Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shooting with the Tokina 100mm

For macro work I had procured a Tokina 100mm Macro several months back. I am writing this post to summarize my experience with using this lens on the field. Now that my objective has been stated, let me caution you that I am in no way a pro. I am also very out of shape and not the best at contorting myself. I am also short on the greatest virtue a photographer should have - patience. Which means that you may either take this post with a lot of salt or look at it as experience sharing from a rank amateur photographer. The following pictures show what this lens is capable of. Atleast in my hands. All shots were taken handheld, with very little support from a very substandard monopod.

LinkPereid butterfly. © Bernard Solomon.
Backlit Pereid butterfly. Handheld, Manual Mode, ISO 250, f/9 and shutter speed of 1/125 seconds.

Blue Tiger.  © Bernard Solomon.
Blue Tiger. Handheld with monopod, Manual mode, ISO 250, f/6.3 and shutter speed of 1/500 seconds.

Dew Drops. © Bernard Solomon.

Dew drops on a blade of grass. Handheld with ample monopod assistance. Manual mode, ISO 320, f/4.5 and shutter speed of 1/320 seconds.

Wild flower. © Bernard Solomon.

Flower. Handheld, no monopod. Manual mode, ISO 400, f/5.6 and shutter speed of 1/80 seconds.

All images were shot in RAW. Majority of the post processing was done in ViewNX. GIMP was used to adjust the colour curve and to add the watermark. So, what do I think? Most of the images are good in my opinion but have a while to go before they can be called excellent. Do keep in mind that these photographs were shot in the open where wind and bad light can play havoc with image quality. In fact I had to discard about 85% of the photographs taken with this lens. I feel that taking into account my shortcomings as photographer ( in the opening paragraph), one could say that the lens is a decent performer.

Bokkeh is one thing that is excellent in this lens. I like the build quality of the lens. It feels substantial to touch and is much more heavier than my Nikkor 70-300mm. I like the clutch that allows me to shift between Auto and Manual focus. By selecting the limit switch, one can control the tendency of the lens to hunt during Auto focus. And as long as the lighting (quality and not quantity) is good, one gets smooth images. Harsh sunlight always results in images that I am not very fond of anyway. I am quite sure that with practice I would be able to improve my output significantly.

The surprising part is that I have been very unhappy shooting in controlled conditions with this lens. Of course, I know I need a lightbox and to stock up on patience. I will design the light box while I am away at Pune for the weekend and carry out the implementation once I am back. I am in the last stages of my work at the current employer and I hope to have some nice days to roam around and shoot to my hearts content. The next job is going to be intense.
As I leave this post, let me show you what this lens can do, when not being used for macro work. This is a shot of Mumbai at about 10:30 in the morning. This photograph was taken from the nineteenth storey of a building and looking over the racecourse in the foreground towards South Mumbai. The morning was hazy; with no clear skies. The Mumbai skyline is filling up slowly with buildings, though I hope the ones that come up in the future are not like the monstrosity to the right - owned by the richest man in India, and sadly devoid of taste. South Mumbai on a Saturday morning by Bernard Solomon (bernards)) on
South Mumbai on a Saturday morning by Bernard Solomon

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