Atlas Moth Macro Images

This article shares a selection of Atlas Moth macro images captured handheld with an Olympus TG-5 at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls Ontario. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. A note of thanks to one of our readers, Ray Miller, for taking a photograph of me using the Olympus TG-5.

Nikon D7100 + Nikkor 105 mm Micro f/2.8, f/8, 1/125, ISO-2500, -0.3 step

As you can see in Ray’s photograph, when using the Olympus TG-5 in ‘microscopic’ mode, the camera is placed almost right on top of the subject. This is not a problem with benign insects like butterflies. It is not something I would do with stinging or biting insects like bees, wasps or spiders. Ray’s photograph also provides a good reference for the size of the Atlas Moth.

Olympus TG-5 @ 11 mm, efov 61.1 mm, f/3.6, 1/60, ISO-400

The Atlas Moth is one of the world’s largest insects, with a wingspan up to 30 cm (~11.8 inches) in width.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/40, ISO-800, microscopic mode

It is native to areas of South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia including Borneo.

Olympus TG-5 @ 6 mm, efov 33.3 mm, f/3.2, 1/100, ISO-800, microscopic mode

These large moths have quite small bodies compared to their wing size, making them weak, clumsy flyers. They typically rest during the day and fly at night.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/6.3, 1/15, ISO-1600, microscopic mode

Adult Atlas Moths lack fully formed mouth parts and are unable to eat. They subsist entirely on fat reserves they build up during the larval stage. They have a very short lifespan of only a few days, during which time their sole objective is finding a mate.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/6.3, 1/20, ISO-1600, microscopic mode

I quite enjoyed using the Olympus TG-5 to photograph this large and unusual moth. It takes a bit of practice to position and steady the camera when shooting macro images hand-held. Bracing my elbows and/or forearms on rocks and other structures at the facility worked well.

Olympus TG-5 @ 10 mm, efov 55.6 mm, f/4.5, 1/50, ISO-800, microscopic mode

I purchased an Olympus LG-1 LED light guide attachment on my way to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory. This attachment is easy to mount on the front of the TG-5 and redirects the camera’s LED light into a circular pattern around the lens. This additional illumination allows the camera to be used in very close proximity to subjects.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/6.3, 1/13, ISO-1600, microscopic mode

I tried a number of images using the TG-5’s focus stacking feature, which combines a series of photographs into a composite jpeg. I didn’t use any of those images in this article as I preferred the results obtained from using RAW files. My inexperience in processing jpegs in post was no doubt a contributing factor.

The Olympus TG-5 is quite a fun and effective camera to use for these types of extreme close ups of static subjects and benign insects. I can also see this specific capability coming in handy from time to time with some of my client projects.

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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6 thoughts on “Atlas Moth Macro Images”

  1. I only briefly got to use the Olympus Tough 5 but quickly saw its impressive unique close up abilities. However several design flaws really stood out. First the resistant of the shutter to begin depressed, the lack of any significant grip and third if a camera doesn’t have an EVF it should at least have an articulating LCD to help compose.

    1. Hi Steve,

      I agree that the TG-5 does have some issues in terms of design. Being an underwater camera I can understand why it does not have an articulating rear screen… that would likely have been very tough from a water infiltration standpoint. Being a higher end point-and-shoot camera, the TG-5 really doesn’t have the amount of manual controls that I would ideally like. The small 1/2.3″ sensor, even with its BSI design, is challenged with dynamic range, colour depth and low light performance compared to larger sensor cameras. Having said all of that, as your comment highlights, it does have an impressive and unique close up ability. I will only be using my TG-5 for very specific, niche applications as my Nikon 1 kit better meets my needs for the majority of my other photographic work. The Olympus TG-5’s microscopic setting is quite good and will be something that I will use on a regular basis.


  2. Hi Tom,

    I see you’re enjoying using the Oly TG camera. Beautiful moth I must say with palm-like feelers. Moths and other insects are my other source fascination apart from birds — gives me some semblance of the handiwork of the Creator for He gives such incredible details to even small creatures with a lifespan only a short fraction of a human’s.


    1. Hi Oggie,

      The Atlas Moth is a beautiful species to be sure. It’s lifespan in this stage is only a few days long which is unfortunate… but as your comment stated it is the handiwork of the Creator. Luckily the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory does breed this species so I have the occasional opportunity to view this wonderful creature locally.

      I am enjoying the Olympus TG-5. Of course one must accept the fact that the camera ‘is what it is’. I purchased it to fill a very selection number of niche applications for which I think it is very well suited… and applications which are not strengths of my Nikon 1 gear.


      1. Hi Tom,

        I just purchased a TG5 yesterday and am spending the day learning how to use the macro set-up. Did you use manual focusing when photographing the moth? Did you use Auto ISO?

        1. Hi Taiyo,

          I used auto-focusing and set my focusing point for each image using the 25-point selection grid. I had Auto-ISO set to 100-1600. I will be doing some experimenting with the Auto-ISO set to 100-800 as I did not like how my focus stacking tests came out using an upper ISO limit of 1600. The internal jpeg noise reduction on the TG-5 smears the details far too much for my liking. I will likely use RAW files produced by my TG-5 most of the time. I also used the Olympus LG-1 LED light guide for all of my macro images with the TG-5.


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