Adapted Macro lens - where to start?


New to Mu-43
Aug 5, 2014
Hi all,

First post - hope its in the right place. I have an Olympus E-PL1 and I love it. I have the kit zoom lens's and the Olympus 17mm pancake.

I'd also like to get into a bit of Macro photography.

I have only used Micro 4/3 lenses with this camera, and I'd like to start exploring adapted lenses. I've read the guides and understand that I will lose auto focusing. An obvious place to start (at least I think so) is with an adapted Macro lens for a couple of reasons - 1. I don't have the ability to do macro with my current lenses. 2. I'm guessing macro photography is pretty much all about manual focus.

With that all said. I have a modest budget of about £30 to buy an adapted lens, to have a play at macro photography.

Any tips on where to start? I don't have a clue which size lens to go for, let alone brand or camera fitting. Is my budget even realistic?

The ultimate plan is to get used to manual focus with Macro photography then move on to other adapted lenses for other uses.

Thanks in advance.


Mu-43 All-Pro
Aug 24, 2012
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Your options are quite limited with a £30 budget. The best budget macro lens that I've used is the Olympus 50mm f/3.5 1:2 Macro lens, which is between £60-80 on eBay. This has an OM mount and there are plenty of old OM mount lenses on eBay to experiment with. The other option is to get something like a Raynox adapter that attaches to the front of one of your existing lenses.

This photo was taken on my old G5 with the 50mm Macro:

View attachment 377511_1030061.jpg by -the-levster-

fin azvandi

Mu-43 All-Pro
Mar 12, 2011
South Bend, IN
I started in macro photography with the same camera and an adapted lens, it can be a lot of fun! Pretty much any of the ~50mm macro lenses from the big manufacturers will be fine. Some of them only achieve a 1:2 magnification, others go all the way to 1:1 on their own or with a matching extension/adapter. Even 1:2 will allow you to get pretty close to larger objects like flowers and butterflies. A longer lens (90-105mm) will let you get a little farther away from the subject at the trade off of a heavier lens. For your budget a 50mm is probably more reasonable.

One lens I have used was the Konica Hexanon 55mm macro. It was sold with a extension that allowed it to achieve 1:1 magnification that coupled in with the aperture mechanism to help compensate for the loss of light.

I would strongly suggest you look in to making some sort of macro flash extender/softbox to use with the E-PL1's pop-up flash, something like a tube with a wide opening closer to the end of the lens, covered with a white diffusing material. With flash, you can stop down the aperture to get more of the subject in focus, and the very short flash duration freezes any motion (yours and the subject's).


Mu-43 All-Pro
Mar 21, 2013
N Essex, UK
Real Name
For $30 you can but an old 50mm slr lens together with a coupling ring for one of your existing lenses (reversing the 50mm in front of your kit lens will give ~1:1) & a reversing ring fro reversing the 50 mm direct onto the body (or extension tubes...)
The mount of the 50mm doesn't matter if it's only used reverse mounted so you can get one of the reasonable quality lenses in an obsolete mount. (Most SLR's in the 60s & 70s were sold wioth a 50mm prime & there are many fine examples still around) with a slightly more common mount (M42, PK, FD...) you would also be able to get an adapter to mount the lens normally but this might push up the cost of the lens a little. I have brought a usable M42 lens (comlete with camera, flash & even film) for £5 but this is down to a fair bit of luck.
Nov 16, 2012
Real Name
One option you might look at, particularly if you find that your budget won't stretch to an adapted lens plus adapter, is the Olympus M-CON-1 attachment. It won't get you to true macro, but it will give you a taste of shooting smaller if you can't manage a lens right now. However, you need to check which kit lens you have. I think that the M-CON 1 will fit the 14-42mm II R version but not the very first 14-42mm. (The first 14-42mm had 40.5 thread size -- the second was 37mm.)

When I wanted to try "real" macro photos, I got a used Canon FD 50mm 3.5 and an adapter. It ended up costing me about $50 US for the lens and maybe $20 US for the adapter. There are a couple of other members here who use that lens and like it. (I'm too much of a noob for my opinion to count for much.)


Mu-43 Regular
Apr 6, 2013
Vancouver, BC, Canada
I bought a Vivitar 55mm f2.8 in FD mount and adapted it to my G1. It goes down to 1:1 and has been a lot of fun both as a macro lens and a portrait lens. Total cost was around $100 CAD.

Manual focus is a bit of challenge for taking photos of moving kids, but for macro it is not a problem at all.
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