I’ve had the Canon FD 200mm F4 Macro for about a month now and I’m still getting used to its size and weight. It’s a massive lens, but due to its long focal length it allows you to sit back and shoot macro subjects from a long distance. You don’t have to worry about scaring away insects and arachnids you are photographing, but you have to concentrate really hard to keep the lens/camera combo from shaking too much. In my experience the 3-axis IBIS in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is definitely overwhelmed by the massive shake. What resolves this issue to some degree is activating the high speed burst mode. Shooting with 8 frames per second improves the odds of capturing at least a few sharp pictures tremendously. “Spraying and praying” is most definitely the way to go, when it’s windy, your subject is moving and you are shooting handheld. Since I’m one of those lazy macro shooters, who can’t be bothered to get up before sunrise or to lug a tripod, it’s windy and my subjects are very active most of the time when I’m go out to do macro photography.
I’m now gonna show you some of the images I’ve taken since last time.
The Nikon 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 is the shorter and more affordable of the two telephoto zoom lenses available for the Nikon 1 system. It has a complex optical design consisting of 18 elements (with two ED glass elements) in 12 groups and features a collapsible barrel, mechanically coupled zoom ring, image stabilization (Vibration Reduction in Nikon speak) and an aperture with seven rounded blades. In full frame terms it offers a focal length range of 80-300mm. This is a versatile range, which is useful for portraiture, close-ups (and even serious macro with extension tubes or achromatic close-up lenses) and less active or skittish animals. Due to its compact size and low weight the 1 Nikkor VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 is even useful for travel photography and the occasional landscape. It is, however, too short for serious bird and wildlife photography. Its bigger and more expensive cousin, the 1 Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, is far better suited for these kinds of subjects.
The Ricoh GR Digital III is a seven year old camera. It was introduced in the summer of 2009. This was way before serious compact cameras with 1” sensors – such as Sony RX100 series, Canon G5 X, G7 X (II) and Panasonic TZ100/ZS100 – hit the market. At the time there were only a handful of pocketable serious cameras to choose from. What made the Ricoh GR Digital III stand out for me, were its 28mm equivalent prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.9, a for its time speedy operation and auto focus thanks to the GR ENGINE III image processor and the lovely 920,000 dots 3 inch LCD screen, which looks great even by today’s standards.
With a size of 1/1.7” its sensor was considered very large for a compact camera at the time. And, to top it all off, it was one of the few compacts to offer RAW capture, which made all the difference in terms of achievable image quality and post processing headroom.
All of these (and many more) features had their price, of course. The tiny GR Digital III was released with a hefty £529.99 / $699 / €599 price tag. One could buy an entry level DSLR with a kit lens or a double kit for the same amount of money. But still, getting the Ricoh was worth it, if you wanted a serious and very capable carry-anywhere camera. In my opinion it’s worth it to buy a used one even today, so many years after its release. Keep on reading to find out why.
I never thought that I would enjoy recording video. If you’d asked me less than a year ago what I think about the much hyped topics of VDSLR and 4k video I would just shrug my shoulders in utter indifference. But since then I have made an intellectual U-turn, so to speak.
I have come to realize that recording video is as challenging as it is fun. I don’t pretend to be good at it, but I enjoy it very much. The following video was recorded with my father’s action camera, a Panasonic HX-A1M. I placed the HX-A1M on the riverbed and started the recording via my smartphone and the Panasonic Image App.
Due to low contrast when recording underwater contrast, highlights and shadows were tweaked in Adobe Premiere Elements 14.
After my last post regarding the Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens I have purchased a revers mounting ring for micro four thirds. It’s a 55mm to M4/3 mount mounting ring, which is too large for the Cosmicar. I have therefore attached the lens to two step-up rings – a 40.5mm to 52mm and a 52mm to 55mm. It’s not an ideal solution, but I wasn’t able to find a reverse mounting ring with a smaller filter thread. Anyway it works and surprisingly well at that. I haven’t calculated the maximum magnification ratio, but it puts all my other macro setups to shame. See the anthers in the following photo which was shot with the reverse mounted Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 on my Olympus OM-D E-M10?
I’m not much of a landscape shooter and I think it shows. I feel quite helpless when trying to compose a landscape shot. When shooting portraiture, animals or macro I often get that “click…nailed it!” feeling. Even before viewing the photo on the back screen or on the PC display at home, I know that the shot is good. However, I can’t remember ever getting that feeling when shooting landscapes. It’s more like “click…hmm, is it any good?” Continue reading →
Yesterday night I recorded a short video of a slug – I believe it’s a Limax flavus – eating grass. The video was recorded handheld with a Nikon 1 V1, a Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 and Raynox DCR-250 achromatic close up lens. I held the camera with my right hand, while illuminating the slug with my phone’s built in LED with my left. You can even hear a rooster crowing in the background. 🙂
Canon FD 200mm f/4 Macro is the kind of lens I wanted Olympus and Panasonic to release for quite some time now. In my mind smaller sensor formats, like micro four thirds and Nikon 1, are perfectly suited for macro photography – especially for skittish macro subjects, such as damselflies, dragonflies and butterflies. It’s a real shame that neither Olympus/Panasonic nor Nikon have released a long macro lens for their respective systems. In absence of such a lens, the best option is to get a legacy lens and a suitable adapter and focus manually.
Two weekends ago Sani and I were visiting Sani’s cousin in Veliko Gradiste, a small town on the banks of Danube in eastern Serbia. We were attending the birthday of her twin daughters. Before the other guests arrived and the party started on Saturday, I snuck out and went on a stroll along the Danube. For me this was the perfect opportunity to shoot pictures of waterbirds that can’t be found along the small river Mlava in my hometown of Petrovac na Mlavi. Admittedly the Nikon 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 – being too short – is not the best suited lens for these kinds of subjects. It was a fun exercise nonetheless.
I’ve been shooting a lot of macro photos since my last post on this topic. Most of the time – almost exclusively, actually – I’ve used my Nikon 1 V1 and 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6, with or without achromatic close-up lenses. You don’t really need a close-up lens or a real macro lens for larger insects like damselflies or dragonflies. The following photos were captured without a close-up lens and show how close you can get to your macro subject with just the 30-110mm.
Note: Click on any of the following photos to view it large.
Nikon 1 V1 and 1 Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 — 110mm, f/5.6, 1/200s and ISO100