Comparison: Marumi DHG200 +5 vs Raynox DCR-250

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!

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Nikon EN-EL15 battery has reached the end of its working life…

Sadly the Nikon EN-EL15 battery in my Nikon 1 V1 has reached the end of its working life. It happened without there being any sign whatsoever that it would die. I took some photos one day, depleting the battery in the process, and recharged it afterwards. The next day I was greeted with the following message on the camera display.

Nikon EN-EL15 battery at the end of life Continue reading

Some recent macros shot with the Nikon 1 V1, 10-30 and Marumi DHG200 / Raynox DCR-250 close-up lenses

I’ve been meaning to post some of my recent macros, which I’ve taken with the trusty old V1, 10-30mm, Marumi DHG200 (check out my review of the Marumi here) and Raynox DCR-250, but unfortunately I’ve had bronchitis the past couple of weeks. I wasn’t really in the mood for blogging.

Shot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Continue reading

I’ve updated my Marumi DHG200 +5 review!

Shot with: Olympus OM-D E-M10 & 45mm f/1.8

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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Review: Transcend Ultimate Speed SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 32GB Card

Memory cards are not one of those photography related devices that make photographers excited. You probably never heard a photographer say “wow, that new SD card is so cool, I’ve got to buy one!” Nevertheless memory cards can impact user experience dramatically, especially if you are shooting a lot in burst mode, recording high definition or 4k video with high bit rates or if you have a habit of filling the memory card before transferring all of your images and video files to your computer in one go. This is where the read and, even more importantly, write speeds of the memory card make themselves noticeable. If the memory card is too slow at writing data, the buffer of your camera will fill up rather quickly or you won’t be able to shoot video with high bit rates at all. If the read speed is too low, on the other hand, transferring data from the card to the PC will take quite a long time.

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In this blog post I would like to show you some benchmarks and talk a little about my newest SD card, the Transcend Ultimate Speed SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 32GB. Quite a mouthful, isn’t it? In a later post I’m going to decipher the “marketing speak” for you and do a comparison with some of my older memory cards. What you will see is that speeds indicated by manufacturers can be very optimistic or downright misleading. For now, let’s take a look at two very popular benchmarks – CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD – used to test various storage devices (HDDs, SSDs, memory cards, USB sticks, etc.):

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Review: 25mm f/1.4 C-Mount lens

I’ve bought the 25mm f/1.4 C-Mount lens last August with its larger sibling, the 50mm f/1.4 C-Mount, which I’ve reviewed here. This is a new record even for me in regard to long term usage of a lens, before writing a review. It took me four months to review the 50/1.4 C-Mount and a whopping eight to do a review of the Nikon 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8. Despite having the 25/1.4 and using it for such a long time, I don’t have that many photos to show for it. One reason is that it is a specialized lens, which I only use when I feel that its characteristic look adds something to the photo opportunity at hand. Otherwise I go with the 18.5mm f/1.8, which is similar in terms of focal length and DOF control, and doesn’t have the swirly bokeh I don’t like that much. The other reason is that I have the afore-mentioned 50/1.4 C-Mount. Unlike the 25/1.4 it cannot be substituted with the 18.5mm, because it is an entirely different beast in regard to focal length and bokeh. Having smoother focus and aperture rings, whereby the former is further away from the body (25/1.4’s focus ring is next to the body), makes it easier to use. I will go into more detail on that later. This is what the 25/1.4 C-Mount lens looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and in the hand.

Nikon V1 & C-Mount 25mm f/1.4 Continue reading

Another batch of photos taken with the 25mm f1.4 C-Mount lens

Unlike with my previous photos I’ve developed the photos you see below in Lightroom 5.4 and used the fringing and CA tools to reduce color artefacts on edges with strong contrast. Not that it did much good, considering just how flawed the 25mm f/1.4 C-Mount lens is in this regard. 😉 You can find my previous posts about the C-Mount lens here. I will be posting the review of the lens tomorrow. In the meanwhile you can view all my photos taken with the 25/1.4 C-Mount in my Flickr set.

Nikon V1 & C-Mount 25mm f/1.4 Continue reading

Finaly took the 25mm f1.4 C-Mount and the Nikon V1 for a spin again

After a pause lasting two months, over the course of which I’ve been shooting with my Micro Four Thirds gear, I took the Nikon V1 with the 25mm f/1.4 C-Mount lens for a spin. Unlike the 50mm f/1.4 C-Mount, the 25/1.4 is not a lens I enjoy shooting a lot, which is why I still haven’t gotten to writing a review. I simply haven’t taken enough photos with it to be confident enough to pass a final verdict. I hope that it won’t take 8 months, like it did with the 18.5mm f/1.8, until I’m ready to sit down and write a proper review. Btw. you can read my long term review of the 18.5mm here.

Nikon V1 & C-Mount 25mm f/1.4 Continue reading

Additional photos with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, PL 25mm f1.4 and Oly 45mm f1.8

Since I posted my first batch of photos taken with the brand new Olympus OM-D EM-10, I’ve had more time to study the camera and to take some additional photos. I must say, as much as I enjoy having the IBIS and the flexibility which the larger m4/3 sensor and the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 provide in terms of low light performance and DOF control, almost equally I hate the color rendition, seemingly random auto white balance and “dark” metering of the E-M10. The Nikon V1 with the Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 (you can read my review of the lens here) still have some advantages which make the setup very fun to use. For example, the V1 has extremely precise metering and Auto WB, vastly superior to the both systems the E-M10 employs. I find that with the latter I’m constantly correcting exposure by +0.3-0.7 stops to get the result I’m used to with the V1. And even then, some work in Lightroom is needed to make the highlights “roll off” as smoothly as with the V1. The reason for this is no doubt the fact that the E-M10, while having greater dynamic range overall, has less highlight headroom and a steeper curve in the highlight region (but more shadow headroom) than the V1, thus underexposing constantly to protect those highlights.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 & Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 Continue reading

Teaching my girlfriend how to use the Nikon V1

For more than a month I’ve been teaching my girlfriend Sani how to take photos consciously by using a “serious” camera, like the Nikon V1. Being someone who wasn’t interested in photography in the past, her experience is limited to taking snapshots with smartphones and full auto compact cameras. Using a camera with manual controls, like aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, is a totally new experience to her. Nevertheless she enjoyed using the Nikon V1, Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 (check out my Review of the lens here) and 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6. I’m guessing it’s the fast AF, operational speed, accurate metering and WB what she’s liking about it. Lacking experience, she can’t put into words what it is that she finds enjoyable about using the gear. We have undertaken several photo walkabouts since I started teaching her. The first time she wasn’t exactly thrilled (I had to twist her arm a bit…), but once we got home, and I deleted the vast majority of rejects and shown her the strongest photos, some of which you can see below, she was very excited. After that it took some time until I finally got to post processing her shots, which was done under her guidance and to her taste. She doesn’t know how to use Lightroom yet, but knows what she likes and how the shots should look.

Sani's photos Continue reading