What do y'all use to take pictures for observations?

You’ll love it. And by the way, I rarely use the flash for macro. Even in dim light I’ll shoot high ISO or 4K video (video works much better in available light) and run things through PureRaw batch processor (which I also use for DSLR cameras). Unfortunately, I don’t think the P900 has either RAW or 4k though.

Last week, I got a super deal on a used Laowa 100mm 2x macro that I couldn’t resist. So for the last few days I’ve been playing around with it on my old Sony Alpha 6000. The optics are beautiful, and I really, really love the truly manual focus (I dream that someday superzoom manufacturers will include that options!). But after a few days? Despite the much larger sensor in the Alpha – 6000 pixels vs the Nikon P950’s 4000, I have to say that now that the bugs are truly emerging? I’ve switched back to the bridge camera!

Why? The birds are still migrating through here so I want that superzoom. Two, with the Raynox-250 I can actually zoom in at least twice as close as the 2X on Laowa. I’m a firm believer in travelling light, and cheaper, with fewer parts to loose or get damaged/stolen/lost. That’s really, really, hard to beat with the superzoom-bridge/Raynox combo.

And I want to focus this season on the sub 5mm range. That’s where the bulk of the under-observed treasures lie. I only had a half-hour yesterday to play with my macro shooting so I just went to my backyard. Four new lifers. And another half dozen familiars with much more detail than my older shots.

One warning: you will get vignetting with the Raynox-250 after you zoom out to about a 9mm frame width. But you can always take it off and switch to the camera lens only for that range. Or crop a bit. I tried using a full 67mm NiSi lens instead as it eliminated vignetting completely but – it was too much for the P950s lens motor and it would start to stall, so I took it off before I ruined something permanently. The Raynox is much lighter and no problem except for the big bug shoots (over 9mm) vignetting.

That is one advantage of the Laowa/DSLR combo. It DOES allow you to zoom right out from 2x macro and even go to a light 100mm telezoom. But… nah, not worth the sacrifice of the range I’m getting with my ‘peashooter’ bridge combo.

Good luck and please keep us posted with your results!

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Sounds good if you just need to take a pic of anything in visibility. But if you want good photos, that’s not the way to go, this looks confusing for identification too, here and in previous posts this ai makes weird stuff out of key insect parts.

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It definitely can. You have to learn to restrain from pushing it too hard.

From what we’ve all heard about AI-anything that’s coming out now (and not just in photography), that is going to be true for a lot more things than most people realize!

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I use my iPhone with either a macrolens or a telephoto clip-on. Both are cheap but the macrolens is fairly impressive and very durable. I’ve been less impressed with the telephoto but it was very cheap. I am saving up for a camera to start taking better photos so if anyone has recommendations for an affordable beginner camera I’d love to hear them

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It was the 4-foot minimum focus distance that struck me as impractical rather than the weight (though I’m happy to have something a bit lighter).

Apart from sometimes needing to move/manipulate leaves or branches to get a clear view of the subject, for stuff in the under 5 mm range, a lot of the time I need to be closer than 1 meter even to just tell whether that dark thing on a leaf is an ant, a tiny beetle, etc. or just a bit of debris, and decide whether I want to photograph it or not. But maybe that is my near-sightedness and others do not have this difficulty.

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