Butterfly images with Nikon 1 J5

Visiting the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory is always an enjoyable experience. There is a wonderful assortment of butterflies free-flying in the facility, as well as interesting flowers. I decided to spend a couple of hours capturing butterfly images with a Nikon 1 J5, 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens, and some MOVO extension tubes thrown in for good measure.

First, let’s start with a quick look at the gear I used to capture the images in this article.

Nikon 1 J5 with 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens, and set of 3 MOVO extension tubes
Nikon 1 J5 with 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens, and set of 3 MOVO extension tubes

As you can see the Nikon 1 J5 with the 1 Nikon 30-110mm and MOVO extension tubes makes for a pretty small and light kit. Something that I’ve been appreciating more the older I get.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1000
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1000

I found that the Nikon 1 J5 and 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 were a great combination to use to capture full body images of butterflies. Focusing was fast and accurate and the improved dynamic range and colour depth of the J5’s BSI sensor when compared to my trio of V2’s was noticeable when working in post.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1100
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1100

The lighting is quite variable at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory so I opted to shoot in Manual mode with Auto-ISO 160-3200.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-900
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-900

I had to remind myself that the Nikon 1 J5 has about 2/5 of a stop difference in terms of measured ISO when compared to my V2’s. At a manufacturer-stated ISO of 3200 the J5 is actually shooting at ISO-1853 compared to ISO-2416 for my V2’s. Readers interested in manufactured stated ISO versus measured ISO can use the link to read an article on this subject.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1600
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1600

I watched my exposures but did intentionally under expose the odd image as not to use a higher ISO but still get the desired aperture and shutter speed. I knew from experience that I could lighten the J5 images in post without any problems as long as I didn’t go crazy with my underexposures.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1800
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-1800

I chose to use spot metering as I was paying specific attention to key areas of the subjects in terms of exposure and auto-focus.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-400
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110mm efov 297mm, f/5.6, 1/400, ISO-400

As is my standard practice when shooting with Nikon 1 gear I used single point auto-focus for all of the images in this article.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 59mm efov 160mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-2000, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 59mm efov 160mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-2000, with MOVO extension tube(s)

I actually ended the visit capturing the full body images you have just viewed. When at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory my first priority is to use extension tubes to create a magnification effect.

While I love the effect, my wife finds highly magnified images of butterflies rather creepy and alien-like.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 59mm efov 160mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-500, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 59mm efov 160mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-500, with MOVO extension tube(s)

I didn’t keep a log of specific images, but it is safe to say that the ones with the least amount of magnification effect were taken with the 21mm MOVO extension tube.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 72mm efov193mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-2000, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 72mm efov 193mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-2000, with MOVO extension tube(s)

All of the other images with greater levels of magnification would have been taken with all three MOVO tubes stacked (10mm, 16mm and 21mm). If you want some approximate magnification values when using extension tubes with the 1 Nikon 30-110mm and 1 Nikon CX 70-300 I wrote an earlier article on this subject.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 72mm efov 193mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-2500, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 72mm efov 193mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-2500, with MOVO extension tube(s)

My preferred way to achieve focus when using the MOVO extension tubes is to get my camera in position, then use the zoom control on the lens to achieve approximate focus. Then I move the single auto-focus point exactly where I want it on the subject and allow the camera’s auto-focus to snap it into fine focus when I half depress the shutter.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 48mm efov 128mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-400, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 48mm efov 128mm, f/5.6, 1/125, ISO-400, with MOVO extension tube(s)

This allows me to work with individual butterflies that may be moving around without the need to use the ‘focus and recompose’ technique.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 80mm efov 216mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-900, with MOVO extension tube(s)
Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 80mm efov 216mm, f/5.6, 1/250, ISO-900, with MOVO extension tube(s)

If you would like to see additional butterfly images captured with the Nikon 1 J5, 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens, and MOVO extension tubes you can click on the YouTube link below.

Technical Note:
All images were captured hand-held in available light using a Nikon 1 J5 and 1 Nikon 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 VR zoom lens. MOVO extension tubes were used for some of the images as noted in the article. All photographs in this article were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO OpticsPro 10 Elite, CS6, and Nik Suite.

My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to make a modest donation through PayPal to support my work it would be most appreciated.

Perhaps you’re a novice or amateur photographer wanting to improve your skills and understanding of photography and looking for a customized solution. Give us a call or pop us an email to learn about our photography coaching programs.

You can also support my efforts when you purchase anything from B&H by using the Thomas Stirr affiliate link. Even the smallest purchases will help support this web site.

As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store by using promotion code
AMPLIS52015TS.

Article, YouTube video, and all images are Copyright 2016 Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. While we do allow some pre-authorized links to our site from folks like Nikon Canada and Mirrorlessons.com, if you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use.

7 thoughts on “Butterfly images with Nikon 1 J5”

  1. Beautiful, especially considering some of the high ISO’s used. I spent the weekend shooting wild butterflies with my V2 and the 70-300CX lens on an extension tube, it worked very well indeed.

    1. Thanks Ian – glad you enjoyed the images! I haven’t been out with my new J5’s and the CX 70-300mm yet. I’m planning on giving that combination a good test at the Metro Toronto Zoo in the near future.
      Tom

  2. WOW! great Pictures thanks for sharing

    i like to go to Canada for vacation and doing some
    photography coaching then, sadly its too far away.

    Michael

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *