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.
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.
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.
I then cropped the image down small enough to see the sun and made the following picture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
The image below was cropped down to 975 x 488 (a 0.476 MP) and then resized back up to 2 MP.
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.