Improve Your Macro Photography with Micro Four Thirds Cameras

Improve Your Macro Photography with Micro Four Thirds Cameras

The world of macro photography has been an interest for me ever since I got my first camera. That camera was a little Casio point and shoot that was maybe 2 or 3 megapixels. I was out shooting that first day with it and noticed on the mode dial a little flower icon and thought I’d set it to that and go shoot some flowers. I was several feet back from some Clematis (yes, I remember the exact flower) and the camera would not focus. After some trial and error I realized I needed to be closer to get focus…a LOT closer.

Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

Shooting at Night with the Panasonic GH4

The Panasonic GH4 is an amazing little camera. I’ve been putting it through its paces from the moment I got my hands on one, and just like any gearhead, have been reading practically every review and comment about it on the internet. What can I say? It’s an addiction. I confess. One thing that stood out to me in all the signal and noise out there was that this camera isn’t a great performer at high ISO. My initial quick tests bore that out; at ISO 800, the footage is pretty noisy and by 1600, it’s unusable for a lot of work. But what I wanted to know was something a bit more subtle. I wanted to know if I could shoot at night, in a place like San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, and still walk away with usable footage? See, what a lot of people don’t get is that “low light” and “high ISO” aren’t synonymous. Just because you don’t have bright daylight doesn’t mean you have to force your camera into stratospheric ISOs. There’s more than one way to skin this particular cat and so, with my GH4 and some bits and bobs, I set out to find out if I could get the footage I wanted. Here’s the gear list: Panasonic GH4 Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, Nikon-mount Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 Metabones Nikon G to Micro Four Thirds Speedbooster Video tripod and head The video is below, but before you watch it, here are a few notes to keep in mind so you know what to expect… The video is shot at 4K, 24p. ISO was kept between 200 and 400 for...
The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

The Bokeh Effect: How Sensor Size Affects Background Blur

Of all the things that photographers argue about in our secret monthly meetings, sensor size and its impact on our work is perhaps one of the most heated topics that can come up. From the true “bigger is better” snobs (“Sensors? Bah! 8X10 film is where it’s at!”) to the ones who prize portability above all (“Micro-Four-Thirds rules!”), the debate between advocates of MFT, APS-C, and full-frame sensors often reaches religious fervor. Contentious topics related to sensor size include resolution, high-ISO performance, and dynamic range, but the quality and characteristic of bokeh, or out-of-focus backgrounds, is perhaps the most fiercely contentious. While there’s no contest that the bigger sensors can clearly produce much smoother and, well, blurier (not a word, I know), it’s also an unfair statement that the smaller sensors like the ones in Olympus and Panasonic Micro-Four-Thirds cameras can’t produce good bokeh. The Prerequisites Now, before you get into this article, if you have questions about what crop sensors are, how they work, etc., you want to read a few of these articles: Tip of the Week: Understanding Sensor Crop Factors, Part 1 Transitioning from Point-and-Shoot to DSLR: Understanding Full Frame vs Crop Frame Sensors Best Wide Angle for a Crop Sensor Camera These articles will give you a good understanding of what crop sensors are, and what using a crop sensor camera implies, for the most part. In this article, we’re going to drill down to one specific thing. We will take a look at just how the size of your camera’s sensor affects the bokeh characteristics of your image. To do this, we devised a pretty...
Sample Images: Benefits of Shooting Olympus and Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds

Sample Images: Benefits of Shooting Olympus and Four Thirds/Micro Four Thirds

Mirrorless cameras and the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system are gaining in popularity. From Panasonic’s GH3 to the Blackmagic, more and more cameras are coming out in MFT mount. Olympus originally pioneered the Four Thirds system and, along with Panasonic, announced a new Micro Four Thirds standard in 2008. This new system increased in quality while decreasing in bulk.

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Shooting On the Go With the Olympus OM-D

Not too long ago, I switched to the Nikon D800E with a series of prime lenses for all of my primary photography. I love the Nikon, and it’s proved to be a fantastic system, capably handling just about everything I’ve thrown at it. The downside is that it is, truly, a system. A big, heavy system. I quickly found myself looking for a smaller, carry-around camera for some of my more photojournalistic endeavors, and immediately turned to the family of mirrorless cameras out there for an answer. Of these, there is no shortage. You have the awesome Sony NEX-6, which I’ve raved about in the past. There’s also the Sony RX-1, the Panasonic GF3C, the Fuji X-Pro1, and the subject of this article, the Olympus OM-D E-M5. I’ve had the Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past few weeks now, and have been using it as my primary “take everywhere” camera. It’s small size, lens selection, and great image quality combine to provide a system that’s flat-out my favorite in this category. In this article, I’ll present my experience shooting with this little thing, rather than a full-on technical review. The Build This thing is solid and extremely well-built. I’ve got chubby little sausages for fingers, but I can still get a pretty decent grip on it, thanks to the tab on the back and the indent in the front that give your thumb and middle fingers a secure place to grasp onto. The buttons, though tiny, are pretty responsive, so it’s not hard to use many of them just by feel The back of the OM-D, shown above, is...
How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

How to Visualize and Shoot in B&W

Black and white photography is one of the oldest forms of photography; yet its popularity seems to have been on the uptick of late. With plugins like Alien Skin’s Exposure and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro 2, digital photographers now have some amazing tools at their disposal to create black and white images of varying types. But the problem with shooting for black and white is knowing what will look good as a monochrome image. It can take photographers years to look at a scene and know what it will look like when rendered in monochrome. The old adage of “If it doesn’t look good, just convert it to B&W and call it art,” doesn’t hold very true. Rather, the axiom “GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out)” is much more accurate. You have to know what will stand out as a black and white image, and that’s what this week’s tip is about. Most – if not all – digital cameras out there have a black-and-white or monochrome setting. For example, my 5D Mark II has a Monochrome setting under the Picture Styles menu, as does my Olympus Micro-Four-Thirds camera. Simply select this setting and shoot. Your subject – whether it’s a portrait or a landscape or a street scene – will be recorded as a black-and-white image. Furthermore, if you want to see what an image will look like in B&W when you adjust your exposure, switch to Live-View on your camera. If you have a smaller, Micro-Four-Thirds or Sony NEX camera, this is what you use anyway to take your shots. You’ll get a live preview of what a B&W image...
Tip of the week: An adaptable camera system

Tip of the week: An adaptable camera system

Every Thursday, we will post a photography-related tip here. These tips are typically inspired by questions we get from our customers. Sometimes we might feature a technique tip, and sometimes a gear recommendation. If there’s something specific you’d like to see in this section, let us know. Email us at blog@borrowlenses.com. Today we’re going to talk about a video camera called the Panasonic AG AF100. The AF100 is from a family of products that adhere to the Micro Four-Thirds standard. So far, Olympus and Panasonic are the two manufacturers making cameras for this standard, but a number of other manufacturers have also signed on to produce add-ons for it. Sigma, Carl Zeiss, Lensbaby and Voigtlander, all venerable manufacturers, have signed on to make lenses for it. But the true power of this standard comes from the manufacturers that have built adapters that let you bring a variety of non Micro Four-Thirds lenses to this platform. Voigtlander and Redrock Micro are some of the companies that make adapters that will let you use Leica, Canon and Nikon lenses on a Micro Four-Thirds camera. The image above is of a Canon-mount CP.2 lens from Zeiss, with an adapter that let us put it on an Olympus E-P2 Micro Four-Thirds camera. There was a little play in the fit, but it worked well enough. The CP.2 was a lens designed specifically for video. With the same adapter shown in the image, you can also adapt that lens to the Panasonic AF100, opening up a wide range of cinematic possibilities. But that’s not all. Take that Nikon F mount adapter we rent and you can take Nikon’s...