Tagged: crop-zooming

Pentax Crop-ability

Before I decide whether to switch back to Pentax gear I need to decide on what focal lengths I would likely want and see if Pentax has the lenses I want.  Since 40mm is the longest focal length I have at the moment, I took a picture of the trees on the horizon with that limited 20-40mm lens.  Note the trees in the center of the first picture that are furthest away.  The second picture is a crop from that center portion of the first picture that I then up-sized to make the version you are looking at.  See the birds in the trees?  Now I have an idea of how much zoom-cropping I can do.

I made this check as I was trying to decide whether to get a zoom lens or the 70mm limited prime lens.  Based on this check and some ideas of what I might be photographing, I decided to try the 70mm prime lens.  My thinking is that I might do some of my walkabout and Homewood photography with the 70mm lens and the camera-lens combination wouldn’t be too heavy.

Resized 100% Crop

I am going to try a 60 mm macro lens for my Fujifilm X-T1 camera to see if I can get up closer and make detail images.  While I am waiting to get it and try it, I decided to see how well I could resize my X-file raw images.  Since I had the following picture of the wild flower taken at f/2.8 with the 27 mm lens, I used it for an experiment.


The image is a 4896 x 3264 pixel raw file that has been processed in LR6.  I cropped the above image to capture a small image of the flower in the middle.  The resulting crop was only 1005 x 670 pixels.  I then resized it up with Perfect Resize 8 plugin to my standard blog image size which is 2000 pixels on the longest edge.  I am impressed with the quality of the resized image.


I can hardly wait until I get some images with the 60 mm macro.  My desire is to make abstract images from sections of flowers, etc. as well as use it for photographing events when I need a slightly longer focal length.  My current plan is to have this as my longest focal length lens.

Here is another resized image.


Could I, Dare I?

This morning I was thinking about constraints on photography.  We all have our individual constraints.  Personally, I am some-what constrained by not traveling and not going out much; but I have changed that into a challenge to see what I can keep finding to photograph close to home.  Another constraint is my inability to carry much weight.  That constraint limits my use of my Pentax DSLR and long lenses so I have been using my smaller lighter cameras more.

This morning I started thinking about a new constraint.  It seems that the price of cameras is rising faster and they are getting out of reach.  The latest rumors, etc. indicate that future cameras are going to be priced even higher since the camera companies are concentrating on the high-end, technologically loaded cameras.  This situation started me wondering if I could just make-do with my Ricoh GR if I had to in the future.

I was out this morning with my GR in my pocket while I was waiting for someone.  I looked up and saw the sun trying to peek through the clouds.  I knew that getting that image would be a challenge for my GR with its’ effective 28 mm lens.  Due to that wide coverage I knew that I couldn’t see the sun in my LCD when I composed the shot.  In addition the image of the sun would be so small that I doubted I could even see it in the final picture; but I took it anyway.  Below is what I got shooting a raw file with -1.3 exposure compensation using the program mode and then developing it in LightRoom with no adjustments.

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I then cropped the image down small enough to see the sun and made the following picture.

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It is not a great picture but I did learn some more about what can be done with the Ricoh GR.  I’m not sure that I would want to be forced into only using it for my pictures, but I am sure that I could adapt.

Noticing the Resolution

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I didn’t plan to put this picture on my blog since I was just playing around with some pictures when I noticed the resolution.  I used the 50 mm lens on the Pentax K-3 to take a picture and then cropped a small section out of it and re-sized it back up to get the close-up of a young woman.  The picture was taken wide open at f/1.8.  I think the focus point was right above her eye on her forehead but I took the picture so fast I can’t be sure.  I still haven’t tested or corrected that lens for either front or back focusing, but I will later.

My second interest was in seeing how the image held up to re-sizing.  As I said in the beginning, I didn’t plan to show these pictures but I wanted to see how they would work on my blog, and the best way to determine that was to try it and publish them and let you decide.  Note the fine resolution of her hair.  The following is another example taken with the 50 mm lens.

The first image immediately above is as taken … uncropped.  The second image is a crop of a section of it and then re-sized up to get the version you see if you look at the full size.  All of these pictures were taken handheld rather quickly without any intention of using them in this manner; but I am encouraged to use this lens a lot more and to test it further on a more suitable test scene.

Up Close & Cropped with Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 17mm f/1.8 Lens


I used my 17 mm lens up close and then cropped in even closer.  The following is another picture using that technique.


I like this lens and the Olympus E-PL5 camera and I will continue to use them for most of my photography.  I like having the slightly greater depth of field for photographing flowers, but even with micro 4/3 I will have to concentrate on smaller apertures to preserve more focus depth when desired.

Getting Closer

One of my considerations for a new project is taking macro pictures of flowers, etc.  Olympus has a nice 60 mm macro lens but the higher the focal length, etc. the greater is the need to only shoot with a tripod due to the extremely small depth of field (DoF) and difficulty in focusing on the area of interest.  Since I don’t wish to spend the money for such a limited-use lens nor do I wish to have to use a tripod, I am looking into options.  Since I also don’t wish to photograph insects in great detail, I am exploring the option of using my 45 mm lens and then cropping and re-sizing to get photos.  The above images are the results of one attempt.

The advantage of using the 45 mm lens is that it is a nice sharp lens pretty much across the field and theoretically the DoF is deeper than with a 60 mm lens.  A disadvantage is that the minimum close focusing distance of the 45 mm lens is only 19.7 inches while the 60 mm lens is 7.4 inches.

PS … I tried similar pictures using the 14 – 42 mm kit lens at the same aperture, etc. and they were not as sharp.  Prime lenses still beat zoom lenses for sharpness especially at the extremes of the zoom focal lengths.  Sharpness isn’t always needed, but is essential if you wish to crop into a picture significantly and still have good details.

Natures Candle

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The above picture was taken through a double pane window, therefore it isn’t the greatest for these purposes … but it is a realistic test.  The image has sharp edges and a variety of light and dark areas … you can see the frost on the edges of the leaves.  The above image is a 2082 x 1041 pixel crop of the original image that hasn’t been resized.  The 16 MP original was just cropped to a 2.167 MP image using LR5.

The view below has been cropped down to 1257 x 628 (0.789 MP) and then resized with Perfect Photo Suite 8 to 2000 x 1001 (2 MP).

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The image below was cropped down to 975 x 488 (a 0.476 MP) and then resized back up to 2 MP.

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You can click on any of the images and see them in full size.  If you do this you can see the changes in the image quality due to the resizing but also because of original imperfections from hand holding the camera and taking the picture at an angle through the dirty double pane window at full zoom of 200 mm at f/4.8 and 1/125 sec.  I also tweaked the exposure, etc. a little as I changed the image.  If you don’t pixel peep they don’t look bad.

What does this tell you?  The resize algorithm is pretty good in the software and I won’t be telling you whether I used it in future pictures since you probably won’t realize whether I did.  I can now crop-zoom even more than before and I probably won’t be getting another camera with a longer, zoom lens.

Crop-Zoom Effects


One of the schemes that I have in mind, if necessary, is to do a lot more crop-zooming when using just prime lenses.  I took the above picture with the Sony NEX-6 camera and the Sony 35mm f/1.8 lens.  This picture was taken at close to optimum conditions for a hand-held picture … ISO = 100, f/9, and 1/400 sec.

I then used this picture for a one-time, single-condition test.  The original picture above was 4912 x 3264 pixels.  For this demonstration, I then down-sized it to 2000 x 1329 at 96 pixels per inch with LR5 software.  That is a standard downsizing that I almost always use for displaying pictures in this blog.  You can click on the picture to get it into a stand-alone image and then click on 2000 x 1329 above the image, and then click on it again if necessary with your monitor, to see it at the 2000 x 1329 size.  So far, you are looking at an image like I always show.

For the next step I made a virtual copy of the picture and then crop-zoomed it down to a tad above 100%.  That image ended up being 1214 x 807 pixels which is smaller than I normally go.  That is equivalent to reducing a 16 MP image to about 1 MP.  In the past when I crop-zoomed, I normally never went down any smaller than 2000 x whatever.  I limit the longest edge of my pictures to no smaller than 2000 pixels for display in my blog.

For today’s test I then up-sized the close-to 100% crop using LR5 to increase it to a dimension of 2000 x  1329 pixels.  You are looking at the result below.  As mentioned above, you can click on it and then select to show it on your screen in that 2000 x 1329 size.  What do you think?  It’s not as good but is surprisingly good considering what I did to the image.


I hope not to do this often in the future but I wanted to see what would happen if I had to do it to get the picture I wanted to show.

My desire is to finally end up with a good camera with more megapixels so I don’t have to torture them as much.  I will also investigate some better software for re-sizing if it is necessary.  Being able to re-size in this fashion is dependent upon having a good lens and that is always an unknown until you try to use it in this manner.  I think that both the Sony 35mm f/1.8 and the Sony 50mm f/1.8 lenses, in an E-mount for NEX cameras, are probably good enough for web use.

A Bigger Cannon to Hunt the Light?


I have photographed several musical shows in the last 5 days.  I will be taking time out to work on the pictures, but I’m not sure that I will be showing any of the pictures on my web.  So if I miss a few days with my blog, you now know why.

One thing that I ended up doing was using my 50mm f/1.8 lens on my K-5.  It wasn’t long enough but the lighting was poor and I needed a wide aperture lens so I am doing a lot of crop-zooming and tweaking.  I also had to use an ISO of 3200.  I think that my pictures will be OK, especially if I use them to make a video show; but I’m now thinking about how I could improve my gear for the next time.

As a result of the above, I have thought about switching to the Canon full-frame 6D which has 20MP and does better in lower light.  One major problem with this change, other than the cost, is that I would end up with an even heavier camera and lenses.  This goes against my wish to go lighter and smaller, but can I do that and increase quality?  I don’t think so.  With the Canon 6D I could use a higher ISO and have more room to crop-zoom while increasing the quality slightly.  My dilemma, “Is the extra cost and weight worth it?”  This is an especially hard decision to make when I would still need to have another smaller, lighter camera to carry on walk-abouts.  It’s probably a crazy idea, but it gives me something to think about.

Does anybody out there have any knowledge about making this change?

My Walk-About Dilemma

As I have mentioned in previous articles, I’m trying to decide on a light-weight camera-lens combination for my walks.  I no longer desire to carry my heavy Pentax K-5 with the 55 – 300 mm lens.  In the past I carried this while walking around my home since I often see birds and other wildlife.  My decision now is whether to give up shooting wildlife with that setup or to find something smaller and lighter with sufficient image quality.

Lately I have carried my Lumix LX7 in the pocket of my winter jacket.  The quality of that camera has continued to amaze me since it has such a small sensor.  The following picture is a good example of what I’m faced with.  I took this picture this morning with the LX7 using the maximum zoom of 17.7mm (effective 90mm).  Note the Heron in the middle.


The following is a crop of the above picture.  It is as tight as I like to crop since I keep the longest dimension of my pictures no smaller than 2000 pixels.


This is not sufficient for shooting wildlife.  I really need an effective focal length of 450mm for wildlife, but I am willing to make-do with less.  I’m not sure how much less, but I’m guessing no less than an effective 300mm if the camera has good IQ with lots of pixels so that I can do strong crop-zooming.

I really like my Sony NEX-6 since it is light-weight and easy to carry, but my longest lens for it is 50mm (effective 75mm) so it is of no value for wildlife.  I have looked for a good longer lens for it but my only practical option is their 18 – 200mm zoom and it is not a great lens.  I would have to order one to try to see if it is good enough.  I haven’t gotten that desperate yet.  I’m still hoping that Pentax might come out with a smaller and lighter camera that uses my existing lenses or that Sigma or someone else comes out with another long zoom for the NEX E-mount.  Sigma is coming out with a 60mm prime lens (effective 90mm) for the NEX cameras which would be a little better than the LX7 effective 90mm since the NEX-6 has a larger sensor with more pixels.

One new option might be to switch my Pentax system for one of the new small Canon DSLRs.  In the meanwhile, I will continue to occasionally take the K-5 out with the 55 – 300mm lens for explicit shooting of wildlife this spring and keep looking for a lighter system … or  give-up with wildlife.