Saturday, May 9, 2009

Shooting macro files is fun, challenging and exposes a dirty secret about DSLR's

I managed to get a few more decent images recorded, today, I can say I now know how to get the most of the 500D, especially on the AF-S 70-300mm VR. I am satisfied this works better for me than a dedicated macro lens, the zoom is almost necessary to crop as needed without moving the tripod around every time I need to change the framing.

The Nikon AF-S 60mm f/2.8 macro was under consideration, but, it needs to be almost right on top of the subject to get life-size. (1:1) Nikon's other macros are just too long for the DX format. Years ago, they made a brilliant 70-180mm dedicated macro zoom that is the stuff of legends and now costs well over $1000 despite the fact it's used.

I also exposed (pardon the pun) the DSLR's dirtiest little secret, especially when shooting at small f/stops as required by close-up endeavors - sensor dust!

I found a few glaring spots on my files when I had to shoot at f/16 and f/22. The D80 has over 10,000 shutter cycle firings, and this is not unexpected but part of life as a DSLR owner. Of course, when doing normal shooting (usually at f/8 or f/11 with either zoom), you won't notice and debris on your files.

Anyway, with the magic of Capture NX 2, you don't see them as the spots are cloned out, perfectly. I am now looking at solutions to approach sensor cleaning.


  1. When you mentioned f/22 I thought you were going to talk about diffraction ;) What a disappointment that is. I shot a bunch of shots (landscape) a year ago at f/22 and was disheartened to see how many of them came out a bit fuzzy/blurry. Turns out diffraction will cause that if you go over f/16...

  2. ps does the D80 have dust removal tech? That was the one thing I really needed for my 5D when I had it. I was too paranoid about scratching the sensor of a $2500 camera trying to clean it.

  3. Hey Sloanie,

    Sadly, the D80 was before that generation of dust removal systems cameras, although I have heard that, save for Olympus, most of them are not that effective, anyway.

    I have shot several images at f/22 with the AF-S 70-300mm @ f/22, no real issues with diffraction or sharpness.

    I did manage to clean my AA filter with the tiny Lens Pen I have for compact cameras.