Exploring the Sharper Side of the Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5
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desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Corona -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — full exif
Corona
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I've had a number of posts recently about the Cosina Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 and the ultra-creamy bokeh it has in close-up macro shots, as featured in “Exploring the Edge of Creamy Macro Bokeh with Lily of the Nile”, and other recent examples here, here, and here. All those examples were taken in less than ideal conditions, with the camera held by hand while the flower or whatnot jiggled in the breeze. So today when I noticed some nice fluffy dandelions by the river, I thought to bring some home to give the Voigtländer a whirl with the benefit of a tripod and a subject that's not moving.

Considering the subject, though, the focus of these falls more on the sharpness of the fine hairs rather than the creaminess of the bokeh. The steadiness of the tripod (and lack of wind) was most helpful in this regard.

I set the dandelion in a glass and placed them in front of a window, propping up a sheet of whitish paper for a background...

desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Dimply -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/80 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — full exif
Dimply
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Later I grabbed a piece of faded-blackish construction paper from Anthony's art-stuff pile and used that as the background, and the results seem more striking than the white-background versions, which again follows the “sharpness not creaminess” theme of today's post.

Here's a different variety of dandelion, smaller than the first one, at f/22 where my Voigtländer rarely ventures....

desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Sharpness there seems to be some -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1.3 sec, f/22, ISO 640 — full exif
Sharpness
there seems to be some
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Each time I set up a shot, I took a series of pictures encompassing each aperture setting of the lens, from f/2.5 through f/22, just so that later I can get a feel for the effect on the depth of field, bokeh, and sharpness. A quick glance at the series this one came from makes me feel that probably f/8 is the sharpest, but I need to spend more time with it later.

One thing I didn't realize until taking these shots is that this tiny dandelion is constructed quite differently than the first and its “dimply” appearance. This one has more of a “mad scientist” vibe going on. Maybe one or both aren't even dandelions... I don't know.

This particular specimen exhibited the most exquisitely-perfect roundness until I started to walk with it from the riverbank, at which point the wind took half of it for itself in measured amounts with each step. Some creative composition hides that half of it is gone.

But this lens wants to be used wide open, so it took the following photo of its own volition, from the same position as above...

desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Barest Edge of the Cloud it's instructive to view the bokeh of the closest hairs in the large version -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/80 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — full exif
Barest Edge of the Cloud
it's instructive to view the bokeh of the closest hairs in the large version
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Back to the first, larger dandelion...

desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Back Edge nothing's very sharp because it's looking through the puff to focus on the rear edge -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/160 sec, f/2.5, ISO 640 — full exif
Back Edge
nothing's very sharp because it's looking through the puff to focus on the rear edge
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Here's one from the same position, but with a different focus point and aperture, in black & white....

desktop background image of a closeup of a dandelion -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2011 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/25 sec, f/5.6, ISO 640 — full exif
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I like this one a lot. I wasn't intending to post it in black & white, but while in Photoshop to make the desktop-background versions, I bumped something and accidentally switched to viewing only the blue channel. The result had some impact, so I returned to Lightroom to redo the photo in black & white, dropping the luminosity on many of the channels to zero or close to it. It really accentuates the back-lit nature of the shot.

I don't break out the tripod like this very often, so this was fun and instructive for me. And considering that my first post with this lens featured some dandelions from the same riverbank, it seems appropriate that my first post with this lens and a tripod does as well.


All 3 comments so far, oldest first...

What fun ! I think I like ‘Dimply’ best, but tomorrow it may be another… Hoping for more macro-botany soon.

— comment by Peter in Wales on April 27th, 2011 at 1:14am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

The corona is my favorite!!
It is my desktop now on 1680 x 1050.

— comment by Erik Tieltjes on April 27th, 2011 at 4:06pm JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink

These photos inspire me to get out my macro lens and go out into the garden. Thanks!

— comment by Tom on April 28th, 2011 at 1:21am JST (6 years, 2 months ago) comment permalink
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