Close-up photography with Fuji X100S, Nikon D7000 and Nexus5

By February 20, 2014blog, Business, Journal

I always get nervous the night before any big assignments. That’s just the way I am although once I get into a shoot that nervousness just disappears. Tonight is one of those and there’s nothing that eases my nerve better than just shooting.

I will not purport to have done any kind of technical or comparative analysis on close up photography using different devices. I just wanted to find out what can be achieved with each very different piece of photographic tool I own.

The Valentine’s day flowers from my guy have all opened up and they begged to be photographed. They would be perfect as subjects for this little experiment.

Firstly, my little Fuji X100S was used to take these four images using different focus points with the edge highlight manual focusing assistance . One thing I should mention here, is that any kind of autofocus mechanism would drive you mad with this type of work no matter how expensive your camera is.

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Fuji X100S taken with Nexus 5 native camera app.

Due to its wide focal length of the fixed lens (23mm F2), I couldn’t really get otherworldly close up images. The edge of the lens hood was about 5cm away from the green tip of the flower.

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Taken at about F5.6 to get some sort of details of the entire flower.

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The following three were taken at F2 focusing in different points in the same flower.

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Next up, I used Nikon D7000 with Micro Nikkor 60mm F2.8.

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This is an ancient lens that I purchased in 1994 when I was a university student back in Seoul.

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Both lens and the camera images were taken with a Nexus 5.

 

As you can see in these four images, the focal length of 60mm gave me more close-up images – the otherworldly kinds. This is probably closer to micro (or some people call macro) photography than just simple close-up kind. Basically, if you want to try micro photography of any kind, you’d want to get your hands on a lens with a focal length of 60mm or greater. For example, Micro Nikkor 105mm would be a good one.

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How about my mobile phone, Nexus 5? I know that Nexus 5 camera doesn’t perform well at all in poor ambient light. As I was doing for the other two above, I had an IKEA desk light in left arm and I was holding the phone in my right in a very awkward position. How about a light stand? You may ask. Well, as I said, it was just an impromptu shoot. I was too lazy to drag all my gear out for this.

What you see here is a bright desk lamp held badly to give some light to the flower so that the mobile phone can focus properly.

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Look how sharp and crisp this image is out of a mobile phone! I’m pretty sure that if I didn’t have to hold the light with the other arm I could have gone closer.

People often ask me which camera to get when they are faced with a million different options on the camera market. My first response to them is not to buy one and to use their mobile phones. Like every other photographers out there suggest, I believe the camera you have at hand is the best one. In our case, mobile phones.  Sure, I don’t make a living out of my Nexus 5. Those who ask me about what to buy don’t make money making professional photos. Those who do don’t ask me about which camera to get. My point being, given decent light, any tool can make good photos. The rest, as in, composition, artistic sense and feel for good light can be taught. Or some lucky people are born with it.  Me? I guess I can say that I am of half & half. I was kind of born that way thanks to my father. In addition to that, I was ‘trained’ as an artist (although I believe such a thing is lunacy) from the age of 12 (thereabout) until I graduated with a BA in Fine Arts.

Getting back to my initial concept of this little test and to summarise:

  • If lighting is good, a modern mobile phone can be a good tool for close-up photos
  • Little fuji’s macro setting isn’t really for micro photography but good for just general close-up photos. If I’m less than a meter away from my subject I should turn that option on
  • For  ‘out of this world’ micro photography, I need to drag out my macro lens.

Peace out.