800mm for flowers

Started Mar 18, 2020 | Photos
richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,889
800mm for flowers
5

Butterflies are starting to appear around here in southern California, so I dusted off my wildlife setup which uses a Panasonic 100-400mm, f/4-6.3 (=200-800mm FF effective focal length).

It is a useful lens for flowers that I encounter while out looking for wildlife.

I believe this is a Painted Lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui on a common Lantana, Lantana camara, member of the Verbena family.

Closer in. This is the only time I've been able to photograph a butterfly from the front displaying its proboscis. Usually it is blocked by a leaf or flower stalk.

California golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica. There are several species of poppies. This one has the most pronounced ring, or collar (torus) around the base of the petals

Pink Rock Purslane, Calandrinia spectabilis

Tidy Tips, Layia platyglossa

Water drops on Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera

The minimum working distance of this lens is about 4 feet. I carry an Achromat for tiny flowers, and the MWD is reduced to about 1 foot or less for magnifying closer in.

Verbena lilacena, similar looking to the Lantana. Uncropped. This cluster is 2cm across. Nikon 6T 2.9 dioptre Achromat mounted. A bit more than 1:1 here.

Well, it is a fun lens to use for flowers, but its size and weight make it not so practical for me for every day flower work, especially when hiking up in the Sierras!

- Richard

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John Koerner
John Koerner Contributing Member • Posts: 664
Re: 800mm for flowers

richj20 wrote:

Butterflies are starting to appear around here in southern California, so I dusted off my wildlife setup which uses a Panasonic 100-400mm, f/4-6.3 (=200-400mm FF effective focal length).

It is a useful lens for flowers that I encounter while out looking for wildlife.

I believe this is a Painted Lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui on a common Lantana, Lantana camara, member of the Verbena family.

Closeup in.. This is the only time I've been able to photograph a butterfly from the front displaying its proboscis. Usually it is blocked by a leaf or flower stalk.

California golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica. There are several species of poppies. This one has the most pronounced ring, or collar (torus) around the base of the petals

Pink Rock Purslane, Calandrinia spectabilis

Tidy Tips, Layia platyglossa

Water drops on Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera

The minimum working distance of this lens is about 4 feet. I carry an Achromat for tiny flowers, and the MWD is reduced to about 1 foot or less for magnifying closer in.

Verbena lilacena, similar looking to the Lantana. Uncropped. This cluster is 2cm across. Nikon 6T 2.9 dioptre Achromat mounted. A bit more than 1:1 here.

Well, it is a fun lens to use for flowers, but its size and weight make it not so practical for me for every day flower work, especially when hiking up in the Sierras!

- Richard

Nice images.

I just used an 800mm lens for a flower yesterday ... a 10 lb behemoth

Nikon D5 + 800mm f/5.6 FL ED + 1.25x TC = 1,000mm

Honestly, though, for me, the 300 PF + TC (1.6 lb) on a DX gives me ~630mm ...

And the reproduction ratio (.36x) is much better which is ideal for most flowers.

The thing I like about using telephotos for (some) flowers, is the compression that smaller lenses don't afford. Blurs out the backgrounds better.

Cheers,

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OP richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,889
Re: 800mm for flowers
1

John Koerner wrote:

Nice images.

Thanks.

I just used an 800mm lens for a flower yesterday ... a 10 lb behemoth

Nikon D5 + 800mm f/5.6 FL ED + 1.25x TC = 1,000mm

What a beast!

The thing I like about using telephotos for (some) flowers, is the compression that smaller lenses don't afford. Blurs out the backgrounds better.

On paper, the specs would seem to suggest that. However, I've been able to get nice backgrounds with 50mm.

Stink-net, Oncosiphon piluliferum, invasive. Riverside is working to eradicate this!

Telegraph weed

California Golden Poppy, Eschscholzia californica

White Clover, Trifolium repens

Remaining seeds of a common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale

Arroyo Lupine. I include this because it illustrates a lot of what I photograph, low to the ground; very cumbersome to use a large lens in these situations

Nonetheless, if my goal were to have these types of backgrounds for everything, I suppose I would carry several lenses!

- Richard

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John Koerner
John Koerner Contributing Member • Posts: 664
Re: 800mm for flowers

richj20 wrote:

Thanks.

You bet.

What a beast!

Try carrying a 400 f/2.8 FL ED and an 800 f/5.6 FL ED together:

On paper, the specs would seem to suggest that. However, I've been able to get nice backgrounds with 50mm.

Depends on your definition of what "a nice background" is ...

Nonetheless, if my goal were to have these types of backgrounds for everything, I suppose I would carry several lenses!

- Richard

Which is pretty much exactly what I do:

Last Friday ... captured by my Girlfriend's D5600 ..

No matter how much gear your bring, it's never enough.

Everybody's budget is different, I get this, but pardon me when I laugh about the idea of anyone complaining about "lens weight" ... while they're holding "nothing heavy"

IMO, it's just an excuse to embrace mediocrity and lack of commitment ...

To each his own ...

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stevendillonphoto Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
Re: 800mm for flowers

Nice series.  The Golden Poppy is very nice.  Lovely bokeh.

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Steven Dillon - Capturing Nature's Art - http://www.stevendillonphoto.com

preferredfault Regular Member • Posts: 370
Re: 800mm for flowers

I can see the draw, you do get a decent depth of field from the long focal length (I've done 85mm-1500mm shots). But something else to try out is to use very weak macro filters on a lens. Just something that will ever so slightly shorten your minimum focusing distance, and that will cream out the background even with a shorter lens (or cream it out the same or more from a closer distance with that lens).

Having used a 1500mm lens, even then, the distance the background is from the subject is still important to getting things creamy. So really, you can achieve this effect with a shorter lens and a weak macro filter, possibly with a few benefits. Obviously your depth of field will suffer a bit (but not necessarily enough to be an issue), but even if you need stop up to f/14 or so to compensate to get more in focus, you'll still have a creamier background than without the filter at f/6.

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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 19,317
Re: 800mm for flowers

John Koerner wrote:

richj20 wrote:

Butterflies are starting to appear around here in southern California, so I dusted off my wildlife setup which uses a Panasonic 100-400mm, f/4-6.3 (=200-400mm FF effective focal length).

It is a useful lens for flowers that I encounter while out looking for wildlife.

I believe this is a Painted Lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui on a common Lantana, Lantana camara, member of the Verbena family.

Closeup in.. This is the only time I've been able to photograph a butterfly from the front displaying its proboscis. Usually it is blocked by a leaf or flower stalk.

California golden poppy, Eschscholzia californica. There are several species of poppies. This one has the most pronounced ring, or collar (torus) around the base of the petals

Pink Rock Purslane, Calandrinia spectabilis

Tidy Tips, Layia platyglossa

Water drops on Mexican Honeysuckle, Justicia spicigera

The minimum working distance of this lens is about 4 feet. I carry an Achromat for tiny flowers, and the MWD is reduced to about 1 foot or less for magnifying closer in.

Verbena lilacena, similar looking to the Lantana. Uncropped. This cluster is 2cm across. Nikon 6T 2.9 dioptre Achromat mounted. A bit more than 1:1 here.

Well, it is a fun lens to use for flowers, but its size and weight make it not so practical for me for every day flower work, especially when hiking up in the Sierras!

- Richard

Nice images.

I just used an 800mm lens for a flower yesterday ... a 10 lb behemoth

Nikon D5 + 800mm f/5.6 FL ED + 1.25x TC = 1,000mm

Honestly, though, for me, the 300 PF + TC (1.6 lb) on a DX gives me ~630mm ...

And the reproduction ratio (.36x) is much better which is ideal for most flowers.

The thing I like about using telephotos for (some) flowers, is the compression that smaller lenses don't afford. Blurs out the backgrounds better.

Cheers,

f.95 25mm prime

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D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 29,902
Re: 800mm for flowers

Interesting. I never thought of using a lens that long on flowers and insects.

You got good results.

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