed". Tech specs: Canon 1D MKIII (F13, 1/250, ISO 100) + a Canon MPE-65mm macro lens (@ ~2x) + a Canon MT-24EX macro twin flash. Hand held single frame.

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

I think i'm going to have to disagree about the pixel peeping comment, even at screen size there is a big difference and there's several very good photographers who focus stack and still keep great compositions. I guess everyone has different opinion's on what they like.

OP John K Veteran Member • Posts: 7,357
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

DannH wrote:

Yeah I wasn't implying it's the lens, more just surprising that you get so much in focus at those magnifications. At 1:1 or even 2:1 sure, but at 5:1.... I think I need to have a play with the angles but I guess you also compromise the composition sometimes that way?

Actually I have yet to find a magic angle that didn't work from a compositional perspective.

I think i'm going to have to disagree about the pixel peeping comment, even at screen size there is a big difference and there's several very good photographers who focus stack and still keep great compositions. I guess everyone has different opinion's on what they like.

On the screen, sure. But in print? Nope...

I didn't mean to imply that no one in the focus stacking community can compose an image, I know of several myself (my mentor Mike Plonsky, for example). But I still maintain that focus stacking more often than not blows the composition for me. Either I fixate on the stack errors (my eyes get drawn right to them), or they look flat because there's too much in focus.

Last but not least: What's more important; the sharpness of an image or the overall composition? Fixating on the pixels is a mistake...

At the end of the day I don't focus stack simply because I don't think it's necessary -all too often people think that I stack anyway due to the depth in my images

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

alFR Regular Member • Posts: 286
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

Thanks, will bear that in mind (and check out your tutorials!).

DannH Contributing Member • Posts: 517
Re: MPE-65mm macro lens

John K wrote:

DannH wrote:

Yeah I wasn't implying it's the lens, more just surprising that you get so much in focus at those magnifications. At 1:1 or even 2:1 sure, but at 5:1.... I think I need to have a play with the angles but I guess you also compromise the composition sometimes that way?

Actually I have yet to find a magic angle that didn't work from a compositional perspective.

I think i'm going to have to disagree about the pixel peeping comment, even at screen size there is a big difference and there's several very good photographers who focus stack and still keep great compositions. I guess everyone has different opinion's on what they like.

On the screen, sure. But in print? Nope...

I didn't mean to imply that no one in the focus stacking community can compose an image, I know of several myself (my mentor Mike Plonsky, for example). But I still maintain that focus stacking more often than not blows the composition for me. Either I fixate on the stack errors (my eyes get drawn right to them), or they look flat because there's too much in focus.

Last but not least: What's more important; the sharpness of an image or the overall composition? Fixating on the pixels is a mistake...

At the end of the day I don't focus stack simply because I don't think it's necessary -all too often people think that I stack anyway due to the depth in my images

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Also known as Dalantech
My Book: http://nocroppingzone.blogspot.com/2010/01/extreme-macro-art-of-patience.html
My Blog: www.nocroppingzone.com
My gallery: www.johnkimbler.com
Macro Tutorials: http://dalantech.deviantart.com/gallery/#Tutorials
Always minimal post processing and no cropping -unless you count the viewfinder...

tbh I've never printed poster size macro shots so can't comment there. I love insect close ups but don't really want a 5 foot fly staring at me from my living room wall

As for composition vs dof, then I agree composition comes first but there's no reason not to have both. I think a lot of the better photographers often concentrate on getting a good single shot first and then go back afterwards for the stack and various angles.

Fair enough, all a matter of opinion I guess and would agree your getting very good results without it

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