Fly photography

Swimmy

Practice your craft.
WFF Supporter
I'm a DSLR guy anyway so here is my setup.

Nikon D500
Nikon 40mm f/2.8 lens
 

ScottP

Active Member
My setup is very basic - a 14 yr old Canon Powershot SD750 p&s that appears to have a decent macro, an Ott light + 2 clamp-on lights (LED), and a piece of grey craft foam as a background. No tripod; all shots are hand-held.

43274630620_ba7bb3b70b_c.jpg


Regards,
Scott
 
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Jaydub

Active Member
My setup is very basic - a 14 yr old Canon Powershot SD750 p&s that appears to have a decent macro, an Ott light + 2 clamp-on lights (LED), and a piece of grey craft foam as a background. No tripod; all shots are hand-held.

43274630620_ba7bb3b70b_c.jpg


Regards,
Scott
Your pics are even more impressive, being hand-held.
 

Jaydub

Active Member
I use a Nikon that's one step above typical point and shoot. Although point and shoot cameras do just as well, as long as they have decent macro capability.

I use a tripod and use the self-timer to avoid any movement. I recently got a cheap LED ring light. It provides even lighting, but sometimes I have to mess around with the exposure.
 

tkww

Member
How about video equipment. Any suggestions?
Just about any DSLR/MILC in the last 10 years should able to do video at 1080p. Last couple of years generally offer 4K video resolution. You will probably a lens that focuses fairly close. However some cameras shoot video at a crop (meaning they only use a central part of the sensor), so that would go a little ways towards overcoming an inability to focus close.

If you're using autofocus, a lens that uses stepper motor(s) for focus will be nearly silent. A lens using ultra-sonic motors (USM or some related acronym) will have some but minimal noise. (Avoid lenses with "screwdriver" AF--focus that is mechanically-driven from the camera body. Those are noisy as heck.) However if you're using manual focus--manually focus on the hook and don't change the focus throughout the tying sequence--it wouldn't matter which type of focus motor mechanism it uses.

But if you're just trying to get to 1080p, an older (used/cheap) camera and macro lens would be great. You might not even need the macro lens it shoots with a crop. Depends on how large/small of an area (fly) you wan to shoot.

You're going to want light, and ideally a good bit of. Video fps dictates shutter speed which dictates how much light you can gather. Yes you can crank up the ISO, but quality will fall with that. Additionally, more light lets you stop the lens down and get more depth of field if desired (DOF being how much appears in focus from front to back--the "depth" of in-focus.)

Ideally the light source(s) are somewhat directional, and can can be moved around and located where they illuminate the fly even when your fingers are there. A strong overhead light may provide "enough," but every time you put your fingers on top of the shank, everything underneath it is going to fall into shadow. Lastly, try to make sure all the light sources are the same color of light--IOW, don't mix LEDs with incandescent bulbs. And avoid fluorescent bulbs if at all possible.
 

jaredoconnor

WFF Supporter
What is your set up and what are you guys using to take such damn good photos of your flies?!

I know very little about cameras, but I would like to get a better camera and did a bunch of research recently.

Apparently folks get good results from the Olympus TG-6 cameras. They are supposedly quite good at macro, for a point and shoot. I've also read that you can get clean HDMI output, so you can record video on your computer via a capture card. That gives you the benefit of being able to see the video on a large screen, as you are tying. This seems like the go-to budget option.

Beyond that, everyone starts talking about mirrorless cameras and lenses. I didn't get very far here, because I found it all a bit overwhelming. The Canon EOS M* and Sony A* cameras seemed to be decent choices.

I should also add that I was looking for cameras that are water resistant or have waterproof housings available. I can't fathom spending this much money on a camera that I can't safely take fishing with me.

Just about any DSLR/MILC in the last 10 years should able to do video at 1080p.

I heard that DSLRs aren't great for regular video use. Apparently something wears out on them and mirrorless cameras are better. I'm not sure how much truth there is to this, but it seems to be a pretty common concern.
 
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Mine is almost identical to @ScottP 's. Two adjustable (direction & intensity) lights pointing straight at the fly, and at each other. You get some shadows/ highlightd here and there, but overall it works decent. I like a black background, so that can exaggerate the highlights on some flies. I use a piece of black suede velvet I got at the HobLob.

I shoot with a Nikon D3100, and Nikor 18 - 108mm lens. I use a set of extension tubes with that lens. Manual focus, iso 100, f stop 16, and then adjust shutter speed from there.

Sometimes it works out bad ass. Sometimes it looks decent with some editing. Sometimes it looks like shit. But, they all catch fish!

Good question man, I had to piece meal this togehtor from a bunch of people/posts/photos. Took a lot of figuring out. This is still one thing that you can't "hotspot". Wait till you get 10K Insta followers, then you won't share shit!
 

tkww

Member
Apparently folks get good results from the Olympus TG-6 cameras. They are supposedly quite good at macro, for a point and shoot. I've also read that you can get clean HDMI output, so you can record video on your computer via a capture card. That gives you the benefit of being able to see the video on a large screen, as you are tying. This seems like the go-to budget option.
I have a TG-4 and love it. Way better than the couple of other "rugged" cameras I had previously. I can confirm it does just fine for macro shots, albeit the working distance (distance between the front of the lens and the subject) is extremely short in the macro mode.
Beyond that, everyone starts talking about mirrorless cameras and lenses. I didn't get very far here, because I found it all a bit overwhelming. The Canon EOS M* and Sony A* cameras seemed to be decent choices.
Personally I'd go with Sony over Canon at that end of the spectrum, but any of them will work.
I heard that DSLRs aren't great for regular video use. Apparently something wears out on them and mirrorless cameras are better.
Wears out? No? Not sure what you're reading. MILCs have the advantage of having on-sensor autofocus (sometimes referred to as dual-pixel AF), so they can focus precisely over a very large percentage of the sensor. DSLRS have a much more limited AF coverage. There's also less gaps between the focus points with mirrorless. Additionally, they're all programed to do some form of face/eye-detect for focusing. So for general video, yes, they're absolutely superior.

However for shooting something stationary, none of that would really come into play. My point is simply that if you're just trying to shoot a fly tying video, you have a lot of options, and they don't have to involve a "new" camera, or evening a MILC. As @James St. Clair points out, even an entry-level DSLR will get you there. (And in his case, he used extension tubes to achieve closer focusing rather than a macro lens--way more budget-friendly.) Lot of options out there. Again, consider your lighting situation. Lots of (relatively) inexpensive LED options these days, which is great.
 
I’ve been using the Olympus TG-6 with a LED ring. You can focus when you’re actually touching the fly with the lens. In macro mode it will take a series of pictures to bracket the focus setting. Olympus recommendations using a tripod but I’ve not done that. The TG-6 is a waterproof camera which can take high quality video as well as record stream side insects. I use it more for trip photos than macro work. This is a #16 chironomid:

9A726CA6-EBD1-4CD3-9CCC-C82351BF32D1.jpeg
 

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