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  2. Subsequent to the post I remembered this really happened... So look here... what a story... you couldn't make it up... Rags
  3. Today
  4. Don't know whether to laugh or cry at this. Hang it, he was stupid, so....
  5. Nice comp good grab... a click or two under exposed?
  6. Yesterday
  7. A marvelous and awe-inspiring off-trail hike in the Eldorado Nature Preserve today. Strenuous, especially in terms of loose footing and avoiding large cacti, but definitely worth the effort. We skirted the cliffs and a few ravines, climbed to the mesa top, and then went down the rock chimney we explored a few months back. The magnificence of the rock cliffs, boulders, and vast vistas is breath-taking. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.
  8. No problems for me with the latest FF update. It works a LOT better now!
  9. Congrats Rachel, and Mike of course! A nice portrait, might benefit from some additional processing of exposure and white balance.
  10. My daughter Rachel, it’s her birthday on Wednesday! X-T2 + 23mm 1.4.
  11. On my recent trip to the Mekong Delta, I would get on deck before sunrise... total darkness Hoping to get a sunrise (didn't happen - too cloudy) and shoot the night fisherman (who use nets) I blundered into shooting blind Aiming at an indistinguishably black blob, I would half press the shutter and wait until the AF locked onto the subject then press The camera found what I couldn't see and the auto ISO displayed a brightened frame on the lcd... too cool... With this new found knowledge... In a dark unlit room, I wanted to diminish the light behind the etched glass I half pressed & went low to focus on the glass - the AF + auto ISO wouldn't trigger until I revolved the lens to get some backlight and it triggered Hmmm... Rags
  12. LOL
  13. Test Results for a Few Close-Up lenses Lenses that I tend to use for close-up photography and for stacking focus have, of course, less than a 1:1 reproduction-ratio. I sometimes shoot the larger macro (1:1), but seldom and almost never anything above 1:1. The reason for this is that I prefer the context that using lower reproduction ratios allow and encourage. With this is mind, lenses than work well at less than a 1:1 reproduction ratio by definition exclude a lot of worthy lenses or limit them to shooting above that standard macro reproduction ratio of 1:1. And there are several factors aside from the reproduction-ratio that I like to monitor as well. PHYSICAL Some limitations are just physical. A lens has to be mounted on something, like a camera, bellows, rail, or some type of technical camera. And this usually involves an adapter of one sort or another. Not all lenses fit nicely on my DSLRs. Some don’t work there at all. So, typically I mount lenses on DSLRs. Some will only really work if mounted on a bellows, while others work best if on a more technical camera, where there are bellows and also movements like Tilt and Shift, etc. And finally, some lenses have to be mounted on a DSLR, which DSLR is then mounted (with the lens on the DSLR) on a focus rail. This is usually because the helicoid or focus ring on the lens has a focus throw that is too short for me to make the minute movements needed to properly stack focus. And let’s not forget that there are, as you might imagine, all kinds of odd arrangements, like reversed lenses, stacking lenses, diopters and close-up lenses, extensions, teleconverters, etc. and so on. Which lenses, then, are easier to use to get the results I want? Since I stack focus a lot, there are a few rules that are best followed for optimum results. According the Rik Littlefield, the designer and implementer of Zerene Stacker software (which is my preferred stacking software) points out that the software is happiest stacking a series of layers in the following ways, with the best method listed first. (1) BELLOWS: Best is using a bellows, with the lens fixed at front standard and camera moveable on the rear standard. Then the camera is moved forward incrementally to stack focus. (2) HELICOID: The second best method is using a helicoid (or the standard focus ring) on a DSLR to stack focus. (3) FOCUS RAIL: And last (and least suggested) is to mount a camera and lens on a focus rail and move the whole system forward incrementally on the rail. I try to stack in the above order of desirability, if possible, but it’s not always possible because some lenses have no helicoid AND won’t work on a bellows system due to the bellows (even if fully compressed) still having too much extension for the lens. The Nikkor “O” CRT lens is one of these, IMO. CLOSE-UP VS. MACRO Another factor is to determine if the lens is designed for peak performance at 1:1 reproduction ratio or higher or is its optimum performance take place below 1:1 at close-up range. And very few lenses are good at both. There is no point in buying an expensive and probably fast lens for close-up work that is not sharp until f/5.6 or above, as are many Large Format lenses. By the time you get the sharpness you want, you have already lost any bokeh and may be suffering from diffraction too. And so on. One of the most useful photography sites IMO is that of CoinImaging.COM. While a specialized form of photography (coins), this site covers a lot of what we close-up photographers need to be aware of. Here is a list of some of the things carefully documented and graphed on this site for a number of very good lenses for the kind of work I do. By all means visit this site: RESOLUTION VS. APERTURE I need to know where for a given lens the resolution (which affects micro-contrast) is at its peak. Is that peak near where a fast lens is wide open (which is what I need) or is it only at higher apertures, which I seldom use (unless I have to) because I lose most of the bokeh. SHARPNESS VS. APERTURE It is the same with sharpness. I need to know where for a given lens that lens is sharpest. Is the lens sharp wide open or do we have to narrow the aperture until too much is in focus for the bokeh we want. CORNER SHARPNESS VS. APERTURE In a similar way, is the image just sharp in the center (and the borders less sharp or losing focus) or is the lens sharp from center to corners like a copy lens? And is there sharpness wide-open or only as we narrow the aperture. Personally, I am not so bothered by the corners not being sharp and I feel the same way about a little vignetting. Some vignette does not bother me. LATERAL CA VS. APERTURE Now, here is a factor that does bother me, chromatic aberration of any kind. Why? Because it affects the color of the entire image and a highly corrected (APO) lens has little aberration, which affects what we call sharpness, IMO. In other words, a lot of what I look for as sharpness is really caused by a well corrected lens. Not everyone realizes this. SHARPNESS VS. MAGNIFICATION Again, I need “sharp” at a low magnification (low reproduction-ratio) like less that 1:1. RESOLUTION VS. MAGNIFICATION Same with resolution or micro-contrast. I need it wide-open and on fast lens, if possible and not just at high magnification. CORNER SHARPNESS VS. MAGNIFICATION Corner sharpness, as mentioned I am not so worried about. RESOLVING POWER VS. MAGNIFICATION Yes, I need micro-contrast at a reproduction-ratio of less than 1:1. CHROMATIC ABERRATION VS. MAGNIFICATION And, I want the lens to be well corrected wide-open and for it still to be a fast lens. LONGITUDIAL CHROMATIC ABERRATION Same goes for any kind of aberration. I don’t want it. CONTRAST I need a decent amount of contrast and if the image is too washed out, like with diffraction, I won’t use the lens. FLARE Flare does not bother me, unless it is really bad. DISTORION As for distortion, it depends on the lens. The Nikkor “O CRT lens has all kinds of distortion and I love the lens for what it can do. DISCUSSION Now let’s look at a few good lenses to see if they would work for the kind of close-up stacking like I enjoy: NIKON APO-El Nikkor 105mm f/5.6 One of my favorite lenses of all time; do NOTE the “APO” because the same lens “APO-El Nikkor 105mm f/5.6” without “APO” is quite ordinary compared to the APO version. This lens is very sharp wide-open at f/5.6 and for a couple of stops higher, but I always use it wide-open. Also wide-open, the corners are fuzzy and slowly clear up, but not until several stops. It has very little lateral CA, but there is a small amount, but quite under control. I seldome notice it, yet it increases with magnification. This lens is sharp at a low reproduction ratio and loses sharpness at high magnification, especially above 1:1. In a similar way, the lower the magnification the better as far as resolution is concerned. With this lens, corners lack sharpness the more you magnify the image. Contrast is good and there is little flare to worry about. NIKON PRINTING NIKKOR 95MM F/2.8 Nikon made at least four Printing Nikkors, of which I have only three of them, the PN 95mm, PN 105mm, and PN 150mm. There is a PN 75mm, but I have never had one or seen it for sale. Of the three I have, they are not just larger (or smaller) versions of each other. They differ in terms of what you can do with them. For example, the PN 150 is sharp at the reproduction ratio of 1:1, while the PN 95 is geared more toward the lower reproduction ratios of 0.5 and so on. So, the PN 95 is the one for me. One trait they all share is a restricted range of use if we want them at their peak quality. As mentioned, those qualities vary from lens to lens. In the case of the PN 95mm lens, it is very sharp and has high resolution and that is true for both center and corners of the image. And chromatic aberration is minimal across the entire f/stop range. The PN 95 is VERY sharp at lower magnifications like 0.5 and 0.75, but it falls off at 1:1, unless you reverse-mount it, where it becomes very sharp again around 2:0. It is similar with resolution, very good at lower magnification, but not at 1:1 or above, unless reversed. Corner performance is good at 0.5 magnification, but drops off very rapidly. So, for the kind of close-up work I do, the PN 95 is the Printing Nikkor to choose over the PN 105 or PN 150. This analysis was made possible by using the very useful lens testing results at This photo, which is a kind of abstract, is of a Japanese Iris taken with the Nikon D850 and the PN 95, stacked. I have noticed with the D850 that the color is remarkably different that the previous model, the D810. Not sure how to describe it, other than it seems to demand less color adjustment in post than the D810. In general, the D850 is an incredible camera, especially for the money. And although, I liked the color in the Hasselblad X1D, all things considered (especially lenses), the D850 is (for me!) a better bet than either the Hasselblad X1D or the Fuji GFX, both of which I bought, tried, and returned. Photo with the Nikon D850 and the Printing Nikkor 95mm NIKON PRINTING NIKKOR 105mm F/2.8 (Version A) There are two basic versions of this lens. I have the later version, which is called “Version A.” It can be distinguished from the earlier version by having a longer extension tube than the original. This lens is very sharp and has great resolution from wide open through f/4, and then begins a gradual decline. Corner performance is not good wide open at f/2.8, but is outstanding by about f/6. Minimal lateral chromatic aberration. Very, very sharp from about 0.5 magnification and then a gradual decline. Resolution is very good to outstanding from 0.5 across the magnification range. Corner performance is not good until around 1:1. Very good to excellent resolving power. Minimal chromatic aberration. No longitudinal CA. Contrast very good. No flare problems and no significant distortion. /// NIKON PRINTING NIKKOR 150 mm F/2.8 (Second Version) There are two versions of this lens, the earlier version being more rare. I have the later version, but wish I had the earlier version. Here is the scoop on the version that I have. This lens is very sharp and is most resolving wide open at f/2/8. Corner performance is good wide open, but reaches outstanding by f/4. Lateral chromatic aberration is minimal. Unfortunately, this lens is not sharp at low magnifications and does not reach outstanding until about 0.8. The lens show poor resolution at lower magnification and reaches outstanding at about 1:1. Corner performance is very good at low magnification, but deteriorates by 0.6. Poor resolving power at low magnification until 0.8. Chromatic aberration mild at low magnification, but minimal at higher magnification. Contrast is good. Flare is not a problem. No significant distortion. Slight color fringing in OOF areas. So, unless I want to shoot macro, this is NOT the lens for me, since at low reproduction-ratios, it is nothing special. SCHNEIDER MACRO VARON 85MM F/4.5 This is a lens that is not commonly used by any of the photographers I know. I have read about it for some time, but never could get enough information on it that I would risk buying a $4k lens. Thanks to, who has reviewed this lens, I can now see that this could well be an all-around close-up/macro lens similar to the legendary Vogtlander 125mm f/2.5 APO-Lanthar. I am going to try one out. It has a week spot, but so do all lenses that I know. Here is what I learn from studying the graphs for the lens. It has 37mm filter threads. Its five-blade aperture may well mess with bokeh, but since it is a slower lens (f/4.5), bokeh is already somewhat in jeopardy. However, the APO El-Nikkor 105mm lens is f/5.6, and I manage to work around bokeh with that lens. Certainly it is very sharp and resolution is adequate, perhaps a tad week due to the slowness of the lens. Corner performance is very good across the whole range of f/stops. Chromatic aberration is minimal across the entire f/stop range. Very important to me is the fact that the Macro Varon is VERY sharp at lower magnification like .25 and .5, and goes downhill from there, but still is sharper than many macro lenses. If there is one problem, it is that due to the fact that the lens is slow, resolution in relation to magnification is less than outstanding. However, it is outstanding at .25 and .5 magnification, which is where I usually work, so it gets a pass from me. Its resolving power is good, especially at lower magnification. Lateral chromatic aberration is very good. Contrast is good, with no flare worries, and no significant distortion. Very flat field. Has an M42 mount. This is a bellows lens, so that has to be understood. I would say from the specs that this has got to be one of the best overall macro lenses, aside from its very expensive price. NIKON 55MM F/1.2 NIKKOR-O CRT This lens has no helicoid and does not lend itself to being used on a bellows. I have to mount it on a DSLR and then mount the DSLR/LENS on a focus rail to stack images. It has a M39 lens mount and a 52mm filter thread. Nevertheless, it is one of my most-used lenses because it is fast and has a unique style, both related to a concave lens element and non-standard color. Although very fast, the lens is sharpest at f/4 and the same is true for resolution. Corner performance is not very good, especially at lower f/stops. Lateral CA is minimal wide open but becomes more severe by f/3 or so. The lens is very sharp at low magnifications, but falls off rapidly down to just “good.” I always use it wide open. Resolution fairs a little better, being very good at low magnification and falling off fairly rapidly. Again, wide open is the way to go. Corner performance is good at best in low magnification, and bad by 1:1, getting very good again at 5.0 magnification. Overall, the lens has good resolution, especially at low magnification. Lateral chromatic aberration is moderate to severe at lower magnification and off-the-charts bad by 0.5 magnification. Contrast is not good and its proneness to flare affects this. No other distortions. So, what are we to think about a lens like this? It is so bad that it’s good. However, the combination of problems creates (at least for me) what amounts to a perfect storm for interesting images. The lens is sharp wide open, at least enough to stack against the wonderful bokeh obtained wide-open. Some of my best photos EVER have been done with this lens, so I consider it an essential lens to have around. SUMMARY So, in general, what is the recipe for a lens that I would use for my close-up work? Ideally it would go like this: The lens would be fast (f/1.4 or better), sharp (and with great resolving power) wide-open, and very-highly corrected (APO). If it has a helicoid or barrel, the focus-throw must be long and not short. Ideally, it would also have JUST enough imperfections to have a pleasing style. Of course, it has to be mountable. If this is interesting to anyone, I may describe a few more lenses that are good for close-up work.
  14. My friend Harry was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business. He knew that he would inherit a fortune once his sickly father died. Harry wanted two things: • To learn how to invest his inheritance. • To find a wife to share his fortune. One evening at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away. "I may look like just an ordinary man," he said to her, "but in just a few years, my father will die, and I'll inherit 20 million dollars." Impressed, the woman obtained his business card. Two weeks later, she became his stepmother. Women are so much better at estate planning than men…
  15. November 19 The arrival of Sinterklaas and his zwarte Pieten one of many shots, D500 and 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6vr
  16. Filmmuseum EYE, a striking building across the river IJ on the North side of Amsterdam. Image shot on a typical dark late autumn afternoon, making use of a sudden break in the clouds. Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 12-40mm f2.8
  17. Been to Amsterdam Central Station many times but that view has obviously eluded me.
  18. Olympus E-M10II + Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 + Nik Silver Efex
  19. Old Mercedes 608D Foodtruck. Image shot during my Sunday morning walk to the bakery for fresh bread rolls Nikon D5500 + plastic-fantastic 18-55mm
  20. Ouch.
  21. Old groaners indeed!
  22. I'm kind of liking this program, but I just don't know if I want to invest the amount of time that is necessary to learn it properly and get good results. Obviously I have a lot of time invested in Lightroom (a program that took me a loooong time to warm up to) so for me if there is going to be a way out of the subscription trap it has to work similarly to Lightroom.
  23. Nineteen Newfoundlander's go to the cinema. The ticket lady asks "Why so many of you?" Buddy replies, "The film said 18 or over." My daughter asked me for a pet spider for her birthday, so I went to our local pet shop and they were $70. Forget it, I thought, I can get one cheaper off the web. I was at an A.T.M. yesterday. A little old lady asked if I could check her balance, so I pushed her over. Statistically, six out of seven dwarfs are not Happy. My neighbor knocked on my door at 2:30 a m. Can you believe that! 2:30 a m? Luckily for him I was still up playing my bagpipes. I was explaining to my wife last night that when you die you get reincarnated but must come back as a different creature. She said she would like to come back as a cow. I said "You're obviously not listening." The wife was counting all the nickles and dimes out on the kitchen table when she suddenly got very angry and started shouting and crying for no reason. I thought to myself, "She's going through the change." My girlfriend thinks that I'm a stalker. Well, she's not exactly my girlfriend yet. An East Indian fellow has moved in next door. He has travelled the world, has swum with sharks, has wrestled bears and climbed the highest mountain. It came as no surprise to learn his name was Bindair Dundat!
  24. We're still in the budget lane...
  25. Last week
  26. Taken a couple of weeks ago here in downtown Toronto, while my wife and one of our grand-children were wolfing down their ice creams. I noticed a mother and daughter sitting on a bench in front of a church across the street, and liking the composition grabbed this shot. Nikon D3 Tamron SP 35~105 2.8 AIS manual focus 1/80th /5.6 /ISO 200
  27. November 18
  28. I'm a Windows 7 and 10 user and I'm not having any problems. It doesn't have all the features that the MAC version has but will get them afer some time.
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