I recently stumbled over an advertising (yes, I know, they got me) for a Zomei “Premium Close Up Macro Filter” that for some reason caught my attention. This might have been due to the fact that the filter was less than 30,- USD or it had something to do with the situation that I currently do not own a dedicated macro lens. So I bought this filter to play around with.
The delivery was no problem, I ordered the 10x magnification for a 67mm filter ring which would fit onto my EF70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens. The available filters go from +1 – +4, +8 and +10 for more or less all the usual filter sizes (52-77mm). It comes in a protective plastic box and I was positively surprised by the build quality.
As you can see on the image above, the glass of the close-up filter stands out quite a bit when mounted to the lens, so you won’t be able to put on the lens cap after mounting the filter. And you obviously need a tripod to shoot but even with that focusing with the filter on is a nightmare. The auto-focus doesn’t really help, because it will focus but the sharpest point normally does not end up where the focus point is. Hence, manual focus is the way to go but tricky. And did I mention that the depth of field is ridiculous? But it is fun to shoot nonetheless.
The lens + filter lets you focus on things you normally barely can shoot even with a macro lens. The setup above resulted in an image of the glow wire in a light bulb, which was shot at 128mm + filter. I was not able to focus anything at 300mm that day and I haven’t been able since.
The images at the top of the page are shots of a antique wooden figure and I really like the artsy look of it. But shooting perfectly sharp macros (e.g. of insects) is probably impossible with this lens/filter combination. I feel that I might order some more filters. Enjoy!
So I got a mirrorless full frame camera. The EOS R from Canon. But this is actually not supposed to be about the EOS R (only a bit), but the camera may help to make a point here: It is about photography. Let me get this out of the way: The EOS R works beautifully, the images are crisp & sharp and everything I wished for. You can check out some of my impressions from the camera below.
I was shooting with the Canon 6D until now, which is also full frame and also a great camera. I travelled quite a bit around the world with my 6D and I enjoy looking at all the pictures I took. People back than basically where asking the same questions about the 6D that people are asking now about the EOS R: “But it misses feature xyz”, or “It has not enough MP…”, or “Why didn’t they do this and that…” – all the bla bla you can read in many posts that basically seem to justify their own existence by finding something they can bash.
Faisal Yaqub has posted a review of the EOS R after two month of usage and points out a few features and what he really likes about the camera. It is important to note that he focuses on things that actually help him to take good photos. When I got my 6D I couldn’t help but notice how well Canon seemed to understand what I really really needed in a camera and what features I basically do not care about so much. Possibly because they understand the fundamentals of what is necessary to take good photos. And they left those additional features out in the 6D.
And they did something similar with the EOS R. The EOS R combines many things that are actually helping me to take photos and/or support my workflow with the camera. The excellent ergonomics of the EOS R is only one of the many points. Or the “FV” mode that makes it so easy to control e.g. exposure compensation when you do not have an R-mount lens on with the brilliant additional ring on the lens (e.g. one of your old EF lenses). But many of these things are not mentioned in most of the reviews, maybe because they can not be compared on paper or against other cameras or brands. It is personal.
Jamie Windsor makes a wonderful point in his video on how photography can make you unhappy (Disclaimer: I think his channel is brilliant!): “The pursuit of gear is not photography!”. And it is actually why I am writing up this EOS R post: Having a good camera that actually helps you with the little things and (I think) purposely misses out on certain features is maybe the better camera for you because it focuses on you as a person taking the shot and not on other cameras, other brands or things to be compared on paper. It is a tool and, hence, has to take a step back for us to be able to focus on what actually is important to us: The art of photography!
In terms of gear 2018 was an interesting year. I moved to the G1X mk III as “second cam” (replacing the G9X with 1 inch sensor) and had lots of fun taking photos. I was (actually still am) impressed by the image quality out of this camera. I was looking for a “small” camera that enables me to take it with me without thinking about packing but at the same time I did not want to make a lot of compromises in terms of image quality. This post is supposed to give you an idea about the cam and of course to recap some captures from 2018 at the end of the year. Enjoy!
The first opportunity for the G1X mkIII to shine was the green ice at the Munich Olympic Regatta Center, where after a period of extreme cold weather the sun came out and turned the ice on the water green.
After the green ice impressions, the camera accompanied me on a number of short and often spontaneous trips in & around Munich. This included a trip to the Allgäu (via Nesselwang, see above). Finally, due to luggage restrictions, I took the cam with me to New York for a few days. This included a few iconic views of course but also some tricky shooting situations, such as low light hand held (no tripod!) and action street performance.