Friday, March 18, 2016

Macro Magics

MacroPhotography may produce surprising results. I have been taking pictures of common plants, flowers and insects for many years with an entry level dSLR and a decent compact digital cameras.

Unless you are doing MICro-Photography [more than 10x magnification on the CCD] no special equipment is needed for MACro-Photography other than a simple macro lens for the dSLR and 'macro' [close focusing] capability on the compact camera. Special flash and tripod are not required as well!

Most likely you can find around your own house compound plenty of colorful objects, such as flowers and insects which can be shot quite easily. The best time for macroPhotography is early in the morning, before 10:00am.

The following pictures were shot hand held around my home compound around 9:00am this morning. I only used built-in flash for fill-in lighting.

ZD 35mm f3.5 @f3.5 1/60sec ISO 200

ZD 35mm f3.5 @f4.0 1/60sec ISO 200

ZD 35mm f3.5 @f6.7 1/90sec ISO 200

ZD 35mm f3.5 @f6.7 1/60sec ISO 200

ZD 35mm f3.5 @f6.7 1/90sec ISO 200

For close-up shots I normally use one of the following lenses - ZD 35mm f3.5 macro, Zuiko 50mm f1.2 with extension tube or ZD 40-150mm f3.5/4.5 mk 1 - depending upon the magnification required and the distance between the object and the camera CCD plane.

myClose-up Photography set

Relative Magnifications from different Lenses
The magnification is calculated from the ratio of the image size captured on CCD [not the size of the image displayed on monitor] to the object real life-size.
Note: In the 4-thirds system the CCD size is 21.63mm diagonally.

To compare the relative size of the images captured on the CCD I shot the following photos at each lens' closest focusing distance. The cluster of the red 'object' life size is around 15mm across.

150mm f4.5
ZD 40-150mm f3.5
max. object size: 17.3cm @ min. focusing distance of 1.5m
max. magnification: 1:8

50mm f1.2
Zuiko 50mm f1.2
max. object size: 13cm @ closest focusing distance of 45 cm
max. magnification: 1:6

50mm f1.2 + tube
Zuiko 50mm f1.2 + 14mm extension tube
max. object size: 4.3cm @ closest focusing distance of 22.5cm
max. magnification on CCD: 1:2

ZD 35mm f3.5 macro
max. object size: 2.15 cm @ closest focusing distance of 140mm
max. magnification on CCD: 1:1

Read also Lens Reversal Technique for larger image magnification.


Having a super wide angle or a near fisheye lens is every photographer's dream but using it everyday, or even once a month is a very unlikely affair.

Fisheye lenses are not cheap due to their complexity and in limited production. Not the best lens to keep and let fungus grow on it. But if you know a little bit on basic optics you can 'create' one... I mean almost.

I've a decent compact digital camera, Lumix LX-3 with a Leica made wide angle zoom lens equivalent to 24mm-60mm f2.0/2.8 wrt 35mm full frame camera but at times I feel it is still not wide enough. Theoretically by placing any concave lens in front will increase the image sensor "field of view". Fortunately I could salvage a coated concave lens from an old malfunction Hi-8 VDOcam.

 What I need to buy is only a 52mm extended filter adapter from eBay.

I used double sided tape around the filter thread to stick the concave lens in front of  the adapter  as shown below..


The result... boleh laaah!

compare it with the picture taken with 24mm efl lens (w/o the DIY fisheye "adapter")...

Click for Fisheye Images taken with Professional lenses...

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I'm back to Life & Life has to go on. I have to celebrate it!

It is almost 18 months since my last update. I'm back with New Gadgets, New Adventures and New LIFE. InsyaaAllah I can now fly high to fullfill my childhood dreams.

About 50 years ago,  I lived in ulu somewhere  by the side of present Jeli-Grik highway. The small village is surrounded with mountains and the life was so beautiful then.

... there were also clean rivers and an isolated limestone hill around which I spent most of my time.

I used to dream to fly like an eagle over the hill...

My childhood dreams have become a reality now - I feel free to "fly" anywhere as  I like. 
Syukur Alhamdulillah.

Today,  I no logger stay at a place surrounded with mountains and clean rivers, yet still bersyukur for the little house in which I'm staying now is surrounded with bushes, tall trees and there is a stream in the backyard where every morning I can enjoy listening the symphony of the nature.

to be continued...
Stay Tuned!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Health Problem...

Almost four week ago (August 19th) I had some kind of Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA) as a result of Central Sleep Apnea  (CSA) - a condition in which I stop breathing while asleep.

CSA occurs because the brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing.. CVA is the sudden death of brain cells due to a problem with the blood supply. When blood flow to the brain is impaired, oxygen and important nutrients cannot be delivered. The result is injury and then death to brain cells resulting in abnormal brain function.

Spent almost a week in Serdang Specialist Hospital. Already been discharged but have to go to the hospital regularly for physio- and neuro-therapy. On the road to recovery now. Will be right back.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Legacy Lens and Reversal Technique

I've grown up in photography realm with 50mm standard lenses on 35mm film SLRs for almost a decade before start looking for wide angle, telephoto and zoom lenses.

Even today many photo enthusiasts still use Olympus 50mm OM lens on digital SLR's from various camera makers. It is solidly built and probably the best lens I've ever owned/used and I've felt like a technical salesperson for it ever since as I always telling people how sharp, compact and versatile this little gem is. Click on to find out how good it is? 

 ... it is so good, even Olympus doesn't make lens like it any more! 

Now I have one more reason to recommend it. If I mount this lens in reverse on a dSLR,  i.e. flip it around backwards (using T-Ring and 42mm-49mm male-to-male coupler)...

with this assembly the lens can be mounted from either end for different applications

... I can now get a fun way to experiment with macro photography for magnifications larger than 1:1  i.e capturing images of object smaller than 1.73cm x 1.3cm full frame on the 4-thirds CCD (equivalent to >2x magnifications on 35mm image sensors!)

By mounting extension tubes between the lens and the dSLR camera body even larger magnification is possible...

Generic reversal adapters are available @eBay from less than RM6.00 (US$1.75) to be used with any lens that everyone can take decent macro pictures as shown above. Click HERE to choose adapters for different types of camera mount - practically any lens marque can be used on any camera brand to create stunning macro images w/o robbing a bank!

NOW SHOWING ... Macro Slide Show 

Nonetheless, let me say that if any1 want to get serious about macro photography like a pro this isn't the best solution. There are good reasons that special macro lenses are engineered specifically with that type of photography in mind.

The downside is of coarse, those specialized lenses come with a huge price. I'm not kidding but if you are serious about professional image quality better take a peek HERE! ... ada berani ka?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Afocal Projection Videos

Abhab's Latest upload on YouTube

 click HERE to watch earlier uploads

Picture shows DIY modification on 20mm and 40mm eyepieces respectively to be used with 52mm adapter for Lumix LX3 compact digital camera.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Afocal Projection Video Shooting

myFirst Afocal Projection Video Shooting Attempt
Never shot any vdo using Afocal Projection technique before. In fact this is my very first attempt at vdo-Digiscoping. 

There are several species of regular visiting birds in nearby reserved bushes. So I rushed off to the 'observatory' above my backyard @Lot5 and started "blasting away". 

This was the crude result... a beautiful pair of spotted dove.

Didn't know exactly whether what I did was the correct method when I point the old compact digital camera directly onto the refractive telescope eyepiece without any adapter or attachment. It was windy and hazy but what an exciting day it was! Unforgettable. I had never taken vdo of birds before.


Technically these vdo's are garbage, but I don't care, because it's a day I will always member which had changed my photo- and vdo-graphy forever...

A very crude way of Afocal projection technique by simply  placing a basic compact digi-camera directly onto the eyepiece without using any adapter or attachment...

Afocal Projection using T2 tube and adapter
Now I have basic but proper gadgets for Afocal Projection - T2 adapter for better video/picture taking using Afocal Projection technique with refractive telescope&Lumix LX-3 combination.

afocal 5a

The picture below was shot from my backyard "observatory" with a compact digital camera zoomed to 60mm (efl)...


By using the same camera setting and applying Afocal Projection technique with a 20mm eyepiece attached to a 540mm fl OTA the view could be optically zoomed in to 28x (to the area in the yellow rectangle in the picture above) for the video shown below...

(equivalent to 1680mm  Super Telephoto Lens on full frame 35mm format)

click HERE for more Abhab's basic Afocal Video shots

Beyond Basic Digiscoping
Now I'm seriously thinking of getting the right Spotting Scope similar to Celestron Regal M2 Series, if not Swarovski ATX/STX-series...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Which Lens is the Best for Moon Photography?

(swipe or use scroll bars to view the entire un-cropped image)

Capturing images of the moon is not difficult. It can be done by almost "anybody" using "any" camera. For those who still need to learn and master the art of shooting the moon can search the website, or take a peek HERE.

Almost every moon photo found on the internet is cropped because "any" camera might have a lens of a focal length not "long enough" to provide sufficient magnification. How long the focal length is considered "long enough" depends on what size and resolution of the Moon images will be acceptable.

The following pictures show relative moon sizes wrt to the actual frame shot with lenses of different focal lengths in my collection.

(Note: "efl" = equivalent focal length to 35 mm full frame camera. I'm using 4-thirds system, hence the "efl" is actually 2 x  the lens focal lengths. All pictures shown here are in their original frame - no cropping.)

100mm efl  (50mm standard lens)

200mm efl  (100mm short telephoto lens)

400mm efl - (200mm medium telephoto lens)

800mm efl - (400mm super telephoto lens)

1120mm efl - using 560mm fl telescope (w/o eyepiece) prime focus on 4-thirds image sensor.

>6000 mm efl - afocal projection technique (telescope + diagonal + 8mm eyepiece + Lumix LX-3 @ 60mm efl)


Sunday, July 21, 2013

a-Focal-Photography Gadgets

Afocal-photography or afocal-projection is a method of photography with a camera (with its lens attached) mounted over the eyepiece of an optical telescope for very large magnification imaging - even larger than images produced with the most powerful consumer super telephoto lenses!

Image with Lumix LX-3 camera. Distance about 50 feet from the gate.

Image using the same camera from the same spot through a telescope eyepiece!!

Afocal-Photography is widely used by birdwatchers, naturePhotographers and astroPhotographers. In the birdwatching community it is called “digiscoping”. Birdwatchers and naturePhotographers use compact digital cameras afocally with a spotting scope or monocular.

The following are ways of how I do afocal-projection progressively using my Lumix LX-3 with a refractive telescope.

1. Simplest Method is by holding the camera and point its lens over the eyepiece without any attachment!.
afocal 1

Picture taken using this simple "hold-and-click" technique...
moon shot - handheld Lumix LX-3 over telescope eyepiece
(original frame, no crop image of moon on day12 taken with Lumix LX-3  + 560mm fl refractive telescope + 8mm-24mm zoom eyepiece @8mm)

2. Hand-free Method by placing the camera atop the eyepiece. Lens-hood or filter adapter is used to prevent the camera from slipping and falling off. This method is suitable for large diameter zoom-eyepiece.
afocal 2

Picture taken using this technique... afocal using Lumix LX-3

3. Using a Universal Holder to hold and align the camera.
Very 'clumsy' gadget indeed. Avoid this by all means. Click HERE to see whot izit.

4. Using an eyepiece 'clamping' adapter but not suitable for zoom eyepiece.

5. Using 'pro' Gadget - seals and protects the whole system from environmental/weather elements, such as dust, rain, etc.. (not suitable for zoom eyepiece).

afocal 5

afocal 5a