Mammillaria grahamii

| 30 Comments
BarrelCactus.jpg

Mammillaria grahamii — Superstition Mountains, Arizona.

30 Comments

Matt,

‘Tis another great photograph from you. Were you using a 50mm macro lens? You’re making me feel more than a bit homesick for my favorite Western state. Darn it!

Cheers,

John

Ummm, check your ident… That is Mammillaria grahamii.

50 mm macro lens?! I have barely touched my trusty OM-1 since I got a 3-megapixel digital camera that fits into a shirt pocket. It has manual override and all that, but it is still a glorified point-and-shoot. I may replace it eventually, but only if I can still get an optical viewfinder.

Thanks for the correction. My ID’s of any plant or animal are highly suspect. I found another pic of M. grahamii on the Web and agree it looks more like my pic than does F. wislizeni - again, I relied mostly on the common name given to me, possibly incorrectly, by a guide. I will change the header shortly.

I question your identification. I don’t see the ribs. Flowers are usually yellow to orange but not pink. Also the flowers should be aranged in more of a crown around the top. I don’t know what you have but first guess would be a Mammalaria or similar.

OK, that’s done. According to the link I provided with the picture, the common names are Graham’s nipple cactus, pincushion cactus, Arizona fishhook cactus. When I took the picture, I had no idea I would ever display it anywhere - in the future I will take better notes. Um, no; in the future, I will take notes.

Both are called ‘fishhook’ and have curved spines, but the similarity ends there.

Just a native Zonie (Arizonan) who spent a lot of time out hiking and made an extra effort to learn the cacti. Mammilaria microcarpa (now merged with grahamii) was one of my favorites. Fascinating plants!

What do they use for pollinators?

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Matt,

This is pretty decent for digital, but one of the best known secrets is the fact that Olympus made outstanding 50mm f2 and 90mm f2 macro lenses whose performances were as good as the very best from Leica and Contax Zeiss (even better than Nikon!). I’d recommend picking up one or two - if you can find them - when you get the chance:

Matt Young said:

50 mm macro lens?! I have barely touched my trusty OM-1 since I got a 3-megapixel digital camera that fits into a shirt pocket. It has manual override and all that, but it is still a glorified point-and-shoot. I may replace it eventually, but only if I can still get an optical viewfinder.

Regards,

John

Matt Young said:

50 mm macro lens?! I have barely touched my trusty OM-1 since I got a 3-megapixel digital camera that fits into a shirt pocket. It has manual override and all that, but it is still a glorified point-and-shoot. I may replace it eventually, but only if I can still get an optical viewfinder.

I just got a Canon LH-DC50 P&S with 20x zoom, 10 megapixel, LCD viewfinder shooting through lens, nice camera at a helluva nice price, though I have yet to really put it through its paces. Also bought a Canon A1000IS pocket camera, 4x zoom, 10 megapixel, optical viewfinder.

Amazing tech, 2 GB cards are cheap, 450 images at max resolution and quality. The Canons are nice because they use AA cells and not some proprietary battery pack – which can be a real pain when they go out of production.

No bugs around until the weather gets warmer, they’re the hardest things to shoot, I’ll see how the cameras fly then.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

Matt and Mr. G,

‘Tis still not as good - image quality-wise - as your old Olympus OM SLR with either a 50mm f2 Zuiko macro lens (There’s also the 50mm f3.5 Zuiko macro lens, but the f2 version out-performs it), or a 90mm f2 Zuiko macro lens (which is useful for photographing insects or trying to photograph - without getting too close - a caged lion or tiger in a zoo):

mrg (iml8) said:

Matt Young said:

50 mm macro lens?! I have barely touched my trusty OM-1 since I got a 3-megapixel digital camera that fits into a shirt pocket. It has manual override and all that, but it is still a glorified point-and-shoot. I may replace it eventually, but only if I can still get an optical viewfinder.

I just got a Canon LH-DC50 P&S with 20x zoom, 10 megapixel, LCD viewfinder shooting through lens, nice camera at a helluva nice price, though I have yet to really put it through its paces. Also bought a Canon A1000IS pocket camera, 4x zoom, 10 megapixel, optical viewfinder.

Amazing tech, 2 GB cards are cheap, 450 images at max resolution and quality. The Canons are nice because they use AA cells and not some proprietary battery pack – which can be a real pain when they go out of production.

No bugs around until the weather gets warmer, they’re the hardest things to shoot, I’ll see how the cameras fly then.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

Regards,

John

P. S. If you own Canon or Nikon digital SLRs, then I hear that the latest Canon EF 60mm macro and Nikon 60mm Micro Nikkor lenses are very, very good, but they are still out-classed by the manual focusing 50mm f2 Zeiss Makro Planar (which is available in Nikon mount, and may be released soon in Canon EOS mount).

John Kwok said:

Matt and Mr. G,

‘Tis still not as good - image quality-wise - as your old Olympus OM SLR …

Naw, certainly not in a league with a good digital SLR with a nice lens kit. But not remotely in the same league of price, either – and with the pocket camera I never go out the door without a camera on me. And since my objective is shots for my website and not prints, an SLR is overkill for my usage. You want pro-quality large prints, you need the better camera.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Mr. G,

You might be surprised. I think you could probably find in decent condition, a used Nikon FM or Fe and a 55mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor lens for under $350, and be able to get better results than with your latest compact digital camera, if you’re interested in close-up/macro photography (For years I used a Nikon FE/FE-2 and a 55mm f2.8 Micro Nikkor, before I switched over to more exotic - and expensive - German/German-designed glass.):

mrg (iml8) said:

John Kwok said:

Matt and Mr. G,

‘Tis still not as good - image quality-wise - as your old Olympus OM SLR …

Naw, certainly not in a league with a good digital SLR with a nice lens kit. But not remotely in the same league of price, either – and with the pocket camera I never go out the door without a camera on me. And since my objective is shots for my website and not prints, an SLR is overkill for my usage. You want pro-quality large prints, you need the better camera.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Cheers,

John

John Kwok said:

You might be surprised.

SLRs are nice but at least the A1000 IS is a different sort of tool – the size of a pack of cigarettes. The aperture’s small but that is compensated to an extent by vibration reduction. The 10 megapixel resolution gives an extra zoom increment compared to the older pocket camera I had. Price was about $135, plus about $10 tops for the 2 GB flash card.

I’m astounded by flash prices. I imagine going back to the 1980s and telling somebody I had just bought a drive with 2 gigabytes of storage the size of a packet of gum for $15.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

‘At ‘ere cactus ‘s Designed, bwah.

Whua?

Sure it is. See ‘em curved stickers?

Yeah? Whua?

‘M are devious, ain’t they?

Yeah. Powerful devious.

Airs yer design right ‘ere, bwah.

Be damned. ‘Ere it is. Like you said.

.

Loosely based on a reputed conversation between to Texans in a bird blind …

C M dux?

M R not dux.

S M R. C M wangs?

Wall B. M R dux.

No offense to Texans, friends or lovers of Texans, who can speak like that but only to impress the new neighbors and then only of the first two or three meetings.

I’ll probably get into trouble with Messrs. G. and Kwok, but I am no great fan of the single-lens reflex camera, and I sometimes wish it had gone the way of the twin-lens reflex. True, the SLR is sometimes useful for special-purpose photography such as close-ups and microscopy.

But the mirror forces the designer to locate the lens a substantial distance from the image plane. This in turn forces the lens to have a long working distance, sometimes longer than its focal length, and necessitates a big lens with a lot of glass. The problem is less with digital SLR’s than with film cameras, but it is still a problem. In short, SLR’s and their clunky lenses are too big for general photography.

I have come to regret, therefore, that rangefinder cameras similar to the old Leicas did not predominate, rather than SLR’s. I have unfortunately never owned a Leica or anything like it, but they were a rangefinder camera that had interchangeable lenses (back before zoom lenses were common), and I think that the viewfinder had parallax correction for close-up work. The camera body and the lenses were substantially smaller than those of any SLR.

My primary cameras over the last 50 years (almost exactly) have been a Praktiflex and then an OM-1. I am making up for that indiscretion by carrying my Canon S30 practically everywhere I go.

Matt Young said:

I’ll probably get into trouble with Messrs. G. and Kwok, but I am no great fan of the single-lens reflex camera, and I sometimes wish it had gone the way of the twin-lens reflex. True, the SLR is sometimes useful for special-purpose photography such as close-ups and microscopy.

No trouble here. I have no use for an SLR myself – like I said, I only shoot for my website and that means low-resolution jpegs in the end, a high-end camera wouldn’t result in a much different deliverable. I’ve got over 2,600 images in my website archive and I’ve never made a print of a single image.

An SLR would be more camera than I need or would find convenient to use, but I do acknowledge that they are generally built to a higher standard of quality, with better optics than the cheap P&S cameras I prefer.

I have been intrigued by the new “Micro Four Thirds” camera spec, and maybe my next camera will be a modular system. But for now I have to get up to speed on what I’ve got.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Nobody commented on the fact that the front cactus looks like it has a wild face, with huge pink eyelashes, and is razzing us all.

mrg (iml8) said:

What do they use for pollinators?

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

They probably have butterflies, various bees, maybe a hummingbird or two, and maybe even bats.

I do acknowledge that they are generally built to a higher standard of quality, with better optics than the cheap P&S cameras I prefer.

Yes, or even relatively expensive point-and-shoots, I imagine. My point was only that it is a pity that early cameras descended with modification into modern SLR’s rather than high-quality rangefinder cameras. Present-day SLR’s are in the same clade as the Exacta, a 1950’s (40’s?) SLR, whereas the Leica clade has largely gone extinct, unless you count comparatively inexpensive point-and-shoots.

Familiar with Micro Four Thirds? It sounds like exactly what I would want in a camera myself, though it’s still in its early days:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micro_Four_Thirds

I’m hoping it will take off.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.proboards.com

Matt Young said:

Yes, or even relatively expensive point-and-shoots, I imagine. My point was only that it is a pity that early cameras descended with modification into modern SLR’s rather than high-quality rangefinder cameras. Present-day SLR’s are in the same clade as the Exacta, a 1950’s (40’s?) SLR, whereas the Leica clade has largely gone extinct, unless you count comparatively inexpensive point-and-shoots.

Ooh, wotta chance for a different sort of religious argument!

As with any selection-driven extinction, there are pragmatic factors that tend to trump the aesthetical ones.

For the working photographer, way back in the chemical era, the WYSIWY(more-or-less)G nature of the SLR meant a dramatic cost reduction – lots of reduction in wasted film, wasted darkroom time, wasted effort. I cannot count the number of saleable images that I would have failed to capture with a rangefinder camera had I not been able, in real time, to observe and correct for problems that a rangefinder optical system would have happily concealed from me.

In the Digital Era, the cost-per-impression of the recording medium asymptotically approaches zero, but the opportunity cost remains significant when you consider the shots that would have looked nice through the rangefinder but look really poor when you start to work on the images themselves.

Shebardigan said:

For the working photographer, way back in the chemical era, the WYSIWY(more-or-less)G nature of the SLR meant a dramatic cost reduction – lots of reduction in wasted film, wasted darkroom time, wasted effort.

The SLR concept is somewhat redundant in digital cameras because now all that has to be done to view through the lens is build a viewfinder with an LCD linked to the image sensor. Does add an increment of cost. However, trying to shoot a closeup of a bug using a camera with a separate optical viewfinder is a real pain.

On cheap: I did by a Nikon Coolpix that I had to return when I found out, to my astonishment, it didn’t have any viewfinder, I had to shoot using the LCD panel on back. “OK, so how do I shoot in bright sunlight when I can barely see the display?” This is not unusual any more but I won’t buy a camera that doesn’t have a viewfinder.

Cheers – MrG / http://gvgpd.vectorsite.net

Old chemistry photog, here.

There are still RFs available - a fellow in NYC imports “Contax” brand cameras from Japan which use the Leica M mount. I won’t give a link, since I don’t think commercials are a good idea for PT. IINM, they are manufactured in Japan, not subcontracted from China - but I could certainly be wrong.

Me, I still use my Canon VI-T (baseplate winder) with either a Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 or Nikkor 85mm f/2 in Leica screw-mount. The 35mm lens isn’t a macro, to be sure, however depth of focus can be a pretty good substitute.

Batteries? I laugh at batteries - plus I can use the darn thing to drive tent-pegs. ;^)

I just wish I could find an old Canon 50mm f/.95, at something other than an unreal price. The resolving power is not much better than the bottom of an old Coke bottle - but that’s one BIG hunk of glass.

fusilier James 2:24

Dear Matt,

Yours are indeed excellent points regarding the merits of rangefinder vs. SLR cameras:

Matt Young said:

I’ll probably get into trouble with Messrs. G. and Kwok, but I am no great fan of the single-lens reflex camera, and I sometimes wish it had gone the way of the twin-lens reflex. True, the SLR is sometimes useful for special-purpose photography such as close-ups and microscopy.

But the mirror forces the designer to locate the lens a substantial distance from the image plane. This in turn forces the lens to have a long working distance, sometimes longer than its focal length, and necessitates a big lens with a lot of glass. The problem is less with digital SLR’s than with film cameras, but it is still a problem. In short, SLR’s and their clunky lenses are too big for general photography.

I have come to regret, therefore, that rangefinder cameras similar to the old Leicas did not predominate, rather than SLR’s. I have unfortunately never owned a Leica or anything like it, but they were a rangefinder camera that had interchangeable lenses (back before zoom lenses were common), and I think that the viewfinder had parallax correction for close-up work. The camera body and the lenses were substantially smaller than those of any SLR.

My primary cameras over the last 50 years (almost exactly) have been a Praktiflex and then an OM-1. I am making up for that indiscretion by carrying my Canon S30 practically everywhere I go.

I switched over from Nikon to the Contax SLR system, which uses Zeiss lenses (which were made both in Germany and in Japan by Kyocera/Yashica under strict Zeiss quality control) and then too to a certain well known German 35mm rangefinder system (Believe me, I’m not financially well off, but wanted the best with regards to optical performance.). Speaking of rangefinders, you might want to consider one of the Voigtlander Bessas and their very good line of lenses (made in Japan by Cosina) or what may be the very best rangefinder camera currently in production, the Zeiss Ikon (which is made in Japan by Cosina for Zeiss, and is a Zeiss-based design, contrary to what you might read elsewhere online) and its superb line of Zeiss ZM lenses (all but two made in Japan by Cosina under strict Zeiss quality control), which can be used on other Leica M-mount rangefinder cameras too. I own three of these lenses and they are as good - and in at least two instances markedly superior - to several other German-made lenses in their respective focal lengths.

Regards,

John

Hi fusilier,

See my most recent comments @Matt Young. You’re thinking of the Zeiss Ikon ZM rangefinder camera which is available for purchase around the globe, including directly from Zeiss too (The Zeiss trademark “Contax” is still under license to Kyocera. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to persuade several Zeiss employees to consider reviving the Contax brand in joint partnership with Cosina, which now manufactures Zeiss SLR and M-mount rangefinder lense and the Zeiss Ikon rangefinder camera, as well as its popular Voigtlander line of cameras and lenses.):

fusilier said:

Old chemistry photog, here.

There are still RFs available - a fellow in NYC imports “Contax” brand cameras from Japan which use the Leica M mount. I won’t give a link, since I don’t think commercials are a good idea for PT. IINM, they are manufactured in Japan, not subcontracted from China - but I could certainly be wrong.

Me, I still use my Canon VI-T (baseplate winder) with either a Nikkor 35mm f/2.8 or Nikkor 85mm f/2 in Leica screw-mount. The 35mm lens isn’t a macro, to be sure, however depth of focus can be a pretty good substitute.

Batteries? I laugh at batteries - plus I can use the darn thing to drive tent-pegs. ;^)

I just wish I could find an old Canon 50mm f/.95, at something other than an unreal price. The resolving power is not much better than the bottom of an old Coke bottle - but that’s one BIG hunk of glass.

fusilier James 2:24

Regards,

John

P. S. Leica will be issuing a 50mm f0.95 Noctilux lens for M-mount rangefinder cameras sometime this spring. The retail price will be a rather “cheap” $10,000.

Dear Matt and fusilier,

We’re currently seeing a renaissance in rangefinder cameras, fueled in part by the popularity of the Voigtlander Bessa line. These are decent, reasonably well-made cameras, that are available at prices comparable to what you would pay for mid level digital SLR cameras from Canon and Nikon. I know several serious amateur and professional photographers who swear by the excellent quality of Voigtlander rangefinder camera lenses. At the “mid-level” pricing scheme for rangefinder cameras is the Zeiss Ikon and its ZM line of lenses, who - as I have mentioned previously - offer optical performance comparable to - and in several instances exceeding - Leica’s, without the latter’s substantial costs. Of course at the very high end, is Leica itself, and it remains an open question whether it can remain financially viable - it is currently owned by the Austrian equivalent of Bill Gates - having made substantial financial commitments to both a quieter digital 35mm rangefinder camera (the just released Leica M8.2) and a brand new medium format digital SLR system (Leica S2), whose public release date hasn’t been announced as of yet.

Cheers,

John

Mammillaria grahamii

My latin is more than a little fuzzy, but doesn’t this roughly translate to “Graham’s Breasts”?

Exactly which Graham are we talking about here? Hopefully Heather and not Billy. That would be better. Or maybe not, now that I look at all the spikes.

What about Chapman?

John Kwok.

Cosina is exactly the firm I was referring to. I’d have to double-check when I get home - I have the bookmark on my home computer - but there is a fellow in NYC who is importing them under license. Unfortunately for me, none of the lenses are Leica screw-mount, and nobody ever made an M-mount-lens to screw-mount-body adapter. In fact, I don’t think it’s physically possible.

I have used +diopter close-up lenses with some success.

I’m still leary of linking to a commercial firm, but I think you already know who the fellow is.

“Momma don’t take my Kodachrome away!”

fusilier James 2:24

fusilier,

Yes, I know him. Rich Pinto over at Photo Village, and he’s not the only one importing the Voitlander lenses (Most of them are Leica screw mount - with a couple of notable exceptions for current M-mount cameras - so should fit on any old Leica screw mount lenses.):

fusilier said:

John Kwok.

Cosina is exactly the firm I was referring to. I’d have to double-check when I get home - I have the bookmark on my home computer - but there is a fellow in NYC who is importing them under license. Unfortunately for me, none of the lenses are Leica screw-mount, and nobody ever made an M-mount-lens to screw-mount-body adapter. In fact, I don’t think it’s physically possible.

I have used +diopter close-up lenses with some success.

I’m still leary of linking to a commercial firm, but I think you already know who the fellow is.

“Momma don’t take my Kodachrome away!”

fusilier James 2:24

If you live out west, you might also wish to consider Stephen Gandy at Camera Quest (http://www.cameraquest.com), since he is the other “official” American importer of Cosina Voigtlander screw and M-mount rangefinder lenses.

Cheers,

John

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 19, 2009 12:00 PM.

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