I'm going to be attempting macro photography for the first time pretty soon. I've been reading alot about diffraction, however, and have a few questions. I read that at an aperture of, say, f22, at a 1:1 reproduction ratio, you are actually getting a few stops less light, say f32 or even less. If using an off camera flash, a reflector, 60mm micro, and a F5, would I have to manually adjust the exposure? Or will TTL, etc. automatically adjust for this? This will be my first time using slide film, so I know I should bracket anyway to make sure, but I can't help but feel that I'm wasting film. My mom has over 50 different varieties of roses, and since I'm planning on taking pictures of all of them for her, bracketing would use up quite a bit of film! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
#3. "RE: Macro exposure metering?" In response to Reply # 0
Your TTL meter will compensate for any light loss at small apertures. Unlike the others, I often do bracket for macro photography when I'm using slide film. Of course, I'm only using a 'lowly' F-3 rather than a F-5. I will typically take the first picture at the recommended camera exposure and then bracket 2/3 stop each way. What I find is that the camera recommended exposure is correct 90% of the time, but with certain subjects or lighting conditions, one of the bracketed exposures works better. I keep notes of my exposures and with experience, I find out what compensation I need in a given situation and then adjust accordingly to minimize the amount of film wastage.
#5. "RE: Macro exposure metering?" In response to Reply # 0
I too bracket, especially if I think I'm about to capture a priceless image. Nikon may get the exposure technically correct 99% of the time with its matrix metering but that does not necessarily mean it's the best exposure. With bracketing, you have a choice. Aside from "insurance", one other use of bracketing is, in case the slides look identical, then you have a ready-made duplicate!
Don't think you're wasting film. You'll be wasting more time if you have to re-do everything all over again. And then again, you may not get that nice light again that you got 2 days before.
In close focusing, the lens elements extend forward away from the film plane. There is some light loss but at normal distances, it's negligible. At macro shooting, the light loss is huge. But don't worry, the camera's electronics take that into account. If you were using a hand-held meter, you'd have to manually figure out how many f-stops you'd have to compensate.
I suggest using a tripod when shooting the flowers. And don't shoot flower closeups in bright sun (landscape shots are okay) unless you use a diffuser. I find my flower shots look the best in overcast light or with soft diffused lighting that yield soft shadows. If they're deep in the shade, use a warming filter such as Nikon A2 (81A).
I have not bracketed a single time in over 30 years, ever since I got my first Nikon camera with a meter. Trust it. The F5 has the only meter on earth that can see color today. Below a most recent sample.
#1. "RE: Macro exposure metering?" In response to Reply # 0
Hi Thuyker, like JRP I have never used the bracket facility on my F5 and with the subjects you will be photographing I think it's unlikely that you will need it either. If you are using slide film for the first time why not do a test run first. If you make notes about each exposure you can check the results before you start your project.
I would seriously suggest you read up on the subject and the best book I have seen is "The complete guide to close up & macro photography" by Paul Harcourt Davies. Published in England by David & Charles. ISBN No. 0-7153-0800-9.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Your set up should give great results and, unless you stop your lens down to its minimum, you are unlikely to see any diffraction. This normally occurs at high magnifications (greater than 1:1) and will be difficult to see as The 60mm Nikkor is a superb lens.
Thuyker, Yes, you are right about the effective aperture being less than the aperture indicated on the lens. I use a Nikon 105 2.8 Micro which has an indicated f32 on the lens but at 1:1 it reads f51 on my F100. The exposure is calculated correctly by the camera body for ambient lighting and the TTL does work for those flashes that can be controlled that way. I use 2 - SB28 speedlights off camera for macro work connected by an SC-17 to the first and and SC-18 to the second. The attached picture was taken at close to 1:1 on Kodak Supra400 - f45 or so as read from the body - shutter 1/250. This is a field pansy that is less than 1/2 inch high.
#6. "Better flash example" In response to Reply # 0
Thought I would post a better example of macro flash controlling the background. Technical: Nikon F-100, Nikon 105mm 2.8 Micro, aperture f32, shutter 1/250, manual, 2 Nikon SB-28 speedlights, Kodak Supra400 film. Ambient light exposure would have been f16 @ 1/250.