Pentax Optio WG-II + Final Cut Pro X – Review

posted on 2012.07.04, under bugs, Gear, insects, Macro, Reviews

I shot these photos on the new Pentax Optio WG II with GPS.   The he camera dazzled me and we had a great three days.  After 3 days I imported the photos and video into my Mac Book Air, via Aperture 3.

The water proof, macro, high-speed video (+ dozens of other features,) Pentax camera did a good job.   With a little bit of help from Aperture 3 and Final Cut Pro X, the images became presentable.

It is not a DSLR.  The camera is compact and affordable.  It is, what it is.  The camera really does a GREAT job with macro shooting, including several built-in LED lights for the “1CM” mode.   The high-speed mode is spectacular, offering an equivalent of 120 frames a second.  Water proof, hell yeah!  It worked perfect in the thunder-storm I was caught in yesterday.

The camera is light compared to the DSLRs I am used to carrying.  I carry a camera all the time, and with this dedication I also expect the camera to perform to pro-levels.  The Pentax is not a “pro” camera although it is a viable tool for a professional.  It is a versatile tool with a special place in my heart because of its variety of macro modes- including high-speed shooting and built-in LED lights.  This makes getting photos while 1 centimeter away from your subject easy.  Shooting insects at a distance of 1 centimeter at 120 frames a second is good stuff!  Play back on the camera’s LED is beautiful.

The video is web friendly and the photos are acceptable for basic capture.  There is no raw mode and the images are far from Canon 5D material.

I used Final Cut Pro X for the first time.  I edited, from the field, on a 2012, 2GHZ, i7, 8GB, 1600 MHZ, 13 inch Mac Book Air. I have owned more than 20 Macs since 1984.  I have been chained to a 17 inch lap top for 4 or 5 years (traveled to 70+ countries).  This 13 inch Mac Book Air, FCP X and Aperture 3 combination is AMAZING.  I have directed/produced/edited more than a thousand projects including 3 feature films and dozens of TV shows, this set up it the bee’s knees.  Don’t hesitate to make the switch to the Mac Air and FCP X.   I watched tutorials on youtube and was able to pick it up in a day.

Back to the Pentax – If you love macro photography, this camera is a must.  The slow motion feature is a treat.   If you love cameras and want a small affordable camera that does it ALL, this is the camera for you.  The video was cleaned up in FCP X.  I was not happy about the footage at first, but with minor tweaks in FCP X, I think the piece turned out nice for 680×480.

The photos below were captured with a Samsung Galaxy note.   I was shooting this grasshopper and he decided to on board the camera.






The Spider, The Bee, and the Flies

posted on 2012.05.16, under bugs, Canon 5D Mark III, Flash, insects, Macro

I tried to go on a walk this sunny San Diego morning, but I did not make it 30 feet out the front door, before I found this spectacular photo opportunity.

This green spider captured the bee and several small flies (?) have jumped on board.

Video coming soon!

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 65mm MP-E macro lens
Canon Macro Flash MT 24-EX 

Scottsdale insect in December

posted on 2012.02.20, under bugs, Canon 5D Mark II, insects, Photos

Canon 5D
Canon MP-E 65mm
Canon Macro Flash MT 24 EX

Lady Bug, Rose Bud and Aphids

posted on 2011.11.18, under bugs, Canon 5D Mark II, insects, Macro

The Canon 65mm MP-E is a remarkable lens.

This is as wide as this lens shoots.  Without a flash or some additional light it would be nearly impossible to get
this photo without the ISO being 2500 to 6400.

This was captured using the Canon 5D at ISO 100, f13, 1/200 using a the canon Twin Lite MT-24EX.

Ambush Bugs in Arizona

posted on 2011.10.29, under bugs, insects, Macro, Photos

The tiny hunter.  The ambush bug was plentiful in Prescott, Arizona.  8 of these little guys could fit on a thumb nail.

Canon 5D
Canon 65mm MP-E
Canon Macro Flash MT-24ex

who is the fittest

posted on 2011.10.09, under bugs, Canon 7D, insects, Lens, Macro

We would need to decide on a criteria, a set of guidelines, a set of observable, measurable and repeatable data points, to decide what species is the fittest.

There are 10 quintillion insects on the planet earth at any given moment.  That is a “1″ with 19 zeros following.  That is 1 billion insects for every human being.

These flies were enjoying some feces (unknown animal) in the San Diego desert.

Canon 7D
Canon Macro lens 65 MP-E
Canon MT 24 EX flash