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Is The X-Pro 1 Good For Macro?


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#1 Hendrik

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:41 AM

Many years ago, I sold my Nikon SLR and went digital. My last cameras were a Fujifilm S100 - too big and a bad viewfinder - and a Canon G11, which I like very much. Unfortunately, the G11 is limited on macro: good for flowers, but not for insects. Is the X-Pro1 good for macro? I don't want to buy a heavy DSLR, and the 60 mm of Fujifilm looks nice. Perhaps the AF problems are a showstopper?



#2 Ratty Mouse

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:51 AM

The problem with Fuji's 60mm lens is that it is not a true macro.  It only enlarges up to 1:0.5.   Insect photography is far better at 1:1 and larger.  Plus, 60mm is not much working distance for insects.  If I had to do macro photography with an X-Pro1, I'd first use an X-E1 due to the better EVF, but barring that, get an adaptor for something like Nikon lenses and get something 100mm's or larger.  Manual focus is OK because that is normally what is used with extreme close ups.  


Fujifilm cameras currently owned: F10, F20, F70EXR, X10, XF1, X100, S5 Pro (with Nikkor 24mm f/1.4), GA645, and Instax 7S.

#3 ergoforce

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 03:20 AM

I must say not so good for small insects. The magnification is only 0.5x and the near limit 10 cm. Rather heavy cropping will be needed to fill the frame with the subject. But X-Pro1 is exceptionally sharp at pixel-level so that should counterbalance the cropping in some degree. Using a close-up filter might also be an alternative.

 

AF shouldn't be of so much problem unless it's fast moving or flying.

 

If you plan to take your macro shots with controlled lightning, the internal reflections of XF 60mm could be troublesome. You need to be careful with how you position your light sources.  I have seen posts both here and other sites regarding this issue. One source was saying XF35mm gives better results used in macro mode.



#4 Wolftar

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 12:56 PM

The sensor is great for the detail of macro. As has been mentioned, the 60 would not be ideal for smaller insects, at least not until someone comes out with extension tubes for it. I'm not that experienced with insects though, so my saying that AF is not important could be really wrong. For the macro I do, I find a tripod and focussing rail to be the way to go; it's much easier to move the camera back and forth then to try and focus the lens. I've had great luck with extension tubes and screw mount lenses; you can get a good set up used for well under $200.



#5 Hendrik

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

Thank you for these first reactions! It is not that I want to take pictures of very small insects. The ones I am aiming at are grasshoppers, which are between 1 and 5 cm, but one of the problems is the depth of field. Either you take them from the side, or you hope at least part of them is sharp. My friends use a flash with their DLSR when taking pictures of grasshoppers. What are the alternatives? I read some negative opinions about the Fujifilm flashes.



#6 Larry N. Bolch

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 11:36 PM

It really comes down to how serious you are about macro. As a walk-around camera for taking close-ups of things, the 60mm does a great job. I have done a lot of macro for publication, and it is not something that is approached trivially. The lens and camera are just two elements of many.

 

If I was shooting illustrations of insects for publication or forensics, I would have a studio, dSLR with macro lenses and loads of lighting options and reflectors. None of the lights would be the standard shoe-mount flash—for any camera. There are special flash units for macro photography, with either flash-heads that mount on the lens or various types of ring-lights that mount around the lens. Unless the shoe-mount could angle down precisely, it would be all but useless at macro distances. Now, I would probably scrap flash altogether and put together a studio based upon LED lighting.

 

I would shoot off a massive camera stand using an equally massive focusing rail. Auto-focus is a problem with any macro lens, unless you are very uncritical. It was always a balance between manually focusing and fine tuning with the rail. Get approximately the composition wanted, then fineness the focus with the rail and manual focus. With near zero DOF, the camera simply can not guess which fly-eye is the most important for auto-focus. Hand-holding and auto-focusing macro photography is a level of torture. The closer you get, the more camera movement becomes the critical element, being magnified along with the subject.

 

Secondly, it becomes a trade-off between depth of field and diffraction. Most lenses are at their optimum resolution between f/4.0 and f/8.0. By f/11 diffraction has already dropped sharpness and smaller apertures drop even faster—a balancing act. With a focusing rail, the camera can be moved between the near focus and far focus spots with a number of exposures taken between them. They can then be stacked in Photoshop to retain the sharpness of the lens at say f/5.6, but achieve near infinite depth of field. Needless to say, this only works if the critter is extremely patient, frozen or dead. Macro photography on this level is about as technically demanding as anything one would ever encounter in photography.

 

None the less, for casual shooting where a hawk-eyed publisher is not going to be pixel gazing, I really like the look of what the 60mm macro gives me. At a 1:2 ratio, I think "close-up" rather than "macro". On a walk-about with the camera, I can grab small details with ease. Were I going back into macro on a publication level, I would probably stick with my D700 and MicroNikkor lenses—along with lots more stuff.



#7 Hendrik

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 01:08 PM

Thank you all for the remarks. It seems most of you agree the 60 mm lens is not good enough. After browsing in the forum, I came across a topic  by 15k ("x-pro macro") with beautiful pictures of flies. This is what I need! Apparently, I have to go for an old micro nikkor 105 AF-D lens. My pictures are for scientific use, as proof of identifications, as resources to be used when answering questions, and as first photographs of species, preferably in their natural habitat (the group I study contains 1000+ species and less than 10% has ever been on photo).

I am afraid I don't have the time and talent (or perseverance) to be good at studio work. I have a Canon MT 24-EX flash: perhaps this can be used with the micro nikkor lens on the X-Pro1?

Today I went to a shop to look at the X-Pro1. Looks sturdy and not too cumbersome to take with me on my field trips both in Europe and in the rain forest.



#8 Larry N. Bolch

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 02:55 PM

Any of the MicroNikkors would be a great choice. I have shot for decades with the 55mm f/2.8, both with film and with digital. Much of what I have done is for fine jewelery advertising and catalogues, so I prefer the perspective of a shorter focal length.

 

Shooting in the lab or studio is vastly easier than shooing in the wild. You will need far more patience and perseverance, since you have little control of light and environment. In the lab, you would set up an area for macro, where everything is easily controlled. In the field, you will need extreme patience and at least initially, the number of keepers will be small. Location work is vastly more demanding upon skills and will take a lot longer to learn.

 

The flash is exactly the sort of thing I wrote about. However, the problem is not about using it with the MicroNikkors, but using it with a camera other than Canon. There is a great deal of communication between camera and flash unit, and only Canon speaks Canon. Nikon has a similar system, but it only works properly with Nikons. If using flash with macro photography is a major part of your work, investing in a Canon or Nikon specifically for this task would be wise.

That said, realize that almost all cameras with interchangeable lenses use focal plane shutters, limiting the usefulness of flash outdoors. Focal plane shutters only allow flash to sync at relatively low shutter speeds. In time, you will acquire a variety of reflectors in sizes appropriate to your subjects, LED ring lights and the like. The key is to control the light, so you get ample shadow-detail, avoid blown-out highlights and so on, while not causing panic in the little critter you are trying to photograph. My choice would be to stick with continuous light sources, but your mileage may vary.

 

The X-Pro1 for me is the ideal urban, stealthy, walkin'-'round, shootin'-stuff system. Body and all three lenses together weigh less than just the body of my Nikon D700. People ignore it, so I can capture life as it is lived, not as it is posed. It and my X100 are perfect cameras for decisive-moment people photography. A 21st century version of the classic photojournalist's kit, and that is how I shoot it.

 

 

When I pull the D700 from the bag, everyone is aware of the camera. It is big, heavy and it is noisy. On the other hand, it is extremely versatile. With just two big zoom lenses, I can cover from an 8° to 114° angle. I have a GPS that embeds the location of each shot when traveling. All produce exceptional image quality, with the edge marginally going to the Fuji cameras—but not by much. This is particularly amazing since the Nikon is full-frame and the Fujis are APS-C sized sensors. Build quality is fully "pro-level" on all three. My X-Pro1 kit weighs just 967g, while my D700 bag can range from three to four kilograms, depending upon lenses. I mostly use it when I can work out of a vehicle. On foot, the X-Pro1 is pure delight.

 

However, if I did want to get seriously into macro with the Fuji, the 60mm has a relatively small 39mm filter thread, and all strengths of closeup lenses are available in that size for a reasonable price. B+W make a #1, #3 and #5 diopter at about $25US each, which would provide a highly versatile set. Heliopan also makes them at a somewhat higher price. They are made with optical glass and are coated. I have had countless photographs published using them and no one has ever noticed any lack of sharpness. I just tested the 60mm by photographing a ruler, and at 1:2 (with no closeup lens), the 60mm covers about 3" or 75mm horizontally. With 16MP, you can crop quite severely and still have excellent quality. With the crispness of the  LCD, focus by moving the camera was very easy and positive. For more precise focus, a push on the control wheel will give you a 10× magnification. I would not say this is the best reason to buy it, but it is a nice feature to have. One can use either the LCD or EVF for focus, framing and shooting, but at ground-level, the LCD means you don't have to eat grass and dirt—very nice.

 

 


#9 jknights

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 07:19 AM

Serious macro requires considerable time and effort especially to produce great images.

I'd say get a good macro lens (yes I use Mikro Nikkors), some extension tubes and a Kipon adapter (for your lens to XF mount) and a ring flash.

Then you can get great macro much easier.

 

However you still need to focus manually and make sure that you dont shake.!!

Good luck.


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#10 15k

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 06:24 AM

Nothing to say, just look a lot of samples (my samples ~10 there also)

on x-pro1 my favorite macro lens micro Nikkor 105 AF-D 1:1 is much better with then on any Nikon I used it FF or DX 

 

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#11 jknights

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 07:01 AM

Nothing to say, just look a lot of samples (my samples ~10 there also)

on x-pro1 my favorite macro lens micro Nikkor 105 AF-D 1:1 is much better with then on any Nikon I used it FF or DX 

 

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I'd agree that the Nikon 105 AF-D is the lens to get for use on either Nikon or XPro1.

I also have a Sigma 150mm f2.8 HSM which is very good but very heavy.  Needs to be used on a tripod.

 

Also you dont need the new 105 AFS on DSLR for macro as AF for mcaro is a waste of time.


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#12 AsylumPhoto

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 08:11 AM

Some good samples of the 60mm + Raynox closeup filter here. 

 

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I have one, myself, but have yet to actually use it. 



#13 Mike-Photos

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Posted 12 December 2012 - 09:25 AM

I think it works okay:

 

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