My pages on photography

I have a considerable experience in macro- and close-up photography of shells and fossils (over 40 years) and take all pictures for the illustrations in my own scientific publications. In practical terms, this experience amounts to several hundreds of photographs published in international scientific journals and books, and several tens of thousands of photographs in my personal archive, which I use continuously as a source of observations and illustrations for my scientific research. I also used to do my own B&W darkroom work until 2000, when I switched to digital photography.

Besides my use of photography in research, I have an interest in:

  • macrophotography
  • nature photography, especially birds
  • near UV and near IR imaging
  • optical microscopy of protists, algae and small invertebrates.

These pages are based on my personal experience. Some of them deal with technique, but most with the practical use of equipment and the technology of digital photography. My impressions on equipment are based on a substantial use of these items, although I do not claim to use all their features, or even to make an optimal use of them. In fact, it is entirely possible that I am using some of these items in ways never intended by their designers.

My purpose with these pages is to write my opinions, reviews and recommendations of equipment I own and use. I used Nikon DSLRs in the past. I currently use Micro 4/3 Olympus and OM System cameras and Sony Alpha full-frame cameras, and lenses and accessories that work with these. Therefore, the contents of this site are heavily Nikon- and Micro 4/3-centric, with some information on Sony Alpha full-frame. If you are looking for reviews of other brands, or of the latest models of cameras and lenses, you may be better off checking large photography web sites, like DPreview, or taking your chances with Google search.

I started this section of my web site in the summer of 2006, and I add or update pages whenever I have something to write about. Therefore, please feel free to re-visit my web site now and then.

At the beginning of 2011, I published a book entitled Digital photography for science: close-up photography, macrophotography and photomacrography (follow the above link for more information). The contents of this book are obviously related to many of the pages linked below, but the book provides a more detailed, integrated and updated coverage of these subjects. It also concentrates on technique and methods, while many of the pages listed below are mainly tests and reviews of equipment. The book contains also chapters on setting up a laboratory for scientific photography, a discussion of professional scenarios in which scientific photography is carried out, as well as detailed discussions on the construction or modification of special photographic equipment.

I try to avoid the duplication of contents between this book and my web site. Plenty of information not suitable for the book (e.g., new tests and reviews of equipment), is continuously added to this web site, and some of this information may be more updated than the book contents.

Information on this book is also available in the section on my books.

Links to photography categories on this site

General subjects

Theory and concepts
Assorted poppycock: macro zooms, format-relative magnification, format-relative focal length, and other nonsense
Poppycock 2: crop-factor equivalence
Poppycock 3: microscope magnification New
Micro 4/3 basic parameters New
Close-up photography
Macro photography and macro lenses
Reversed lenses
Reproduction ratio
Specifying the reproduction ratio
Depth of field calculator (Java applet is no longer available)
Depth of field
Depth of field and resolution in close-up, macro photography and photomacrography
Image stabilization in fisheye lenses: a square peg in a round hole?
Focal length, angle of view and other lens characteristics

Home-made equipment
"Chipping" an extension ring

Lens tests and comparisons
Photomacrographic lenses, part 1 Luminar, Milar, Olympus and Lomo
Photomacrographic lenses, part 2 Unitron, Luminar and Nikon
Photomacrographic lenses, part 3 Shootout at the Zeiss corral
Photomacrographic lenses, part 4 Industrial zooms
Photomacrographic lenses, part 5 Macro-Nikkor, Luminar, Minolta, Tominon and Canon
Photomacrographic lenses, part 6
    Luminar 63 versions 1 and 3
Photomacrographic lenses, part 7
    The accidental photomacrographic lenses
Enlarger lenses in photomacrography

Adapting and modifying old microscopes
Adapting a Micro 4/3 camera to a Zeiss Photomicroscope I

Equipment (general discussions)
Macro lenses
Extension rings
Close-up lenses
T adapters (T2 adapters)
Mirror lenses (see also here and here)
Focusing racks
Focusing jacks
Focusing helicoids
Viewfinder accessories
Remote controls
Versions of Zeiss Luminar lenses
    How old is that Luminar lens advertised on Ebay?
Luminar, but not Zeiss!
Enlarger lenses, from ordinary to unusual
Continuous sources of near-UV
Building a UV LED lamp
MTE UV 301 365 nm battery-operated torch
Convoy S2+ 365 nm torch
Scanners and scanner lenses
Studio strobes
Micro 4/3 lens adapters
    (with a thought to photomacrography)
Using lenses, special filters and lens shades of different sizes
Peek into my camera bag
    (and a strategy for air travel)

Auto ISO and bird photography with the OM-1
Sensor size: myths and reality
IR photography
UV photography
UV-B photography
White balance in UV photography
Legacy lenses for UV photography
Multispectral photography
Focusing in close-up, macro photography
and photomacrography

Tilt-shift bellows
Ultra-short tilt-shift bellows
CoastalOpt 60 mm Apo:
    the hotspot issue (with new solution)
Filter packs and replacement windows
    (multispectral photography)


This is a list of equipment I own and use (and some of the equipment I used in the past, especially cameras). Follow the available links to see a brief description of the items, and my impressions based on use in practical situations. I will add links as my time permits.

Cameras (including old ones I no longer have or use)
My cameras and lenses - a brief history
 (a semi-serious narrative)
OM System OM-1
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II settings spreadsheet
 (download Excel file)
Olympus OM-D E-M1
Olympus OM-D E-M5
Panasonic G3 full spectrum
Olympus E-PM2 full spectrum
Olympus Pen Lite E-PL6 full spectrum
Olympus Tough TG-4
Sony Alpha 7R II
Sony Alpha 7 II full spectru)
Nikon D300s
Nikon D200
Nikon D70s full-spectrum (also test, other test, performance)
Nikon Coolpix 7900
Nikon Coolpix 5700
Nikon Coolpix 950
Olympus OM-2n
Olympus OM-10
Pentax ES-II
Pentax Spotmatic SPII
Ferrania Condor 1

Photomacrographic lenses
(including bellows lenses and dedicated copy lenses)
Canon Macro Photo 35 mm f/2.8
JML 21 mm f/3.5
JML 26 mm f/4.5
Leitz Milar 65mm f/4.5 for bellows
Leitz Photar 25mm f/2 for bellows
Leitz Summar 100mm f/4.5 for bellows
Minolta Auto Bellows Macro 100 mm f/4
Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400
Navitar Zoom 6000 (photomacrographic zoom)
Nikon Coolscan 4000 scanner lens
Nikon Coolscan 8000 scanner lens
Nikon Macro-Nikkor 12 cm f/6.3 (and tested)
Nikon Macro-Nikkor 19 mm f/2.8
Nikon Macro-Nikkor 35 mm f/4.5
Nikon Macro-Nikkor 65 mm f/4.5 (tests, tests and more tests)
Nikon Micro Nikkor 70 mm f/5 (also for UV)
Nikon Printing Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8
Olympus 20 mm f/3.5 for bellows
Olympus 135 mm f/4.5 for bellows
Optem Zoom 70 (photomacrographic zoom)
Otamat 20 mm f/2.8
Polaroid Sprintscan 4000 scanner lens
Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D 1x 75 mm f/4
Rodenstock Apo Rodagon D 2x 75 mm f/4.5
Rodenstock Apo Rodagon N 50 mm f/2.8 (test)
Schneider Apo Componon HM 40 mm F/2.8 (V-mount)
Schneider Componon 28 mm f/2.8 (V-mount)
Schneider Makro Apo Componon 60 mm f/4 (V-mount)
Schneider Xenon-E 50 mm f/2.2
Schneider Xenoplan 26 mm f/5.6 prototype, the lens
Schneider Xenoplan 26 mm f/5.6 prototype, test (in prep.)
Tomioka Tominon 50 mm f/4.5 (also used for UV)
Tomioka Tominon 75 mm f/4.5 (also used for UV)
Unitron Zoom 0.7-4.5x (photomacrographic zoom, also here)
Zeiss Luminar 25mm f/3.5 "red dot" for bellows (test here)
Zeiss Luminar 40mm f/4 for bellows
Zeiss Luminar 63mm f/4.5 for bellows (also here, here, here and here)
Zeiss S-Planar 74mm f/4 1:1 copy lens (also test)
Zhongyi Mitakon Creator 85mm f/2.8 1-5X Super Macro, Mark II
Venus Laowa 25mm f/2.8 2.5-5X Ultra Macro
Schneider Xenoplan 23 mm f/1.4 stacked on
Schneider Makro-Symmar 120 mm f/5.9

Schneider Componon and Apo Componon lenses in V38 mount

Finite microscope objectives (used/tried for photomacrography)
Nikon Plan 2x 0.05
Nikon U 5x 0.1 (microscope objective with a diaphragm)
Nikon E Plan 10x 0.25 LWD 160/-
Nikon M 40x 0.5 ELWD
Nikon M 20x 0.5 ELWD
Zeiss Epiplan HD 8x 0.2
Zeiss Epiplan HD 16x 0.35
Lomo 9X 0.20 (microscope objective with a diaphragm)

Infinity microscope objectives (used/tried for photomacrography)
Nikon CF Plan 5x 0.13 ∞/0 EPI
Nikon CF Plan 10x 0.30 ∞/0 EPI
Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 2x 0.055
Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5x 0.14
Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10x 0.28
Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 20x 0.42

Enlarger lenses (also when used for other purposes)
EL-Nikkor 40 mm f/4 N (for UV)
EL-Nikkor 50 mm f/2.8 (general discussion, in photomicrography and for UV)
EL-Nikkor 50 mm f/2.8 N (for UV)
EL-Nikkor 50 mm f/4 (in photomicrography and for UV)
EL-Nikkor 50 mm f/4 N (for UV)
EL-Nikkor 50 mm f/4.5 (yes, there is such a thing)
EL-Nikkor 63 mm f/3.5 (in photomacrography, for UV and more UV)
EL-Nikkor 63 mm f/2.8 N (in photomacrography, more photomacrography, for UV and more UV)
EL-Nikkor 68 mm f/3.5 (multiple tests)
EL-Nikkor 75 mm f/4 (general discussion, in photomacrography and for UV)
EL-Nikkor 80 mm f/5.6 N (for UV)
EL-Nikkor 135 mm f/5.6
EL-Zoom-Nikkor 99-230 mm f/8
Schneider Betavaron (zoom enlarger lens, also here)
PZO lenses with built-in colour filters
Industar lenses
Meopta lens with square diaphragm opening
Agfa varifocal lens (for Agfa minilab)
Fujinon EFC lenses (for Fuji minilab)

Macro lenses
(defined as capable of infinity focus to at least 0.5x)
CoastalOpt 60 mm f/4 Apo (also here and here)
Laowa 60 mm f/2.8 2x macro lens
Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8
Nikon AF Micro Nikkor 60 mm f/2.8
Nikon Micro Nikkor P 50 mm f/3.5 (non-AI)
Novoflex Noflexar 35 mm f/3.5 (also for UV)
Olympus 30 mm f/3.5 macro lens
Olympus 60 mm f/2.8 macro lens
OM System 90 mm f/3.5 macro lens NewNew
Oshiro 60 mm f/2.8 2x macro lens
Sony 90 mm f/2.8 G also test here and not designed for macro New
Sigma Macro 180 mm f/3.5 Apo D DG HSM EX
Venus Laowa 100 mm f/2.8 CA-Dreamer Macro 2x

General-purpose lenses in Nikon F mounts
AF Nikkor 16-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR G
AF Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5 G
AF Nikkor 50 mm f/1.4
AF Nikkor 70-300 mm F/4-5.6 G
AF Nikkor 35-70 mm f/3.3-4.5
Samyang 8 mm f/3.5 fisheye
Sigma Apo "Macro" 70-300 mm f/4-5.6
Sigma 10-20 mm f/4-5.6 D DC HSM EX
Sigma 100-300 mm f/4 Apo D DG HSM EX
Sigma 50-500 mm f/4-6.3 Apo D HSM EX
Sigma 600 f/8 R
Tamron AF LD 28-300 mm f/3.5-6.3 "Macro"
Tamron 300 mm f/2.8 SP AF LD (see also here)

General-purpose Micro 4/3 (and 4/3) lenses
Samyang 7.5 mm f/3.5 fisheye
Olympus 12 mm f/2
Olympus 7-14 mm f/2.8 Pro
Olympus 12-40 mm f/2.8 Pro
Olympus 40-150 mm f/4 Pro
Olympus 300 mm f/4 IS Pro
Panasonic 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6
Panasonic 100-300 mm f/4.5-5.6
Sigma 19 mm f/2.8 EX DN with notes on UV imaging
Sigma 30 mm f/2.8 EX DN
Olympus Zuiko Digital 50-200 mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD and EC-14 on E-M1

Micro 4/3 lens adapters
General notes on lens adapters
Metabones Nikon F to Micro 4/3
Metabones Nikon F to Micro 4/3 type 2
Metabones C to Micro 4/3
Kipon Nikon F to Micro 4/3
Kipon Icarex 35 to Micro 4/3
Kipon Tilt OM to Micro 4/3
No-brand T2 to Micro 4/3
No-brand M42 to Micro 4/3
No-brand short M42 and C to Micro 4/3
M42 to Micro 4/3 helicoid
Nikon to Micro 4/3 helicoid
Panasonic DMW-MA1 4/3 to Micro 4/3

Legacy lenses on Micro 4/3 cameras
Olympus OM-System 600 mm f/6.5 MC
Olympus OM-System Zuiko Reflex 500 mm f/8 (also here)
Olympus OM-System Zuiko 50 mm f/1.8

Legacy lenses on full-frame cameras
Olympus OM-System 600 mm f/6.5 MC


Lenses for UV photography
CoastalOpt 60 mm f/4 Apo (also here and here)
EL-Nikkor lenses for UV photography
35 mm lenses for UV photography
Filter strip for testing UV lenses
UV Rodagon 60mm f/5.6 (visible+UV lens)(also:
test 1, test 2, mounted for Micro 4/3 and test 3)
Novoflex Noflexar 35 mm f/3.5 (also: UV test and detailed discussion )
Petri/Kuribayashi/Kyoei/Acall 35 mm f/3.5
Soligor 35 mm f/3.5
Photax/Paragon/Prinzgalaxy/Unistar/Access 35 mm f/3.5
Prinz Galaxy 35 mm f/3.5
Galaxy 35 mm f/3.5
Hanimex 35 mm f/3.5
Optomax 35 mm f/3.5
Accidental small-format UV lenses
Olympus G.Zuiko Auto-W 20 mm f/3.5
Pentax-110 18 mm and 24 mm f/2.8
Sigma 19 mm f/2.8 EX DN for Micro 4/3
Olympus 12 mm f/2 for Micro 4/3
Mir 11 and Vega 7 in a variety of mounts
Pentax Super Takumar 28 mm f/3.5, variant 1 and variant 3
Enna Lithagon 24 mm f/4, 28 mm f/3.5, 35 mm f/3.5
Porst 28 mm f/3.5 and 35 mm f/3.5
Soligor 300 mm f/5.5
Nikon AI-S Nikkor 24 mm f/2.8

Filters for UV and IR photography
UV-pass filters for UV photography
Schuler UV filter
Baader U filter
Asahi Spectra XRR340
PrimaLuceLab U filter
Hoya U-360 filter
Fuji IR 82 filter
NIR-pass filters (and some VIS filters)
Variable NIR-pass filter
Nikon AF-2 filter holder
Nikon AF-1 filter holder (also here)

Focal length multipliers and reducers
Nikon TC-20E
Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 N-AFD 2x
Kenko Teleplus Pro 300 N-AFD 1.4x
Sigma Apo Teleconverter 1.4x EX DG
Olympus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter
Olympus MC-20 2x teleconverter with Olympus 300 mm f/4
Olympus MC-20 with macro lenses
Olympus EC-14 1.4x teleconverter for 4/3
Metabones Speed Booster

Resolution targets and resolution testing
Resolution targets both purpose-designed and re-purposed New
1951 USAF a poor resolution target made in China
NBS 1963A a good resolution target from Thorlabs New

Electronic flash, LED sources and accessories
Godox AD200 and accessories
Godox LED64 mini LED panel
Godox X1T-O radio master for Olympus/Panasonic
Godox X1T-S radio master for Sony
Godox X Pro-S radio master for Sony
Godox X1R-S radio slave for Sony
Metz 58 AF-2 for Micro 4/3
Nikon SB-800
Flash extender
Flash diffusers, reflectors and soft boxes
Homemade flash brackets
SC-23 flash cable
Vivitar 285HV (modified for UV)
Boling BL-300 (modified for UV)
Lumedyne 800 Ws bulb (modified for UV)
Bowens Gemini 500R (modified for UV)
Bowens Gemini 1500Pro (modified for UV)

Tripods, tripod heads and accessories
Arca-compatible clamps and plates
Arca-compatible brackets for Olympus E-M1 Mark II
Gitzo G1227 tripod (also here)
Desmond Flip Kit SCV-FK
Gitzo G1557 tripod
Gitzo G1321 leveling base
Gitzo G449 circular camera platform
Gitzo G1518 column
Manfrotto #074 tripod
Manfrotto #144 tripod
Manfrotto digi #719B tripod
Manfrotto #468MG ballhead
Manfrotto #136 video head
Manfrotto #501 video head
Manfrotto #115 3-axis head
Manfrotto #141 3-axis head
Manfrotto #029 3-axis head
Manfrotto #234 monopod head
Manfrotto #234RC monopod head
Velbon Neopod 6 monopod
Manfrotto #244 Friction Arm
Manfrotto #814 Mini Hydrostatic arm
Manfrotto Light-duty Flex Arm
Manfrotto #131D horizontal beam
Markins TB-20 platform for Gitzo Series 2 tripods
Neewer Professional 360 gimbal head
Rosch Feinmechanik tripod shoe for Panasonic 100-300 lens
Sunwayfoto XB-52 low-profile ballhead
Manfrotto FF3248 and FF3249 telescopic posts
Manfrotto 098SHB and Neewer wall-mounted arms

Focusing racks
unknown brand and model
Pentax focusing rack 
Velbon Super Mag Slider 
Olympus OM focusing rack
focusing racks salvaged from old equipment
focusing jacks
iShoot wormscrew macro focusing rack
Newport UMR 8.25A industrial micrometer-operated linear stage
THK KR20 linear actuator

Macroscopes, microscopes and accessories (except objectives)
Mitutoyo FS-60 (modified for focus stacking)
Homemade autonomous focus stacker
Wild/Leica Photomacroscope M420
Zeiss Tessovar (photomacrographic zoom system)
Zeiss Photomicroscope I
Olympus BX50 with SWF Head, DIC, epi-fluorescence, darkfield
Olympus BXFM Modular Microscope with axial illumination
PZO MSt 130 stereomicroscope
Zeiss stereomicroscope III
Leitz Aristophot III stand
Custom macrophotography stand
LM microscope photo relay lens
Nikon CF PL 4X MPC microscope photo relay lens
Olympus PE 2.5x microscope photo relay lens
AmScope 50 W LED fiberoptic illuminator

Other camera supports
IFF 90 cm repro stand
Manfrotto #131DDB accessory arm
Manfrotto mini hydrostatic arm
Manfrotto gooseneck arm
Manfrotto clamp

Other equipment
Micro 4/3 lens adapters (generic and for photomacrography)
microscope stage 
Nikon PB-6 bellows
Nikon PB-6E bellows extension
Nikon PB-6D bellows spacers
Nikon PS-6 slide duplicator
Ihagee/Exakta/Topcon bellows
Nikon extension rings
Nikon BR2A reversing ring
Olympus PE 2.5x photomicrography eyepiece
LM microscope relay lens
Nikon Lens Scope Converter
Kenko lens scope converter
Olympus Telescopic Auto Tube 65-116mm
Olympus U-SPT microscope photo tube
Olympus Auto Bellows
Lasertak LR2 200-1200nm spetrometer w. ext. trigger & reflectance probe
Tektronix TDS 2004B digital storage oscilloscope
UNI-T UPO3152E ultra-phosphor oscilloscope

Viewfinder accessories
Nikon DK-22
Nikon Diopter compensation lens
Nikon DK-5
Nikon DK-21M
Nikon DG-2
Nikon DR-6
Olympus EE-1 red-dot sight

Camera bags
Lowepro Primus AW
Wisport Caracal with Lowepro insert
Wisport Sparrow 16 l with Tenba insert
Wisport Whistler II with Peak Design insert
Tenba Axis 24 l
Tenba Solstice 10 l sling pack
Lens cases, including Tenba lens capsules
Peak Design large Camera Cube and other camera inserts

Accessories for field and outdoors photography
Wildlife Watching Supplies tripod leg wraps
Wildlife Watching Supplies dome hide
camouflage tape

Literature, warnings and history of photography

The following items are odds-and-ends related to photographic technique and equipment.

Literature and resources
Old literature - This page makes electronic copies of several old manuals and booklets available for download. They describe photographic (especially Nikon and Nippon Kogaku) and microscope equipment, some of which is reviewed on my site. I moved this section to a separate page, since it keeps growing.
Photography resources - A short list of the web sites and books on photomacrography and equipment that I find most useful.

Warnings, comments and rants on bad equipment
The Sigma lens finish It looks good, but how good is it?
What can possibly go wrong with an adapter ring?
Lens caps What is good and bad about them?

History of photography
Reflections on the JCII PASSED oval stickers

Unauthorized copies of pages from this web site
Unauthorized copies on