April 26th, 2016

The Incredible Macro Photography of Microsculpture

Macro photography requires a certain discipline and patience, but even the most redoubtable macro shooter has to marvel at what Levon Biss has done.

In a project dubbed Microsculpture Biss created 3 meter prints from 10mm insects–insects sourced from the second largest collection in Britain, at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

As the behind-the-scenes video below details, creating these images was a painstaking, exacting enterprise. Biss used a 36-megapixel Nikon body and a microscope lens attachment with an incredibly shallow depth of field. To get the entire image of the bug properly in focus, he had to shoot thousands of images, varying the focal length by as little as 10 microns with each shot, and composite the final together. Each final image is composed of between 8,000 and 10,000 individual photos.

Biss also lit individual portions of an insect differently, using one type of lighting for the eye and another for a wing to highlight the unique textures. It took about three weeks to create a single image from capture to post.

The final results are on display through October 2016 at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. You can also take a nice interactive tour of each insect here, where you’ll gain a whole new appreciation for beetles.

Microsculpture from Levon Biss on Vimeo.

February 11th, 2014

Canon Intros G1 X Mark II Advanced Compact Camera, Rebel T5 Consumer DSLR, and Macro Ring Light

HR_G1X_MARKII_BLACK_3QBACKLCD_CLCanon took the wraps off a batch of new photo gear tonight, including the Powershot G1 X Mark II, which is a top-of-the-line compact camera; the Rebel T5 consumer DSLR; and a new Macro Ring Light for close-up photography. The new camera products from Canon comes just days before the start of the CP+ Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2014 in Japan.

Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II
The G1 X Mark II is follow-up to the G1 X, which we reviewed positively (with some quibbles) back in 2012.. Like its predecessor, the G1 X Mark II boasts a 1.5-inch (18.7 x 14mm) CMOS imaging chip that’s a tiny bit smaller than APS-C sensors in many DSLRs and some “mirrorless” interchangeable lens camera.

But the 12.8-megapixel sensor in the G1 X Mark II is an entirely new chip, that actually has slightly less resolution than the previous camera, which used a 14.3MP CMOS imager. According to Chuck Westfall, a Technical Advisor for Canon, the drop in resolution is designed to accommodate the G1 X II’s new aspect ratio, which is now 3:2.

Westfall, who we interviewed during an NDA meeting about the new gear before tonight’s launch, said the new aspect ratio for the G1 X II is meant to make it more like a Canon EOS DSLR camera. Photographers can also switch to a 4:3 ratio on the G1 X II, without impacting the field of view.

“It’s a substantially improved product,” Westfall said about the new G1 X Mark II. “Physically, it’s in the same range [as the previous model] but there’s lots of changes and improvements throughout.”

HR_G1X_MARKII_BLACK_BACKOPEN_CL
Like its predecessor, the G1 X II will debut at a price of $799, which puts it in line with some higher-end, entry-level DSLRs. Calling this camera a compact is also a bit of a stretch: Canon lists the dimensions of the G1 X II at 116.3 x 74.0 x 66.2 mm, which makes it too big to fit into your pocket. It weighs 18.2 ounces (without the battery), which is almost an ounce more than the previous model.

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