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macro: ridiculously close focusing distance

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by 97381, Jan 30, 2012.

  1. 97381

    97381 New to Mu-43

    Jan 29, 2012
    Hi guys/gals. First time poster, been lurking a while. Great community.

    I've been getting as serious as I can with my cheap point & shoot for about a year now. Been chomping at the bit to step up to a more formidable weapon. Thanks to this year's tax return, I'm about a week or two out from finally pulling the trigger. Got my heart set on an epl2.

    I spend at least 75% of my shooting time in macro mode. A bit obsessive? Probably. But it's what I love.

    My question is this. What is the best general strategy to achieve a ridiculously close focusing distance with macro on the m4/3 format? Coming from my point & shoot background, I have developed a habit of doing macro with the lens stuffed right in the face of whatever it is I'm shooting. And truth be told, I like it that way. There is often no other way to achieve the kind of perspective / composition I'm going for. You can't get the underside of a one inch tall mushroom from a foot away. As you know, many point & shoots can focus tack-sharp on something that's one inch in front of the lens. Some get even closer. (Side note: I am not equating extreme close-up with extreme magnification. I understand the difference between the two. I could be happy at 1:2 on the sensor, so long as I get the composition I'm looking for.)

    So I'm looking for a way to duplicate this bad behavior with my soon-coming epl2. I suppose we can list the ways in which we do macro:

    native macro lenses
    adapted macro lenses
    extension tubes
    close-up filters
    reverse lens adapters
    whatever else is escaping my mind right now

    I should add one last qualifier.. I'm hoping the answer is not a $$$ native lens. That's the one option that may be out of my reach. I'm posing this question in the adapted lens forum because I'm thinking and hoping the answer leans that way.

    Long-winded, I know. Sorry about that. Thanks for helping a new guy out.
  2. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    IMHO, the native lens is the right answer, though. They come up frequently enough that you can get a good price on a used one ($500-600)

    That said, compacts have a significant advantage in macro work because of the DOF afforded by the small sensor. You will be able to use a much larger aperture and reap the exposure benefits (faster shutter speed or lower ISO) with a compact over a large-sensored camera
  3. 97381

    97381 New to Mu-43

    Jan 29, 2012
    ~tc~: Thanks for the quick reply. You had to tell me it was the spendy native lens, didn't you:smile:

    Yes, it sometimes feels like cheating, doing macro with my little trinket of a camera. The pics do turn out, if I may say so myself.

    As far as DOF is concerned, I'm actually intrigued to get it shallow. Of course, this coming from a guy who hasn't actually done it yet. Maybe I'll change my mind with a bit of experience.

    I will have to research the available native macro lenses. Are there any that will get me in to within an inch? If so, I may have to start working on some excuses for the wife:biggrin:
  4. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Get the Zuiko Digital 35mm f/3.5 Macro for Four-Thirds, along with a Four-Thirds to Micro Four-Thirds mount adapter (Panasonic DMW-MA1, Olympus MMF1, or Olympus MMF-2). This is a 1:1 macro lens with a closest focus distance of 5.75", and is killer sharp. This lens will have full features like a native lens on Micro Four-Thirds.
    • Like Like x 2
  5. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I don't think there is any macro lens for M4/3, native or adapted, that could focus as close as 1 cm like a P&S camera with super macro feature could, is there?
  6. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I double recommend that lens- and even a generic adapter (I forget who makes it)- the AF is useless for more things, but it's macro- so you want MF.

    I'm always amazed at the quality of the images I get form that lens.

    But the thing I like most about it: Lens + Adapter can be had for $200-275 if you look around enough (and get used like I did).
  7. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Focus as close as 1cm is not always the advantage. Try to shoot some live bugs and you will quickly realize that some decent distance is needed. And further more subject close to front lens element could be shaded easily.
  8. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Thanks for the advice. I raised this point primarily because the OP is upgrading from a P&S, and he specifically mentioned that he likes sticking the camera right up to the subject for his macro shots, so he might feel close focus at 5 inches to be too "far" for his shooting style...:wink:
  9. FastCorner

    FastCorner Mu-43 Veteran

    May 28, 2011
    Not exactly 1cm, but close. Here's a Canon FD 35mm f/2.0 wide open at minimum focus distance.

    View attachment 189958

    And again with 40mm of extension.

    View attachment 189959

    This calculator says the magnification on the sensor is 1.31x with a focus distance from object to sensor of 143mm. Given the length of the lens and extension, the lens is basically on top of the subject.

    The image quality suffers a bit because I didn't stop down the aperture, but I imagine sharpness and DOF would be much improved if I wasn't aiming to take the shot hand-held.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I guess you are right. I keep on forgetting that the minumum focusing distance is from the object to the sensor. Shows you how much of a macro shooter I am! :rolleyes: 
  11. photoSmart42

    photoSmart42 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 12, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Use a microscope lens if you want ridiculously close focus distance. Just need an RMS adapter from eBay.

    _1020316 by photosmart42, on Flickr
  12. 13Promet

    13Promet Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 11, 2011
    By getting in real macro shooting (i.e. 1:1 magnification or more) you'll see that the problem - when it is - is getting enough DoF rather than being able to defocus :smile:
    More or less opposite situation to "ordinary" shooting.

    When I'm using the macro lens on my APS-C camera to shoot fishes, plants and shrimps in my acquariums, I'm forced to use a stadium-like lighting system to avoid large apertures, as they don't allow enough DoF.

    When trying to get 1:1 magnification (lens about 10 cm away from the subject, in my case) I've never been able to fully focus a 2cm long shrimp in its lenght by my 60mm micro lens on APS-C (90mm equiv.) :biggrin:

    Getting back OT, since in macro photography you shoot 100% MF, I'd go for a legacy lens for saving money.
    A good micro 50-60mm MF from the main manufacturers will probably do the job pretty well for 200-250$ + adapter.
    I know Nikkor lenses only, therefore I'm not able to suggest about what brand/model is better for the scope.

    What I'm sure about is that I'm eager to know how my 60mm Micro AF-D works together with my brand new GX1 :smile:
    But I have to wait for some weeks for the adapter to be delivered... :mad: 
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Actually, there is a 5x Macro lens which operates much like a microscope for Micro Four-Thirds: Hands On Review: Yasuhara Nanohax5 5x Macro Lens (Micro Four Thirds) at The Phoblographer


    This lens is kind of like the Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x Macro, but the Yashuhara is even more dedicated. The Canon cannot focus out more than 1:1 (and up to 5:1), whereas the furthest out you can get on the Yasuhara is 4:1 (with closest again up to 5:1). In other words, you can't use these lenses for anything BUT extreme macro, and can't achieve infinity focus (or anything remotely close to it). There won't be any doubling as a portrait lens at 4:1, lol. :biggrin:
  14. nrowensby

    nrowensby Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2012
    Columbia, SC
    You could try a reversed lens on the end of one of your existing lenses...

    I have an old 50/1.7 that I bought for $1 with messed up aperture lever and foggy glass, took apart, removed all aperture blades, cleaned glass and now use it reversed on the end of my 85 for some VERY CLOSE (~1" or less) macro work... here are a couple I took last night with this setup (albeit a DSLR, the effect will be the same on :43:) 

    I just hold the 50 up to my 85 and abracadabra -- instant macro lens!!!

    View attachment 190015
    Pretty Eyes... by owensbyphoto, on Flickr

    Macro - Crushed Red Pepper Flakes by owensbyphoto, on Flickr

    Canon EOS-1D Mark II    ---    85mm    f/22.0    1/200s    ISO 50

    Macro - Small Screw by owensbyphoto, on Flickr

    Canon EOS-1D Mark II    ---    85mm    f/22.0    1/250s    ISO 250

    Macro - Penny by owensbyphoto, on Flickr

    Canon EOS-1D Mark II    ---    85mm    f/22.0    1/200s    ISO 250

    Macro - Ballpoint Pen by owensbyphoto, on Flickr
    • Like Like x 2
  15. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Dumb question alert.

    What is the difference between "Macro" and "close focus"?

    The reason I ask is that I am getting reasonable macro results with the Raynox DCR150 on the Olympus 40-150 lens. However, the lens is still nowhere near how close I was when using a P&S. Does that matter?
  16. 13Promet

    13Promet Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 11, 2011
    Macro is related to magnification ratio between the actual size of the subject and its film/sensor projection achieved by the lens.
    1:1 or more is macro, less is not, regardless the focus distance.

    Depending on the focal lenght, different lenses achieve the same magnification at different distance.
    Namely, tele lenses will get to 1:1 while being farther from the subject than normal lenses.

    Therefore there is a relationship between macro and minimum focus distance, but it must be also related to the lens' focal length.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. nrowensby

    nrowensby Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2012
    Columbia, SC
    :thumbup: That is why tele-macro's are prefferred when working with dangerous or skiddish creatures. They don't require you to be nearly as close, but get the same result. :biggrin:
  18. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Also, because of the longer FL, you'll get a nice background separation as the FOV is way different than that of a wider lens.
  19. nrowensby

    nrowensby Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2012
    Columbia, SC
    Do you mean DOF??

    I don't think background separation is much of a worry in macro photography because at extremely close focal distances your DOF is truly razor thin. You are normally doing everything you can to get more DOF (ie: stopping down as far as possible & focus stacking)
  20. veereshai

    veereshai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 12, 2011
    Arlington, VA
    Nope, I meant the change in field of view. The DOF is dependent only on magnification, so a wider lens will give you the same DOF as the long one, but the FOV is different. The wider lens will include more of the surroundings where as with longer lens you can isolate the subject.

    I think the below quote conveys what I am trying to say:
    Source: Longer Focal Length Macros; Get Up Close From Far Away | Shutterbug

    Most of us confuse close up photography to macro photography. With a good technique (very very difficult to master), you can get away with wider apertures and a smooth background.

    If you can post some photos that you have taken with the existing gear, it might help us give you better suggestions.
    • Like Like x 1
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