This morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee with Sani, I noticed a praying mantis “baby” (what’s the correct word in English?) on the back rest of one of our garden chairs. I was deeply intrigued since I had never seen a mantis this young and small before. I had to take a picture right away!
Achromatic close-up lenses are one of the most popular options among photographers who want to get a taste of macro photography without breaking the bank. They are a special kind of close-up lenses with multiple lens elements instead of just one. This minimizes chromatic aberration and ensures better image quality at the borders of the frame.
Two highly regarded achromatic lenses are the Marumi DHG200 +5 and Raynox DCR-250. They cost almost the same, around 50-55 bucks. I own both of them and I’m more than satisfied with their build and image quality. That being said, there are some differences that will make you prefer one over the other, unless you want to own both. 😉 So let’s get to it!
A trusted source has supposedly told 43rumors that Olympus is going to announce a new 30mm macro lens this year. To be perfectly honest I don’t consider that particular (short) focal length very useful for macros I like to shoot. Which are macros of living, breathing insects and arachnids. And there is already a 30mm macro lens for the system, the Panasonic Lumix G 30mm f/2.8 macro ASPH OIS.
What I think the system really needs is a much longer macro lens. One with 90mm or even 100mm. Now THAT would be really exciting. What do you think?
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Photographers often use lenses for subjects they are not primarily designed for. Macro lenses, for example, often double as portraiture lenses – especially the ones with medium-long focal lengths. But how about doing it the other way around and using a dedicated portrait lens – such as the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for micro 4/3 – for macro photography? Not a good idea? Well, no, not if you are only going to use the portrait lens. But if you attach one or two close-up lenses, you will be surprised what can be done with that kind of set-up. Take a look at the following photos I’ve shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, 45mm f/1.8, Marumi DHG200 (read my review here) and Raynox DCR-250. It’s important to note that none of these images were cropped.
I’ve added lots of photos taken with the Marumi DHG200 + 5 with the Nikon 1 V1 and 10-30mm and 18.5mm f/1.8 as well as Olympus OM-D E-M10 and 45mm f/1.8. There are now more photos of the said cameras and lenses with and without the Marumi attached to them. And last but not least there are also full resolution comparison images taken with the Nikon and Olympus gear, so that you can get a better idea of the boost to magnification ratio it provides. You can check out the review here.
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In the last couple of posts (here and here) I’ve mentioned that I’ve been using flash and a do-it-yourself diffuser for taking macro photos with my Ricoh GRD3. It’s a simple diffuser made entirely out of paper, which I’d like to show you now. Please don’t laugh, it works better than it looks. 🙂
In my reply to Joni in the comments of my last post on the topic of shooting macro with the Ricoh GRD3, I said that the GRD3 has a very special wide angle lens, unlike any other either fixed (as in compact camera) or interchangeable. I now want to show you just how close you can get to your macro subjects with the 6mm f/1.9 (28mm full frame equivalent). What you see below is an image of a microSD card shot at the closest focusing distance. It’s important to note that it was not cropped at all. I just resized it from 10MP to 1920 × 1440 pixels. If anyone wants to see the photo in full resolution, I will upload it to Flickr. Just let me know in the comments. 🙂
It’s hard for me to fathom, just how much time has passed since I bought the Ricoh GRD3. I purchased it in October 2011 as a small street-photography camera, an addition to my “big guns”. In case you were wondering about the name of the blog: “big guns” for street-photography or big street guns… It just made sense back then, but not so much now. Anyway, I carried the Ricoh everywhere with me, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to like the wide angle focal length, since I was so used to shooting with 50mm standard primes with all my other cameras. After a while I stopped carrying the Ricoh with me and a couple of months later I gave up street-photography altogether. Since then the GRD3 has been slumbering, tucked away in a drawer, waiting for me to rediscover it.
More than two years after release Nikon still doesn’t offer a native macro lens for its Nikon 1 system. This means that if you intend to take macros, you are left with a few “odd” choices. The most powerful, but also the most expensive and bulky solution is to buy the FT-1 adapter and a DX or FX Micro-Nikkor, like the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8G ED, 85mm f/3.5 IF-ED or 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. These lenses will allow you to achieve even greater image ratios (above 1:1) on N1 cameras than when used on DX or FX Nikon DSLRs. Including the FT-1 adapter these setups will cost you from $530 up to $1000. The other two solutions are intelligent extension tubes for existing Nikon 1 lenses (you can’t buy a “dumb” tube, because AF will not work, and “by wire” MF and aperture control on N1 lenses need power from the camera) or achromatic and close-up lenses. Both are considerably cheaper, but also less powerful. BUT, depending on your expectations, cheap solutions such as extension tubes and achromatic lenses could be just the right thing for you. One of my main reasons for investing in Nikon 1 was low size and weight, which was the reason I wasn’t ready to add so much weight and bulk to my photo bag with the FT-1 and a full grown Nikkor. I ended up buying the Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens with a 52mm filter thread and a 40.5mm to 52mm step-up ring instead, which turned out to be perfect for my needs. At least until Nikon releases a native Micro-Nikkor for Nikon 1, in which case I will get that lens and use it WITH the Marumi. Here is what the Marumi looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and 10-30mm.