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About Bill_D

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    Bay Area, California
  • Photographic Interests
    Nature, botany, gardening, camping, hiking, landscape photography
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  1. Really Right Stuff has a long lens support package but it's pricey: http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/Shop/Long-Lens-Support-Packages/. Also, keep in mind that the thick sensor glass on micro 4/3 cameras can degrade image quality when using lenses not designed for that condition: http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/07/sensor-stack-thickness-part-iii-the-summary. This is potentially an issue with any digital camera but is worse for this particular format. DSLRs and most mirrorless cameras have only about half the thickness of sensor glass, reducing the impact of the effect.
  2. Agreed. If that doesn't do it, then try UV which offers more resolution. IR actually offers less resolution due to its longer wavelengths. Unfortunately, my UV camera and I are on the other side of the continent, but perhaps somebody else can help. You might inquire at ultravioletphotography.com if the polarizing approach doesn't work well.
  3. Dallas, I agree about the Oly 12-40/2.8. I love this lens, the way it handles, and the results it gives me. While it's not as compact as the slow kit zooms, it gives me more choice in apertures given m43's 'low ceiling' of acceptable apertures due to diffraction.
  4. Bill_D

    Best UV Camera?

    Brian, On the Lifepixel issue, it's been discussed here. The Lipfepixel sensor filter is somewhat limiting, which is why some of us have stuck to broad-spectrum conversions with external filters for UV. As for camera choices for conversion, There are a lot of choices out there, in lightly used, refurbished, and closeout cameras. I would pay close attention to useability and manual controls since UV photography demands close manual control. You might narrow it down to several possibilities and then see what's available. My cameras are an old Panasonic GX1 bought cheaply on closeout and a refurbished D5100 where voiding the minimal warranty meant little. (I followed a similar path for dedicated IR conversions.) Both models were already superseded at the time but are fine cameras, and they have done well in UV work. The main shortcoming of the D5100 is that, like all Nikons, it has very little ability to take lenses from other mounts. The advantage is that is will take pre-AI lenses without modification, allowing easy testing for UV performance. Both cameras have broad-spectrum conversions from Lifepixel. Right now the closeout and refurbished options for Olympus and Panasonic m4/3 are limited and expensive, and the cheapest ones offer limited manual control. You might end up going to the used market, or else going to a different mirrorless mount, unless you want to pony up for a brand-new top-shelf model. I seemed to have hit a sweet spot in getting the GX1 for $300 last year on closeout, which in retrospect was an unusual opportunity. Good luck! Bill P.S. In case folks are wondering, I'm mostly out of photography for a few months or maybe longer. Stuff here needs to be taken care of, but I'll be dropping by now and then in the evening for a brief look. I look forward to putting my equipment to use in the field later this year!
  5. UV-Nikkor on eBay, $4000 US starting bid (reserve not met), buy it now for $7025. Seller has 100% rating but on just 52 ratings.
  6. Bill_D

    Unusual snow in Tokyo

    We just had our warmest January ever by far in northern and central California, and until a couple of weeks ago Alaska was extremely warm for this time of year and often warmer than much of the central US. There was a persistent glitch in the atmospheric circulation pattern that sent warm air north over the eastern Pacific and the west coast of North America, while unusually cold air went far south in the middle and eastern part of the country.
  7. I'm holding in my hand a Chiyoka Kogaku (early Minolta) LTM Tele Rokkor, 11 cm focal length with an aperture of f/5.6. This one is for the 2.4 x 3.6 cm format. There's also a Canon FD 95/3.5 (front assembly only) for the EX camera which I don't have. The Mamiya 6x6 lens in question is 105mm. I'm not personally aware of a 115mm or 130mm camera lens in any format, but odds are that one or both were produced sometime, somewhere, by somebody. Back to catching up on this short thread....
  8. I assumed all along that the SE 50/1.8 I see referred to elsewhere (non-UV context) is the new Special Edition 50/1.8G! I very much doubt the latter passes any usable UV at all.
  9. Filter quick changers (boxes) and extra filter drawers, at Teleskop-Service http://www.teleskop-express.de/shop/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=TS+Filter+Quick+Changer&suchdas=OK and at Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_i_0?rh=k%3ATS-Optics+ultra-slim+filter+drawer%2Ci%3Aelectronics&keywords=TS-Optics+ultra-slim+filter+drawer&ie=UTF8&qid=1386826772 . One problem I noted is that with these items one loses automated communications between the camera and the lens. This would generally be the case anyway when using a cross-format adapter, but it is something to keep in mind if you're planning on photographing something that changes fast enough that you'd want auto-exposure working.
  10. Thanks again for lots of info, Andrea! I got the smaller, less expensive set. Given the large degree of variation in reflective behavior of nearly all materials under various common wavelengths of light, I want to better understand what I am seeing and doing whether in visible, IR, or UV. A basic set of these standards should allow such general calibration, whether formally or just in terms of my own understanding and comparisons. I plan to use the standards as references in photos from time to time, aside from any profiling. My interests in UV and IR photography goes back at least 5 years- my early reading of Bjorn's site and my first somewhat unsatisfying (IR) and failed (UV) efforts at photography. I suppose both interests connect to various things - science and nature, and photography and aesthetics as well. I think it's really cool to look at the live view of a camera that's seeing in near-UV or near-IR, and see (at least in terms of brightness) how those bands are interacting with the environment around me. After hearing about them so much over the decades, I can at last 'see' them! Aside from that, I like the stark appearance of many natural scenes in monochrome near-IR. It's somewhat like monochrome visible with a red filter, only more so and with the vegetation white rather than dark. UV is more problematical both practically and aesthetically, but continues to draw me. I have to admit that I've been approaching these matters in a rather scattershot manner, romping from one idea to the next rather than being systematic by learning one step well at a time. Couple that with other demands on my time, and my work and contributions here and on the other site end up being pretty sporadic. My promised testing of old lenses for UV potential hasn't happened yet, for instance, though I have been acquiring appropriate filter ring adapters as needed towards that end. I am really hoping that my winter desert trip gives me some time to relax and play around photographically in an environment with more UV this time of the year and more interesting subjects as well.
  11. I wanted to go back to Organ Pipe after I visited in 1985. I've not been back since! Color Checker Passport and calibrated diffuse reflectance standards set are on their way here. So are additional adapter rings to put UV filters on more lenses. A focusing helicoid from Zoerk will be in the mail shortly. Yay to all! Time to properly learn how to use these goodies, and to better learn the relevant software for UV processing, will take a bit longer due to the seasonal rush. I'll see what I can do though before I leave on my desert trip.
  12. Thanks, Bjørn! The key here is flexibility to allow experimentation. Baader claims you can stack their filters but we'll have to see when I get to that point. Meanwhile, I have three extra Nikon filters on their way. They will be available for sacrifice should I go that route which I expect to do. I photographed the annular eclipse and Venus transit last year in visible using a solar filter, and the next step is to try other wavelengths!
  13. I'm posting this in the main technical discussions forum because while my inquiry is motivated primarily by invisible spectrum efforts, people doing only visible light photography might assist with these equipment questions or benefit from answers that may be provided. In learning about Nikon lenses I've found that a certain proportion have unusual filter arrangements. These include internal filters on a wheel (several fisheyes), internal but exchangeable filters in a holder (various long lenses), rear-mounted filters (the mirror lenses among others), and rear gel filters (14mm f/2.8). The rear-mounted and holder-mounted filters are special Nikon filters with external threads and a unique thread pitch. Other makes of filter won't fit these threads, and the filter holders have limited clearance in any case. Thus you are limited to using the filters Nikon made, if you can find them. This limited selection of filters presented only modest issues when I was shooting 35mm film, as I seldom used these lenses. Now this situation has reared its head again due to my new photographic efforts. Additional issues I'm faced with are that certain specialty filters such as the Baader astronomical filters are only available in 1.25" and 2" sizes, making them too small to go in front of some lenses. Due to the Nikon thread, they also won't fit in the filter holders or on the back of lenses with rear-mounted filters. So here I am plotting ways of trying to use certain lenses for astronomical uses and for UV on converted wide-spectrum cameras. Currently I have a wide-spectrum Panasonic GX1 and a wide-spectrum D5100; IR is taken care of with dedicated IR cameras. Here are the specifics: 1. Sometimes lenses will go on a M4/3 camera via a mount adapter. I want to glue an adapter ring inside the mount adapter which could receive various 1.25" filters such as the Baader Venus, H-alpha, or others. This looks doable in at least some cases, though I have yet to find a suitable adapter ring to use for this project. Before I ruin a mount adapter or find unexpected optical issues, are there any things I need to be aware of when I pursue this modification? Is there a better way to go about this concept other than a custom filter box / mount adapter? 2. I'd like to be able to place similar filters on the rear end of lenses having a filter mount there. This might work (given careful attention to mirror clearance) if anyone makes or has made an adapter to the special Nikon thread. I have not found any such thing yet. 3. I'd like to be able to place similar filters in the filter holder of suitable Nikon lenses. It looks like this would require custom-modified filters, either placing the filter glass into the Nikon filter ring (with a filler ring due to the difference in diameter) or else finding an adapter to connect the special Nikon thread on the filter holder to custom-made slim-line filters. (The effects of the undersized filter diameter, 33mm vs. 39mm, hopefully would be addressed by the DX format of the camera.) 4. It looks like I could use slimline 48mm filters in my Canon FD 800/5.6, though I have not tried yet since I don't have any in that size. My Baader Venus filter (supposedly 2" but really 48mm, and serving as a proxy for all the other Baader filter types), does more or less fit the screwthread but is too wide to allow the filter holder to go back into the lens. Sounds like custom filter-ring fabrication is needed. At some point dealing with numbers 2 through 4 might get so expensive that I'd be better off just getting an internal-filter UV camera, or maybe a wide-spectrum NEX with filters in the adapter as per #1. However, for now I'm trying to avoid more conversions. Lenses and supporting equipment are good essentially indefinitely if properly cared for, while digital cameras and conversions thereof have a definite half-life. Alternately, I could just stick with M4/3 cameras for these lenses, but I'd like to have more choices in format. I'd greatly appreciate any information or suggestions on these issues! Thanks, Bill
  14. You had a great trip! Been to all of those great places, but not to the ones in AZ for around 20 years or so. I hear that Organ Pipe has suffered from proximity to the border, in terms of both illegal and enforcement activities. The last I heard much of its backcountry was not safe. I hope to have one week so I'll do my usual loop, from the SF Bay Area, south around the end of the Sierra Nevada, out to Death Valley and nearby areas, back over to the east side of the Sierra and Owens Valley, then Mono Lake and on home via the Tahoe area. This route offers the starkest deserts as well as snowy mountains, and spectacular terrain. No flowers in the middle of the winter, but short days and wonderful light on stark landscapes. Last time I did a variation and went to the Spring Mountains and Valley of Fire near Las Vegas, then looped through central Nevada and back to Owens Valley. Lots of things I want to try this time. Now that I have an 800nm D7000, I want to try my long-dormant 15/5.6 and 14/2.8 in IR, for instance. I also just got a Canon FD 800/5.6L which I want to try out in the cold, still desert night sky. After all, I hear something about a total solar eclipse in 2017... :sungum: ... and I need to start practicing. I've also got some UV things in mind, some of which I may not be able to try out just yet. I do plan on using my 45/2.8 GN for some UV landscape work. I've been so happy with that lens I just ordered a spare.
  15. Bill_D

    View from space...

    He's taken a lichen to us, several in fact. I got the first one but had a tougher time with the rest. Great work, Alex!
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