Recently I forgot my SD card reader and I tried to get the photos out of my D90… I was surprised. USB Mass Storage mode did not work! This is impossible, I thought. I read the manual, I searched for more information how to enable Mass Storage mode… No way. I found this link at dpreview.com.
No catastrophe as I am used to use card readers… But anyway: Why, Nikon, why???
This weekend I took the time to compare the results of macro photos achieved with a real 1:1 macro lens (a AF Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8), my father in law bought last week at the camera bourse and the kit lense Nikkor AF-S DX VR 18-55 1:3,5-5,6G with a +10 close up lens, which I bought there, too. I used my Nikon D90, a tripod and a normal indoor floor lamp. I did not use any flash or special illumination technique.
The Subjects: I used three flowers as subject, a cyclamen (Alpenveilchen), an amaryllis and an orchid.
The AF Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8: This lense is a few years old, don’t know how many, but it was built for 35mm film and not for DX cameras. But it works great with the D90, including the autofocus and automatic. Formerly this is a f/2.8 - 32 lens, but this depends on the focus. The range is huge, so this may become f/5 - 57 dependent on how near the focused subject is. This lense is the predecessor of the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED and it is supposed to do a 1:1 image.
I added the f numbers to the file name so that you can compare the depth of field, too.
The +10 close up filter: Having in mind that the +10 close up filter costs about 10 or 20 EUR and the macro lens about 400, the results in conjunction with the Nikkor 18-55 are really great. Of course you have to got much closer as the focal length is shorter. But you almost get a 1:1 of the subject.
I used different f stops here to be able to compare the depth of field with the macro lens results, too.
Conclusion: To be honest, I don’t see so much difference between the images taken with the macro lens and the images taken with the close up filter. There is a bit of difference, the close up filter produces more color fringes in the out of focus edges than the macro does. And the macro lens of course does have more advantages: You can keep a distance of about 10-20cm, with the close up filter in front of the 55mm lens you have to get really close: a few centimeters. And, of course, you can use the macro lens for landscape photography or, even better, as a fast and good portrait lens. You don’t have to screw a filter on and off if you get closer.
The Bokeh of the close up filter is unexpectedly nice, I think. There is not much difference in comparison with the macro lens. I really would like to hear about your opinions regarding macro photography using standard lenses with powerful close up filters.
The maximum depth of field of the macro lens using the minimal aperture seems to be slightly deeper than the depth of field which can be achieved by the normal lens with the close up filter. This can be a reason to use a macro lens.
Finally: Casually I noticed that the diameter of the macro lens is the same than the 18-55 lens and I tried to put the close up filter in front of the macro. You can — well, you have to — get really, really close (about 1 cm), having a focal length of 105mm and I think this is quite more than 100% of the real subject!
Those photos are not cropped, just resized. The depth of field is so small that I had to close the aperture as much as possible to get at least one or two millimeters of focus. The real size of the stamina of the amaryllis is about 5mm. Quite impressive.
More: I did not try any extension tube yet. But what I really want to try one day is a retro adapter (or reverse adapter).
I wrote about this earlier. And I wondered if the correction made by the internal software of the Nikon D90 while converting to JPG has to do with the lens you use and if it has to be a Nikkor lens to get those results.
The corrections consist mainly in two actions: reducing the chromatic abberation and correcting lens distortion. And both of them are applied with my 14mm Sigma lens (which is quite a few years old and built for 35mm film cameras). I don’t know if the distortion correction comes from a database and/or from heuristic values, but I am quite sure that the chromatic abberation is corrected automatically — at least the lateral chromatic abberation. Although this article is about the Nikon D3x I believe that the technology mentioned in this paragraph applies to the D90 (and probably all other cameras labeled with “Expeed”), too:
[…] The lateral chromatic aberration correction will work with any lens, including those not from Nikon, because the correction applied is based on an analysis of the image data, not on lens information. If shooting NEF, the correction isn’t applied to the RAW data, but information about the analysis is, …
This is a part of a photo shot with the D90 in RAW+JPG mode with the Sigma 14mm/2.8 lens mounted. The version without chromatic abberation is the JPG produced in the camera. The other one is produced by UFRaw without lens corrections.
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Before our trip to Thailand in October 2008 I bought a second battery for my D70s as I did not want to take a charger with me. We stayed about 15 days, so two batteries should have been enough. I read a lot of articles and forum threads to find out if it is worth to buy a original Nikon battery of if a third party product would do it’s job. Finally I decided to buy a Hähnel battery: A third party product but not a no-name product.
It didn’t work. I charged it once and the battery gave up after the first shutter release. Great.
So I decided to search an official Nikon store in Bangkok to buy an original Nikon battery. We went to the MBK Center and I bought one. The price for the original battery was the same as here in Europe.
It was an EN-EL3e so I hoped I could use it for my new D90, too. But after one or two times of recharging this battery gave up, too. I contacted the Nikon support and mailed them a photo of this battery and they told me that this was a fake Nikon battery.
The conclusion for me: Yes, it is worth to buy an original battery (although third party batteries might work as there are a lot of people using them) and, if you are to buy an original, have a look at the bottom and be sure that there is a serial number. Especially in Thailand! There is a Nikon site with photos of fake batteries.