Category Archives: Still photography

How-to: Make a fake diopter adjustment for an LCD Viewfinder Hood

I have a couple of Nikon 1 J1 and J2 cameras that I bought used/refurbished for 3D shooting. I originally thought I would use these cameras for only 3D – but I find I really like these cameras for many reasons – 1″ sensor, very compact, excellent image quality, very sharp lenses, and very good low light capability. And with some close up filters, they’ve become one of my “go to” cameras for close up/macro photography.

But as you know, cameras with only an LCD viewfinder (no electronic eye viewfinder) can be tough to use in bright sun. They are a hassle for those of us that need to wear reading glasses (and only reading glasses) for close in viewing since we have to find and put on our reading glasses every time we take photos.

To solve this, I bought an LCD viewfinder hood. Unfortunately, none of these have diopter adjustments to correct for eye variations among users. Dumb omission! Without a diopter adjustment, I cannot get a clean focus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI solved this by busting a lens out of a retail store cheap reading glasses set and just taping it in front of the existing lens. Crude – but it actually works! Now  I can see the LCD panel in focus without my reading glasses – even in bright light 🙂

I used gaffer’s tape to mount the lens as nothing else would stick to the rubber eyepiece. I thought this idea might be helpful to others.



Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 with 4k video just announced

This is really quite an amazing new camera: Panasonic just introduced the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 or as it will probably be known, the Lumix FZ1000. A “bridge” type camera with long lens and manual override features and some amazing specifications:

  • 4k 30p video – yes, for real, at 100 Mbps! Plus 1080/60p, 30p and 24p too.
  • 20.1 megapixel 1″ sensor
  • f/2.8 to f/4.0 25-400 full frame equivalent zoom lens
  • Wi-Fi remote capability (use smartphone or tablet as the remote controller), NFC or QR code easy connections between camera and phone/tablet
  • Articulating LCD screen plus 2.35 MP electronic viewfinder
  • Highspeed auto focus
  • 12 fps continuous shooting
  • 8 megapixel image resolution from capturing still images from 4k video
  • Uses the same Venus IV processor as the Lumix GH-4


With a list price under $900. Shipping July 27th but taking pre-orders now. I suspect there will be high demand for this. Panasonic has posted a demo 4k to 2K converted video on Youtube that looks stunning.

Competes very well with the Sony RX10 but makes the Nikon 1 V3 look overpriced (and no 4k video there either). All of these cameras use a 1″ sensor.

The Sony and Panasonic cameras look, at this point, to take a dominant role in the “bridge” camera segment. Panasonic is also rumored to be introducing an LX8 this summer. The LX8 will replace the LX7 by adding 4k video and an articulating LCD screen, say the rumors.

Seems likely that the era of the 1/2.33″ sensors is over with. Why take crap photos with a small sensor when you can do that with your smart phone? The Canon s100/s110/s120, the LX7 and the Olympus XZ-1/XZ-2 all use 1/1.7″ sensors. Seems that the desire for higher image quality and better low light performance – and better than a smart phone camera – may move the camera market to these larger sensors fairly rapidly.

How to: Shooting landscapes in hyperstereo 3D

I like photographing landscapes in hyperstereo 3D because such photos often reveal hidden depth that we cannot see with our eyes or detect with our brain. This gives us an entirely new perspective on a scene.

My wife jokes that 3D photographers can take photographs with depth at any time, unlike 2D “flat photographers” who must wait around for the sun angle to give shadow contrast for enhancing depth features 🙂

When I take hyperstereo 3D, I almost always use a single camera. I start at the left most position and then take photos as I move the camera to the right. The picture of Mt St Helens was taken as a series of about 7 shots over about 70 feet of distance. I took a photo, walked to my right and took another photo. I did not have a good sense of the spacing that would be needed – and what the impact of close in subjects would have on the depth. So I just took many different lens spacings and chose the best later, when sitting at the computer.

For Mt St Helens, I knew I would need very wide lens spacing, which is why I took photos at 10 feet (over 3 meter) intervals. For closer subjects, I might only move the camera 1 foot (1/3d meter) between shots.

To keep the camera roughly aligned, I set the camera to display a grid overlay on the viewfinder. I position the crosshairs of the grid on a specific, very distant feature. As I move the camera, I keep the crosshairs pointed at that distant feature. In the case of the Mt St Helens volcano, which is many miles away, I use a corner of one of the snow fields as my alignment target.

If you think about how 3D works, if I was using a pair of precisely aligned cameras, each pointed off into the distance, at some point a long ways out there, the two cameras are effectively pointed at the same subject – we can’t distinguish, says, 6 inches of lens spacing, on a subject a few miles away!  For really distant subjects, a lens spacing measured in feet is still indistinguishable (in a practical sense).

After shooting, the photos are aligned and processed in Stereo PhotoMaker.

Computar f/1.2 12-75mm c-mount lens on Nikon 1 J2 camera

I recently acquired a used Nikon 1 J1 and a Nikon 1 J2 camera for use in my 3D photography and 3D video photography. I also bought a used Computar f/1.2 12-75mm c-mount lens, originally intended for us on “Super 16mm” film cameras. These can be adapted well for use on the Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras as the sensor is essentially the same size as a “Super 16mm” frame.

Here is what the lens looks like – it has a 55mm filter diameter but came with a 55 to 58mm step up ring:


At wide angle (12mm) and telephoto (75mm), there is minimal vignetting. At some of the in between range, there is very noticeable vignetting.

To make the lens work on a Nikon 1, I used a Fotodiox c-mount to Nikon 1 adapter ring. I quickly found this ring puts the lens too far forward from the sensor focus plane. I ended up using a Dremel cutting bit on my shop drill and did a lot of grinding to push the lens almost 1/8″ of inch deeper into the camera. (Later I bought a different and thinner adapter ring that seems to work without modifications but I have not yet done much testing with this adapter ring.)

Here are some results – shot using the Computer f/1.2 12-75mm cine lens on a Nikon 1 J2 using a modified Fotodiox adapter. All images were shot in RAW mode and contrast or exposure adjusted slightly in Lightroom. The first photo used the “anti-vignetting” feature to lighten the upper left and right corners slightly. None of the photos are cropped. All photos are shot with the camera in full manual exposure mode.



The focus point on this handheld shot is the pond frond located just to the right of center.  At f/1.2, the depth of field is so narrow that none of the other plants are actually in focus!

This last photo was intended to test deep focus. However, when shot at f/1.2, the depth of field was still so shallow that te actual focus point ended up being near the back of the trees in the background. I need to go do more tests on the infinity focus but I am not too worried about infinity focus since I do not expect to use the lens for that type of shot. Plus stopping down just a little expands the depth of field.


Overall, I am very pleased with the c-mount lens and Nikon 1 combination. The J1 and J2 do not have electronic viewfinders – only LCD back panels. For 3D shooting, that is fine as I want to see both cameras at the same time. However, if I were to use the Nikon 1 for 2D still shooting, I would probably prefer the V1, V2 or the said to be coming soon, V3 cameras. The V series is like the J series but with EVF and hot shoe, and slightly larger body.

It is amazing to be able to shoot photos like this with such a tiny camera and lens combination compared to shooting FF cameras. I prefer small cameras. Since I mostly shoot 3D, I am often carrying 2 or 3 pairs of cameras and the weight gets old after a while!

For more examples of what c-mount lenses can do for mirrorless cameras, check out this web site. Once upon a time, c-mount lenses were very inexpensive. But since the popularity of mirrorless cameras – micro 4/3ds, Nikon 1, Sony NEX and the Blackmagic Cinema pocket camera (4k video!) – the market for c-mount lenses has taken off. Bargains are tougher to find now but they can be found if patient. Still, a $100-$200 c-mount lens is a lot cheaper than a new $1500 m43 lens that does about the same thing 🙂

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Restoration of defocused and blurred images.

Fascinating: Restoration of defocused and blurred images.

The author explains the theory of mathematically converting a blurred image back into a sharp image. Think about that for a moment.

To understand the theory, it is helpful to understand some basic linear algebra for the matrix math operations and is helpful to understand the basic of signal processing such as the Fourier function.

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Flickr bug makes private photos public

And in an attempt to fix the problem, Flickr broke numerous links to photos hosted on Flickr:

Flickr set “any potentially impacted photos” to private, in an attempt to make things right. However, this has caused additional problems for affected users, who found that their intentionally public photos were now private. Some users reported that they now have to comb through hundreds of photos and manually set them back to public. Setting a photo to private also apparently wipes the description and breaks the code anywhere else the photo is embedded on the web.

via Flickr accidentally made some private photos public for 20 days update: Yahoo responds | The Verge.

Websites that hosted all of their photos on Flickr now find their photo links must all be manually re-done, which is considerable work for long time sites that have hundreds of linked photos.

The opportunity for 3D is much larger than 3D movies and pictures

With our interest in 3D photography and video, we can get stuck on thinking 3D is just

English: A 3-D solid model of a jack inside a ...
English: A 3-D solid model of a jack inside a cube. Modeled and ray traced using Cobalt. Animation is 120 frames at 25 fps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

about photography or movies.

But the future of 3D is vastly larger. As 3D monitors and 3D TVs become wide spread – which is likely a few years out yet – consider the impact this could have on line shopping. And especially when glasses-free displays are common on computers, tablets, phones and HDTVs and the use of 3D is no longer a gimmick but the ordinary.

No longer would we expect to look at a little photo on the web site when choosing a product. Instead, we will likely look at a large 3D view or 3D model that we can rotate and examine, almost as if it were in our hands.

True 3D is also coming. Think “Holodeck” at a small scale. I know people working on this type of technology and for now, the goal is desktop sized “Holodeck” perspectives that enable engineers to design parts in their CAD system and then create a view – not just a mapping of 3D to a 2D display (like the image that accompanies this article) – but a volumetric display which you can walk around and see from all sides.

Add in 3D scanning technology – its available off the shelf today from Microsoft and its called Kinect. Use future 3D scanners to capture information about parts and components or the layout of a kitchen that is to be re-modeled. Or to capture a 3D model of yourself to then use in a virtual clothes fitting exercise where 3D modeled clothes are mapped to your body and checked for size, before you purchase online. So much for retail show rooms? And of course, this can all tie in to 3D printing. Or deliver a 3D virtual world to use from our remotely controlled 3D-seeing robot.

Even traditional 3D imaging can provide us with new perspectives. I enjoy shooting macro 3D – which is close ups of small objects in 3D. Because they are so small we have to get our face so close to the subject that we lose 3D depth perspective. But our camera can capture 3D depth at close range and enlarge it for our viewing.

Similarly, what about slow motion 3D? While we are used to seeing 2D slow motion in sports, 3D slow motion may reveal new insights. And then, what about slow motion macro 3D? Now we may be able to see things that we miss entirely today because we cannot see depth at close range, and definitely not in slow motion.

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Sharing photos online – privacy and ownership

My friend Jeff has good thoughts on retaining ownership and control over the photos you put online: Sharing Photos Online – Jeff’s Ramblings.

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