Review of the Canon MP-E65mm 1-5x f2.8 Macro Lens has begun

Yesterday I received a Canon MP-E65mm 1-5x Macro lens for review. This is an unusual lens, in that it focuses from 1x magnification to 5x magnification to a full frame sensor.

This is a manual focus lens that does not focus to infinity. It is exclusively for macro.

MPE65mmf2815xMacroPhotoAngle

To start the testing process I grabbed some samples from our rock and crystal collection and started shooting. The results are in the gallery below. You’ll see more of these as testing continues and then read the full review once I am finished.

Lexar Multi-Card 25-In-1 Memory Card Reader Review

I’ve been using the new Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 card reader for image transfer. It is a multi-card reader because you can access multiple cards simultaneously and you can do card to card transfers.

Being USB 3.0 the transfers are fast (depending on the memory card) and very reliable. I’ve had no issues at all with the unit while I’ve been using it.

25n1_MC_Reader

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader leverages SuperSpeed USB 3.0 technology to offer high-speed file transfers with a USB interface read speed of up to 500MB/s, and is up to five times faster than USB 2.0.* The reader also features a convenient pop-up design mechanism to protect the card slots when the reader is not in use and comes with a USB 3.0 cable cord. A blue LED activity light lets users know when data is being transferred.

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader supports the following memory cards formats:

  • CompactFlash slot: Reads CompactFlash® Type I and Type II
  • Secure Digital slot: SD™, SDHC™, SDXC™, miniSD™, miniSDHC™, MMC™, MMCplus™, and RS-MMC™
  • Mobile slot: microSD™, microSDHC™, and Memory Stick Micro™ (M2™)
  • Memory Stick slot: Memory Stick™, Memory Stick (with MagicGate™), Memory Stick PRO™, Memory Stick PRO Duo™, Memory Stick PRO Duo (with MagicGate), Memory Stick PRO Duo Mark2, Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo™, and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo “HX”
  • xD-Picture Card slot: xD-Picture Card™, xD-Picture Card Type-M, xD-Picture Card Type-M+, and xD-Picture Card Type-H

 

The Lexar Multi-Card 25-in-1 USB 3.0 Reader comes with a one-year limited warranty,  is compatible with both PC and Mac® systems.

Definitely worth buying, it is compact enough for use on the go and also works fine with a desktop setup. Highly recommended.

 

Promote Your Photography And Video Work With Video On A Card

Printings In Motion is the force behind Spreengs, greeting cards with a built-in screen that you can download a video to by using USB from any computer.

spreengs

While Spreengs is their retail operation, Printings In Motion have their own website and deal with companies to produce customised products, such as interactive brochures and more.

pim

 

I can think of any number of uses for these, from an unusual portfolio mailout giveaway to something to offer to your clients if you are a wedding photographer/videographer, for instance.

Netgear R6300 WiFi Router Is A Great Speedup For A Home or Studio Network

Over the weekend I upgraded our home WiFi network to the recently released Netgear R6300 WiFi Router.

This router supports all protocols up to the new 802.11ac standard. Plus it features simultaneous band technology and gives greater speed when using the older n and g standards. It supports GigaBit Ethernet for the four wired ports.

This is a great device. Installation and setup is VERY easy and the speed is fantastic. Even though we are currently only running n devices, rather than the new ac, we got significantly faster networking and much better response with multiple devices using WiFi simultaneously.

This is a device I can happily recommend.

http://www.netgear.com/home/products/wirelessrouters/ultimate-performance/R6300.aspx#one

 

Initial Infrared Photography Review Testing of the Sony a77 dSLR

Here I present the initial test results of shooting infrared with a Sony a77 dSLR camera, using a Hoya R72 IR filter.

The Sony is a nice camera for shooting IR, with the tilting screen.

Leaving the camera in Program mode it gave an exposure of 20 seconds, f5.6 and 100ISO in a part cloudy situation but with much of the view in full, though late in the day,  sun. You can see the unprocessed result below:

By doing Levels in Photoshop produces a better result:

Lastly a return to Adobe Camera RAW to adjust the settings produces the image below:

If we examine the individual colour channels of this time you can see that the Sony a77 gives a vastly different exposure to the three channels, suggesting the blue filter on the sensor cuts out much deeper into the infrared than I have found common on most cameras recently.

Red channel
Green channel
Blue channel

I next switched to manual mode, which I generally prefer for infrared photography with most unconverted cameras. The reason for this is that the metering sensors in most cameras do not have an IR blocking filter, unlike the imaging sensor. Thus the camera always under-exposes in any auto exposure mode.

In manual I tried f4.5, 30 seconds and 100ISO. The lens in these shots in the Sony 11-18mm f4.5 lens:

and switching to 800ISO:

giving a much better result.

Below is a 100% section from the centre of the image so we can just image noise:

We can see noise but it is not too bad considering the ISO and length of the exposure. There was no noise reduction done in ACR.

Switching to the Sony 16-50mm f2.8 lens, here is a shot at f2.8, 30 seconds and 100ISO:

and the individual colour channels:

Red channel
Green channel
Blue channel

Again these show the substantial exposure difference between the channels. This means that if you are shooting to do a mono conversion from just one channel you will need to make substantial exposure changes depending on the channel you intend to use.

Below is another shot, this time done at f2.8, 30 seconds and 100ISO:

and a 100% centre section so you can judge noise:

Lastly here is a monochrome image produced from the red channel only after adjustments in ACR:

While this was only initial testing and I will follow up with a full infrared review shortly, I found the a77 to be quite suitable for infrared photography.

Another article, First Shots With The Sony a77 dSLR can be viewed here.

 

 

First Shots With The Sony a77 dSLR

I’ve had a Sony a77 dSLR for a few days for some testing. Yesterday was the first chance I had to get out with the camera and here are some of the first shots I have taken with the camera.

Early impressions are positive. I didn’t think I’d like the electronic viewfinder but I have to say it is the most like an optical viewfinder I’ve come across and the rest of the camera, including its 24MP images, are pretty impressive.

More to follow as I do more extensive testing. Thankfully I got a range of lenses with the a77, rather than just a kit lens, so I’ll be able to form a much better idea of the system as a whole as well as the a77 specifically.

DIMi Magazine Gets a Writeup

Eileen Fritsch has posted a nice article about the production of Digital ImageMaker international as a magazine over on the Great Output blog.

Great Output is an excellent blog on printing and related topics to do with imaging and art. Definitely worth a read.

 

The Epson R3000 Printer Review

Epson have a lot of the headspace of printers for photographers, and so any new photo printer from them gets noticed. Here we review the R3000, an A3+ nine-colour printer.

The R3000 prints up to 13″x19″ on sheet or 13″ x 129″ (that’s 3.2m long) on roll media, making it great for panorama photographers. It uses nine inks, Photo Black or Matte Black, Light Black, Light Light Black, Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Yellow, Light Cyan and Light Vivid Magenta. It has USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connections.

Ok, so what is it like to use? Print quality is stunning. I used a range of papers, matt, semi-gloss and high gloss and the resulting images were simply amazing. It is also pretty fast, even when printing over Wi-Fi. Ink cartridges are large, so you certainly don’t change them often when printing smaller images and even with the big ones ink changes are nicely rare. Since they are all individual colours you only change the ones you need.

Wi-Fi setup was easy and it maintained the connection well. USB and Ethernet are likewise easy. You need to set the printer up with space behind it, either for a roll or because the top sheet holder angles back. That said, it is not a large printer and finds its place quite nicely in a smaller space. I tend to use a small trolley for such printers, so they are really easy to access.

My one gripe with this printer is that, though it has nine inks, it only has eight sets of print heads, so the matt black and normal black share the same heads, necessitating ink flushing when you change media. For some photographers this will not be an issue, as you will load up your preferred paper type and just use that. But in our case we had three people sharing it using the Wi-Fi connection and this became a pain. As I said, for most photographers and even studios this is not going to be an issue. For those who like to change their paper type from print to print, though, this is a real hassle and will increase the running cost over time. More importantly it wastes a lot of time that should not happen on a printer of this level.

Over the fairly extended time we had it in the studio here we put a lot of paper and ink through it and it worked flawlessly, with no paper miss feeds, something I have had problems with Epsons with in the past (only with larger sheets).

Providing you do not need to change paper types frequently, I can happily recommend the Epson R3000 as a great printer.