January 13, 2019

So much room for improvement (Zhongyi 20mm f2.0 4.5 Super Macro)

Some years ago, Zhongyi Optics (http://www.zyoptics.net/) released a compact Super Macro Lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, the Zhongyi Mitakon 20mm f/2 4.5x Super Macro Lens featuring a high reproduction ratio up to 4.5:1 in a Full frame sensor which, apparently taking into account MFT crop sensor becomes more like a f/4 and 9:1.

I have looked and read the available blog and Youtube video reviews before I bought it. Some of the reviews were from people that did not appear to have much experience with Macro photography other reviews focused on its usability in taking pictures of subjects that did not necessarily allowed me to see how the lens would fair with subjects I planned to photograph.

Given that this is a specialty lens, and I knew for a fact that I would use it once every two weeks, I was expecting some challenges and compromises (optically and in terms of work flow).

I was expecting more challenges than the ones I have encountered, my first tests look promising. Most of the issues I have with my outputs are to do with user error linked to:

1) Focus rail set up;
2) Camera setting; (my laziness and reluctance to use a remote shutter and/or to assign a timer >2 sec to enable the tripod to stabilize);
3) Wrong lens settings (this lens appear sharpest between f 5.6 and f 8);
4) Poorly light subject (and associated with this poorly diffused light);

This lens only makes sense when I need to showcase a specific character, after knowing which view will be required, I need to then plan my set up: tripod and focus rail, lights (continuous and flash), diffusers, background, etc.

Having this lens means reviewing my entire approach and improve my planning skills. It almost feels like relearning macro, and this is fairly exciting. There are calculations that need to be done prior to pushing the shutter to know how many times I will need to push the shutter and the incremental change in the rail, how long will I need to leave the shutter open to take an exposure to estimate how much will this mean in terms of time required.

While we do have the tools for free to estimate how many pictures we would need to ensure that the subject is sharp (https://www.fotomacro.cl/calculadora-de-apilado/), free software to stack the images together (http://www.picolay.de/) this requires some trial and error and loads of experimentation.

Posted on January 13, 2019 07:26 AM by ruidasilvapinto ruidasilvapinto | 0 comments | Leave a comment

September 09, 2018

Slowly improving my macro photography skills

I have my macro lens for since April. I'm happy with the overall results. The lens and camera body combination have allowed me to record and upload 400+ observation. I have found the lens auto focus to be somewhat unreliable, and the implementation of the focus limiter dial to get to 1:1 somewhat disconcerting, as I start to move more the use of manual focus I have come to realize that at dusk, my light is not being properly diffused and I need to change my set up to enable a more flattering light. The 60mm MZuiko f2.8 is somewhat short for Dragonflies, but the option of having the 75-300 mm with a Raynox DCR250 proved to be quite cumbersome to carry on my walks and hard to focus. I'll continue to use my existing flash perhaps try to use a flash bracket and a foldable diffuser to spread the light more evenly and avoid loosing details and altering the colors of what I'm photographing.

Posted on September 09, 2018 07:41 AM by ruidasilvapinto ruidasilvapinto | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

April 11, 2018

My first Macro Lens

After saving money and waiting for the right time, I have finally purchase the MZuiko 60mm f2.8 macro for Micro Four Thirds System. This means I hope to upload pictures of insects from Timor-Leste, mainly from the Oe-Cusse enclave. I'm still learning Macro photography and remembering my Invertebrate Zoology, and reviewing some of the checklists I had generated some 10 years ago.

Posted on April 11, 2018 02:02 PM by ruidasilvapinto ruidasilvapinto | 2 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

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