Are you sure that you want autofocus for these small scale work ?
Part of my work involves taking macro photos for surgical specimens. I used to use Minolta SLR. Its 100mm macro lens has autofocus but I never use it, only because the autofocus system never get the point I wish to focus at. I have used many autofocus cameras but I never use their autofocus for the same reason.
I find the easiest way to focus is to fix the focusing barrel at one point and focus by moving the camera to and fro. Life is easier for me as I always use studio flash. Same applies for my M system. I use the focusing barrel when I am using tripod.
Joseph, I've used AF for MACRO work with my Pentax *ist D and Sigma 55~200. These were pictures of bees and butterflies pollinating Grass Tree flowers. You can see them on my website, http://febury.com, but I'll post one of the images here later. Because the bees in particular were in rapid motion, AF was the only way I could get them. I tried using my R6 and
Leitz 100/2.8 but it just didn't work.
Almost all my work is outdoors. At the moment I'm shooting wild flowers; Orchids are in season. The problem there is that the flowers vibrate in the slightest breeze. Yet a speed that takes movement into account also brings DOF problems.
I agree with you that autofocus has a role in focusing moving subjects.
I am just those kind of people who rarely uses autofocus even the camera has it. I saw your photos with bees and butterflies.
There is one with the bee in largest magnification. The compound eye of the bee is in focus. I find it hard to trust the autofocus system. I just can't see if an autofocus system exist that is intelligent enough to focus on the eye only instead of the legs or the wing.
Perhaps what makes the difference in insect photography is not the choice between autofocus and manual focus. Anticipation of where it will go matters more.
Just a bit of personal taste, if I were photographing the bee I would use manual focus as well. I would lock the focus and move to and fro to focus. If I uses a tripod I would anticipate where it will go and use the barrel to focus.
>Tell me about it. My 83 year old eyes are my biggest Leica focusing problem. > With the 100 mm APO I find that a "micrometer" plat form that moves the camera forward and backward as well as side to side is a great help with focus and framing. In many cases the right angle viewer also make macro work easier. The Benbo tripod also is helful in placing the camera where you want it. Now I am eagar to try the 100 mm with my new DMR.
Bruce, I'm looking forward to hearing how you get on with the DMR. I had a very good report of it yesterday from my local Leica dealer who is using it with the 100/2.8.
I meant to say to Joseph, but the picture I wanted to upload wouldn't go through, that I'm not fanatical about sharpness. I also like a picture that's sharp where I want it to be, but there's softness that gives just a hint of the 'artistic' touch.