Chin’s Nature Corner

The Cycad Blue The Cycad Blue

Pale Grass Blue Pale Grass Blue
These are examples of my workaround. The entire frames of the photos are shown at left. The final images
cropped from the central portion (with some post-processing) retain enough detail for my purpose.
My workaround

SOMETIME IN 2012, I "inherited" a set of equipment, which included a Nikon DSLR, from someone who was moving over to a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera (MILC) system.
 The set consisted of a Nikon D200, an 18-200mm zoom lens (27-300mm in 35mm equivalent), a 50mm f1.8 prime lens, some CF memory cards, a battery charger and a bag. I used this camera with the zoom lens almost exclusively in my church.
 The D200, even though it's an APSC camera, felt really hefty in my hands and so I did not use it for nature photography, preferring a light "bridge" camera that I own at the time for this purpose.
 Even while I was using the D200, which I did for about five years, I felt that I could do with a better camera, especially one with a better low-light performance.
 I'm chary about using flash in the church as it can be quite a distraction for the other attendees, and I depend instead on the ambient or available light and a high ISO setting to make my shots.
 With the D200, the highest that I could comfortably go was ISO 800; at ISO 1600 "noise" became obvious in the unprocessed JPEG images. I guessed I would just need another one- or two-stop leeway to work with the 18-200 zoom lens, especially when it's fully extended.
 So in 2017, I invested a substantial amount of cash (from my perspective) in a second-hand D5300 body, to be coupled to the existing 18-200mm zoom. It may seem, to some people, like a downgrade from a "pro" camera to one intended for the hobbyist sector, but I do feel that it was a good investment.
 The D5300, announced in 2013, has a "modern" image sensor capable of a top ISO of 12800 and maximum resolution of 24 megapixels whereas the older D200, from 2005, has a top ISO of 1600 and maximum resolution of 10.2mpx.
 Camera specifications aside, what matters most to me now is that I am getting a higher percentage of "keepers" from the shots taken inside the church.
 There was a big bonus for me from this investment. I found that I can use the D5300 and 18-200mm zoom lens combo
for nature photography. This combo was light enough for me to lug around and stalk bugs and butterflies.
 But there is a "caveat" in this. Unlike macro lenses, the 18-200mm zoom lens is not purpose-built for macro or close-up photography. So I need to work around that to make images of tiny subjects large enough to post on the Web.
 The solution was quite easy; it just entails a little more work at the computer.
 Above, the Cycad Blue and the Pale Grass Blue, tiny butterflies which fly just above the ground among grasses and weeds, provide two examples of this simple workaround. With larger subjects, like the Lime Butterfly (below), this workaround is not necessary and the images may be used in their entirety.
 This workaround can be summarised in three easy steps: 1) set the camera for large image size, i.e. 24 megapixels on the D5300, 2) in the viewfinder, carefully place the tiny subject smack in the centre of the frame, i.e. the "sweet spot", and 3) at the computer, crop for composition and scale the image at 72dpi to use it on the Web. ~ CFS, 03-10-2018.
The Lime Butterfly
This photo of a fairly large butterfly was not cropped. The entire frame was scaled down to fit this space.

This page revised on 03 October 2018. Copyright © Chin Fah Shin.