Macro lenses?

piggsy

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Well, on the bright side, you'll probably be able to shoot at less light-hungry apertures... maybe. Can you even put a polarizer on that thing? :hmmm:
Have to see - it's a full frame lens with a 77mm filter thread, but on m43 you won't see all of that. My cpl is 49mm since that was easiest to use on both the raynox diopters and the olympus 60mm by itself with a step-up. I have enough step-down rings to use the 49mm cpl on the 72mm Tamron 180mm F3.5 if I want to already :D

-ed on checking it's actually around the same length as the Olympus 60mm 2.8 so my existing light setup should be pretty usable.
 
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piggsy

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All macro lenses are reputably, (is that even a word?), excellent.
Every one, that I have had, has certainly been so.
I could live without the focus limiter switch, easily..
I promise to swoop on the next oly 30 I can lay my hands on. :)
Just to be a pedant - you have to watch out for this because if you delve too deep into Ebay, you find all sorts of "macro" lenses that are of lesser quality. There are good and bad macro lenses, and some good ones are quite honest about not being "real" macro lenses (eg my vivitar 135mm 2.8 "close focusing" for example, which is very primitive in design but still worthy) and others that are pushing their luck (eg any number of "macro" zoom lenses that are very far out of ideal operation close up).

It's also possible to be a good macro lens - as in, the field is flat, and well corrected at close focus - and be simply old, or designed for film rather than digital. My Vivitar 90mm 2.5 macro is awesomely sharp and flat, but the coatings assumed nobody would ever see ~400nm on film so it purple flares like an mfer with high-contrast white to black.

a good point - most "macros" are really just close-ups, so stabilisation can be worthwhile

I will say that the focus on my PL-45 is bog slow however.

A 30 mm will give you more usable working distances, so that is why you may want one.

Also don't neglect the ability to focus stack in body - that feature has about eliminated my use of my Nikon gear (3 macro lenses, bellows, their magic macro flash system, etc.) in favor of my Pany setup
Again just being a pain with this one, but the issues people commonly report with focus being slow on macro lenses are typically 2 things:

1) the speed at which focus can rack at high magnifications involves moving things VERRRRY slowly to give quite a large degree of apparent focus motion

2) the nature of "effective" apertures means that as you approach 1:1 magnification, the aperture of the lens becomes slower and slower, and the lens has less and less light to work with. To a point where you're basically twice as slow at 1:1, on something that may not be all that well lit to begin with.

The stabiliser will be more useful for natural light photography than flash (where you're more dependent on 1/10000ths of a sec flash durations), but, they're always still useful for stabilising the image - at high magnification the degree of motion produced by each mm of shake is directly translated to a change in framing, whereas for say, a landscape at infinity, you'd barely notice 1mm difference in framing.

ed - also, the working distance on the 30mm, unless I'm taking your meaning incorrectly, will actually be lower than on the 60mm? The olympus at 1.25x is at less than 1cm from the front element! That's pretty close. It's probably not that different at 1x.
 
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Joris

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Is there some reason that you skipped the Olympus 30mm Macro? I was thinking about buying it because it recently went on sale but thought you might have skipped listing it for some very good reason like it was not a decent macro lens, so I wanted to ask.
No, not at all, I didn't know it existed :) Better check all of those sites I mentioned, and there are others, to see how it performs.
 

Mike Wingate

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I started with an £0.89p set of 3 clip on lenses for my iPhone 4. I had a 4 X Hoya close up lens, was not happy with the results on my 3 zoome. so bought a set of auto tubes, pretty good, enlarged the image, bought a Raynox 250, brilliant addition. then bought the Olympus 60mm Macro, excellent, plus it can still use the tubes and Raynox. But the important thing was the purchase of a Macro focusing slide rail. Put this on a tripod, or ballhead and you are away. if your camera has an app so you can view and control the camera via the phone/tablet. even better.
 

Hayath

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I'd vote for the 60mm, very precise focus and versatile with the practical focus limiter ranges
 

robcee

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now that I've annoyed the OP with my "search the forums" post, I'll chime in.

I have both the PL45mm and the Oly60mm and love them both. The Oly's probably my favorite of the two because of faster focus, quieter operation (no PL ratchet) and will do Olympus' focus bracketing. And it's weather-sealed. Still the PL45 takes a great image. I love the contrast and colors with it.

Really impressed with the 30mm though. Wider angle but closer working distance.

edit: a shot from my PL45.
41927523470_e9cc64f372_z.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


* probably not a true macro, but this was an extremely tiny toad.
 

Petrochemist

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There are numerous ways of achieving macro without a dedicated macro lens. Several can probably be made to work with stuff you already have, which could be a huge benefit with delivery systems feeling the strain of corona. Most also work to add more magnification to whatever macro lens you end up with.

One of the better sources on such techniques is www.extreme-macro.co.uk which while not µ4/3 related covers all the options for alternate systems & has loads of tips...
 

davidedric

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #30
First, thanks for your responses, so much useful information there. And apologies to Robcee for my initial miffed response.

What I think I've gleaned is that the Olympus 60mm is an excellent lens and a very safe choice. The longer working distance seems to offer more flexibility in use. A possible downside for me is that I can't take advantage of Olympus in-body stacking, though I do have a copy of Helicon for pp stacking.

So, maybe the Panasonic 45mm would also be a good choice, leaving me with an all-Panasonic set up.
In fact it seems that all three of the m4/3 lenses are excellent, so hard to make a bad choice.

Thanks also regarding the ideas for less expensive ways in. On balance, if I do decide to jump in it will be at the deep end (that's just me) and resell if it turns out to be not what I want to do (this lockdown has saved us sooo much money in abandoned holidays).

Best regards, Dave
 

ralf-11

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the issue I am reporting with focus being slow on the PL 45 macro lens is that the lens itself is bog slow to focus - the worst I've ever seen of a half dozen 1:1 macro lenses with AF I have used

I agree that some off-brand macro lenses are crummy in terms of IQ
 

Mike Wingate

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Whe I was researching which Macro lens to buy, a couple of years ago. I found many negative comments about the PL45. Damaged ones were said to be unrepairable.
 

ac12

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re focal length.
Depending on WHAT you shoot, that affects the FL selection.
A longer FL puts you farther from the subject, for these practical reasons.
  • Important if you are shooting insects and such that you could spook, or don't want to be stung by.
  • Helpful in giving you more space for lighting. The closer the front of the lens is to the subject,
    • The less space you have for lights, and the harder it is to illuminate the subject. At least with common lighting in the home, vs specialized macro lights.
    • And, outside in the sun, the more likely you are to cast your own shadow on the subject.
If you are shooting inanimate objects, a slow autofocus is not the issue that it is, if you were shooting things that move.
I use an old manual macro lens, so my focusing is even slower. But inanimate objects don't move, so I can take all the time I want, to focus the lens.
 

archaeopteryx

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Damaged ones were said to be unrepairable.
That's likely true for most all Panasonic lenses at this point, I suspect, what with parts restrictions and service restructuring.

I have the Panasonic-Leica 45 macro and, other than being overpriced (like IMO most of the Panasonic-Leica line), it's fine. The shorter working distance and OIS make it usefully different from the Olympus 60 and usually better suited to my purposes. I got my copy used so it was somewhat less overpriced than, say the M.Zuiko 9-18 I also have, and the PL 45's held its value substantially better. I'd definitely rate it past due for an update for faster autofocus, though. Plus my copy's outperformed at low magnifications by copy of the Panasonic 12-60 f/3.5-5.6.

I tend to agree with the general preference for the Olympus 60 but am hesitant about suggesting it for Panasonic bodies in cases where autofocus performance is important, such as post focus and focus bracketing, as I've come across a couple posts where out of focus banding due to skipping's been reported. This isn't a common use case so I don't think the extent of the issue's well understood. I do almost nothing but post focus with the Panasonc-Leica 45 and, whilst it's reliable and not the limiting factor on the resulting image quality, it is slower than Panasonic's 240 fps and other floating inner focus lenses.

I think it's costing me money, too much time available for browsing e-bay!
That's a problem I wouldn't mind having. Affordable supply's switched off for the lenses I'm most interested in, though, which is fine too. Definitely cost effective.
 
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