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Archive for May, 2014

hoodfirehouse2009I must admit I was hoping to be writing about my new lens I ordered but it has not arrived yet. This lens is the new Canon EF-M 11mm-22mm ultra wide-angle for my little EOS-M mirrorless body. The marketing guys at Canon decided not to sell this lens in America. What the heck! So I ordered it from Japan! Needless to say it isn’t here yet 😦 So I will just have to continue tweaking old photos with Corel and Lightroom until it gets here 🙂

sthelens1Have you ever gotten a good shot of a beautiful landscape and not had a polarizing filter handy? Perhaps your camera does not accept filters or your were traveling light, whatever. Well Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom has an easy fix. It is not a perfect fix, but in many situations it works well.

Take this shot of Mount St. Helens. The shot is properly exposed but suffers from haze and glare that a polarizing filter would have likely helped significantly. At the time I did not have a circular polarizer to fit my 200mm f 2.8 L lens and so I shot the image without one. It is a rather flat looking picture with little contrast. I think I had a 30d body back then. That was a good camera though for its day.

snip1Once loaded in lightroom a few tweaks to whites and blacks along with highlights and shadows can help set up the image for the next level of processing.

Here I chose to lower the luminance factor of blue and aqua color bands. This does not always work especially if there are blue items elsewhere in the lumisnipframe. Here however it works well. Lower the blue luminance factor and it causes the sky to darken. That alone can sometimes be enough.

Then the individual saturation control for color bands can enhance the sky a little more. A little tweak to the yellows and greens adds a little needed color pop as well.

satsnipI spent less than 5 minutes on this image and with a little more effort the outcome would be much better. None the less the image is an improved product. The sky is a little too aqua here so I need to back off aqua a bit more. Sometimes when I have a really good shot, I’ll spend a couple of hours with it to get the perfect blend. This image is a bit lacking in composition and interest so I just decided to use it as an example photo for digital processing. It is fun to play around with old images and see if you can create something nice out of a “cutting room floor” image.

 

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Canon FD 50mm f3.5 Macro

50macroI love using old lenses on new cameras. Today I am writing about the Canon FD 50mm f3.5 Macro lens. This lens is an 80s vintage that is in very good shape. These macro lenses are now available for very reasonable prices. I bought this one for around $70 on Ebay and it is near perfect. I like the FD series lenses that were the second generation because they are a bit smaller and more compact. Canon purists often prefer the older, original “breech lock” mount with the chrome ring. That was technically one of the best lens mounts ever made, but those lenses were big and heavy. The EOS-M is a tiny camera.

Macro lenses are generally very sharp. They offer a flat field across the entire image, corner to corner. They are designed to keep that flat field while focusing very close. Although they are typically only mediocre at infinity focus this particular lens tends to be a solid all round performer.

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I am able to shoot this lens on my Canon EOS-M mirrorless body with an adapter for old FD lenses. Unfortunately the FD lenses cannot be used on EOS DSLR bodies without an optical correction lens or they will be unable to achieve infinity focus. I surely do not wish to place any extra optics between my classic lens and the camera. The EOS-M has a more shallow lens to image plane so FD lenses work fine with them.

The APS-C sensor gives this lens an 80mm effective focal length. I bought it because my Tamron SP 90mm f2.8 is sometimes just to long. I use this lens to take pictures of products I list on Ebay so I don’t have to stand halfway across the room to get the shot. That is the practical use for this lens. The fun use is outside.

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Today we saw a warm day in the mid eighties and what better opportunity to soak up some rays and make some images with an old 1980s lens. My first target was my car. There it was sitting in the driveway, glistening under the warm rays of sunny goodness beaming down from the heavens.

Macro lenses are really good at showing off all the flaws in things you don’t otherwise notice. That Chrysler logo looks beat to hell, but in reality to look at it you won’t know it. So I decided to use a little soften effect in Adobe Lightroom to take the edge off all those defects. Chrome trim on cars can be a lot of fun to play with. I will have to do a piece on crazy chrome here soon.

OK, enough of that. Macro lenses are often used to take pictures of plants and flowers. I 50macrotest-3can’t help but notice that my blueberry bush is looking good this year. Hundreds of little white flowers means hundreds of delicious blueberries this summer. I love delicious blueberries 😀  I will admit I gave the bush a little spray of water to add to that lush look. This little Canon macro lens is quite sharp and delivers fabulous color and contrast.

Back in the day I was a die-hard Canon shooter with all the great glass. I love these old lenses! I really wish I had kept a few of those old “L” lenses 😦

I took a shot across the street to check out the landscape distance abilities of the old macro and it delivered a crisp image off into the distance. These old lenses do require that the lens stop down to shoot and that can make for a dark image on the screen. But the LCD screen compensates and that is cool!

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The Canon FD 50mm f3.5 Macro is a great lens and can serve a variety of purposes for a shooter using APS-C or micro 4/3s mirrorless bodies. Obviously you can take great close-ups. But it can also serve as a good portrait lens. This particular lens is only an F3.5 and if portraits is a big thing for you, a faster F2.8 model might serve better. Nikon made a great 55mm f2.8 Micro-Nikkor that could be a great alternative. You might find that those are not readily available in that under $100 range like the Canon.

So get outside and hit those yard sales. Maybe you will find an old lens you can use on your new camera body!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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