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Cameras, Lenses and Accessories: Discuss Keeping the camera/lens stable...Good afternoon bunch . Been an incredibly long time since I traveled the Pixalo road. I had to put aside ...
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Old 25-09-2007, 13:26   #1 (permalink)
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Keeping the camera/lens stable

Good afternoon bunch .
Been an incredibly long time since I traveled the Pixalo road.

I had to put aside my camera and just about everything else some months ago, when both my parents got sick almost at the same time. They both needed help, and that was more important. What are the odds of both getting ill at the same time? They divorced 20 odd years ago, 12 year age difference and live miles and miles apart...

Both are now recovering nicely, one from a serious back-operation that luckily went OK, and the other recovering from a major cancer operation. That one was touch-and-go!

Anyhoo.. I have again found time for the camera, allthough I've missed most of the summer and insects I had hoped to chase .

Just before my "break" I bought the Sigma 70-300 4-5.6 DG APO Macro. I am beyond satisfied using this, but I have one "problem"..
When using the macro function (200-300mm focal length), I find it incredibly hard to keep the camera steady. Of course using a tripod, but this fastens under the camera and does not help much stabilizing the lens (in my opinion).

What would be my best solution?
Buying a better tripod? (Current is a bit "thin".)
Getting a lens-mount? (Is this even possible/available??)
Get a grip


Hope someone can enlighten me a bit, as I really would like to use this for macro. (Dedicated macro is still a few months off...)

Sincerely,
Geir Andersen
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Old 25-09-2007, 13:34   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Good to see you back - and glad to hear things are OK!

Basically, down to a better tripod - tho' I often use a monopod for macro as it gives some support without having to manoeuvre a tripod around (and even up the ISO, if occasion demands). But a good, stable tripod is near essential
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Old 25-09-2007, 13:38   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Welcome back, I had the same thing with my parents about 6 years ago now, they divorced when I was 5 and 35 years later, they both died within 10 months of each other, both of a heart attack. So I'm glad to hear both your parents are recovering.

Anyhow, for macro work, I use a tripod and a cable release, which means I don't touch the camera, making it more stable, as if you press the shutter, you can move the camera.

Hope that helps.
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Old 25-09-2007, 15:55   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Glad to hear that things are going much better now.

A rigid tripod + cable release is the best option if you are able to set up a tripod. For hand-held shots you could consider swapping the beloved Sigma for a Canon 70-300 IS which is truly scrumptious - the IS makes a huge difference for macro and long telephoto.
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Old 25-09-2007, 16:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Always such quick answers here . Thanks a million guys.
Guess I have to invest in a decent tripod/monopod...

Just did a test outside using the tripod I got, as a semi-monopod and that actually gave better results than using it as a normal pod. I'll try to get some of the shots PP'ed after work tonight, and post online for scrutinizing

@Silkstone:
Oh that would make my day..week..month..year
Been drewling over that since I bought my 400D. My budget though is unable to handle such a purchase at the moment, but it's comin'! (The sigma is about £160 and the Canon is about £430. Prices converted from NOK to GBP.)
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Old 25-09-2007, 16:43   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Welcome back. Sorry to hear the news about your parents, but happy to know that they are doing ok.

I had the shaky problem. Maybe my age or just inexperience. My tripod has helped a lot. I did get what I think is a sturdy one with in what I wanted to pay at the time. I have used it a lot and it has really helped in the prairie winds we can get here. And I'm getting a cable release soon. I did notice that when I was taking the picture on the tripod I was moving the camera some when hitting the shutter button.

I did go to get the cable release and got another bag instead . Going back tonight to get the cable release .
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Old 25-09-2007, 17:01   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

It's all been covered, obviously we have never met but gald to see things are now looking up on every front.

I know what you mean about no lens collar/support with these kind of lenses and could see how that could be a issue massively exacerbated by the combination of long focal length and macro distancing a solid tripod and head would be a big help. However if the COG is also forwards (macro extension long zoom) then even an uber sturdy/expensive set up could struggle. Manfrotto do a lens support that is well regarded for this focal length and might be a help.

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Old 25-09-2007, 17:01   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Glad to see you back, sorry about your parents.

To echo what others have said, it's probably time to invest in a decent tripod. I used one of those 'shaky' cheap ones that literally shook with a light breeze. The one I have now could probably withstand gale force winds, and it's made a world of difference.

Invest in a decent tripod, and a GOOD head. The head I would say is more important, because you can always cheat with the tripod to make it feel more sturdy. I sometimes hang my camera bag from the center column to weight down my 3021BPRO.. works wonders for timed exposures in windy conditions.
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Old 25-09-2007, 20:41   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

I've never had much of a problem using the Sigma in the macro ranges (well...occasionally, when having to shoot handheld at 1/20 and still get sharp shots ), but I can see why it can be irritating. Either you can try a flash, or a sturdy tripod, or a different stance, or breathe out or boost the ISO, but like I said maybe it just takes getting used to for the technique?
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Old 26-09-2007, 07:44   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

You may have another option open to you depending on the macro subjects..if they are static then using the camera's mirror lockup function (usually found as a setting in the custom function menus on Canon) along with remote shutter release will eliminate the need to touch your camera once setup and positioned.

Mirror lockup does exactly what it says, when you first press the shutter release it lifts the mirror mechanism up out of the way, you then need to press the shutter release once more to take the shot but since the mirror mech has already been lifted this process is now totally electronic and involves no moving parts-thus does not introduce any vibrations at all.

As long as your tripod is not completely shaky this method should return great results out of your existing equipment until such time that you change to your much converted IS lens.

Hope that helps
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Old 26-09-2007, 12:51   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Keeping the camera/lens stable

Thank you all for the kind words, and great tips. After that rather tough period it's great to get things going again. Also got a new job, which gives me 1 week on/1week off and a chance to get something goin' .

@Jack: You're absolutely right. My technique leaves a lot to be desired. Still very new and that has yielded some ...hasty... shots.

@Steve: That one proved VERY helpful here. Just did a small test with a flower, and it showed right off improvement using the "shaky" pod. I was very pleased with the result even without USM. Applied some USM and that gave me what I was hoping for, even from such a cheap setup.

Out and try again, and again, and again. And then maybe even some more.
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