Friday, 14 March 2014

A Quick Test with the New Lens

Like all photographers, I am always looking out for ways to improve upon my shots of birds, butterflies and dragonflies and so decided to buy a Sigma 150mm macro lens. All the reviews I read were highly commendable and so in the week my new toy arrived. I just about managed a few quick sessions after work for a couple of days, literally 10 minutes each time but I thought I would put it through its paces and see what the results were like. What I didn't realise was that I was entering a completely new world where all the settings were different to what I had been used to. I struggled if honest to get anything in focus and my results were nothing short of pathetic, it almost went in the bushes a few times! I had a read up on the forums in the evenings and soon realised a few settings I was trying were completely wrong and set about trying again. I called in to Bishopstone Glen tonight after work where the sun was shining and with luck managed to find a nice Comma to practice on. Again I was struggling to get much in focus and no doubt this is because I am hand holding and I have the non IS version, a monopod may have to be purchased soon! With the Comma wanting his photo taken I tried to get down to his level and get everything parallel in the camera just as I had read and at last I had a few images that looked like they were in focus.


I moved on finding a nice Bee posing and with a number of shots taken, the odd one come out alright.

Bee Sp

This is going to take a bit of time I think to get used too with settings etc but hopefully if I persevere I will win the battle. If any readers have any useful advice on macro shots I would very much appreciate your help on settings etc to use. I am currently using AV and try to shoot around f8 to get enough light in and a sharp image, and shots range from about 1 metre away down to around 15cm. Hopefully a few more attempts at the weekend and maybe a migrant as well to liven things up. 


  1. Getting a new lens is like leaning to ride a bike all over again marc! Once you get used to it you'll be ok :-)

    You probably already know the closer you are to the subject the shallower the depth of field is, only a couple of mm's at a distance of 30cm. As you say, positioning the subject is crucial, getting as much of it as possible in the same plane.

    My set up for macro is a bit different to yours, I use a 36mm extension tube on a 70-300 zoom lens, I like to use F11 to get some kind of depth of field, especially when really close in at the 70mm end of the lens, Ive even gone as small as F16 if there's enough light, then again, if I have a larger butterfly, I'll use F8 as then i'm at a further distance from the subject, and have more DoF to play with. I have to use an ISO of 800 sometimes to get the shutter speed up, and set the exposure to -2 thirds or even a full stop, that helps with shutter speed too, and keeps the highlights from over exposing. It's all goof fun, i'm sure by the end of the season you will of sussed the new lens out mate :-)

  2. Great macro. Nice composition.. Congrats..

  3. Wow, that is a new lens, the Bee is perfect Marc. You don't have to close to the object, bravo.

  4. As far as focusing is concerned, capturing macro is generally much better in manual mode. When you think you are focussed correctly try move fractionally towards and away from the subject, you'll see what i'm getting at.

  5. Great shots, Marc! The Comma is a beauty! Congrats on your new toy! Enjoy!

  6. After a shaky start Marc, those two are hopefully great taster of what's to come :-)