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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    1,068

    Butterfly--the Common Rose

    The Sigma 55-200 (four-thirds version) is very soft at the long end, but I've been meaning to do some more systematic testing to find out its limits. I've hardly used mine at all since buying the excellent Olympus ED 50-200 last year, but on my afternoon walk today I decided to leave the Oly 50-200 home and take the Sigma instead.

    So I started by taking several shots with the Sigma at 55mm and some comparision shots under the same conditions with the Oly 14-54 at 54mm, but then ho hum, what should come along but this guy. It appears to be a Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochia), letting me get up close and personal, but with only the Sigma to use!

    With ISO at 800 and the lens cranked out to 200mm I was able to get some handheld shots, but I was certainly disappointed that I'd left the Oly home. On the other hand, I hadn't used the Sigma for many months, and on looking at the results, I decided that it actually isn't too bad for shots meant for the web, especially if judicious USM is applied to ameliorate the softness out there at the far tele end. These are resized but uncropped.

    Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochia) (I think that's the i.d., but not positive; they're actually not supposed to be common this far north)






    exif is embedded
    "...and only the stump, or fishy part of him remained."
    Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    1,205
    I really like these shots Norm. How close were you able to get to the butterfly? I dont seem to have luck in this department as the butterfly usually scurries off no matter how quiet and unobtrusive I try to be. Any suggestions for a beginner in insect photography? I have been under the impression that a macro lens at 180mm range would fix this, but seeing your shots with your 55-200 makes me think otherwise.

    thanks

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Japan
    Posts
    1,068
    Quote Originally Posted by Esoterra
    I really like these shots Norm. How close were you able to get to the butterfly? I dont seem to have luck in this department as the butterfly usually scurries off no matter how quiet and unobtrusive I try to be. Any suggestions for a beginner in insect photography? I have been under the impression that a macro lens at 180mm range would fix this, but seeing your shots with your 55-200 makes me think otherwise.
    Thanks, Esoterra. I was just about at minimum focusing distance for the 55-200, which is around 4-5 feet. The fact that BFs do tend to fly off pretty quickly is another reason I wish I'd had taken the Oly 50-200 with me (f3.5 wide open at the 200 end, and very sharp). Obviously, having enough light helps a lot, since I was able to maintain shutter speeds of 1/640 to 1/1000 second on these, even with the dark f5.6 of the Sigma. I'm certainly no specialist at insect photography, but to begin with, I'd recommend a tripod before any lens --I wish I'd had one today! . Start by choosing insects that tend to hang around, like the beetle on my earlier Field of Fleabane, and use whatever lens you've got, working it down to minimum focusing distance and then experimenting with fstops to get the necessary dof. I discovered last year that researching your specific variety of insect also helps. I found some Spangles or Red Helen butterflies last year that tend to perch on the same bush right around dusk, and I was able to catch them on several days when they'd settled on a particular bush for the night. I had all the time in the world to shoot them--if only the location hadn't been on the side of a steep hill. Here's one of the shots I got then (with flash):

    "...and only the stump, or fishy part of him remained."
    Green Gables: A Contemplative Companion to Fujino Township

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