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Fungus on Formica - REVISITED
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much guys for your interest, kind words and helpful comments regarding post processing. I´m going to get better photo-editing software and learn how to handle it effectively.

Péter, as to the lens: It gives nice results, doesn´t it? Unfortunately it isn´t mine (yet), it is lent from a friend to give it a try. He got it really cheap (for around a tenner Shocked) and I am on the hunt for one now but the ones I have seen so far had a much higher asking price Sad . If desired, I will report on it after I found me one for a reasonable price. Sorry for keeping you in suspense.

Let me call this lens the POLIBEL meanwhile, short for POor LIttle Betty´s Ersatz Luminar. Very Happy

--Betty
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acerola



Joined: 13 Dec 2006
Posts: 251
Location: Hungary

PostPosted: Wed Sep 03, 2008 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have my lens set at the moment. I was only curious, but I totally understand you. Ebay has only limited resource. And we forum members bidding to the same items raising the prices. I met some members this way on a hot item. Laughing
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Sat Sep 06, 2008 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I´ve taken your critical and constructive annotations that my above shown picture could be improved by better post processing to heart, got PSE 5.0, some books on PSE from my library and have practised with the software and this one picture today.
Honestly, I have to admit I hadn´t been fully aware of the lot that can be done with such software! So thanks again for your hints that have made me focus more on post processing tools and techniques.

But now, after staring at that picture and playing around with the software while cross-reading the books for a couple of hours my eyes are quite exhausted, and I can´t judge anymore if anything I do to that picture is an improvement or worsening.




So here is the (preliminary) result from my first go with PSE 5.0, and I hope it "pops" a bit more now. Watcha think?

--Betty
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was "watcha think?" an impolite question, or thought to be a rhetorical one, or why haven´t I got any answers? Think

Maybe I should specify:
This last one looks better to me than the previous one though, but c´mon guys, would you more experienced users of photo editing software please tell me, if I have done too much of anything to this picture with PSE or if I could have done anything else, or done it differently/better? Or does it look fine this way?

--Betty

edited typo, but Rik´s quote still shows it. Embarassed Wink


Last edited by Planapo on Sat Sep 13, 2008 1:41 am; edited 1 time in total
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 20035
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Planapo wrote:
Was "watcha think?" an impolite question, or thought to be a rhetorical one, or why haven´t I got any answers? Think

I must have been distracted or for some reason didn't see your earlier post. Sorry!

The second picture looks far better over the head, but the OOF thorax is distractingly bright. I would be inclined to stick in a masked levels adjustment layer to tone down just that region, and probably crop a bit more tightly as well. In the screen in front of me at the moment, I have used a levels adjustment layer with input = [0,1.0,255] but output = [0,219], and a mask brushed with 36 pixels, hardness 0, so that the adjustment applies only to the bright OOF stuff. This leaves the OOF stuff still noticeably brighter than the face, which I presume might be an important feature of the subject, but tones it down visually so it is not so intrusive.

If I were working from the original picture, I would probably have used a mask on whatever adjustment layer increased the contrast in the first place. But there would not be a big difference in the result, I think.

--Rik

Edited to add alternative approach.
Edited again to fix my copy of Betty's typo. Wink


Last edited by rjlittlefield on Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:55 pm; edited 2 times in total
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NikonUser



Joined: 04 Sep 2008
Posts: 2567
Location: southern New Brunswick, Canada

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 12:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I split your 3rd image in half vertically and overlaid the right half next to the right half of your 2nd image. If you do this and post such an image you will see how easy it is to compare the 2nd and 3rd images (it should be repeated for the left halves also).
My personal opinion is that your last image (at least the right half) is noticeable better (sharper, better contrast) than the right half of the 2nd image.
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beetleman



Joined: 04 Aug 2006
Posts: 3578
Location: Southern New Hampshire USA

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 1:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

An excellent improvement over the first picture posted and the overall subject of the picture (the fungus) is much more detailed and three dimensional looking. I`ll give it two thumbs up for sure
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 12:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rik, NU and Doug, thanks for your comments and suggestions guys.

I now have my own copy of that lens, and gave back the one I had borrowed for taking that above shown picture. I want to inform you what lens it was, as some seem to be interested in lenses for magnifications just a bit lower than those at which the 10:1 objectives can be used, or/and look for lenses that can be stopped down.

The lens that was used for the above shown picture was a Schneider Xenoplan 1.9/ 25 mm, reversed on bellows, and stopped down to f/4. This is, as far as I know, a movie lens for 16 mm film, and seems sometimes be used for industrial applications as well.

Here two crops at 50% from the above shown picture.





To me it looks like this lens performs nicely, though I haven´t shot a moth wing with it yet.
What do you think? Or isn´t it possible from this picture and these 50% crops at web presentation to say that this lens performs quite well, even well enough for a larger paper print? I haven´t the experience with a wider range of different lenses yet to compare and evaluate this.

--Betty
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 20035
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Betty,

This lens seems to be doing a very good job. I can't tell for sure without direct comparisons. But comparing against some of my earlier postings, it seems to be on a par with my Olympus bellows macro 38mm f/2.8.

The Schneider Xenoplan series has an excellent reputation. NASA has even flown some for Shuttle missions.

I searched the web to see if other people had done direct comparisons. There is one HERE that compares a Xenoplan 17 mm f/1.7 against a Canon MP-E 65 and Olympus (Zuiko) 20 mm f/2.0 bellows lens. The crops posted do not cover quite the same area so they're difficult to evaluate, but the author comments that "The Xenoplan CCTV lens is very soft wide open, but delivers resolution comparable to the two other contestants when stopped down two stops."

Assuming the quality holds up well to the edge of the frame, and that there is no CA to speak of, I doubt you will do much better than this lens at these magnifications.

--Rik
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks much, Rik, and NU elsewhere, for your judgement!

Well, when even your NASA take the Xenoplans to space, these lenses really can´t be too bad! Very Happy

What I maybe should add for what should be taken care of when testing lenses: When I first tried this lens on some detail of a stamp, I wasn´t impressed very much as the pictures looked quite mushy.
But I gave it another try with the ant head. And just when I diffused the light very much for that series, the lens showed its qualities. So the mushy results with the test on the stamp turned out, most probably, to be glare and bloom due to too harsh lighting.

--Betty
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 4:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Betty,

Thanks for the additional information.

You make a good point that sometimes the test can make a lens look bad. High resolution and resistance to flare are very different features. A lens may have one but not the other.

Macro setups are often bad for flare because the illuminated area is much larger than the subject.

Reversed setups are particularly bad because a lens could be well baffled to block stray light entering from the usual front but not the rear. After all, the rear side is normally in the dark, and anyway, nobody would care if some stray dark leaked out the front of the lens.

You might want to check whether this lens benefits from a macro lens shade. A simple black paper cone works well, see HERE.

Another issue with stamps is that sometimes stamps really are mushy. It depends on how the ink and paper work together. Of course one can standardize on "known good" stamps that have crisp features.

Insects are handy because they have arbitrarily fine detail almost anywhere you look.

--Rik
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjlittlefield wrote:

Macro setups are often bad for flare because the illuminated area is much larger than the subject. --Rik


An interesting concept! Why, then, are landscapes not an absolute flaring nightmare? Laughing

Harold
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Why, then, are landscapes not an absolute flaring nightmare?

High magnification macro setups have an angle of view that's similar to telephoto lenses. Telephoto lenses usually come with lens shades. The similarity could be coincidental, of course.

--Rik
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Harold Gough



Joined: 09 Mar 2008
Posts: 5787
Location: Reading, Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My mindset is that I always use lenses with hoods in place, with the exception of my bellows lenses, which have threads but too far back and used only for flash rings. Even with hoods on, flare is a problem when shooting toward the sun with ultra-wideangle (mulit-coated) lenses.

Harold
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harold Gough wrote:
always use lenses with hoods in place

Exactly. What hoods do is to black out everything except what's actually being looked at. In a high magnification macro setup, that means a cone. A lot of lenses can get by without one. Some can't, even though they're excellent with one.

--Rik
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