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Under Water, Over Land
Tools & Techniques for Nature, Outdoors, Wildlife & Underwater Videography.

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Old May 13th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #1
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Finding the Subject!!!

Hi folks,

Got my H1 recently and went out shooting macro with the Canon 180 a few days back. Man, was it way more difficult than still photography! I was struggling to find my subject in the VF due to the small sensor which resulted in a 7.2X focal length. At the end, I wound up having to "subject-hop"...focus on something such as a leaf, get the eye off the VF and locate its actual position in relation to the subject, get the eye back to the VF and pan or tilt the camera in that direction and slowly adjusting focus at the same time.

My question is is there a better way to do this? Do any of you use a sight (I dun know whether the Ronsight will work at such short distances) or any aiming device to help locate your subject?

Another issue I had was constant vibration from my setup (Vinten Vision 6 and a Gitzo 1410). It was shakey like hell everytime I tried to adjust focus or pan. Maybe it's the extreme mag rate as I was shooting tight closeups of dragonflies or it could just be my technique though I very much doubt so. Any advice on this will be greatly appreciated.

Hope to be posting some videos soon!


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Old May 14th, 2007, 05:38 AM   #2
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Location: Oppland, Norway
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WeeHan, welcome to the macroworld! I'm struggeling with excactly the same difficulties as you do. The Ronssight will not help in this situation cause the object is to near. You have to be patient and find the target in you viewfinder. I'm not aware of any thing that will help to find objects faster, anyone?

Although I have a rock steady tripod - the Miller Arrow HD, the smallest wind causing the leaf to move or whatever your target is will ruin your footage. I've found that early morning and late evenings when there not so much wind helps a lot.
But this can cause to less light which not good in the macroworld where you must have as much dof as possible.

You may watch this little macrovideo, which I shoot last year with Canon XL-2 and Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro lens:
- Per Johan
Vimeo Site and Stock Footage Library at Pond5
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Old May 14th, 2007, 07:06 AM   #3
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Hi Johan,

Thank you very much for your reply. Yes, its really a tough start. Compared to the macrophotography that I have been doing for years, this is way tough!

I tried to attach laser pointers to my setup but there was no way I could have them in the same orientation as the lens which has a mattebox on.

Very good shots from your video....extremely stable! Did you lock down your head or were you following the action? When you adjust focus or follow focus with the Sigma, was there significant vibration? It may be the very high mag rates that Im working at. The dragonfly I was shooting has its head filling almost the entire frame.



Last edited by Yeo Wee Han; May 14th, 2007 at 07:48 AM.
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Old May 14th, 2007, 08:27 AM   #4
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maybe this will do

Hi there Han and Per John, Well, I am not in the macro world myself, only shooting birds.

I can recall the first time I took the xl1s camera and tried to shoot a really joy full warbler situated 10m away from me, I had zero frames after 10 mins (with the stock lens ).
Now days I can do that effortless with a red dot sight (same as ronsight), and even follow the bird through the vegetation and that's with an equivalent of 3000mm lens.

The main problem here is that the sight axis and the lens axis are not parallel and are situated about 20cm away (on the ccd plane).
Even with the red dot sights the device must be adjusted according to the shooting distance (done easily by adjusting two screws), meaning if the sight is adjusted for 30m targets, aiming at a warbler situated 10m aways will show the dot 10cm above the bird , but again a handy screwdriver will handle the situation.

In macro shooting (1m-3m ?), The red dot sight can not be adjusted any more to aim on the target.
I think you have two options...
Keep in mind that I haven't tried it, yet.

First, if you don't need the sight for long range shooting , but only for macro,
than you can make yourself a triangle spacer to put permanently beneath the red dot . Say, a 1 : 10 proportions triangle for 2m range and you will still have the ability to adjust by the red dot screws.
That option won't work for Per John though.

Before I acquired the xl1s I used to video birds using a method called video scoping , and I made a tiny sight to help me acquire targets.
It is a two part sight ,not fancy as the red dot sight , but it worked.

The first part (see attached pics , and sorry I don't know what name to give it)
attaches to the camera hot shoe and acts like a tiny tripod head , it has the ability to tern on both the horizontal plane and the vertical plane, I got it from a nearby camera store for 4$.
The second part is the sight itself. It is used on theodolites and other land survey devices (like the one on the attached pic), some of those sights have adjustment screws , but for our purpose we need the simplest (and cheapest, mine I got for free from a Leica distributor).
The sight have no optics , you see the real world around the sight and not through it. But if it is aligned with the target you will see a white cross (put the white cross on the target and that's it).
I glued the two parts together.
Now when you prepare your camera to shoot, attache this device to the cameras hot-shoe and adjust to a stationary target roughly at the distance you intend to work on your real target. Adjusting won't be smooth nor accurate as with red dots , and again if the target will be closer than you planned than the cross will appear above it...

Cheers Sassi
Attached Thumbnails
Finding the Subject!!!-hot_shoe.jpg   Finding the Subject!!!-sight.jpg  

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Old May 15th, 2007, 03:08 AM   #5
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Thanks alot Sassi! The first image look like a head for a flash and is mountable on a camera's hotshoe. Think I may have seen something like that around but cant recall.

But the issue of parallax error is still there as the focusing distances will vary. Maybe Im missing something here?


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