Fully appreciating camera technology is something that we sometimes forget to do as we take our camera gear for granted on occasion. I visited the Royal Botanical Gardens yesterday for about an hour and 45 minutes. During that short time I successfully captured 127 handheld in-camera focus stacked macro images of various flowers and foliage. I did miss 7 attempts.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
As I was creating these handheld macro images it dawned on me how absolutely incredible the technology was that I was holding in my hands.
Here I was creating macro images of flowers without any kind of camera support. I paused and thought about that for a moment. Handheld macro images of flowers using shutter speeds as slow as 1/25. I had to give my head a shake.
Not only that, I was using in-camera focusing stacking. My E-M1X was actually capturing 10 consecutive images of each subject flower at different focusing distances… then combining them in-camera into a completed jpeg. More head shaking.
It wasn’t that many years ago when I was using a full frame camera system, that I wouldn’t even attempt to create any macro images unless I was using a solid tripod and a very sturdy tripod head. Or shooting handheld at pretty fast shutter speeds.
Setting up each shot with a tripod was agonizingly slow… and bored the heck out of me. Plus, some images that I had in my mind simply weren’t possible because I couldn’t get my cumbersome camera supports and gear in tight enough to the potential subject.
I contrasted that with the complete freedom I now enjoy, composing handheld images from my camera’s articulating rear screen. This allows me to get my camera gear into tights spots. Or to shoot at difficult angles that were basically impossible for me in the past.
The IBIS performance of my camera, coupled with its in-camera focusing stacking, allowed me to use apertures from f/2.8 to f/5.6 and still achieve my desired depth-of-field.
Since I didn’t have to stop my lens down to f/11 or higher to get the depth-of-field I needed on the subject flower, I could achieve good subject separation from the background.
Another benefit was being able to shoot at my camera’s base ISO of ISO-200 throughout my visit. This helped maintain dynamic range, colour depth, and keep noise under control.
Regardless of the equipment we may own, taking time and appreciating camera technology is a worthwhile endeavor.
It serves as a confirmation about how much camera gear has improved over the years. It is true that cameras cost more… but they also do a lot more than they did in the past.
Appreciating camera technology can also remind us of all the capabilities that our current camera equipment has available. This can be important as we sometimes fail to use all of the functionality that our cameras have to offer.
Many of us suffer from GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) from time to time. Appreciating camera technology that we already own can sometimes help keep those GAS urges under control. Or, at least temper them to some degree.
There is a flip side of course. We may become aware of technologies that our current camera gear does not have. This added functionality could enhance our photographic capabilities to a significant degree and may fuel our GAS temptations. In these situations it is prudent to sit down with a pen and paper and calculate how often we would actually use that technology.
When the OM-1 was introduced it did not represent any kind of temptation for me. Not because it’s not a wonderfully capable camera, but because it only offered incremental improvements over what I already own… and love to use.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from out-of-camera jpeg files using my standard approach in post. In-camera focusing stacking was set to 10 images with a focus differential of 3. A single, small auto-focus point was used. Crops are noted where appropriate. Images were resized for web use. This is the 1,177 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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