Today it was rainy and windy outside so I decided to take some pictures inside with my new bellow. I took pictures of all kinds of objects and small plants and flowers so I could try out different setups. I noticed that it is much easier to move the subject around than the whole camera when you magnify it at almost 3 times. Moving it forwards or backwards to get it into focus goes great and moving it from side to side to compose the picture is easy to, now I have to find a way to adjust the height smoothly because that is not so easy.
I also wanted to do some photo stacking in Photoshop and for that I used a 2 way focus rails that I bought on E-bay. I bought it a couple of years ago to try it out, it costs around 10 US Dollars and with my macro lenses it worked OK. But now I see why this is cheap, when you magnify so much as I do now every little movement is enormous when you look through the view finder. When I use the little nob to adjust the rails it twist the glider a little bit, this happens because the tolerances are not that great. It’s not a big problem but when you want to stack the photo’s later it helps if they stayed lined up. If I want to get serious with this I have to invest in a better one and try to find a good one that goes 6 way’s to solve the problem of the height adjustment.
Today I did a similar thing as yesterday only now I used my 18mm Fujinon lens together with my new and cheap E-bay extension tube of 10mm. Using extension tubes on this kind of wide angel lenses is not something you normally do. Even the slightest raising of the distance between the lens and the sensor will shorten the focus distance dramatically. There was a bright sun so I had to wiggle around with the camera as to not cast a shade over my subject with the lens onto the tiny flowers. I had to remove the lens hood because I kept on bumping into them.
The focusing distance between closest and furthest is around 2 to 3 cm, really short so you have no choice to get close. The downside of this that if you bring this small and lightweight extension tube with you for the occasional macro shot you better make sure it’s only small flowers or other objects.
I still like the result of the pictures, the lens combination gives an other feel to the pictures than my other lenses do in macro mode and that’s worth something to. This time I choose the aperture and let the camera do the rest. The two out of focus pictures are also taken with this lens setup but might as well be taken without the extension tube. The pictures are sharpened and lightly edited in lightroom.
Today i used my Fujinon 55-220mm lens in combination with two autofocus extension tubes. I have normal extension tubes for macro photography but they cannot pass through signals and power to the lens for autofocus, the electronic aperture ring and image stabilization. Some of the new lenses for the Fujifilm X-mount have no manual aperture ring, you can only use it electronically and as far as I know all the lenses have a motor build in to adjust the focus, the focus ring is not connected to any lens elements that works great ass long as you use the right macro extension tubes. This means that I need a “smart” extension tube, Fuji makes them and here in Norway they cost around 90 US Dollars for one ring so a 180 for both. That is not a bad price but I tried E-bay and there you can buy cheaper version for between 15 and 40 US Dollars for both. I don’t think there is much difference between the cheapest and the more expensive ones on E-bay, I bought them for 23 US Dollars. The reviews where mixed but it’s not the first time that I buy something from E-bay so took the gamble. They arrived today and I tried them with my Fujinon lenses and it all seems to work. They feel a little bit light so they are probably the same as the originals only made with cheaper and thinner materials. I will see how long they last, I will treat them with more care than I normally do .
I have to try them out more but with the 55-200mm I got much closer when I combined the two rings (10mm and 16mm). At 55mm I came closer that with 200mm, without the rings that is the other way around. As with most Fujinon lenses the image quality is very good. I shot all the pictures handheld with the image stabilizer on, I did not pay much attention the ISO and aperture setting the camera chose for me so that will be a surprise for me to. The weather was nice, no direct sun an lightly overcast. All the pictures are sharpened in Lightroom together with some basic editing, nothing fancy besides the two black and white pictures.
Today I used four different lenses to shoot insects. I used a flash for some extra light even though It was a sunny day. I shot at ISO 400 and an aperture of f1, I had to adjust the flash strength when I moved into the shade but for the rest I didn’t change settings. I also used a small and lightweight tripod for some extra stabilization.
Today i replaced the 36mm extension tube for a 12mm one and a flash for the LED ring light. The flash i use is a Yongnuo speedlite YN560 , a relatively cheap flash that works really good. On the Fuji i use it in manual mode whereby you can sett the strength relatively easy. You can also manually zoom it if you want, I put it in the widest setting and pointed it up and attache a peace of A4 paper as a reflector. I need to do this because I want to shoot close to the front of the lens and the flash can not be pointed that low. But reflecting the light via a peace of white paper also disperse the light more and can crate the effect of a sunny overcast.
The shutter was set to 1/250s because i like to shoot without tripod and with the 50mm lens you don’t have to worry to mush. I like to use the view finder and push it against my eye to stabilize the camera even more, your eyes is then like a third arm. If I use the back screen i I like to use the strep from the camera that hangs around my neck as a stabilizer by stretching my arms and put tension on it. I played a little withe the aperture settings, I used settings between 1.8 and 5.6 and I also changed the strength of the flash, most of the time the flash was at its weakest (1∕128) setting.
Today I wanted to try out a cheap ring led light I bought last year on eBay. First I had to find 2 double a batteries and see if it was still working, it did. The weather outside was OK with some sun but mostly overcast. In this condition and close to the ground and my subject I turned the ring light on and of to see on the light meter a difference of no more than half a stop. Not mush in these circumstances but on my screen I could see that the darker parts in the flower where more lit, I will try it some more the coming day’s to find out if its worth finding batteries for it next time.
I used my 5 year old Fujifilm X-e1 with an adapter so I could use my 50mm 1.8 Nikon lens that I already had in the film days. Because I wanted to take pictures of flowers and insects I used a 36mm extension tube, a little long I know but I want to try it. I have not calculated it, wouldn’t know how to do it, but the magnification is not 1 to 1 like with my dedicated 105mm macro lenses. But I could get close and with an aperture of 2.8 there is only a little area in focus but the background is so smooth that it is almost monotone.