I particularly like working with rectangular fisheye lenses for my wide-angle macro work because they exhibit better good close-focusing capability than normal ultra-wide lenses. I have extolled the virtues of  the Sigma 15 mm f/2.8  rectangular fisheye on many occasions when I was using it on APS-C format (with Nikon bodies and with a Sony NEX 7). Using a lens like this, designed for full frame, with formats smaller than that, permits the utilisation of the centre part of the image circle. The images then show remarkably little distortion – just a bit of curvature towards the edges:  sharpness is excellent as is contrast and the close focusing capability is remarkable. In fact,  this was the main lens that both Clay Bolt and I used when gathering images for our e-book: Wide-Angle Macro | The Essential Guide.

Of course, I can use also this lens with the micro 4/3 (MFT) format and a suitable adapter (Nikon to micro 4/3) but then it behaves as a 30 mm wide-angle compared with  22.5 mm forAPS-C, that is, unless you use the Metabones SpeedBooster. Then with the model I use it behaves as a 19.2mm lens with a maximum aperture 1 1/3 times wider than f/2.8…around f/1.8 – but more about that in the next post.

With a change of format to MFT, I wanted to go that bit wider…

Samyang 7.5 mm f/3 .5 rectangular fisheye

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Following my recent move to micro 4/3 (in the shape of the remarkable Panasonic GH4), I have been doing a great deal of experimenting…and learning. Here, I must record a debt of gratitude to Rob Sheppard whose work I admire greatly  and who, in typical pioneering spirit, moved to this format well before I made the jump. His writings on his experiences convinced me that this was for me, too…I had made a wrong move to a Sony NEX 7 and needed something with an SLR feel and more logically structured menus.

Although the Panasonic GH4 is much praised for its video abilities, it also happens to be a superb instrument for stills photography – particularly for the various aspects of macro photography that fascinate me. Considered below, and in two subsequent posts, are some of the aspects  that have impressed me as I negotiate the learning curve: a. Viewfinder focusing aids, b. Olympus 60 mm f/2 .8 macro lens and c. Samyang 7.5 mm f/3 .5 rectangular fisheye…

 A.  Viewfinder Focusing Aids

There are various “standout” aspects of the GH4, but for me the most remarkable has been the ease of focusing compared with any DSLR I have used to date. The camera’s focusing modes can be customised in all sorts of ways but the one thing I find particularly useful is that, in manual mode, the touch of a button creates a defined area in the centre of the screen which is magnified compared with the rest: this area can be adusted in size eventually filling the whole screen – I rather like seeing the small area compared to the whole view. As we age, our ability to discern fine detail (and also the contrast in details) decreases – anything that helps is welcome.

Rhaetian poppy (Papaver rhaeticum) a plant of screes and morraine on limestone in the Dolomites. Nr Refugio Lagazuoi 2762m - above Passo di Falzarego, nr Cortina, Dolomites. July 2016,

My idea of an ideal wide angle ‘macro’ subject: Rhaetian poppy (Papaver rhaeticum) a plant of screes and morraine on limestone in the Dolomites. Nr Refugio Lagazuoi 2762m – above Passo di Falzarego, nr Cortina, Dolomites. July 2016,

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