Archive for the ‘product reviews’ Category

GoPro: “Quik for Desktop”

May 24, 2022

GoPro legacy software “Quik for Desktop” (Ver. 2.7.0) can be used to add “Stickers” to video shot with a GoPro HERO5, 6, and 7, but doesn’t work with GoPro HERO8, 9, and 10. “Can be,” that is assuming the feature works with your camera/video. Huh? Please continue reading.

“Quik for Desktop”

My former colleague Kyle Margenau sent a video clip to me that he shot using his GoPro HERO5 Black action camera.

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | Media

In order to edit a video, double-click on its icon in the Media library.

Editor’s Note: DO NOT click on “Open in Create Mode,” shown along the blue bar near the top of the screen — otherwise “you’re entering a world of pain!” “Create Mode” seems to be GoPro’s quick-and-dirty process for creating simple videos with added music for the purpose of sharing on social media. I tested the process so you don’t have to be frustrated — “Create Mode” was an epic fail!

There are four buttons for editing video, located along the lower-middle of the window. Shown from left-to-right, the four icons are “Create a Clip,” “Rotate 90°,” “Grab a Photo,” and “Adjust Gauges.”

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | “Adjust Gauges” button

When I clicked the “Adjust Gauges” button (shown above, highlighted by a red square), the following error message appeared on-screen.

GoPro “Quik for Desktop” | No GPS Data

There are/were six “Stickers” available in “Quik for Desktop,” and they are somewhat different from the seven “Stickers” available in the “Quik” app (Ver. 10.15). Using “Quik for Desktop,” you can add as many stickers as you like; using the “Quik” app, you can add four stickers.

  • GoPro Logo
  • Info Cluster
  • Speed Tracker
  • GPS Path ← line with no context
  • Speedometer ← better than the version in “Quik” app
  • G-Force

I think it would be nice to include the exact latitude and longitude of the camera in the “Info Cluster.”

“Quik” app

The following JPG frame grab (2 MP) was saved from the “GoPro Quik” app (Ver. 10.15) running on my Apple iPad mini 6. Kyle’s vehicle is heading southeast at 17 mph.

Notice I juxtaposed the “Path” gauge (upper-left) with the “Terrain” gauge (lower-left) in order to underscore a point that I made in my last blog post — a line without any context/frame of reference is pointless.

GoPro “Quik” app.

As you can see by the telemetry “Stickers” shown in the preceding frame grab, Kyle’s video does in fact include GPS data. It’s worth noting the frame grab (shown above) does include EXIF but does not include GPS info for latitude, longitude, and elevation. C’mon GoPro — frame grabs from video could, and should include GPS info!

If you can determine the exact time of each video frame, you can use the exiftool -geotag and -geosync options to read the GPX file and geotag the extracted frames. Source Credit: ExifTool Forum.

I have NO IDEA why the “Adjust Gauges” feature in “Quik for Desktop” doesn’t work. I tested “Quik for Desktop” running on an older Apple iMac desktop computer (Intel) as well as a newer Apple MacBook Air (M1) — the “Adjust Gauges” feature didn’t work on either device.

I have watched several tutorial videos on YouTube that show the feature does work, or at least it did at one time.

Please contact me if you have any suggestions for troubleshooting this problem. Thanks!

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

 

GoPro: How to “Grab Photo” from Video

May 17, 2022

When you use either the “GoPro app” or “GoPro Quik” app to remotely control your camera, you can save still photos from a video clip. For example, here’s how it works using “GoPro Quik” on my Apple iPad mini 6.

The first screen capture shows the “splash page” for GoPro Quik, running on my iPad mini 6. Tap the camera icon labeled “GoPro” located in the lower-right corner of the screen. The button works, despite the fact that it’s grayed out.

GoPro “Quik” app splash screen.

Next, tap the button labeled “Control Your GoPro” on the “Cameras” page.

“Cameras” screen, GoPro “Quik” app.

Tap the “Media Icon” located in the lower-right corner of the Live View screen (shown below, highlighted by a red square) in order to see photos and videos that you have recorded using your GoPro camera.

Live View, GoPro “Quik” app.

When you play a video clip shot with the camera and see a frame you’d like to grab, pause playback and tap the “Extract Photo Icon” located in the lower-middle of the screen (shown below, highlighted by a red square).

Video playback, GoPro “Quik” app.

You have the option to scrub through the video frame-by-frame (by using the left and right arrows) until you find a frame that you’d like to save as a photo. Then tap the blue “Save Frame” button located in the upper-right corner of the “Grab Photo” screen.

“Grab Photo” screen, GoPro “Quik” app.

Choose the location where you would like to save the frame grab.

Select “Save to …” location, GoPro “Quik” app.

The frame grab is saved as an 8 MB JPG file, smaller than the 12 MB JPGs created when the camera is set for “Photo Mode.”

The file can be adjusted using your photo editor of choice, but there’s a limit to what you can do during post-processing of JPGs so it’s always a good idea to “get it right” in-camera.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

GoPro time lapse submodes

May 3, 2022

The GoPro HERO4 Black action camera features three ways to either create (in-camera) a simple, time lapse movie in MP4 format or shoot a time series of photos (JPGs) that can be used to create a time lapse movie during post-processing.

Video Mode

“Time Lapse Video” submode

“Time Lapse Video” is one of several submodes under “Video Mode,” as shown below. It’s the simplest way to create a time lapse movie using the HERO4 Black.

GoPro “Quik” app.

There are two user-selectable settings in the “Time Lapse Video” submode (shown below, highlighted by a green rectangle): Interval; and Resolution. I selected an interval of 1 second and a resolution of 4K at 30 frames per sec (fps).

Settings, “GoPro app” (v7.1)

The preceding screen capture from the “GoPro app” (v7.1) seems to suggest there are many more user-selectable settings in “Time Lapse Video” submode; there aren’t. Call it an artifact of lazy app coding. I call it confusing! For reference, see p. 20 in the GoPro HERO4 Black User Manual (shown below).

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

When the GoPro HERO4 Black is set for “Time Lapse Video” submode, the camera records MP4 videos with a 16:9 aspect ratio (3,840 x 2,160 pixels). File size varies depending upon the duration of the video clips.

Try it. I think you’ll like it. Make the same settings that I used and start recording. Just be sure to record long enough to create a “Goldilocks movie,” that is one that isn’t too short and isn’t too long but is just right.

Standard video playback is typically 30 frames per sec in the USA. If you record every second for 30 seconds, your final movie will be 1 second long! Plan to record for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Based upon my settings the camera created two video clips: the first is 17 seconds in duration; the last is 28 seconds. That’s a total of 45 seconds long, before I trimmed the video clips using Apple iMovie. In order to smooth the playback and lengthen the final movie a little, I used iMovie to adjust the playback speed to 25% of normal.

Multi-Shot Mode

“Time Lapse” and “Night Lapse Photo” submodes enable automated recording of photos that can be used to create a time lapse movie during post-processing.

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

The two submodes are similar, with one key difference: both Interval and Shutter Speed are user-selectable in “Night Lapse Photo” submode; only Interval is user-selectable in “Time Lapse” submode. A wide range of other user-selectable settings are available in both submodes, including “Protune.”

GoPro HERO4 Black | User Manual

“Time Lapse” submode

Untested, so far. Please stay tuned.

GoPro “Quik” app.

“Night Lapse Photo” submode

GoPro “Quik” app.

I tested “Night Lapse Photo” submode on the same day I created the time lapse movie featured in my last blog post. In case you’re wondering why I used “Night Lapse Photo” to record a scene during the day, I did so based upon the camera settings recommended by a well-known time lapse photographer/videographer.

27 APR 2022 | 3:47 pm | DCIM100GOPROG0020165

168 JPG photos were recorded during a 14 minute time period starting at 3:47 pm and stopping at 4:01 pm.

27 APR 2022 | 4:01 pm | DCIM100GOPROG0020332

As you can see in the two sample photos (shown above), the sky was overexposed in all of the photos that were recorded. The Interval was set for five (5) seconds and set the Shutter Speed was set for Auto. Those settings might work for Mr. X but they didn’t work for me!

The GoPro HERO4 Black records JPG photos with a 4:3 aspect ratio (4,000 x 3,000 pixels). Each photo file is approximately 2.2 MB in size.

The GoPro HERO4 Black features a fixed lens with an aperture of f/2.8.

The 35mm equivalent focal length of the lens is 15mm. That’s a fairly wide angle lens, so it’s no wonder the preceding photos show some “fish eye” distortion.

Notice the Shutter Speed was 1/120 second. Although 1/120 s is a relatively slow shutter speed, it’s fast enough that it might not explain why my photos are overexposed.

The scene I recorded was relatively high contrast — it was dark in the parking garage and the white clouds in the sky were bright. It’s possible the “Center Weighted Average” Metering Mode was unable to expose the entire image properly.

I didn’t know that Photo Mode / Night Photo submode and Multi-Shot Mode / Night Lapse Photo submode are virtually identical. Next time I experiment with “Night Lapse Photo” I will shoot some test shots using “Night Photo” to be sure the exposure is set correctly before starting “Night Lapse Photo.”

That being said, I think my next experiment will test “Time Lapse” submode.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

GoProbe

April 12, 2022

The more I explore creative ways to use my GoPro HERO4 Black action camera, I realize there’s a lot I don’t know about the camera hardware, firmware, and “supporting” software.

A lot of the frustration and pain of being a GoPro user is inflicted by GoPro Inc. If I knew what I know now BEFORE I decided to buy a GoPro camera, I’m almost 100% certain I wouldn’t have gotten one. Long story short (and it is a long story), all I want to do is make the most of my regrettable decision.

Should you edit photos and videos using GoPro apps?

Before I went on “hiatus” last week (more about that another time), I had promised to do a post (or series of posts) related to how to edit photos and videos from a GoPro camera.

My next blog post will focus on how to edit photos and videos from your GoPro action camera. Source credit: More settings: GoPro HERO4 Black.

And as I mentioned in a GoPro related blog post a few weeks ago …

I plan to publish a series of follow-up posts. Tentative topics include how to update the camera’s firmware, how to edit video using the GoPro “Quik” app (sneak preview: don’t go there!), how to use your GoPro as a Webcam, as well as a few other suggested applications to get you started using your action camera. Source credit: GoProse.

I DO NOT recommend using the suite of GoPro apps to edit your photos and videos! That is, unless you like the subscription model for “buying” software. I don’t, especially when there are free alternatives.

Suite of GoPro apps on my Apple iPad mini 6.

Grab Photo

There is one noteworthy exception. When you use either the “GoPro app” or “GoPro Quik” app to remotely control your camera, you can save still photos from a video clip. For example, here’s how it works using “GoPro Quik” on my Apple iPad mini 6.

The first screen capture shows the “splash page” for GoPro Quik, running on my iPad mini 6. Tap the camera icon labeled “GoPro” located in the lower-right corner of the screen. The button works, despite the fact that it’s grayed out.

GoPro “Quik” app splash screen.

Next, tap the button labeled “Control Your GoPro” on the “Cameras” page.

“Cameras” screen, GoPro “Quik” app.

Tap the “Media Icon” located in the lower-right corner of the Live View screen (shown below, highlighted by a red square) in order to see photos and videos that you have recorded using your GoPro camera.

Live View, GoPro “Quik” app.

When you play a video clip shot with the camera and see a frame you’d like to grab, pause playback and tap the “Extract Photo Icon” located in the lower-middle of the screen (shown below, highlighted by a red square).

Video playback, GoPro “Quik” app.

You have the option to scrub through the video frame-by-frame (by using the left and right arrows) until you find a frame that you’d like to save as a photo. Then tap the blue “Save Frame” button located in the upper-right corner of the “Grab Photo” screen.

“Grab Photo” screen, GoPro “Quik” app.

Choose the location where you would like to save the frame grab.

Select “Save to …” location, GoPro “Quik” app.

The frame grab is saved as an 8 MB JPG file, smaller than the 12 MB JPGs created when the camera is set for “Photo Mode.”

The file can be adjusted using your photo editor of choice, but there’s a limit to what you can do during post-processing of JPGs so it’s always a good idea to “get it right” in-camera.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Can “Panasonic Image App” for iOS run on a MacBook Air?

March 4, 2022

I read a recent article from Macworld entitled “How to run your favorite iPhone and iPad apps on an M1 Mac.” Naturally I wondered whether the “Panasonic Image App” for iOS would run on my MacBook Air (13″, M1, 2020). I’m pleased to report it works!

I followed the directions in the Macworld article and downloaded/installed the Panasonic Image App from the Mac App Store, shown on the left in the following screen capture from my MacBook Air.

Next, I opened the app. Notice the “Home” screen on my MacBook Air is almost identical to the “Home” screen on my Apple iPad mini 6. I clicked on the “Wi-Fi” button.

Then I looked under Settings/Wi-Fi (on my MacBook Air) for an access point to connect with the camera.

After the Wi-Fi connection was established successfully, I clicked on the “Remote operation” button on the “Home” screen and voilà, the “Live Control” panel appeared on-screen.

I wanted to see a larger view of the window, but the app doesn’t allow the user to click-and-drag in order to resize the smallish window. No problem. I clicked the green dot in the Menu Bar and the app filled the screen!

I tested a few camera functions. In particular, I changed the aperture and shutter speed and recorded a few photos. There was noticeable lag when I moved the tripod head to change the camera view, but it’s not something with which you can’t live.

When I minimized the app in order to check my folder of screen captures, that resulted in the unexpected loss of the Wi-Fi connection.

A few surprises might be expected given the disclaimer for “Panasonic Image App” that appears on the Mac App Store: “Designed for iPad. Not verified for MacOS.” From my proof-of-concept testing, I can verify the app runs on my MacBook Air and almost everything I tried works.

I really like being able to see a larger display of the “Live Control” window on my MacBook Air than on my iPad mini. Still wireless; still portable, with a larger display. In my opinion. that’s a win-win!

Related Resource: How to run your favorite iPhone and iPad apps on an M1 Mac, by Roman Loyola, Senior Editor, Macworld.

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Panasonic Image App

March 1, 2022

The Panasonic Image App enables wireless tethering of select Panasonic digital cameras with smart phones and tablets. The free app is available for both Apple iOS and Android devices.

The app works well when it’s used in a way that’s as simple and straightforward as possible — try to make all or almost all camera settings before starting the Wi-Fi connection (such as P, A, S, M), and limit the number of settings changes made using the app. Otherwise, there seems to be a risk of losing the Wi-Fi connection, although if that happens, it’s easy to reestablish the connection. Hey, there’s a reason many professional photographers prefer using a cable for tethering!

You can control the camera directly while using the app, but I don’t recommend it. In my limited experience using the app, I noticed this can result in the unexpected loss of the Wi-Fi connection.

Home

I highly recommend following Graham Houghton’s excellent directions for connecting the camera and iOS device. Regular readers of my blog might remember I reprogrammed the Fn2 button on my FZ300, so the way I start Wi-Fi is different than the procedure Graham describes in his YouTube video.

After a Wi-Fi connection is established between my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera and my Apple iPad mini 6, the “Home” screen appears in “Panasonic Image App.” Tap the “Remote operation” button.

Live Control

The following annotated screen capture shows the “Live Control” panel. The function of all of the buttons in the panel is labeled in red text except for ISO, but we know what that means, right?

The live view window (left side of panel) shows the camera settings across the top and bottom of the window. Tap the “DISP.” to toggle this information on/off.

Top, from left-to-right: Program mode; Standard photo style plus modifications; no flash; video settings; settings for picture size and quality; AFS (focus mode, single point); and AF Macro mode as indicated by the AF-flower(icon).

Bottom, from left-to-right: Metering Mode (single point); aperture f/2.8; shutter speed 2.5″; exposure meter; and White Balance (flash).

Tap the Program Shift button (P/double-headed arrow icon) in order to change settings in Program Mode. The icon that appears for this button varies depending upon the camera mode. For example, the icon changes to “F/SS” when the camera is set for Manual Mode, as shown in the next screen capture.

The following image shows the camera set for Custom setting C1 in Manual Mode.

Tap the “F/SS” button (shown above) and a menu appears to set the aperture (F) and shutter speed (SS), as shown below. Press the go-back icon to return to the “Live Control” panel.

Notice the up/down buttons for MF (Manual Focus) on the “Live Control” panel. I need to explore this feature further. I’m hoping this implementation of Manual Focus is better than the one featured on the FZ300. In my opinion, the implementation of Manual Focus on the FZ150 is far superior to the FZ300. Hey Panasonic, are you listening?

Press the “Q.MENU” button in the “Live Control” panel in order to see the “Recording Settings” panel.

“Jump Snap” — one of the most mysterious buttons on the “Live Control” panel — is explained in the section entitled “Taking pictures mid-jump” on the following Web page: Image App (iOS) – Digital Camera.

Playback

Tap the “Play back” button, located along the bottom of the screen, in order see all of the photos and videos saved to the camera memory card.

Tap the “Menu” button, located along the bottom of the screen, in order to access “Playback settings.”

“Live Control Settings” and “Help” (shown above) might be worth a look as well, although I don’t recall exploring those Menu items.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2022 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Mind blown!

October 1, 2021

I don’t know exactly what eBay is today, but I know it was a Den of Thieves where people could go to buy and sell stuff, usually used. And I know several people who were ripped off (lost money) on eBay, both as buyers and sellers. As a result, my mindset toward eBay has been “avoid it like the plague!”

eBay seems to have evolved into an Amazon-like online superstore where you can shop for new stuff as well as buy/sell used stuff. Imagine my surprise when I rolled the dice and ordered a hard-to-find item from a vendor in Japan and the experience turned out to be 99.9% positive. Mind blown!

The Backstory

A long time ago, I bought a “tele conversion lens” and adapter for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 superzoom bridge camera. Both accessories were made by Panasonic. Using the tele conversion lens, the actual magnification is 1.7 times the display. For example, at 24x — the maximum zoom magnification of the FZ150 — the actual magnification is ~40x!

When I upgraded to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300, I wanted to be able to use the same “tele conversion lens.” It was unclear to me whether the DMW-LA5 adapter that works with the FZ150 would fit my FZ300. I was aware that Panasonic also made (past tense) a DMW-LA7 adapter for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200, but I wasn’t sure the same adapter/lens combo would work with my FZ300.

Impasse Breakthrough

Recently I stumbled across a comment by a Panasonic employee in the Q&A section of an archived product page for the DMW-LA7 adapter (regret I can’t remember where I read the comment) in which the employee clearly stated the adapter is compatible with the FZ300.

Product image courtesy Panasonic Store on Amazon.

Turns out the adapter is no longer made by Panasonic so I started searching online for a place to buy the adapter, new or used. After a lot of fruitless searching, I found several vendors on eBay that sell the adapter. I fully expected the adapter would turn out to be a knock-off of some sort, but hey, it’s essentially just a metal tube with screw threads on both ends so I figured any DMW-LA7 compatible adapter should work. I decided to place an order with a company called “Japan-Excite.”

My order was delivered 10 days later. I was STUNNED when I opened the “parcel” and discovered the adapter is original equipment from Panasonic, in the original box, and apparently new! And I was delighted that it fits perfectly on my FZ300 and with the DMW-LT55 tele conversion lens.

Needs Improvement

So why did I say the experience was 99.9% positive? Because the “parcel” used to ship the product looked like a laminated paper bag of some sort — it reminded me of the brown paper bag lunches my mother used to pack when I was in elementary school. Inside the bag, the item was packed in bubble wrap enclosed by corrugated cardboard folded four times to fit around the bubble wrap (open on both ends). All of that said, the product was delivered in good condition. But I must say that I would NEVER ship merchandise from Japan to the United States (or vice versa) using anything less than a sealed cardboard box with plenty of packing material surrounding all sides of the product.

Summary

Long story short, all’s well that ends well although I can’t help but feel like I was extraordinarily lucky!

In summary, the Panasonic DMW-LT55 tele conversion lens works with either the DMW-LA5 or DMW-LA7 adapter: the DMW-LA5 adapter works with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150; the DMW-LA7 adapter works with both the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300.

I’m eager to field test the new adapter with my FZ300 to see whether the tele conversion lens performs as well as it does using my FZ150.

Related Resources

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Multimeter test results: GyroVu continuous power adapter for Panasonic

September 14, 2021

Eureka! I found my RadioShack Digital Multimeter.

In a recent blog post, I said I would like to use a multimeter to test the actual voltage output of the GyroVu USB TO PANASONIC DMC-GH2 (DMW-BLC12) BATTERY 40″ CABLE w/ 3.1A USB POWER SUPPLY that provides continuous power for my Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 superzoom bridge camera. This blog post features the results from that test and more.

Panasonic rechargeable Li-ion camera battery

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 uses a Panasonic DMW-BLC12 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery (7.2V, 1200mAh), shown below.

Panasonic DMW-BLC12PP 7.2V Li-ion battery (front).

The positive and negative terminals of the battery are marked on the back of its case.

Panasonic DMW-BLC12PP 7.2V Li-ion battery (back).

I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 07.29V, as shown below. That’s good!

Voltage output from Panasonic 7.2V Li-ion battery.

GyroVu continuous power adapter

Next, the GyroVu “USB Charger” (shown below, to the lower-left) was plugged in a 120V AC electrical outlet. The GyroVu dummy battery was connected to the 3100mA USB connector on the GyroVu USB Charger.

Although the positive and negative terminals of the dummy battery aren’t marked on its case, they are in the same places as on the Li-ion battery.

Once again I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 08.36V, as shown below.

Voltage output from GyroVu dummy battery for Panasonic.

GyroVu says the output voltage of the dummy battery is 8.0V, so 8.36V seems to be within specs.

For what it’s worth, the Owner’s Manual for the model of RadioShack Digital Multimeter that I used specifies the accuracy of the multimeter is +/-0.8% of the reading, or in this case +/-0.07V.

Therefore I think it’s safe to say the GyroVu dummy battery has a slightly higher voltage than the Panasonic Li-ion battery. Is the higher voltage cause for concern?

Perhaps the more important question is whether amperage matters more than voltage. Regular readers of my blog might recall that I used my Drok USB Tester to measure an amperage of 0.45A drawn by the camera when it was connected to the GyroVu adapter and powered on. Is that amperage safe for the camera?

I’m not sure of the answer to either question, although I am certain further investigation is required.

Anker external power bank

Each GyroVu “dummy battery” adapter cable features a USB connector that can be used to connect your digital camera to an external power bank such as the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W), shown below.

Product image courtesy AnkerDirect.

My Drok USB Tester was connected to one of two USB ports on the Anker power bank. The output voltage of the power bank was 5V, same as the GyroVu “USB Charger.”

The GyroVu dummy battery was plugged into one of two USB ports on the Anker power bank. Once again I set the multimeter to measure voltage and touched the black test lead to the negative (-) terminal, then touched the red test lead to the positive (+) terminal. The LCD on the multimeter displayed a voltage of 08.36V (shown above) — exactly the same as when I used the GyroVu “USB Charger” as the source of continuous power.

Voltage output for GyroVu dummy battery for Panasonic connected to Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W.

At this point I think it’s safe to say the Anker power bank is safe to use as a source of continuous power for my Panansonic Lumix DMC-FZ300 camera, that is, assuming the ~8.0V output of the GyroVu dummy battery isn’t a problem.

Related Resources

This blog post is one in a series of posts related to continuous AC power and long-lasting battery power for select Canon, Fujifilm, and Panasonic digital cameras.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Follow-up: Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

August 20, 2021

In my last blog post, I mentioned that minor vignetting can be a problem when the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter is mounted on some macro- and non-macro camera lenses.

Canon 100mm macro lens

In case you’re wondering whether vignetting is a problem when using two step-down rings with the Canon 100mm macro lens, it isn’t. As it turns out, the front lens element is recessed quite a bit from the lens barrel so the step-down rings cover little if any glass. Source Credit: Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, by Walter Sanford.

The first photo shows the front lens element of the Canon 100mm macro lens is in fact recessed quite a bit from the lens barrel.

Lens barrel without nested step-down rings.

The next photo shows the nested 67-52mm and 52-43mm step-down rings that I use to mount the Raynox DCR-250 on my Canon 100mm macro lens. Look closely at the full-size version of this image and you should see the step-down rings don’t cover any of the camera lens.

Lens barrel with nested step-down rings.

Disclaimer: This might or might not be true for other makes and models of 100mm macro lenses.

Panasonic Lumix superzoom bridge cameras

The camera lens will need to be adjusted for at least some slight telephoto zoom in order to eliminate the vignetting caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a lens with a 52mm filter size. Source Credit: Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, by Walter Sanford.

A Guide To Using Raynox Close Up Lenses on the FZ200 Camera, by Graham Houghton is the second item listed under “Related Resources” in my last blog post. Page 6 of Graham’s excellent guide describes a simple way to set-up both my Panasonic Lumix DCR-150 and DCR-300 superzoom bridge cameras so that vignetting isn’t a problem.

For the DMC-FZ300, press the “Menu/Set” button on the back of the camera, then select the camera icon in the left side-bar. Navigate to page 7/7 and select “Conversion”; select the icon for close-up lens. When the camera is powered-on, it will zoom to 4x (121 mm) automatically and the aperture will be limited to f/4 or smaller (f/4 to f/8).

For my older DMC-FZ150, the set-up process is the same except “Conversion” appears on page 5/5. Zoom is set to 4x and the aperture is limited to f/3.6 or smaller (f/3.6 to f/8).

Using either camera, the lens can be adjusted for greater than 4x zoom, resulting in more magnification.

Copyright © 2021 Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter

August 17, 2021

I watched a video by Micael Widell recently that reminded me the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter is a good value given its versatility.

Before I bought the Raynox close-up filter many years ago, I was skeptical that it would work. I still can’t explain why it works with many lenses I own including both macro- and non-macro lenses, but I can tell you with certainty it does work and works well!

Canon 100mm macro lens

The Canon 100mm macro lens has a maximum magnification of 1:1. Micael Widell says adding the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter to the lens increases the magnification from 1x to 2x. According the B&H Photo Specs page for the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter, its magification is 2.5x.

Calculating magnification is tricky and not as straightforward as one might think. In this case it doesn’t matter whether Mr. Widell or B&H Photo is correct, the fact of the matter is adding a Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter to your lens should at least double the magnification.

The first photograph shows the following equipment, couterclockwise from the upper-left: “snap-on universal adapter” for Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter; Raynox close-up filter mounted on a 52-43mm step-down ring; and a 67-52mm step-down ring.

Several mounting adapters for Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter.

The Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter comes with a “snap-on universal adapter” for mounting the filter on lenses with a filter size from 52-67mm. The universal adapter clips on the front of a lens the same as a lens cap. That’s OK for use in a photo studio but less than ideal for use in the field. In my opinion, it’s better to use inexpensive step-down rings to mount the close-up filter more securely.

Canon EOS 5D Mark II macro photography kit.

The Rube Goldberg rig shown above has a lot of parts, but for the purpose of this blog post focus on the Canon 100mm macro lens and Raynox DCR-250 mounted on the lens using nested 67-52mm and 52-43mm step-down rings.

In case you’re wondering whether vignetting is a problem when using two step-down rings with the Canon 100mm macro lens, it isn’t. As it turns out, the front lens element is recessed quite a bit from the lens barrel so the step-down rings cover little if any glass.

Panasonic Lumix superzoom bridge cameras

Both my Panasonic Lumix DCR-150 and DCR-300 superzoom bridge cameras feature a 52mm filter thread size. So it’s simple to use a 52-43mm step-down ring to mount the Raynox DCR-250 close-up filter on either camera lens.

Raynox DCR-250 not mounted on the camera lens.

The camera lens will need to be adjusted for at least some slight telephoto zoom in order to eliminate the vignetting caused by mounting a 43mm filter on a lens with a 52mm filter size.

Both cameras feature a 24x zoom lens, so when the Raynox DCR-250 is added to the kit the actual magnification will vary depending upon the focal length for which the camera lens is set.

Raynox DCR-250 shown mounted on the camera lens.

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