I watched a documentary one time about Shaolin Monks. In the documentary, it showed them all doing super human things like balancing on one toe with 3 other monks on their shoulders, laying on a bed of nails without getting hurt, etc. And for recreation, they all balanced standing on each other in positions that would make Cirque du soleil jealous! To relax these people did this! Incredible! 😎
I think of Macro Photography in much the same light. For me, it’s a very nice, relaxing, fun kind of photography – that takes the utmost concentration! I’ve noticed it get even more challenging since I got the D800. The slightest movements of the subject render the shot out of focus, even at f/16. I think using DX for macro for so long I got used to the DX look of the photos. It appeared that more was in focus than with a full frame camera, but it’s not true. It’s that there is more photo there with a greater angle of view throwing more out of focus on the edges that simply isn’t there in DX. I put the D800 into DX crop mode and tried it out. Sure enough, both an FX frame and the DX crop frame had the same stuff in focus in the frame. It’s just that there was more in the D800 file to be out of focus. If that makes sense. 😀 Shoalin Camera Monk time! 😉
The name of the game today on this dark and dreary cesspool of flat light was macro lichen. It’s the little mosses that grow on trees. And no, they don’t only grow on the north side! 😉 heheehhee…… To me, these images look like an alien landscape, especially when you crop way in to 100%!
I got an email from B&H that my 50mm f/1.4 has been back ordered. Swell. Who knows how long it will take to arrive now. Bummer. 😦 But, it’s grounds for a blog post. 🙂
What should you do when you buy a new lens?
First, take a look at it. Make sure that the mount on the back is OK, make sure the body of the lens isn’t cracked or damaged. Then inspect the front glass element for nicks or scratches. Take a flashlight/desk lamp and shine it through the lens while opening the aperture at the back to look for dirt or other big crap that might be inside the lens. Little dust isn’t such a big deal but huge chunks of stuff should be grounds for a return and exchange right away.
Most return policies on defective equipment are only at most 2 weeks from the company you bought it from so you want to do all these checks immediately so you can return any defective items to the seller rather than have to ship them off to Nikon or Canon. B&H was really good to me in that I got the lens on a Saturday, did my checks, found it to be defective and got a return (RMA) form Sunday.
After you have done the initial physical checks, it’s time to do actual lens focus/sharpness tests. I have already posted some links to YouTube vids that explain this process. [But here they are again for fun: Part 1; Part 2] The tests should be done immediately as defects will be very apparent. Do the can test to check for sharpness and then do the ruler test to check to see if the autofocus is on or not. There are lens tolerances that can be adjusted for on higher end camera bodies through the AF Fine Tune settings that can actually pull the auto focus back into alignment with where it should be. But, as in my case, if the focus is way out, then the lens is crap and it must go back from whence it came.
Don’t be a naïve sucker face. Do your lens tests and make sure you are getting the quality that you are paying for. The manufacturing process is pretty darned awesome, but the world is a sinful place and errors do creep in. Now if they could only come up with solution for speeding up back orders… 😉