Macro lens for Panasonic G series bodies

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by Dave Reynell, Dec 18, 2015.

  1. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    I have had an excellent Panasonic DMC G1 for the past 6 years and over time have purchased several wonderful primes (20/1.7; Oly 12/2.0; and a Sigma 60/2.8). However, as a retired Forester who is in the habit of going "walkabout" with a camera, I often long for a macro lens.

    Now I know that there are several options, but I have noted (and I am aware of the d.o.f. limitations of larger sensors) that there is talk of the yet to be announced Panasonic 30mm/2.8 macro having a greater depth of field than ???.

    Is there a possibility that this lens will give me a d.o.f. equivalent to that of my ancient Nikon Coolpix 8400's 2/3 (6.6 x 8.8mm) sensor ? (photo below).

    If not, what's the point of purchasing a "Macro" lens that offers (due to the sensor size) a shallower d.o.f. ? B0001001.JPG
  2. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    The 30mm does not have more DoF at 1:1 than any other m4/3 macro lens at 1:1 - at macro distances the magnification and f/stop controls DoF for a given format, the focal length becomes largely irrelevant on a given format.

    A smaller sensor will tend to give a somewhat deeper DoF but you can compensate by stopping down and increasing ISO (more than you can with a compact for the same output noise level).

    With a higher resolution sensor and a high quality macro lens you also have more ability to crop in rather than relying on getting closer, simply because the system is able to resolve much more than a non-optimised macro mode on a compact camera. This will also give back some apparent DoF.

    With a system camera and macro lens you also get the ability to use controlled flash for macro and get more light that way so you can stop down more and freeze motion at the same time.

    Overall though, if you're already happy with the macro shots you're getting from a compact, a macro lens on a system camera isn't all that necessary. Do you need true 1:1 macro? If not, a more general purpose lens like the O12-50 or 42.5 f/1.7 with very close-up capability will probably do just as well.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Seems kind of hard to find the actual reproduction ratio of the 8400 but dpreview seems to suggest it's somewhere around a maximum of 0.173x magnification @ 37mm equivalent, which a few of the ordinary primes and zooms on m43 will exceed by a fair bit, before you even get started on macro lenses. Without wanting to really get into "REAL" macro hair splitting kind of stuff (don't even get me started on people who don't even think 1x magnification is "real" macro :D), the photo you posted would probably not make it into most macro photo groups, it's more "a photo of something close to the camera".

    In terms of the absolute depth of field, the same magnification factor (subject size, relative to sensor size) and same aperture will produce the same depth of field regardless of anything else. Where it gets trickier is that things like the degree to which the out of focus area is obliterated, the "effective" aperture at a certain magnification (in terms of pupil magnification of the lens - different than sensor equivalent aperture), the sharpness of the transition from in and out of focus areas, and effects like perspective distortion/compression can still be influenced by different gear and produce a photo that looks different even though the subject may be at the same actual magnification on the sensor and set aperture is the same.

    There was a discussion recently over here-

    Macro question about DOF of µ4/3 vs Full Frame

    about m4/3 macro DOF vs the A7 - which in comparing M4/3's 17.3 x 13mm to the A7's 35.8mm x 23.9mm, is pretty close to comparing the 8400's 6.6mm x 8.8mm to M4/3's 17.3mm x 13mm, and there are some photo examples and links on the second page. There are other things on the net I could link about it but I think it's a great thread for a couple of reasons - 1) people notice that eventually you have to output a photo onto something, 2) how tricky it is to make sure you're really comparing the exact same things. There isn't much for free in this field - it's all the same rope and you will always trade around working distance, magnification, depth of field, diffraction, etc into some agreeable compromise that is best for you to shoot a certain subject.

    In terms of why you would trade your 8400 for something with "less" depth of field - well, it's more complicated than "less" depth of field for one thing, for another, you need to consider at what range you will get this depth of field. And depending on which exact length lens and addons to that lens you want, you could keep 0.173x magnification at a massively greater working distance, or keep the same working distance and get massively greater magnification.
  4. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    Thanks for your detailed reply Pigpsy. Agreed "....the photo you posted would probably not make it into most macro photo groups..." it was, indeed, a photo of something close to the camera. It was a photographic record/documentation of the flowering of Scolopia mundii, a rain-forest tree native to the Afro-Montane forests of Southern Africa. As a Forester all I required was a sharp image with some depth-of-field. Hence my question.
  5. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Ah, yep, I get it then :D

    It should be no problem to replicate that shot - I can't see the EXIF data from that picture to see precisely what you would need to get an equivalent shot on m4/3, but it in no way looks out of the ordinary in terms of what you could achieve depth of field wise.
  6. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    I'll see if I can retrieve the EXIF data (the photo was taken about two years ago & my Nikon CP 8400 has died in the intervening period) I have it somewhere in my files. Thanks :)
  7. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    Panic over ! Your link led me to the very informative Cambridge in Colour. Their quote/comment below confirms my suspicions/intuition that the old CP8400 would in fact give me a greater d.o.f. for a given f-stop.

    "..With digital SLR cameras, aperture settings of f/11-f/16 provide a good trade-off between depth of field and resolution, but f/22+ is often necessary for extra (but softer) depth of field. Compact cameras can get away with much lower f-stop values, such as f/5.6-f/8.0. Ultimately though, the best way to identify the optimal aperture setting is to just experiment.."

    As they advise, "experiment". Diffraction, by their accounts, is not the monster it's made out to be !

    In closing, thank you to you both for taking the time to reply to my query.

  8. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Ah, trickier than that though, because often the smaller sensor cameras are limited to comparatively wide apertures. It's often a pain to find what they are exactly but amazon lists the 8400's smallest aperture opening as F8. If that's correct you'd still have at least F22 available to give deeper DOF on m43.

    There's another article on diffraction I'm fond of over here at lens rentals - - Overcoming My f / Entekaphobia

    which goes into it a bit deeper. That said - and personally as a fan of shooting macro at f22 - "literally the smallest possible aperture opening there is on the format" is not necessarily the ticket to the best possible image quality :D
  9. Dave Reynell

    Dave Reynell Guest

    Wonderful article by Roger at Lens Rentals. He's quite a wordsmith ! Thanks for the link piggsy.

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