View Full Version : advice please which lens of fungi or what can I do to improve these shots?

15th November 2011, 03:28 PM
Hi all,

I have been out and about with my e620 and my kit lens taking lots of photos of funky fungi. I've beenpleed with the results so far, but find the lens can struggle to focus and I'm not surethat Macro mode on the cmera does anything different than when I have it on full auto. I was wondering if it is worth getting a proper macro lens and if so, how it would improve my shots?

Here's a link to the pics I've been taking with the kit lens:




15th November 2011, 03:45 PM

I think the kit lenses are fine for taking fungus.Marco lenses are good for very small subjects but most fungi are a lot bigger than that.
I've had a look at a selection of your pictures on FLICKr and a lot of them appear to be at f22 so will probably show a lot of softening due to diffraction setting in.When I take fungi its normally at about f9-11.
The other thing I'd say is use live view and manual focus.

Another good investment is a tripod and either a cable release or IR release that way you can take fungi with natural light which I think looks much better and you don't get all those shadows.

Just one from my gallery

http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/data/500/PA102403.jpg (http://e-group.uk.net/gallery/showphoto.php/photo/18370)

Hope this helps.

David Morison
15th November 2011, 03:55 PM
Another good investment is a tripod and either a cable release or IR release that way you can take fungi with natural light which I think looks much better.

I agree, most of these appear to be taken using flash (on-board?) which is giving some harsh shadows. If the light is too poor in woodland to use natural light then I would suggest using a large diffuser box to soften the shadows.

Otherwise all these are excellent shots and an insight into the amazing variety of fungi in our native woodland. Well done!


15th November 2011, 06:18 PM
I would definetly avoid flash. Try bouncing it from a reflector or use a diffuser for a more natural look.

16th November 2011, 01:10 PM
Hi folks, thanks for the advice. Yes these were mainly taken with the onboard flash, as it was dark and overcast when I was shooting. Does anyone have any recommendations or can point me to information re diffusers/reflectors, suggested tripods etc for this kind of shooting? I have been using live view and tried Manual focus (hand held) but couldn't seem to focus the lens using the focus ring? Was I doing something wrong?

All the best


16th November 2011, 01:35 PM
If you do a quick search of homemade diffusers you could try before you buy like the site above.

16th November 2011, 01:35 PM
You will probably need an FL36 or FL50 to be able to use some sort of light modifier. Diffusers should be available for both but more fancy things including softboxes are available - a recent edition of Advanced Photographer magazine had a review of some of these. The R versions of the flash units will allow you more creative options as you can use them off camera wirelessly although with a suitable lead the non-R versions can be as well.
As for tripods, one that allows the camera to get low to the ground is best. Benbo are good at this although Manfrottos and Giotos both make tripods with central columns that can be swivelled to almost any angle.
You can't focus manually until you set the camera to MF. I don't know how to do this on the E-620 but it should be easy to do - look in the book.

16th November 2011, 02:38 PM
Thanks, I did set the camera to MF then tried focusing with the focus ring, but it didn't seem to do anything. I'll give it another go.

17th November 2011, 04:36 PM
As others have said, go to f9 - f11, with IS on #1 you should get a pretty reasonable result without resorting to a tripod if you can be relative steady (a beanbag or something similar could be used to help hold the camera still). The "poor man's flash ring", number 2 in the link that MotoCroz posted should be ideal for softening the flash and hence not giving nasty shadows, and it's nigh on free (you need a milk carton and about 5 minutes of scissor work!) :D

You may have to compensate the exposure a bit as that will probably under expose the shot. I can't recall off the top of my head (E-620 not with me at work :() whether you can do this in full AUTO, you may have to go to another mode. :eek:

17th November 2011, 04:50 PM
Thanks!I'll have a go cutting up a milk carton and see how I get on. :)

Homer Simpson
19th November 2011, 05:32 PM
If you want a cheap experiment with lenses you could:

Buy a OM 50mm f1.8, these go for around 20 on the bay
Set of extension tubes - I think I paid 8 delivered from Amazon
Adaptor 15 delivered from Amazon

You have to manually focus of course - I use live view & magnify.

There a good thread somewhere here on the forum

23rd November 2011, 10:29 AM
Hi thanks for the tips. I tried the milk bottle diffuser idea and that seemed to work qute nicely. A couple of examples:

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6237/6368340041_3d3cc3b532.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/6368340041/)
PB196016 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/6368340041/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6228/6368335613_25284ef39f.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/6368335613/)
PB196012 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kittykat23uk/6368335613/) by kittykat23uk (http://www.flickr.com/people/kittykat23uk/), on Flickr

Here's one I tried with and without flash. I think the one with flash is closer to the colours I saw in the field:



Re the OM 1.8 lens, sounds great I like Bokeh! Is that a T-mount lens? I have already got a T mount adaptor for digiscoping with so if it is I might not need to get the extension tube. Can someone advise please?

Also, when I have it set to SAF I find it often struggles to focus on the mushroom, even though it clearly can focus on it within the range as it comes into focus then out as it refocuses if you see hat I mean. Does anyone have any tips for improving the focus in SAF?

Phill D
23rd November 2011, 07:08 PM
The OM lens mentioned is a regular Olympus OM fit as opposed to the digital fit on your E620 hence you will need an adaptor.It looks to me like you are pulling some pretty good shots with your current kit lenses already though. Depends what you want I suppose, tubes and macro lenses will get you larger magnifications & shallower DoF if thats where you want to go.

24th November 2011, 09:27 AM
I seldom use flash for mycology but then I remembered I had the large oly flash gun (50, it isnt cheap but I found n this forum a couple of years since at a very reasonable price. I think and its been festering in a cupboard so I set it to automatic and stopped down to f5.6 and it seems to manage the exposure pretty dam good on the odd time I remember to carry it with me. It works just as well with the EP2

25th November 2011, 07:26 AM
Thanks for the input. It would be great to be ale to get some supermacro shots for insects and the odd tiny flower or fungus (I have an old C5050 that has an amazing macro function). So I'll give it some thought. One thing I am finding with fungi though is the need for a greater depth of fied than wth insects and flowers. Especially to aid identification.

Thanks again!


25th November 2011, 08:22 AM
The most useful thing I have found for fungi shots is a small silver card that goes in my camera bag (baco foil stuck to a card or the bottom of a cake case) and I use this for reflecting light into the shadow areas, for me flash tends to destroy the modeling effect natural light has.

Shaggy Scalycap and reflector.


E-1 and 50mm Macro
1/60s f/4.5 at 50.0mm iso400