macro Tag

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we plant roses in garden beds and enthuse over them? The plants are 98% stabbing pains for every 2% bright colour or sweet odour. And their demonic spikes do nothing to deter their natural enemies - the aphids. Aphids climb over the spikes with impunity. The rest of us lose jumpers and forearms to them. Here's the only thing in the front yard that was not clawing at me. Ah, well, at least the things provided a little colour for the Panasonic GX-9K camera and Lumix G 30mm f 1:2.8 ASPH Mega O.I.S lens. This is serious micro 4/3 stuff with a dedicated close-up lens - expect perfection. And perfection that is easy to use in a walk-around package. Of course, if you are a dedicated photo enthusiast, easy to use, convenient, and simple are terms that mean nothing to you. The real zealot will carry lead-acid batteries, GPS unit, softboxes, and studio strobe kits up the side of a mountain to capture a toadstool. You may complain bitterly if your designer coffee...

That sounds vaguely like a Dashiell Hammett detective novel title, but it's really just the best way to introduce the big macro lens for my favourite camera maker - Fujifilm. The lens, the Fujinon XF80mm f 1:2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, is the newest macro from the firm - their 60mm macro has been in the range of lenses since the introduction of the X-system. It's been a stand-by for close work and very sharp in it's favoured range, but somewhat of an acquired taste. To put it bluntly, the 60mm is a slow-working lens. Like the well-known divine mills, it grinds slowly but exceeding fine. If you've got a set of subjects that can stand a close approach and immobility, it is a wonderful choice - but I was delighted to be able to see whether the new 80mm macro was going to beat it. Of course there is the question of depth of field - you'll have little enough of it with the 60mm focal length when you close in and less with the 80mm - the DOFmaster tables show...

The phrase " f:8 and be there " was one often quoted to me as the formula for success in event photography. I think it was good advice in many situations where a preset camera and a lively eye were the only chance to get an image - the occasions where you couldn't predict when the action was going to happen nor where it was going to. These were days when you were going to have to get the job done in 12, 24, or 36 shots. Of course it was also the days of a glass flash bulb in a circular reflector and a focus locked at 12 feet, so the formula was easy to remember - it was goosing the film later in the darkroom that took the finesse. Well, now we can goose the ISO beforehand, let the automatic focus decide what we are doing, and reconstruct reality pixel by pixel with a Wacom tablet...

I rarely enquire into other people's relationships - they are none of my business. Some photographers feel the same way about taking other people's images - they never approach closely. This is neither a good thing nor a bad one - it is just the way some people's personalities deal with the world. If you are one of these shooters you may choose a longer lens for your year's work. Something that allows you to put a distance between yourself and the subject. You'll have good and bad: Good a. There will be less interference between you and your subject. They will be less likely to react to you. There will be less fear on both parts. b. The depth of field for any given aperture will be shallower. If you are trying to isolate your subject with a fuzzy background or foreground, this will happen more readily. c. The background will loom larger in the shot  - good if this is the atmosphere you want. d. You'll get less chromatic aberration at the edges of most pictures. e. Your face shots will show less distortion than...

The two cameras selected this week are travelling specials - the sort of equipment that goes on safari or a bear hunt. Or, for that matter, goes to air shows or surfing beaches. Not the massive DSLR or slightly less massive mirror-less system cameras - these are hand-holdable tourist cameras that will bring back long shots. The first candidate is the Canon G3X. You can look up all the specs on the net but briefly it is a 25X zoom camera with fixed lens...