All posts by Jason Odell

POTD: Ladybug Convention

Our weather has warmed up and the yuccas are starting to bloom. That means ladybugs are in abundance, preying upon the aphids which feed on the yuccas (and are often tended by ants).

For this photo, I used my OM System OM-1 Mark 2 body and the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. This tiny lens is quite sharp, and incredibly lightweight (185 g / 0.4 lb), which makes it super-easy to manage in the field hand-held. A side benefit of Micro 4/3rds format for macro photography is the 2x effective DOF (meaning you can shoot at wider apertures to keep shutter speed up without sacrificing depth of field) and the 2x equivalent magnification factor (1:1 with this format actually frames like 2:1 on full-frame).

For this shot, I was set at 1/1000s f/6.3 ISO 1250, hand-held. The equivalent setting on full-frame (to get the same DOF) would have been 1/1000s f/13, ISO 5000. Sometimes it’s good to go small!

The Image Doctors #235

The Case for A Fast Prime Lens

This week’s topic is inspired by a listener’s email to us (thank you). He wanted to know if a fast prime lens was necessary for shooting in low-light environments. We’ll take a look at the reasons for owning a fast prime and why they might not be what you’d expect.

Nikon Z6III Announcement Set for Monday, June 17th

Nikon teased the imminent release of the much-awaited Z6iii camera, which will be announced on Monday, June 17th. Stay tuned for our thoughts on the new Nikon!

The Image Doctors #234

Paradigm Shifts & More

This week, Jason is back from his South Dakota Badlands infrared safari, Sigma has announced a new 28-45mm f/1.8 lens (Sony & L-mount), and then we start a new segment called “Paradigm Shifts.”

In our first installment of Paradigm Shifts, we discuss gear that changed the way we approached photography, or had a lasting impact on our work. This week, we chose to discuss the Nikon D3 (and later D3x) cameras, which revolutionized our digital photography experience in later 2007.

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The Image Doctors #233

1964: Eyes of the Storm

This week, we take a look at a celebrity who is actually an outstanding photographer, Sir Paul McCartney. His book, 1964: Eyes of the Storm documents The Beatles arrival in the USA and captures scenes from the inside. You can see the gallery currently on tour in the USA at the Brooklyn Museum.

Infrared Photography with the Olympus 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II lens

Excellent IR performance with a 28-300mm equivalent range

I just got my hands on the Olympus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II lens, which I purchased second-hand in top condition. My initial testing with infrared showed no hotspots across the zoom range, and so I mounted it on my Full-Spectrum Converted Olympus OM-D E-M5ii body with a 720nm front filter.

The Olympus 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 II is a fully weather-sealed 28-300mm equivalent zoom that is extremely compact and lightweight. When collapsed, it measures a mere 2.5×3.3″ (63.5 x 83.8 mm), and weighs 10 oz (284g). It uses 58mm front filters.

The Olympus 14-150mm II does not produce significant hotspots at 720nm, even when stopped down to f/11. You may see slight center brightness above f8, but rarely do I stop down this far (remember that M4/3 lenses have 2x the effective DOF as 35mm format). Corner sharpness falls off at the extreme edges of the frame at the wide end, as is common with mirrorless lenses used in infrared. This phenomenon is also true with the other wide-angle Olympus lenses I’ve tested, including the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ, and the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6. The 14-150mm lens wasn’t significantly different from those other two lenses in this regard. Once you’re above 17mm or so, edge sharpness improves significantly, and it’s sharp edge to edge by 25mm. Using DXO Pure Raw 4 to demosaic and sharpen the raw files works very well, and further cleanup is possible with Topaz Photo AI.

I’ll be taking this lens with me to South Dakota for my infrared photo safari, and from what I can see so far, it will be the lens that stays mounted on my IR camera most of the time. The slight edge softness at 14mm is more than made up for by the outstanding range (28-300mm equivalent) and lack of hotspots. If you’re looking for a walkabout lens for Olympus/OM System infrared, I highly recommend this lens. Pair it with the 9-18mm f/4.0-5.6, and you have a featherweight 18-300mm kit that works well in both the visible and IR spectrums.

Photos

Sample images at 720nm with the Olympus 14-150mm lens. Focal length is shown as 35mm equivalent.