Your Camera May Be More Capable Than You Think
As tight as the the Samsung NX 1000 and kit lens can go without cropping.
If there is a message in this post I suppose it would be know the limits of your equipment. Getting to know your equipment is about more than just reading the manual and/or watching a sales pitch video as this post will hopefully illustrate. Put another way, your photography gear may have possibilities that the manufacturers and salespeople do not even advertise.
I had been debating whether invest in a mirrorless camera for about a year but had held off due to high prices combined with a very immature market. In other words I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a camera only to find that there would only ever be a couple of lenses ever made for it. A few months ago a mirrorless camera with a decent sized sensor (APS-C to be exact which is the size that Nikon and Canon use in their crop sensor cameras) became available when Samsung reduced the price of their NX 1000 camera with 20 mm – 50 mm kit zoom lens to around $300. Now if I purchased this camera and couldn’t get on with it the guilt wouldn’t destroy me.
To continue on this tangent just for a moment, I really like the Samsung NX1000 and it is getting more and more use and my DSLR is getting less and less. Samsung certainly wasn’t the first name that came to my mind when thinking about quality cameras but mine hasn’t missed a beat. Samsung make a whole range of similar cameras but the differences tend to be in construction and whether the camera comes with a touch screen or not. The guts appear to be the same. There are also plenty of different lenses available for the camera and they are not badly priced at all. One thing worth mentioning is that if you are into wide angle photography then mirrorless could be the way to go as wide angle lenses are much easier and therefore cheaper to manufacture for mirrorless than for DSLRs – this is due to the reduced distance between the lens and the sensor.
Anyway, back to the subject at hand, knowing your equipment (this was never intended to be a camera review). A thing about camera lenses that a lot of people don’t know is that the minimum focusing distance is often less on the manual focus setting than it is on the automatic focus setting. This difference is quite marked in the case of the Samsung 20 mm – 50 mm lens, at around 20%. The image above is of a matchbox/hotwheels type toy car which is about two and a half inches and was shot using manual focus and the image isn’t cropped. This shot would not have been possible using automatic focus – the tightest possible shot would have the car filling only about three quarters of the width of the frame.
The photograph of the car is, from a technical point of view, a closeup as opposed to a macro shot. For a shot to be a macro shot the real world dimensions have to either match the sensor dimensions or be less. In terms of numbers the ration sensor:real world should be 1:1 or less. In the case of this image it is closer to 2:1. It is easy enough to get the equivalent of the 1:1 shot though – just crop the image. Halving the length of the sides will reduce the megapixel count by three quarters so the original twenty megapixel image will be reduced to five megapixels. This will not usually be an issue as five megapixels represents more than enough resolution for just about any screen use and for most print uses.
The image at the top of the post cropped to approximately five megapixels.
Now for a confession. When I purchased the camera I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to fill the frame with less than about six inches of image so I purchased an adapter so that I could reverse my Nikon 50 mm lens onto the camera. That worked OK but to be honest it is clunky and the image quality is not great. The irony is course, that the camera did what I needed it to do all along – straight out of the box. There is also a lesson for camera manufacturers in here as well – rather than push the usual stuff about megapixels etc., think about what the photographer wants – An APS-C sensor/kit lens combination that can get in as tight as a two and a half inch field of view is something worth trumpeting.
A couple of points to note – this photograph was shot for this post, I just grabbed the camera and the toy car which happened to be close to hand. The light is ambient so I shot at ISO 6400 which is why the image is a little soft. It is possible to get much sharper results than this – saying that this camera does really well at high ISO’s with its built in noise reduction on. To see the Exif data just click on either image then on the ‘i’ on the top right of the image that appears. The Samsung NX 1000 will let you get to the edge of macro straight out of the box but those who really get into macro usually want to go further. To put things in perspective this camera will allow you to make a good picture of say a bumble bee but if you want a detailed image of an insects eye then a dedicated macro lens would be the way to go.