Excellent suggestions.......I, for one, appreciate longer posts with logic and
> On May 6, 2017 at 8:38 PM Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On 5/6/2017 11:41 AM, Maggie wrote:
> > Hi all,
> > I am planning what, if I go ahead with it, will probably be the last major
> > project of my life.
> > This is to do a photographic record of 600 or so of the major flowering
> > plants of New Zealand.
> > The last time that I know of to do a volume of this degree and scope was
> > Prof. J T Salmon with his wonderful "Native
> > New Zealand Flowering Plants" with 252 pages and many wonderful photos.
> > . . .
> > All of the (many) macro shots were taken (to use his words) using special
> > Zeiss Luminar lenses in combination with
> > electronic flash as the light source.
> > I'd not heard of Luminar lenses before this, and wonder if it might be
> > worth my while to track some down for this
> > project; and wonder how they would perform on OM digital - probably the M5.
> If this is not a nostalgic exercise in retro recreation of the tools and
> techniques of the past, I suggest you ignore
> the Luminars and Prof. Salmon's other equipment information. The bibles for
> this kind of work for many years, and
> justifiably so, have been John Shaw's "Closeups in Nature", "Nature
> Photographer's Complete Guide to Professional Field
> Techniques" and "Focus on Nature", all pre-dating Salmon's book, but with
> better equipment and technique information.
> His "Nature Photography Field Guide", with which I am not familiar, was
> updated in 2001. "Guide to Digital Nature
> Photography" is quite up to date, from 2015.
> I would be looking to these as guides, although not necessarily as gospel.
> For example, in "Guide to Digital Nature
> Photography", his section on using extension tubes leaves out the problem of
> AF lenses with internal focus, including
> most recent C-U/macro lenses, such as the Canon and Oly 60/2.8s, that focus
> by shortening focal length, so his formula
> won't work for them. He also changes his long standing recommendation of the
> Nikon 5T achromatic supplementary C-U lens
> in favor of the Canon 500T, mostly because the Nikon is no longer available
> new. However, with my particular most used
> lens with such, the Nikon clearly out performed the Canon. That might not be
> true with the lenses he used.
> Not to knock his books. They are very well thought out, organized and
> written, with excellent examples. Nobody/nothing
> is perfect, and they are as good as I know of for this subject.
> I have several suggestions for you to consider. First for image quality, and
> second, but still important, to save time
> and effort. This is a huge project. Sitting around in the ground, focusing a
> manual lens, remembering to set the
> diaphragm, etc. will make it ever so much larger that it need be. I have
> taken many thousands of flower pictures; the
> ones I post here are just a tiny, tiny tip of the iceberg of my HDs. They
> cover tiny blossom as small as 2-3 mm, up
> through dinner plate sizes and huge sunflowers and exotic blooms in botanic
> In film days, the lenses with which I got the best results were Oly 55/3.5
> Macro, Tamron 90/2.5 Macro, Kiron 105/2.8
> Macro and Oly 135/4.5 bellows lens.
> Recently, my best results for flowers have been with current zoom lenses and
> aux. C-U lenses, most notably with the
> PLeica 100-400. I know this sounds so very, very wrong, but things have
> changed. Contemporary µ4/3 lenses are notably
> sharper than old MF glass mounted on µ4/3 bodies. This is in part because
> much of the FF field the old lenses had to
> cover is thrown away, but mostly as a result of advances in glass, design
> software, etc.
> All this has consequences for old techniques. Very common, and very little
> known, is that internal focus prime lenses
> are really, in a way, zooms, as they change FL to focus. (You figure out how
> else to do it internally, without change in
> length.) The latest computer design software and the ability to use huge
> numbers of elements, of many refractive indexes
> and with several asymmetric surfaces, allows much closer control over
> characteristics. In the old days, you could figure
> that using extension tubes with normal lenses would be the best way to focus
> Now, you can't count on that. I recently compared a lens using extension
> tubes on the back for C-U with using several
> achromatic C-U lenses on the front. A couple of the C-U lenses didn't do very
> well outside the very center. The tubes
> weren't great. The hands down winner was a particular (old) C-U lens,
> sharpest in the center and holding very well out
> to the edges.
> If you've been watching here, you've seen many IQ excellent flower images
> taken with PLeica 100-400, Oly 12-100 and
> Pleica 12-60 zooms, several here.
> And here.
> Not that tubes don't work. <http://zone-10.com/tope2/main.php?g2_itemId=4534>
> You'll notice again that I was working with the long end of a long zoom.
> There are several reasons I've moved from
> 50-145 mm prime macro lenses to long zooms.
> 1-4. It works! Great images.
> 5. Reach. These 'shrooms were 6-8' away horizontally and 4-5' vertically, up
> a very steep, very muddy slope.
> <http://zone-10.com/tope2/main.php?g2_itemId=21495> I have many great flower
> shots that I simply couldn't have made with
> a short FL lens, because I couldn't get close enough.
> 6. Working distance. This is a flower three-fer:
> a. It's much easier on older knees, elbows, etc.
> b. It doesn't block the light, making working with natural light MUCH
> c. I generally prefer the perspective of longer FLs for flowers.
> 7. A bonus beyond flowers - It doesn't scare off critters as easily.
> For prime macros, the Oly 60/2.8 Macro is an excellent lens.
> The time and trouble saving over an old MF lens is huge.
> It focuses directly to 1:1 on the sensor, which is eq. to 2x on 35 mm. Good
> focal range AF options and a wonderful hood
> design (the JJC version works as well and is MUCH cheaper). I don't use it
> more because of the relatively short working
> distance, exacerbated by the shortening of FL with focal distance. (Yes, it's
> 120 mm AoV eq. on the 4/3 sensor, but
> optically, it's still 60 mm for working distance, and just over 40 mm at
> closest focus.)
> If you really need a short FL, bellows macro lens, follow the advice of our
> resident, very expert Dean. He has more C-U,
> Macro, Micro experience than all of us combined, I suspect. The Oly 38/2.8 is
> outstanding for 2-8x (4-16 eq.). On the
> Oly bellows with a cable release, it's semi auto diaphragm, too.
> Salmon, John Shaw, everybody back then was using flash. Flash works, but also
> has drawbacks. At least with digital, you
> can see if the exposure worked immediately.
> Nowadays, excellent higher ISO sensor performance and IS make artificial
> light necessary far less often. Again,
> technology has changed options. There are excellent, white balanced, small,
> light LED continuous light sources available
> for little money. One may see what the lighting will look like, and adjust
> it, before making an exposure.
> These options are particularly important for focus stacking, below.
> Camera support:
> Yup, tripods work, really well, for many subjects and situations. They also
> limit angles of view. More importantly, they
> take time to set up and take down. The vast majority of my flower images are
> taken hand held. Would they be better using
> a tripod? I think only occasionally, as the IBIS on the E-M5 II is
> spectacularly good. (Oly claims the even better IBIS
> on the E-M1 II is limited in some circumstances by the rotation of the Earth.)
> OTOH, once I've set up the tripod, focused, set lighting, etc. for a shot of
> a particular flower, I've got a lot
> invested. Then when I walk farther, and find a nicer specimen, setting and/or
> background, what are chances that I'll go
> to all that trouble again?
> If all I've done before is take a few moments for a careful hand held shot or
> three, I'm happy to do that again. I think
> the chances of the best possible final image of the flower may be higher hand
> held. With digital, the cost is nothing,
> not wasted film and processing.
> Depth of Field
> Here again, tech has changed the possible dramatically. The project you are
> contemplating is primarily documentation,
> not art. Focus stacking (which Oly, correctly, but confusingly, calls Focus
> Bracketing) changes the whole process. It's
> possible to have the sexual organs of a Hibiscus, for example, AND the front
> part of the petals, AND the bent back tips
> of the petals, ALL in focus at once, in one "shot".
> This is a huge change for documenting flowers, allowing capture of details in
> one image not possible before. If I
> couldn't do this for the flowers where it's indicated, I wouldn't do the work
> of updating Salmon's previous work.
> One problem for this is it would require a new camera, as it's available
> in-camera only with the E-M5 II, E-M1 I & II.
> another is that it requires software to merge the slices of the stack, and
> likely more computer power.
> Old lenses with digital cameras:
> You ask how the Luminars, and others will work with the E-M5. If you've been
> following AG, MikeG, me, and others, and if
> you surf the web, you'll find that some MF lenses work well with some digital
> backs, and come combinations work poorly.
> Many of the reasons for this are known, but some combos defy what would be
> expected, so I conclude that all reasons
> aren't as yet known/quantified. MF practically forces tripod use, and is time
> consuming. If I were contemplating this
> project, I'd be planning around AF lenses, for simple practical reasons,
> perhaps most because I'm not immortal. I save
> old lenses on digital backs for other fun.
> The Salmon book is 9.6x7.4'. So I assume the largest image in it might be
> about 6x8". If you are contemplating a similar
> end product, practically any of the lenses, MF or AF, that you might use will
> be fine. Even at 8.5x11, in the photo
> books I've made, my µ4/3 lenses and the 12 and 16 MP sensors have been more
> than good enough for even reasonably cropped
> images, often spectacular.
> I have excellent 11x14 and 12x18 prints from the E-M5 sensor. Even a heavily
> cropped 11x14 of the center of a dahlia
> causes involuntary oohs and aahs.
> I imagine that the limitations of film and publishing would have masked the
> flaws in any lenses he used. I don't think
> you need look for any old special, magic lenses to get great images.
> Some of this seriously breaks long held beliefs, but I swear it's all true,
> now - experientially tested.
> Iconoclast Moose
> What if the Hokey Pokey *IS* what it's all about?
> Options: http://lists.thomasclausen.net/mailman/listinfo/olympus
> Archives: http://lists.thomasclausen.net/mailman/private/olympus/
> Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/
Themed Olympus Photo Exhibition: http://www.tope.nl/