1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Okay Guest, it's coming up to the festive season. If you'd like to take part in this year's Secret Santa gift exchange, click the link below and speak to our resident Jolly Red Guy.

    Dismiss Notice
  1. LCPete

    LCPete

    Messages:
    6,648
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Just a little bit to add to your thread Nick I finally got some shots with the marumi 200 Achromat last week (the damselfly I posted in this section)
    The results looked really good nice and sharp
    last year I took some test shots comparing the marumi achromat with extension tubes on my 100mm macro lens
    the results with extension tubes were better than with the marumi achromat on test shots of coins
    in practice with a proper subject the marumi achromat though was very good nice sharp images
     
    GardenersHelper likes this.
  2. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    That's interesting, and good news Pete. As you may recall I tested two Marumi 200s some time ago and found both of them less sharp and more prone to chromatic aberration than the very similar powered Raynox 150. It's good to hear that in practice you are getting good results from it.
     
    LCPete likes this.
  3. LCPete

    LCPete

    Messages:
    6,648
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Thanks Nick yes I'm very pleased with the marumi
    I do remember you doing comparison tests between the ranox 150 and the marumi
    I did as mentioned find that using tubes gave slightly sharper images but in practice I couldn't get any shots of insects in the field using tubes as the loss of light caused my shutter speed to drop too low (this was natural light shooting without flash)
    The good thing with the achromat is that it doesn't seem to loose much light when mounted on the front of the macro lens
     
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2017
    GardenersHelper likes this.
  4. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    A slight reduction in IQ seems a pretty good trade-off when the alternative is not getting any photos at all. :)

    As far as I can tell close-up lenses don't seem to lose any light. They certainly don't lose light increasingly (and very noticeably) in the way that a macro lens does as the magnification increases. (Which is one of the reasons I like close-up lenses so much.)
     
    LCPete likes this.
  5. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    This was originally posted in the Show us your macro rig thread. I have copied it here as I think it fits with the ongoing journey story.

    I've made some changes since my last post here in September last year.

    The cameras

    I am still using the Panasonic FZ330 and achromats for flash-based work with invertebrates. For natural light botanical work, and natural light images of larger insects such as dragonflies, butterflies and damselflies (on the rare occasions I see any of these) I have dropped the Canon 70D with 55-250 lens (with and without an achromat) and now use a Panasonic G80 with 45-175 lens (with and without an achromat). I would also use this setup for long exposure still air tripod shots, but I haven't done any of those yet this year - the only time I did them previously was around dawn when the air was completely still, and I haven't done any sessions at that time of day this year.

    [​IMG]
    1205 01 FZ330 and G80
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    The G80 with 45-175 (90 to 350 full frame equivalent) covers roughly the same scenes as the 70D with 55-250 (around 90 to 400 equivalent). The G80 has a 4:3 aspect ratio as against the 3:2 for the 70D, but the difference favours one or the other depending on the shot so that pretty much evens out. On the other hand the G80 is significantly smaller than than the 70D, and much lighter (720 grams with 45-175 and battery compared to 1150 grams for the 70D, 55-250 and battery).

    [​IMG]
    1205 02 Comparing the size of 70D with 55-250 with G80 with 45-175
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    I find I get a greater proportion of sharp images with the G80. This may be some combination of better (more reliable, faster) autofocusing using the LCD screen (which I almost always use) and better image stabilisation (the G80 has in-body image stabilisation, IBIS, which works together with the lens image stabilisation, IS, whereas the 70D only has IS).

    I used the G3 (and later the G5) for botanical work in preference to my bridge cameras because I preferred the rendition of light, colours and textures. When I got the 70D I felt it did a bit better again, although the improvement was less clear cut. With the G80 I have the impression that I'm getting at least as good as with the 70D in terms of image quality for my botanical subjects.

    Unlike the 70D, the G80 doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter, and this may help with capturing fine detail, but for botanical work I find that much less of an issue than with invertebrates, so I don't think that is a key factor.


    The close-up lenses uses for flash work


    In the previous post I showed my achromats, each with its own diffuser.

    [​IMG]
    0975 21 The close-up lenses and their concave diffusers
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    As before with the 70D, I generally only use the low power Canon 500D achromat with the G80 (or no achromat at all).

    With the FZ330 I have simplified the way I use achromats. The issue I found was that changing achromats was quite fiddly, because I had to detach the diffuser from the close-up lens, put away the diffuser, unscrew the lens, put away the lens, get out and screw on the different achromat and get out and fit the different diffuser to the close-up lens.

    I now leave a Raynox 150 attached to the FZ330 the whole time, and leave the Raynox 150 diffuser attached to it (and also attached to the focusing lamp so as to keep the diffuser from flopping down). When I want more magnification I get out a second Raynox 150 or a Raynox 250 and screw it on to the Raynox 150 which is already on the camera. I don't have to fiddle with the diffuser. It turns out that this gives me enough magnification for what I currently want to do (and this includes globular springtails and mites), and rather surprisingly the large Raynox 150 diffuser doesn't, for the most part, get in the way despite the shorter working distances that come with the extra magnification. This approach has made changing achromats much easier and faster.


    Flash head diffusers


    I'm still using the Venus Optics KX800 twin flash and there has been no change in the diffusion arrangements since the previous post.

    [​IMG]
    0975 22 Flash head diffuser
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    Each diffuser has three layers, two of "plastic paper" and one of expanded polystyrene. They attach to the flash heads with velcro.


    FZ330 setup

    Here is the FZ330 with the baseline setup with the Raynox 150 and the largest of the concave diffusers.

    [​IMG]
    1205 03 FZ330 with Raynox 150
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    The diffuser is attached to the Raynox 150 using velcro. To stop the diffuser waving around in the breeze and/or flopping down in front of the lens the diffuser is supported by the KX800 focusing lamp using a strip of velcro. The slack in the support lets the concave diffuser move as the camera lens moves in and out.

    The focusing light lets me use these setups at night, and can also help the autofocusing work in poor daytime light/in shade.


    KX800 flexible arm arrangement


    [​IMG]
    0975 24 Concave diffuser and flexible arm arrangements
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    On the left one of the flash heads has been moved out of the way for this shot, and it is in the sort of position that can be used to illuminate dark backgrounds while the other head is used to illuminate the subject. I am doing this a lot more now.

    As shown on the right, the arms are crossed over as it turns out this is the best configuration to get the heads into a suitable position and adjust them without stressing the wiring that runs through the flexible arms.


    LCD hoods

    I have made LCD hoods of the same design as before for my other cameras, these made out of black paper, which is very light. I now keep an LCD hood permanently attached to the G80 and FZ330 so I don't have to fiddle around taking LCD hoods on and off. It turns out that I can carry around the G80 in my backpack with the LCD hood still attached. (The FZ330 never goes in the bag because of the KX800 flash being permanently attached to it.)

    [​IMG]
    1205 04 LCD hoods
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr


    Batteries

    I previously used two boxes for batteries, one for camera batteries and one for flash batteries. The G80 and the FZ330 use the same batteries so I can now use just one box for both camera and flash batteries.


    The rest of the kit

    [​IMG]
    1205 05 The rest of the kit
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    Differences here include the lack of steadying sticks. I did use them a few times around the time of my previous post, but I haven't used them since then. I really think I should try again, especially with the smaller subjects that I'm shooting more of now.

    The wellington boots have been replaced by safety boots. They have very deep treads which give great grip on the (sometimes muddy) slopes that I've been working on recently. The other major change is the trousers. They have (replaceable) knee pads. This is a huge improvement over the separate knee pads that I wore previously and would continuously fall down/off. The trousers also have a remarkable number of pockets. I use these to carry around a spare camera battery and a set of flash batteries so I can change them without having to put the camera down, delve around in the bag, open boxes etc. This makes battery changes much faster which has proved very useful. The "pouch" pockets hanging just under the belt are big enough for the boxes I keep my achromats in, so I typically carry around a second Raynox 150 in one of them so I can quickly add and remove a second 150 to get more magnification for small subjects.
     
  6. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    One possible kit change that I'm considering......

    The Canon 6D Mark II has been announced. I have been wondering for a while about trying a full frame camera, especially for botanical work. Unusually for a full frame camera, it has a fully articulated LCD. This is one of the things I have been waiting for. Like the 70D and other more recent Canon dSLRs it has dual pixel (on-sensor phase detect) focusing, which makes live view more practical than it might otherwise be with a dSLR (and I do generally use live view and autofocus).

    I already have a Sigma 105 macro, extension tubes and teleconverters (1.4X and 2X) that I could use with it. And if that worked out ok I could even try the MPE-65 again. The KX800 should work fine with it. It can use the same batteries as the 70D (I have 8!).

    There are some positive comments about the 6D Mark II, but I'm seeing many more negative comments (rants even in some cases) about its shortcomings. These seem mainly to relate to videography (including no 4K video capture, and no headphone socket). So it looks like it is more stills-oriented rather than an all-round camera. As it happens, that is fine from my perspective. But all the negativity is a bit offputting. I don't mind about it only having one card slot, but comments about noise in shadows when raised by a couple of stops is a bit of a concern (I raise shadows a lot) - although I've seen elsewhere that its maximum (non-extended) ISO of 40,000 is ok.

    And I've just stopped using the 70D in favour of the G80. Would I really be happy using big, heavy full frame kit? (Although, much to my surprise, the 6DII body is only 10g heavier than the 70D body, and I find the weight of that manageable with the Sigma 105 etc - it's the operating characteristics of prime setups that I'm not so keen on. But for enhanced image quality I could, maybe, put up with that).

    And changing lenses/tubes etc, after all the trouble I've had with dust on sensors?

    And while autofocus (which I'm very keen on) might be practical for botanical work, approaching and beyond 1:1 it probably wouldn't be practical for invertebrates (and obviously impossible if I did use the MPE-65). And it doesn't have focus peaking to help with rocking focus.

    Plus, minus, plus, minus, maybe, whatif, personal preferences, prejudices, agendas .....

    Hmmm.........

    The journey continues. :D
     
  7. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Reading more about the Canon 6DII I realised that it is rather similar to my 70D - size, weight, articulated LCD, dual pixel focusing, button placement. So I did an experiment, using the 70D as I might use the 6DII, just to see how I got on. I had been out the day before with my G80 photographing flowers in the garden. So I went round the garden again, this time with the 70D and Sigma 105 macro.

    The 105 macro might seem like an odd choice of lens because I much prefer using a zoom lens to a prime. However, as the whole point of going full frame would be to go for maximum image quality it would seem a bit of a waste to use a zoom lens rather than a prime. And I'd need to put an achromat on a zoom lens some of the time to get down to some of the scene sizes I like with flowers and could get directly with a macro prime. Also, a full frame zoom lens would be big and heavy - with the 70D my preferred lens is a (relatively) light EF-S 55-250, but this couldn't be used on a 6DII. So using a prime might just be the price I have to pay to get maximum image quality.

    I also took a 1.4X teleconverter and a 2X teleconverter with me, because one of the problems I have had before with the Sigma for flowers is that it lacks the reach of the 55-250 that I use to the full sometimes to get at subjects which are awkwardly placed and don't permit a close approach. They would also give me some more magnification if I needed it.

    As with the G80 I had a quite long session, working slowly and contemplatively to try to get the best results I could.

    It quickly became apparent that autofocus was not going to be effective with the 70D and Sigma 105. It was breezy, the sort of conditions that I am used to working in because this is a breezy location, and I'm used to using autofocus with my zoom and achromat setups. But with the 70D and Sigma 105 it was hopeless. The hunting was unbearable. As plants swayed around the lens was continually grinding in and out and would not catch focus, even with the focus limiter set appropriately for the required distance. And everything was so wildly out of focus that I couldn't compose shots anyway, never mind not being able to gain focus once the shot was composed.

    I had no choice but to use manual focus. That turned out to be ok. I was back to being able to compose easily, and easily get the focus placed right so I could just wait for the plant to swing into the right position to grab the shot.

    It turned out that I didn't use either of the teleconverters. There was only one occasion when I wanted more reach than the Sigma would give me. The thought went through my mine "do I really want to risk dust on the sensor, again?" I decided that I would rather crop (which of course with full frame and more megapixels like the 6DII has compared to my 70D, would be a very practical proposition). I also didn't need more magnification than the Sigma provided. Reach, working distances and achievable magnification would of course be different with the 6DII, but it looked like for my type of shooting that none of these would give me frequent problems.

    I came back in from the garden session feeling more comfortable about the idea of using a 6DII. But then I worked on what I had captured in the two sessions.....

    With the G80 I had captured 570 shots and ended up keeping 50 (about 8.5%). With the 70D I had captured 439 shots and ended up keeping 15 (about 3.5%). A lot of the problem with the 70D shots was that so many of them were not quite sharp enough. They had looked ok on the LCD but on the PC they were not good enough for my purposes. There was a marked difference in the general level of sharpness between the autofocused G80 shots and the manually focused 70D shots. Both sessions had well focused and poorly focused shots, but the proportions were very much in favour of the G80.

    Then, when I chose 8 shots to put into this post on the forum I ended up with all 8 coming from the G80 set. (The 50 G80 images are in this album at Flickr, the 15 70D images are in this album. For some reason Flickr says there are 47 images in the G80 album, but there are in fact 50.)

    This was not a strictly like for like comparison, but I felt the results seemed pretty telling all the same. It made me feel that investing in a 6DII for botanical work looked like a rather risky proposition.

    This feeling about the 6DII was coloured by what I was reading and viewing on line. As well as the quite widespread criticism the 6DII was getting (on grounds of price as well as functionality) including from some people who had handled it, I learnt that Sony may release an A7riii before too long. And when I dug into the Sony stuff a bit I was reminded that Sony have a 24-240 lens which, it turns out, is not much heavier than the Sigma 105. In fact, the A7rii and 24-240 are about the same weight as a 70D or 6DII - which are virtually the same weight - and the Sigma 105.

    Yes, the 24-240 is a zoom lens not a prime (although it is assessed to be fairly sharp in the centre), and might need an achromat for smaller botanical subjects (although with 42mpix to play with - on the A7rii and presumably at least that on an A7riii the potential for cropping should be considerable). And not being a macro lens, perhaps it wouldn't hunt as much.

    I wonder if Sony will finally put an articulated screen on the A7riii. From what I'm reading a lot of people would like that. I wonder if Sony has picked up on that.

    Hmm.......

    I'm spending some time reading reviews and lurking on the dpreview Sony full frame forum at the moment. :D
     
  8. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,380
    Name:
    Ben
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I've had a look at both albums, and despite your stated trouble with the 70D over the G80, the images from the 70D are a great deal better than the G80 shots.
     
  9. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Thank you Ben, that is extremely interesting feedback. I wonder if you would do a couple of things to help me with this please.

    • Would you let me know what aspects of the images you are looking at that are a great deal better in the 70D shots, for example sharpness, textures, colours, details, composition or whatever.
    • As you know, I picked the eight images which I preferred from the two albums, all of which came from the G80 set. Would you please pick 8 images from the 70D set so we can do a comparison of the two sets of 8. Since the 70D images are a good deal better than the G80 shots presumably all 8 of your choices will be better than all 8 of my choices.
    I will need to reconsider my thinking on this when I have digested your input on this.

    Thanks. It's great to be able to progress with help from others.
     
  10. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,380
    Name:
    Ben
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Singling out any would be almost entirely down to composition, but all the images are noticeably sharper even without zooming in with no hint of noise or CA.
    I singled out 3 because of the amazing resolution of the spider webs.
    4 because of the great detail and colour renditions.
    7 as above but with fantastic DoF and BG. (Although it appears to show a mark at about 10'oclock just off the flower petals that may be in the lens or camera)
     
  11. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,380
    Name:
    Ben
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Plus there was my brains immediate reaction being wow with the 70D shots, but not the G80 shots (which I happened to view first).
     
  12. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Thanks for the detailed observations.

    On the general points, can I take it that you see noise and CA in the G80 images? Could you point me to some examples please.

    This is #3. I'm a bit puzzled about this. I can see a few strands of silk, but very little of it is in focus. I think we are seeing/weighting/interpreting this differently.

    [​IMG]
    1208 03 2017_07_05 IMG_2516_DxO 0100RAW01cP SP7 LR6 1300h
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    This is #4. I almost rejected this one because the dark blue and yellow/orange stuff in the middle of the flower didn't look very clear/sharp at the intended viewing size (1300 pixels high, as posted at Flickr), and in fact I think the further away part of that area is very soft/out of focus.

    [​IMG]
    1208 04 2017_07_05 IMG_2524_DxO 0100RAW01cP SP7 LR6 1300h
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    This is #7. Perhaps we have a different view of DoF. Am I right in thinking you like narrow DoF? I was very doubtful about including this one because the DoF was so narrow and what is somewhat in focus in the centre actually looked very soft and poorly defined to me. (Again, I'm looking at this at 1300 pixels high.) I did like the background, and that is why I decided to include it, but I felt it was rather let down by the flower.

    Looks like you are right about the mark; I have had lots of problems with dust. I've just tested the sensor. There are loads of marks on it, including one around where the one is you pointed out. Time for yet another sensor cleaning session. :( Thanks for pointing it out.

    [​IMG]
    1208 07 2017_07_05 IMG_2547_DxO 0100RAW01cP SP7 LR6 1300h-2
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    As I've said before here, I'm fascinated by how differently we variously see things, both in the sense of what aspects of an image we put most weight on, and also in the more literal sense that sometimes one person sees things that someone else doesn't notice, or in some cases can't see even when it is pointed out, or can see when pointed to it but thinks is unimportant.

    I've looked through both sets again with your observations in mind. I think there are a number of soft ones in the G80 set, although to my eye none of the 8 that I selected seems to fall into that category. Looking at both sets again I think I would now choose a more balance mix from the two sets. Now (today, it might be different tomorrow) I would select these, three from the 70D and five from the G80.

    [​IMG]
    New selection
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    Thanks again for your input. Your comments are shading my thoughts about the possibility of trying full frame for botanical work. Specific feedback is very helpful and is difficult to come by, so I do appreciate it. If you have more thoughts on this please do share them.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2017
  13. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,380
    Name:
    Ben
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I was looking at all of the pictures at the full size on Flickr, but likely on a smaller monitor.

    With regard to the spider silk, there are some very wispy bits that are still resolved very well around the spiky collar of the pod.

    Shallow DoF is something I like on daisies because of how flat they are, gives a depth to a flower that is pretty flat.

    #4 looks incredibly sharp in the centre to me.
     
  14. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    My monitor is 1440 high, which is why I produce 1300 high images, so I can see them at that height with a bit of a border around them, and no resizing having been done to them.

    True. I suppose I just don't see that as being anything particularly special.

    My preference is to have the flower, including the petals, in focus, if I can do that while keeping the background muted in terms of detail. Not necessarily a completely featureless background - in fact, I prefer something going on (in an out of focus sort of way) in the background.

    We are definitely seeing that one differently. :)

    BTW the sensor is clean now. The cleaning was less eventful and frustrating than has sometimes been the case for me.
     
    Orangecroc likes this.
  15. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    But I've now checked my G80 and that has a (fairly centrally placed) spot on it that I can't get rid of no matter what I do. I'm going off now to pay Jessops £50 for them to do a 1 hour turnaround on it (£30 for a 48 hour turnaround, but following our discussion about sharpness etc I have some more tests/comparisons I want to get on with, using the Olympus 60mm macro on the G80).

    Hopefully they will be able to deal with it. (If they can I'll be interested to find out, if they will tell me, what technique/products they used.) And if they can't, I bought the camera from them and it is under warranty, which I would hope would come into play if they can't get rid of the spot.

    And I checked my G5, which I remembered as having a sensor spot that I couldn't get rid of but I decided to live with because it was out at the side and I don't really use it much or at all anyway. I was going to have another go at cleaning it as I'm in sensor cleaning mode. But I can't see any spot on the G5 sensor now! Oh well, that is good news anyway (I'll be bringing the G5 out of retirement for a while if the G80 has to go away to be fixed.)
     
  16. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I took the G80 to Jessops for the one hour turnaround sensor cleaning. This turned out to be poking at the sensor with a much used Lenspen ("We don't do wet cleaning, you'd have to go to a specialist for that"). This didn't shift the spot but did add plenty of dust spots to the sensor. After cleaning the sensor off at home, the next day I took the G80 to a camera repair shop. I showed the technician a photo showing the spot. He said there was no point him trying to move it. The spot was small and very dark. He said that meant it was underneath the glass on the sensor and it would need to have the sensor replaced. I took the camera back to Jessops to have it repaired and sure enough it came back a week later with a new sensor.

    A day or two before the G80 went away for repair my FZ330 had gone back for repair, in this case for a faulty zoom mechanism. While my two preferred cameras were off being repaired I joined in a couple of interesting discussions at dpreview and did some related experiments. One was the question of whether micro four thirds cameras using contrast detect focusing can be used for birds in flight. (Answer "Yes, but with a lower hit rate than with a dSLR". The details are not relevant here, but FWIW I ended up with one, two, three Flickr albums of mainly gulls in flight from sessions at the local boating pond and marina.)

    The other discussions and experiments were directly relevant to my close-up/macro journey. Someone posted the same question in both the micro four thirds and Sony full frame forums at dpreview, asking whether he could get improved image quality by moving to full frame from micro four thirds, or adding full frame to his kit. His interest was in landscape, but I have been considering the same question in relation to botanical subject matter. I did a lot of reading (and posed some questions of my own), both in those threads and following up issues from them elsewhere.

    There were various answers to his question, ranging from definite "Yes" to definite "No", and several variants of "It depends". I ended up still unsure as to whether I would actually see an improvement in my botanical images even if I used the very good 42Mpix sensor in the Sony A7rii coupled with the very sharp ("the second sharpest lens we have ever tested": DXO) Sony 90mm macro. But one thing did stick in my mind. Several people reckoned that the questioner would/might do better by investing in better glass for his micro four thirds camera.

    Here I was seriously thinking about spending a shedload of money on a big and heavy piece of kit (that didn't have an articulated screen, which matters to me). What if I used better glass on my G80? After all, it doesn't have an AA filter and so should be good at picking up detail with a sharp lens. (And of course unlike with invertebrates, I rarely use very small apertures for botanical work, so "equalisation through diffraction" doesn't come into play.) And if I was willing to put up with the inconvenience of using a prime lens on this big and heavy full frame kit, I should be willing to use a prime lens on my G80.

    And of course, I already have a suitable lens; the Olympus 60mm macro. It is very small and light, and sharp. Like most macro lenses it goes to f/2.8, so letting me use shallower DoF if I wanted to, although I didn't think this very likely. The lens does not have optical image stabilisation (OIS), but the G80 has In Body Image Stabilisation (IBIS). I decided to do an experiment.

    Many of the flowers in the garden are looking a bit sad now, but when the G80 had come back I had tested it by putting the 45-175 on it and using it in the garden with and without a Canon 500D close-up lens for what botanical subjects I could find. (The G80 with 45-175 and 500D is my current preferred botanical kit, having taken over from the 70D, 55-250 and 500D.) The next day I put the Olympus 60mm macro on the G80 and went around the garden again.

    This was not a fair, like for like exercise: I had captured about 400 images with the 45-175 in a single session; With the 60mm macro I had two sessions and captured around 900 images. On the other hand, it was significantly more breezy when I was using the 60mm macro. Also, the ambient light meant that it was difficult at times to see what I was doing and achieving by way of composition and DoF coverage, so there was a big hit and (often) miss element with the 60mm macro. I can't remember exactly what the conditions were like with the 45-175 as far as being able to see what I was doing was concerned. I don't recall it being a problem. Anyway, although both sessions were quite unrushed and contemplative, and although I did capture some somewhat similar images of the same subjects with the two setups, there was nothing strictly like for like and there was a large uncontrolled, random element to the capture process.

    As this was a technical exercise, during the selection of images I was a bit more lenient than usual about composition and DoF coverage. (To be honest, from that point of view I'm not very keen on a few of the images I kept with both setups.) I ended up with 45 images from the 45-175 session (in this album at Flickr) and 60 images from the two 60mm macro sessions (in this album at Flickr). This was about 10 or 11 % for the 45-175 and about 7% for the 60mmm macro. This might suggest that the 45-175 did better. However, when I came to compare the two sets of images it seemed to me that some of the 60mm macro images had a quality that I did not think I had seen before in my botanical images - a combination of sharpness/detail and clarity - and something I did not see in any of the 45-175 images. (I have posted 8 of the images in this post in the forum and all of them seem to me to have this edge over my previous, 45-175 botanical images, in terms of sharpness/detail or clarity, or both in some cases.)

    In terms of handling, using the 60mm macro on the G80 felt better than using the Sigma 105 on the 70D. The rig is much lighter and this makes it easier to stretch out, over and around things for difficult to get at subjects. Even though I had two long sessions with the G80 and 60mm, weight never became an issue.

    As with the Sigma 105 on the 70D, there was an issue with lack of reach, although there were only a handful of potential shots that I couldn't get because of lack of reach. I had had a lot of trouble with autofocus with the Sigma 105. even when using the focus limiter. The Olympus 60mm was slower than I'm used to with my achromats, but definitely (comfortably) usable for suitable subjects, including towards 1:1 as long as I switched on the focus limiter. By "suitable subjects" I mean ones where there was something at a suitable distance on which to focus for focus and recompose. Where there was nothing suitable to focus on I switched to manual focus. That worked ok. The focus ring is large and easy to turn with one finger. It does need a huge amount of rotation to get from infinity to 1:1, but the time needed to rack the focus wasn't a problem in these slow-paced sessions, and the focus limiter switch has a "go straight to 1:1" setting that helps sometimes.

    The Olympus 60mm macro goes down to 1:1, which is a scene width of around 18mm on the G80. Prior to doing the test run with the Olympus 60mm I had discovered that adding a close-up lens didn't help much in terms of increasing the magnification. The alternative would be to use extension tubes, but I'm not prepared to keep opening up the camera because of the issue of dust on the sensor. I was therefore concerned that the 60mm macro would be limiting as far as the smaller scenes that I might want to capture. This proved not to be an issue, even though I photographed some quite small subjects.

    With the Olympus 60mm it turned out that I did occasionally use some larger apertures than I have available on the 45-175 (which is f/4 to f/5.6). During the two sessions with the 60mm (and amongst the 60 "keepers") I used the full range of apertures from f/2.8 to f/22.

    The G80 and 60mm macro are dust/splash resistant. (The 45-175 is not).

    For now, the 60mm macro is going to live on my G80, and for now at least that will be my preferred rig for botanical work.

    As I don't want to change lenses I will need to carry around another camera for scenes I can't reach with the Olympus 60mm. This might be the 70D and 55-250 (400mm equivalent reach; a bit heavy for just occasional use), the G5 with 45-175 (350mm equivalent reach; but I discovered that the G5 does after all have a spot (two in fact) that I can't remove), the FZ330 (600mm equivalent reach; inferior image quality, limited aperture/dof control) or the TZ60 (720mm equivalent reach; inferior image quality, almost no aperture/dof control, but very light).
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  17. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    It turns out that it will be none of these. It will be a new camera. Here is the story.

    When I got the FZ330 back I took it out into the garden with the KX800 and Raynox 150, with other close-up lenses to add on if I wanted more magnification. I captured 422 images. The FZ330 is my go to kit for most invertebrates and during the session I felt comfortable with how things went. The repaired zoom lever now worked fine, and the capturing seemed to go well. However, when I came to select and process the selected images I was surprised at how few I wanted to keep; only 16, or about 4%. The main problem was that the focus didn't fall quite right in many of them. Now, I have good days and bad days, and 4% isn't shockingly poor, but what disturbed me was that while out capturing the images it felt as if it was going really well.

    It is not as if it was a complete disaster with the camera not working properly - I thought the 16 I kept were not too bad (they are in this album at Flickr) and I thought they were decent enough to post 8 of them in this thread. But I was unsettled.

    I decided to have a similar session the next day with my G5 and 45-175 and the close-up lenses, to see what the focusing performance was like in comparison to the FZ330. It would have been logical to use the G80, as this focuses faster than the G5 and doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter, so it may be able to capture more detail. However, I had decided by then that the G80 was going to be my go to camera for flowers (see the previous post above), with the Olympus 60mm macro on it. I have been having a lot of hassle with dust on sensors, including having to clean a dust spot off the G80 in the very short period since it came back with a new sensor, with only two lens changes since its return. Having got (I do hope so) the G80 sensor clean, I simply wanted to leave the Olympus 60mm on it and not risk more dust hassle. Hence my decision to use the G5.

    Despite my thinking otherwise briefly, the G5 has two marks on the sensor that I can't shift. In fact one of them looks somewhat like the troublesome spot on the G80 which had required a new sensor to get rid of it. Still that wouldn't matter for this test session. What would matter was the fact that the G5, like the G3 before it and the G80 since, doesn't provide the convenient range of magnifications that the FZ330 does.

    I can use the FZ330 from 100mm to 600mm equivalent focal length with my close-up lenses, a ratio of about 6X, and with the Raynox 150 this handles scenes down to 13mm wide, all with a very nice working distance of around 200mm. This covers a large majority of my invertebrate captures. If I do need more magnification I can put a second Raynox 150 on it and go down to about 7mm scene width with a working distance of around 90mm. This is about as far as I generally need to go.

    With the Raynox 150 on the 45-175 on any of the G series cameras the working distance is much the same as on the FZ330, but I can only use from 45 to 175mm equivalent focal length, a ratio of about 4X, with a minimum scene width of around 19mm. This greatly reduces the proportion of subjects I can cover using the Raynox 150. Worse, given the sizes of subjects and scenes that I most often capture, it really messes things up when I want to zoom in and out, going from whole-body close-ups out in steps to "environmental" shots. I do this a lot, and having to change lenses during such a sequence is very bad news indeed.

    The evening before taking the G5 out for a test run I looked at the alternatives and did some measurements. Using the Raynox 250 rather than the 150 let me go down to the same 13mm minimum scene width as with the Raynox 150 on the FZ330. There were two consequences: I couldn't go nearly as wide with the minimum magnification as on the FZ330, and the working distance was reduced from 200mm or so with the FZ330 to around 120mm.

    I could add a second Raynox 250 and get down to the same 7mm as with the FZ330 and two Raynox 150s, but with a much reduced working distance of around 45mm rather than around 90mm with the FZ330. As an intermediate measure, adding a Raynox 150 to the 250 on the G5 would give a minimum scene width of around 9mm at a working distance of around 60mm.

    Realising that I might run into problems with these reduced working distances I adjusted the flash arrangements. My current arrangement has the secondary ("concave") diffuser angled downwards.

    [​IMG]
    0975 23 Raynox 250 and 150 setups
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    I had wondered on and off for a while as to whether the secondary diffuser was frightening off some subjects by looming over them, or at least towards them. Shorter working distances would make this more likely, so I decided to make a new diffuser which could be mounted quite near to vertically.

    [​IMG]
    1227 01
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    [​IMG]
    1227 02
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    I had no idea whether this would degrade the quality of the illumination, which I have worked quite hard to try to optimise.

    When I went out for the test session with the G5 I started with the Raynox 150, but it almost immediately became apparent that this was not going to work because of the "changing lenses" issue, so I switched to the 250.

    I captured 592 images. The working distances were not a problem. The lack of width at the wide end did not present problems. The focusing seemed ok (as it had with the FZ330 of course), including for some scenes where I had to stretch out into some quite stressfully awkward positions that were on the edge of the possible (for me) and induced significant shaking. For small subjects I added a second Raynox 250. The "break point" at which it was necessary to change lens arrangements seemed to fall at a quite convenient point, as with the FZ330 with one and two Raynox 150s. The main problem I had was that it was more difficult to locate subjects. With the FZ330 I can see roughly what is going on over a very large range of distances from the subject. With the G5 I needed to get quite close to the proper working distance range before I could make out enough to locate the subject. I got better at this as the session progressed.

    When I selected and processed the images I ended up with 65 that I wanted to keep, about 11%. (They are in this album at Flickr.) I didn't want to read too much into the almost three times better keeper rate as the rate can be very variable from session to session, but it did at least indicate that the G5 setup worked at least as well as the FZ330. And it seemed that having the secondary diffuser vertical didn't spoil the illumination.

    Continued in next post ....
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  18. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Continued from previous post.

    When I compared the G5 images with the FZ330 images I was a bit surprised. I got the impression that the G5 images were sharper and more detailed than the FZ330 images. The reason this surprised me is that I use the smallest available apertures and I have previously found, as discussed earlier in this thread, that there isn't anything to choose between the images from my various cameras (small sensor bridge, micro four thirds and APS-C) when using these small apertures. I had concluded that the heavy diffraction from these small apertures served to equalise the image quality down to a common standard, from which I try to rescue them with strong post processing. This conclusion is in line with what I found in the heavyweight Joseph James Photography Equivalence article, in which I found this:

    In terms of cross-format comparisons, all systems suffer the same from diffraction softening at the same DOF. This does not mean that all systems resolve the same detail at the same DOF, as diffraction softening is but one of many sources of blur (lens aberrations, motion blur, large pixels, etc.). However, the more we stop down (the deeper the DOF), diffraction increasingly becomes the dominant source of blur. By the time we reach the equivalent of f/32 on FF (f/22 on APS-C, f/16 on mFT and 4/3), the differences in resolution between systems, regardless of the lens or pixel count, is trivial.​

    I use even smaller apertures than these, equivalent to f/45 on full frame, f/28 on APS-C, f/22 on micro four thirds. This is why, once I found this paragraph, I was not surprised that the images from all my cameras looked rather similar. (This is for invertebrates. It is different for flowers, for which I rarely use very small apertures.)

    I did not have any tightly "like for like" images from the two sessions, but I compared the four most similar pairs that I could find. The FZ330 versions are on the left.

    [​IMG]
    Four comparisons, FZ330 on left vs G5
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    It seemed to me in the bottom two comparisons that the G5 versions had significantly more fine detail. What I also noticed was that when comparing them in XnView was that if I increased the size from the 1300 pixel height I had sized them up to 150% or so, the G5 versions stood up better to the upsizing, for example in the rendering of the fine hairs. This suggested to me that I was not mistaken in thinking there was better fine detail in the G5 versions.

    There was something else I noticed, in all four pairs. When switching back and forth between them, in each case the FZ330 version looked "flat" to me. The G5 versions seemed to have greater "presence", clarity, dimensionality (a bit further towards a "3D" look). It is difficult to put into words, but there seemed to be a clear difference of some sort between them, and I preferred the G5 versions.

    Now there are all sorts of reasons why this might have been the case. Perhaps I just had a bad day with the FZ330 captures (subjects not so good, capture technique a bit off on the day), and/or the FZ330 post processing. Perhaps my standard processing is better adjusted for G5 images than FZ330 images. Perhaps I'm imagining the differences, or have skewed the choice of pairings in favour of the G5.

    Possibly so. But there may also be a genuine difference, a genuine improvement in image quality that I could get by using a G series camera. And it is possible that the focusing really was working better too, and if that really was the case then I could get an improved hit rate. This seems too beneficial opportunity to walk away from. I decided that for now at least I would use the G5 for flash-based invertebrate imaging (wanting to leave the G80 with the Olympus 60mm macro for botanical work, and not wanting to change lenses).

    And then a series of further thoughts. The G5 has those spots. I didn't mind for this one exercise, but the processing made me realise how tedious and surprisingly time-consuming it is to deal with them, and how easy to miss them unless you are very methodical when processing large numbers of images. I would get a second hand G5. There was one in very good condition on eBay. It would not be expensive. And yet ... the G80 has no anti-aliasing filter and can pick up more fine detail. And there was no guarantee the eBay one would be perfect (I am very demanding). I could buy a three year warranty (including accidents) for a new G80 ...... etc etc.

    I have ordered a G80, body only. I will put the 45-175 on it and leave it on it, unless and until I get the Leica 50-200 which should be arriving in the next 6 to 12 months.

    If I want to use lenses other than the Olympus 60mm macro or the 45-175 I will put them on the G5 or even the G3.

    And now, at long last, back to the original issue for these two posts: [for flowers] "As I don't want to change lenses I will need to carry around another camera for scenes I can't reach with the Olympus 60mm."

    When out photographing flowers with the 60mm macro on one of the G80s, I will take the flash off of the other G80 with the 45-175 on it and use it for extra reach when I need it. This has the nice benefit that the 45-175 on the G80 utilises dual stabilisation, combining the lens IS with the body IBIS. And should I be inclined, I would be able to use focus bracketing with either setup.

    When using the G80 with the 45-175 for flash imaging of invertebrates I could take the G80 with the 60mm macro for natural light shots. Alternatively the G5 with the 45-200, with and without the 500D close-up lens might be better for that, as the working distance of the 60mm macro would probably be too short for comfort with butterflies, dragonflies and the like (not that I see any of them very often). Or perhaps the FZ330.

    We'll see how it goes. I may do some more extensive testing on the image quality differences, or not, between the FZ330 and G series cameras for invertebrates.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2017
  19. davholla

    davholla

    Messages:
    677
    Name:
    David
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Shouldn't you try dead insects for testing so you can compare like with like? Saying that being in exactly the same position is still tricky? Also if you can find someone to help you, you really want to get someone who doesn't know which file is from which camera in case you have unconscious bias.
    BTW I don't find the short working distance of my Canon 60mm to be a problem with butterflies with dragonflies I find they are often so nervous in the UK I need a telephoto (which is not as good sadly) saying that I didn't see that many.
     
  20. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I could try that. I think I can get them in near enough the same position for valid comparisons. That said, it is the image quality I can get out in the field that matters to me, and I think that is somewhat multi-faceted, for example including handling and focusing........ But getting a firmer fix on the (other things being held equal) pure IQ comparison would be useful though. The tests I've tried before haven't shown any significant systematic differences for invertebrates (bear in mind the apertures I'm using), which was why I was surprised.

    It's how the G80 with 45-175 and achromats compares to the FZ330 with achromats that really matters to me, but unfortunately I can't compare the G80 at the moment. I'm not prepared to take the 60mm macro off my #1 G80, and my #2 G80 turned up this morning but I had to send it back because it had smearing on the sensor. If I can find a dead insect I might try it with the G5 though. If the G5 is better, the G80 certainly should be.

    Good idea. I could do that here and/or at dpreview.


    Have I understood you right here, that your 60mm macro isn't a problem in the sense that you can't use it for butterflies and dragonflies anyway, so you have no choice but to use a (not so sharp) telephoto?

    I think I've photographed one dragonfly this year, no damselflies and, not sure, but perhaps two butterflies this year (perhaps I've forgotten one or two, but hardly any anyway.)
     
  21. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I decided to do it here.
     
    davholla likes this.
  22. davholla

    davholla

    Messages:
    677
    Name:
    David
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    What I mean is that my 60 macro works fine with butterflies and sadly all the dragonflies and damelsflies I have seen have been so far from me, that no macro would have got them (not unless this there is one that works at 3ms+).
    Weirdly in Colombia dragonflies are really easy to photograph but I am the only person who does.
     
  23. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Ah, understood. I assumed the working distance would be too short and scare them off. That is good news.

    Interesting (on both counts). :)
     
    davholla likes this.
  24. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    I ended up posting three requests for comparisons, here, here and here.

    The responses I got were these:

    Request 1 (Scenes 1, 2 and 3)

    @Leroy4bz
    Nick I've just had a look and it's very very difficult to pick a winner. Some looked sharper and the right, others on the left. The pen nib I could hardly tell the difference. At those tolerances, it's so hard to judge if it was your focusing or the actual setup.

    @davholla
    They look very similar to me saying that I didn't check that carefully. A coin might be better than a pen as a test subject as it has more fine details.

    @Nawty
    Sticking my neck out I would say that camera 1 is the Panasonic as it looks less obviously sharpened (larger sensors need less sharpening), the background areas are more OOF and the light transitions are more gradual, another sign of a larger sensor.

    But, there is very little difference at all and I wouldn't put my mortgage on my analysis.

    Request 2 (Scenes 4-9)

    @Nawty
    For me this is clearer, which means I was wrong last time but camera 2 has much more fine detail, it's easy to see in the iridescence in the wings in the fly of the first link and the coins where they are focussed properly.

    Probably I was wrong last time, the differences are clearer this time and I am ascribing them to the bigger sensor, rightly or wrongly. Also there aren't any harsh highlights in these which can be a sign so that removes that, the eye of the fly is more detailed with less noise on camera 2 though.

    Alternatively diffraction could be playing silly sods, or neither focus is exactly matched, exposures are slightly different or a number of other things and on this screen I can't view side by side so it might just be me.

    Request 3 (Scenes 10-13)

    @Orangecroc
    I went with a method of looking at the pictures as a group and checking which camera it was when I picked my preferred shots, and every time it was camera 2.

    @TLR-330
    one camera (1) was producing a deeper contrast than the other camera. But it does not mean I can say it is a better or worse result.
    The balance of opinion leans towards Camera 2 being better, or there being no significant difference between them.

    My own reading of the images tends towards there being no discernible, systematic and significant difference between the cameras.

    I say "discernible" because I found many of the images were difficult to compare (individually and as groups, both for a given camera and between the cameras) because for Requests 1 and 2 not much was in focus and the area that was in focus wandered around a lot. The images in Request 3 had more in focus, but here too the centre of focus varied, this time between the raised areas and the background. Also, I felt the different illumination may have been making details stand out to different extents for the two cameras, with edges much more deeply shadowed for Camera 2 and tending to stand out more.

    I say "systematic" because I found that all the variation made it difficult for me to form a clear opinion as to which camera was better overall. (For example, is an occasional exceptionally well detailed image with lots of others being not very good better than more images being quite good, but none being exceptional? How do you "average them out" when there is so much variability?)

    I say "significant" because I found it difficult to gauge how much any differences I was seeing would translate into meaningful differences in natural world close-ups/macros.​

    Irrespective of whether the "no significant difference" or "Camera 2 is better" is nearer to the truth, it seems that Camera 2 is at least as good as Camera 1. That is actually a rather significant result, for me, given that Camera 2 was the small-sensor FZ330 bridge camera.

    The reason this is significant for me is that the FZ330 has better operating characteristics for my typical subject matter given the achromats that I use. So if the FZ330 is at least as good as the G5, and possibly better, in terms of image quality for this type of small aperture work, and also has better handling characteristics, then the FZ330 is unambiguously my preferred tool for this type of imaging.

    Continued in next post ....
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  25. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Continued from previous post ....

    The FZ330 gives me a wider range of magnifications for each achromat, and those ranges are a better fit with my typical invertebrate subject matter than with the G5.

    With the FZ330 I can work most of the time with the Raynox 150 attached. This lets me do from whole body images out to environmental shots for most of my subjects without having to change the setup, and I can do this from a good working distance of about 200mm. If I want to add more magnification I can add a second Raynox 150 or a Raynox 250.

    With the G5 and the Raynox 150 I too often have to add another lens or change to the Raynox 250 in order to move between full body and environmental shots. As I often want to move back and forth between full body shots and environmental shots this pretty much forces me to use the Raynox 250 as my "base" lens, and this cuts the working distance down to around 120mm, which ups the likelihood of nervous subjects moving away. The G5 also reduces the range of magnifications available to me.

    The G5 does handle better for very small subjects. This is because the non-extending 45-175 lens lets me zoom in and out without moving the camera. This makes acquiring the subject easier and makes zooming between full body and environmental shots easier. The FZ330 with Raynox 150 takes me down to scene widths of around 13mm wide and the G5 with two Raynox 250s goes from about 25mm to 7mm scene width, so in principle working with the two cameras set up like this could work well, using the FZ330 for most of the shooting and switching to the G5 for the smallest subjects. However, moving the flash and secondary diffuser between cameras is fiddly, especially when working where the ground/grass/undergrowth is wet and/or on a slope and/or covered with brambles, logs, mud etc.

    Because of hassle of changing the flash, unless I am having a session concentrating on small subjects It may be better to use the FZ330 across the whole range of subject size. Adding a second Raynox 150 takes me down to a scene width of about 7mm, the same as with the G5 and two 250s, and the FZ330 gives me a wider range of scene widths, out to around 34mm rather than 25mm with the G5. The FZ330 and two 150s also has a larger working distance of around 90mm compared to around 45mm for the G5 with two 250s.

    7mm scene width is about as small as I generally want to go, but if I add a Raynox 250 rather than a 150 to the 150 that is already on the FZ330 I get a range of scene widths from around 27mm down to 5mm. The working distance is around 70mm.

    If I add a Raynox MSN-202 to the Raynox 150 on the FZ330 I get a range of scene widths from around 12mm down to 3mm with a working distance of around 30mm. However, I can't see myself using this range of scene widths very often, or at all. Even with a 1mm size mite a 5mm scene width that I can get with a 150 and 250 is plenty because of DoF and cropping considerations. And I don't see me tackling subjects smaller than that.

    With a Raynox on either the FZ330 or G5 with the secondary diffuser in place, I can take a second Raynox on and off without having to touch the flash/diffuser arrangement, and I can make the changes without having to put the camera down, holding the camera with my left hand and using my right hand to get out the close-up lens box (which I keep in external pouches attached to my trousers), open the box, get out/put back the extra close-up lens and screw it on/off the lens that is already on the camera.

    Autofocus is usable at all magnifications with a single 150, double 150 and 150 plus 250 on the FZ330, with single and double 250 on the G5, and down to about 4mm when using the MSN-202.

    The more I think this through, the more I think I will use the FZ330 for all my flash-based work for a while and see how that goes. I may need to do some more real world comparisons because there is still the question in the back of my mind about the comparisons referred to in this post which suggested that the G5 was producing better results than the FZ330 (which is where the current exercise started out from). The current exercise suggests to me that what I saw with my earlier comparisons might have been simply the result of the high degree of variability that my capturing technique produces.

    An exception to using the FZ330 might be any (up until now rather rare) sessions dedicated to very small subjects. But what I have found with those sessions is that larger subjects tend to turn up and catch my attention anyway, so the idea of sessions dedicated purely to very small subjects is probably more theory than reality.

    The idea of using the FZ330 for (almost) all this flash work leads on to another, related story.....

    Continued in next post ..........
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
  26. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Continued from previous post........

    As described in this post, I ordered a second G80 body. This was before I did the recent exercise asking others to compare G5 and FZ330 images. I had come to the conclusion that some G5 images were better than some FZ330 images of similar subjects, in particular with better fine detail. I have my current G80 set up with the Olympus 60mm macro for flowers and I didn't want to change lenses because of all the trouble I have had with dust on sensors. The second G80 would be used with the 45-175 and would be used for flash work with invertebrates, and to provide more reach for natural light shots of flowers when the Olympus 60mm didn't have enough reach.

    The new G80 body arrived on Monday. I immediately put a lens on it, set it to f/22 and used flash to take three shots of a green wall. Looked at on the PC the images had a spot and an area of faint smearing. The smearing was slightly different on each of the three images.

    [​IMG]
    1 P1000002 Spot and Smear
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    I looked at the images on a different monitor to make sure I wasn't seeing finger marks or whatever on the monitor, but they were still there. I used a different lens and took three more shots, this time of a white piece of paper, to make sure it wasn't marks on the wall that I was seeing. The spot was still there but there was now a much worse smearing problem towards one of the corners.

    [​IMG]
    2 P1000010 -Spot and heavy smearing
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    I put the images on line and phoned the retailer, Jessops. They looked at the images and agreed to provide a replacement.

    The replacement G80 body arrived this morning. I decided to video the box opening and testing because if it happened again they would probably be wondering if it was something I was doing that was causing a problem. With the video running, I opened the box, put on a lens and did the same test. There were two spots on the sensor.

    [​IMG]
    3 Replacement camera P1000001 - two spots
    by gardenersassistant, on Flickr

    These might have been dust spots, and I might have been able to remove them. However, one of them looked rather small and dark, just like the one that had proved to be "behind the glass" on my current G80, necessitating a sensor replacmenet as described in a previous post. I had had enough. I put the new images on line, phoned Jessops and arranged a return and refund.

    By a happy coincidence this actually fits fine with the decision to concentrate on the FZ330 for flash-based invertebrate imaging. I don't need a second G80 for this role now, so getting a refund for the second G80 is quite convenient.

    If I do want to use the 45-175 for small subjects I will use it on the G5 and accept the fact that I'll have to deal in post processing with the marks on that sensor that I can't remove (I bought it second hand some time ago so there is no question of a warranty replacement, and I'm certainly not going to pay for a new sensor for it, even if that is possible for such an old camera).

    The second G80 was also going to be used to get more reach for flowers when the 60mm macro wouldn't reach, I think I'll use the 70D and 55-250 for that. After all the 70D was my previous flower camera and will be fine in that role.
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2017
    davholla likes this.
  27. davholla

    davholla

    Messages:
    677
    Name:
    David
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Unless you are photographing grass flowers (which can be very good according to this book but possibly not worth the work that he describes
    https://wordery.com/extreme-close-u...EYHVs7jtunyUZfC0OsH5SqkoD5ojsszoaAsFOEALw_wcB
    )
    Surely 1:1 is enough for any flower why do you need more reach?
     
  28. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    There are two things here, one is reach the other is magnification.

    By reach I mean the ability to get at flowers to which I can't get near enough with a short focal length lens like the Olympus 60mm macro. For example, we have a rose that has climbed a long way up a tree and flowers a long way up. Also some of our flower borders are wide and I can't get into them to get close enough to flowers deep in the border. In such circumstances I use a telezoom such as the 45-175 on a G series camera or a 55-250 on the 70D (Or a bridge camera, but they are not so good for flowers.)

    As to magnification, sometimes I photograph flowers that are rather small, such as trefoils and other little things in our "lawn", including grass flowers. For those I occasionally go beyond APS-C equivalent 1:1 or even micro four thirds equivalent 1:1. (i.e. scene widths of less than around 23mm or less than around 18mm respectively, or scene heights of those dimensions as I often work in portrait mode for botanical subjects. I never go beyond 1/2.3" equivalent 1:1 for botanical subjects (i.e. scene width/height of around 6mm), and almost never for invertebrates either.

    .
     
  29. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Ho hum. I don't have either G80 at the moment. I found a spot on the one that recently came back from having its sensor replaced (I don't know how I missed it when I first checked the camera when it came back from having its sensor replaced). I couldn't get rid of the spot. I took it to the camera repair man who said that like last time it was a sensor problem, not dust on the sensor. I took it back to Jessops. They confirmed that there was something they could see but couldn't shift, and was not on the surface of the sensor (because their loupe had to be held at a different distance than usual to get it to focus on the spot). They sent it off to be fixed. Again. :(

    Before I took it back I had had another quite long session in the garden with the G80 because despite the results of the FZ330 to G5 comparison exercise that some forum members helped me with, I haven't been able to convince myself that the FZ330 is the best of my kit in terms of image quality. Before doing the comparison exercise I had written in a previous post in this thread about how some G5 images seemed better than some fairly similar FZ330 images. The discussion following on from that post led to the comparison exercise. The session with the G80 was the day after a long session in the garden with the FZ330 and I wanted to do some more real world comparisons.

    When I had finished processing both long garden sessions I decided to gather together the images from all my recently processed G80 and FZ330 invertebrate sessions so I could have larger, more representative samples to compare, including hopefully some more fairly like for like comparisons. This produced 243 G80 images (in this album at Flickr) and 749 FZ330 images (in this album at Flickr).

    This is what I wrote about the previous, smaller comparison.
    I have been back and forth between the two new big samples, trying to get a feel for each, and also doing some like for like comparisons.

    The G80 does not have an anti-aliasing filter and so may capture more detail than the G5, although any extra detail may be lost to diffraction. But the G80 should be at least as good as the G5, and quite possibly better (it presumably has a more modern sensor for example, and it has better focusing). However, in comparing the two big samples I haven't been convinced that there is a systematic difference in detail between the G80 and the FZ330. I keep thinking that some of the G80 images have better fine detail than I have seen from my FZ330 images, but the like for like comparisons I was able to do were not convincing on that front.

    When doing the post processing of the latest large G80 session it was very apparent to me that the G80 images were much easier to handle than the FZ330 images. All the images go through pre-processing in DXO Optics Pro and Silkypix, so it is what happens afterwards in Lightroom where I see any handling differences. For the latest G80 images all I had to do for the majority of the images (apart from getting rid of the spot) was to crop them, and when I did make other changes it was generally very slight, for example just easing the highlights down a little. In comparison I often have to do rather significant adjustments to my FZ330 images, frequently involving large adjustments to highlights and shadows. I also think that the G80 images crop better, which fits with my earlier observation about how the G5 images upsized better than the FZ330 images.

    And then there is the issue of "flatness". I got that impression again with the larger samples, with the FZ330 images more often striking me as "flat" looking, with more of the G80 images seeming to be more "dimensional".

    So in terms of image quality I still think there may be an advantage to using the G80.

    I took the FZ330 out to one of the local nature reserves today. I haven't looked at the images yet, but I did notice three things during the session.

    First, the session confirmed that the FZ330 is better in terms of target acquisition. This is because I can zoom to wide angle and although it isn't in focus if I am out beyond the proper working distance I can still see the shapes of foliage etc and quickly home in on where the subject is. There is very severe, hard-edged vignetting at wide angle, but for target acquisition this doesn't matter. The 45-175 on the G80 won't go to wide angle (45mm on the G80 is 90mm full frame equivalent) and even at 45mm everything is severely out of focus unless you are at the correct working distance, and at the correct working distance the field of view is so narrow that it is difficult to find the subject, and moving the camera around that close to the subject while trying to find it is more likely to disturb it and make it move away.

    Second, the session also confirmed that the range of magnifications given by the Raynox 150 on the FZ330 is much more useful than the ranges I get on the G80. I used just the Raynox 150 for the great majority of the session and there was no occasion on which I needed to change the close-up lens arrangement in order to get both environmental and full body shots of a particular subject. When I did add another Raynox 150 to get more magnification for small subjects that setup let me do both full body and environmental shots of the small subject. This is much better than with the G80 where much more frequent changes in close-up lens arrangements are needed. There are two reasons for this: with the 45-175 on the G80 there is only a 4X range of zoom/magnification versus a usable (vignetting-free) 6X range with the FZ330 (and 24X range for target acquisition); and neither the Raynox 150 nor the Raynox 250 on the G80 provide a good range for many of my subjects, meaning that I may have to change the close-up arrangement to go between environmental and full body shots, and I also have to change the arrangement more often to cater even for simple full body shots of subjects of different sizes.

    Third, I noticed that the FZ330 seemed relatively slow to gain focus a lot of the time. I have been struck recently how snappy the focus is with the G80. I don't know if this was session-specific - for example the lastest G80 session was in bright light out in the open while today's FZ330 session was on a bright day but quite a lot of it under tree cover. This is something I need to pay attention to when the G80 gets back. If it is a systematic difference it would be strongly favourable for the G80.

    So the upshot is ... surprise, surprise ... plus, minus, maybe this, maybe that, and on the other hand...... The journey continues. :D
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2017
  30. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Oh dear, the G80 is turning into a bit of a saga. It came back again. The Panasonic repair contractors (DK Audio Visual Services Ltd) said they couldn't see a problem with it but they replaced the sensor anyway. I found it troubling that they couldn't see a problem as I had, Jessops had and so had the specialist repair shop. Jessops offered to test it for me, using my "blank piece of paper at f/22 with flash" test, before I drove up the motorway to the mall to collect it. They found a spot (or spots perhaps, I didn't go into it) and sent it back yet again. So this is my sixth attempt to get a G80 with no spots on the sensor. (Five failures - G80 #1 original, first sensor replacement and second sensor replacement; G80 #2 out of the box and replacement out of the box, returned for a refund).
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
  31. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    A thread I was reading at dpreview raised some questions about sharpness of the Panasonic FZ200 for close-up/macro. This prompted me to reprocess some of my FZ200 images with my current post processing workflow to see what they looked like. I picked 26 that I had readily to hand from May and June 2015 and reprocessed them from raw. Previously I had used DXO Optics Pro and Lightroom. This time I used my current sequence of DXO, Silkypix and Lightroom. I used my latest Silkypix and Lightroom settings, which use a different balance between them for sharpening. Previously all the sharpening was done in Silkypix, but this was messing up backgrounds with a small-scale mesh/crystalline/similar-ish to noise effect. The latest settings turn down the sharpening in Silkypix from ultra-strong to merely fairly strong, and use sharpening in Lightroom making use of the Lightroom sharpening mask to protect backgrounds.

    The 26 pairs of images are in this album at Flickr, with originals first and reprocessed version second in each pair. To aid the comparisons I tried to crop as similar as I could to the original version crops without getting time-consumingly fussy about it.

    For the most part the reprocessed versions looked sharper/more detailed to me. My wife saw me flicking between versions of one of them and said it was "like putting her glasses on".

    The white balance in the reprocessed versions looked very different to me and lacked the yellow cast which several people have commented about in my images in the past (my Lightroom preset includes a shift of TEMP from yellow to blue). I did the re-processing very quickly and didn't make individual adjustments to the white balance, and I think some might need a bit of a move towards magenta away from green and/or some refinement of TEMP, but overall I preferred the white balance of the reprocessed versions.

    I assumed that all the images were base ISO and so used the same DXO preset for all of them. I noticed that a couple looked noisier/nastier in the background. It turns out that, very unusually for one of my small sensor cameras, I had used ISO 400 for them. I redid them using my ISO-specific DXO preset and the backgrounds looked OK to me then. That was a nice little test of the ISO-specific DXO settings.

    I was struck by how little effort the latest setup takes. It takes time for the PC to work through the presets, especially the DXO processing, but that doesn't take up my time, and setting up the processing is very quick. Apart from the cropping, which obviously I had to do anyway, in all but one of the 26 examples I adjusted only two, three or perhaps 4 in a couple of cases of the Exposure, Blacks, Whites, Shadows and Highlights sliders. (I used a local adjustment in one of them.) It was all very quick.

    As well as reassuring me that my current processing is not too bad, this exercise reinforced my view that post-processing is a key element in getting good looking close-up/macro images.

    There was a rather depressing down side to the exercise. It struck me how much better variety of subjects I had come across in 2015. This year, like 2016 but even more so, has been a very poor year here with a very limited variety of invertebrate subject matter. The last couple of visits to local nature reserves have been almost total washouts. That is the main reason I haven't been posting much of my own stuff in the forum of late (I have been keeping more or less up to date with my invertebrate sessions and so don't have a large processing backlog to fall back on as has previously been the case. I do have a botanical backlog so perhaps I'll work on that and possibly post some.
     
  32. Orangecroc

    Orangecroc

    Messages:
    2,380
    Name:
    Ben
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    The new workflow is obviously an improvement, it seems to give the images more depth.
     
    GardenersHelper likes this.
  33. GardenersHelper

    GardenersHelper

    Messages:
    4,786
    Name:
    Nick
    Edit My Images:
    Yes
    Yes, I think so. Thanks Ben. Those were done very quickly and looking at some of them now the sharpening looks a little ugly, and the white balance feels iffy for one or two, but those are image-specific issues which are amenable to taking more time and care over the finishing. I do feel that the preparatory batch processing is producing solid results to work with.
     

Share This Page