My awesome 60mm macro lens – well not yet – I need your help

I truly have been blessed with the most incredible husband who supports me unconditionally in all that I wish to learn and do.  I really should narrow down the list though – between blogging, writing, family tree research, our fur babies, learning the sign language alphabet (our deaf gardener being the inspiration), community projects, fly tying, knitting and crochet plus photography, the latter of which keeps me busy most of the day either clicking away or reading and not always understanding what I am reading has led to a wee bit of a delay in my photographic skill improvement.  Thank goodness for my tenacity.

You see, Pete spoilt me beyond anything I could imagine when he gave me this here magical lens for my birthday.  Well, for the time being, that is where the magic ends as I am battling terribly to take a decent photo using it.  I managed to take a great shot of the lens though…

I NEED YOUR HELP!

 I would love and appreciate any assistance that you can offer.  I am willing to pay in cupcakes with pretty glitter sprinkles on top. :-)

Here are a few shots that I have taken – can you tell me what I am doing wrong?  The clarity is shocking and it seems that I am creating a fish eye effect.  I would run through a list of everything I have tried from settings, lighting, with and without a tripod etc. but that would take up too much of your time.

I was hoping that the spikes on the grasshopper leg would really be crystal clear, but alas.

You can clearly see the fish eye effect in this shot of the moth.  This little fellow was very teeny.

I then tried a really close up – after all this is a macro lens we are talking about.  This is a crack that formed on a wine glass I was engraving for my cousins birthday – oops on both accounts – an un-giftable cracked glass and a really bad photograph.

I may have to pay you in virtual cupcakes depending on where in the world you are but I would greatly appreciated any help and advice that you have to share.

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58 thoughts on “My awesome 60mm macro lens – well not yet – I need your help

  1. Dear Mandy,
    I think you need to use a tripod and also the widest appeture (like F32 if your lens goes there)This should give you a wider depth of field(ie more of the cup cake will be in focus).This will mean that your speed might need to drop to below 1/30th sec,which would require the use of a tripod…..If your camera can use a remote trigger device ,get one, this will set the shot off with out having to touch the camera ,thus eliminating “the shake”…….If this doesn’t work get a Nikon or give me a call for a demonstration …Cecil Rodney Goodwin
    ;-)))

    • Hey Cecil Rod aka John James. Greatly appreciative for the advice. Will report back ASAP. BTW, I thought about getting a trigger device… without one though, I improvised and used the timer – clearly I didn’t have the right f stops etc – oh and I was using a tripod… Now, about the Nikon – I will pretend not to have read that part and will keep the demonstration offer in credit for now. Have an awesome afternoon. :-)

  2. Hi Mandy!
    I’m not a photographer, but your pictures look beautiful and very “macro”. I think that Roger at Food Photography and France might be able to help (he’s the only pro I can think of). I hope he doesn’t mind I suggest it…
    Have a nice day :)

  3. I would love to offer some advice but I’m still trying to get the hang of my 50mm! Until I can get some help or go on a course I am sticking to the AV setting and auto focus.

    • When I got the camera, Pete said I should start of on the “idiot” mode until I get the hang of things – maybe I should start there! I am sure you will have a fountain of information and knowledge to share after the Indaba. Have a lovely afternoon. :-)

  4. Hello my friend, I would suggest you join the Facebook page: P.E. Photography Club http://www.facebook.com/groups/pephotoclub/ You will find some awesome folk taking awesome pics. Don’t fret. They are all incredibly helpful and will give you all the answers you might need. Just ask. One of the guys, Zane Hobson, along with others have put up some amazing Macro shots and with their advice you’ll be shoveing your lens into every bush in your garden looking for bugs and goggas to snap with that lekker lens of yours.If you open the albums under PHOTOS you will find some exceptional Macro pics.
    Have fun and ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy.
    Geoff

    • Hey Geoff, thanks so much! I am off to “like” PE Photography right away and have a squizz through the macro shots. Will build up the courage to ask for advice once there! Have a super day. Love to the family. :-)

  5. Your husband is a really cool guy :) What a nice gift he gave you :) I don’t have any advice to offer as I’m not so good with camera myself. But keep clicking, i can’t wait to see more pic from that lens :)

  6. Oh I so wish I could help but I don´t have the answers :( I too want to buy a macro lens, so hopefully I can learn something from you. Good luck! PS. You sound like me with all the things you do/want to do ;)

  7. I’m sorry I can’t help Mandy because I would have loved one of your cupcakes. Someone will have the answer for you I’m sure.

  8. Mandy,
    I have no idea about the photos….
    … but I looooooooooove that your hubby is supportive & loves you. That means EVERYTHING. KIsses for you and fur children. Xx

  9. Wish I could be of help, Mandy, but I’ve none to offer. Good to see, though, that your readers have offered some great suggestions.Good luck!

  10. Well experiment with the same subject first using your camera’s automatic mode and set the dial on the top for the different modes. They will pics on that dial, read your instructions. Then experiment with the camera off the automatic mode and adjust the depth of field for shallow which will blur the bacground. If you camera will focus down to f2 try that. Then try different lighting

  11. While I’d love a glitter cupcake…I have no idea. I’ll be curious to see what you learn though as I’d eventually love one of these lenses as well. And wow…you DO manage to do lots of things! Such a rich life Mandy! ;)

  12. Yep, it’s all about practicing to get the look you want Mandy. :) Like the first commenter said, you’ll need to set the aperture to a larger number to get a wider depth of field (everything will be in focus and not just part of it). If you only want, say just the legs of the grasshopper in focus and the rest blurred, you’ll need to set the aperture to a lower number, focus on the part you want in focus and shoot. If your camera is showing any shutter speed lower than say, 250, use your tripod. It takes some time to get used to how a new lens lets in light too. You’ll get there. I think the cupcake picture, and the glass picture are absolutely gorgeous!

  13. Hi Mandy, I seem to have the same problem and a friend of mine said the same as Cecil Rod… it’s my depth of field. I need to achieve a wider depth of field and use a tripod if I can. I think his advice is spot on. Good luck! I know how you feel. My Nikon learning curve has been terrible slow, mostly due to my busy work schedule. Have a great week!

  14. You can also use a wide open depth of field for clear shots. The blur in the background is called bokeh which many photographers prize. You can adjust it out by using a longer depth of field stopped down to an f5 for example. The blurred background is achieved with using the f2.8 on your lense for maximum background blur.

  15. I have a great camera shop in my town that is willing to help me and offers classes. Also, I am learning with my DSLR that I need to use a tripod more often than I thought. Just keep using and experimenting with your camera. I am still learning and have joined a few photography meetups up too. Have a Great Day!

  16. You need to adjust with this lens as it has a large aperture of 2.8 you which gives you a narrow depth of field. I had this issue when I bought my 50mm f1.4 thats even bigger aperture. You need to make the number higher using Av on your camera around 4.0-5.6 will give you a sharper image.

  17. You also need to use a tripod and ample lighting to get it sharper, you are using a macro lens one slight movement then it will make your image soft. You can also do a mirror lockup to prevent vibrations from the shutter doors.

  18. I have not read your other comments so at the risk of repeating something, are you using a manual focus? you need to with a macro, of course use a tripod, which you are doing already.

    Sometimes it is easier to focus then move the camera a tiny bit in and out using your tripod like a mono pod, until you have it exactly clear then depress your shutter. I know this is a bit backwards but it does work and no-one can see you weaving about.

    You need to look at depth of field. Study aperture and shutter speed.

    Good for you studying up and working until you get it right! You are having heaps of fun.. tasty looking cupcake by the way!! c

    • Right, manual focus is added to the list, thanks C! I love the idea of moving in and out with the tripod – will be doing a bit of weaving about the next couple of days. Have a super farmy day. :-) xo

  19. What a fantastic hubby you have! I can not offer any solutions for you but you are very resourceful and I know where there is a will there is a way to fine tune your photographs.

  20. Be patient skattiebol, once I am off the 3G thingy and can properly skype we can chat, that is a fab lens just use your kit lens that came with your camera or the one you used for the fur children for now.

    • Can you believe that my 300m lens is at the doctor. It has something on the inside of the lens!!! Hopefully will have it back next week. I feel lost without it. Look forward to the lessons. xo

  21. Dearest, your photography never ceases to amaze me and I love that you share your process and learning curve with us! I am such a techno-wimp that I gave up my ‘good’ camera and upgraded my little pocket-sized point and shoot to a higher level and will *still* have to learn how to fully use something that’s beyond my ken. Sigh. At least I can enjoy skills vicariously by following your progress. :)
    xoxo
    Kathryn

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