8 May 2009

Photographing butterflies

It's that time of year when butterflies are starting to appear and thoughts turn to how best to capture them 'on film'. For many people, the first thought is to turn to a macro lens - the EF100mm f/2.8 USM being a favourite. However, the reality is, unless your butterfly is very still - early morning for example - the 100mm lens is not really going to cut the mustard. More usefully, the EF180mm f/3.5L Macro USM lens will give you a greater working distance while still providing the magnification you're looking for.

However, for many the 180mm macro is a little out of budget for such a specialist item. A really good butterfly combination is to put together two tips we've previously the talked about on the site: The EF70-200mm f/4L IS USM and Extension tubes.

If you put these two togther, you can get closer than the 1.4m minimum focus distance of the lens would usually allow, and also increase the magnification - up to 0.42x (nearly half life size) with an EF25 II tube. This gives you the flexibility to zoom as well, and has the added advantage that when you use extension tubes, you can really blow out the background to keep the subject standing out.


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