Welcome to another great instalment of our Fuji X Aus blog. We live in a crazy time of dodging a deadly virus and self-isolation. It is refreshing to hear stories of photographers getting out there and doing their thing! Today, we hear from Igor Vyvey about his amazing macro photography. All shot with an X-H1 and an XF 80mm….hang on! He did what? He shot all of these images with an X100F? Wow. Please enjoy.
The Fujifilm X series cameras offer great opportunities to shoot macro with a fine selection of lenses, including dedicated fine lenses like the XF80mm and XF60mm. Tubes, third party lenses and other accessories complete the picture for a fantastic macro experience on the XE, XT and XPro series bodies. But what if you want to go really light on a Sunday stroll or on a trip or only own an X100 series camera on which none of the above lenses or tubes would fit and still want to get super close at times? No version of the X100 has a macro mode to my knowledge and all come with a fairly wide fixed 23mm lens. Not particularly conducive to macro work, even if you can focus quite closely.
Enter the high-quality Raynox DCR-150 and DCR-250 diopters as a perfect add on to the X100x. These small and light lenses will usually screw on an included adapter that can then snap on tight on any lens with a filter thread of 52 to 67mm for substantial magnification and close-up focus. That would be too big for the 49mm filter thread of the X100 series. But the universal snap-on mount is not the only way to use the Raynox. The DCR-150 and DCR-250 both have a front filter thread of 49mm and a rear thread of 43mm, which makes them pretty unobtrusive and matching the X100 lens profile. A small step-down ring 49mm to 43mm is all that’s needed to mount either Raynoxes directly onto the X100 body, the X100F in my case. If need be, both Raynoxes can be mounted on each other for even more magnification. Fine if you have a little tripod, but you’ll need extra stable hands to make that work handheld with this combo.
One of the big plusses for me of the X100F and now X100V is that they have a built-in digital ‘zoom’ that allows dialling from 23mm natively to 35mm (@16MP) and 50mm (@12MP) – in jpeg only, unfortunately. This allows more accurate focusing and is preferable to cropping when needed and RAW files are not required.
To avoid using jpegs only and decreasing resolution I tried mounting the X100 TCL and then the snap-on Raynox mount but this results in a huge vignette, which is totally absent when mounting the Raynoxes directly. An alternative is to mount another larger quality close-up lens such as the Nisi close up lens to the TCL via a 67 to 77mm adapter but this becomes quite chunky, front heavy and defeats the purpose of this exercise in ultra-light and compact macro….might as well go with my X-T3 or whatever else is in your bag then!
Lighting can be another important factor in successful macro to maximise depth of field. The built-in flash of the X100F doesn’t cut the mustard as the Raynox and adapters will obscure much of its range. To stay light and compact you could mount something like a Godox TT350F, which works ok with a diffuser of some sort. Alternatively, I adopted the Lume cubes with the advantage of continuous light. They could be placed near the subject or mounted directly on the hot shoe, preferably with a little articulating arm as illustrated.
All shots were taken on the X100F with the Raynox DCR-250 mounted directly. All uncropped jpegs, aside from some square crops with no change to magnification. The tight close-ups of the beetle were shot at 50mm with built-in digital zoom.
While the X100 is by no means my favourite macro tool when I have so many other options available, it can easily become a quite capable macro camera with these little add-ons. Operation is easy and working distance around 10cm from the front of the lens is quite comfortable in many situations. If you travel with the X100 only, bagging a Raynox DCR is no effort at all and punches well above its weight. It is also fairly inexpensive and a great addition to your camera kit, whether on the X100 or any other lens.