Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 f 3.5-5.6 OIS Super Duper Macro Improvised.

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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... ever since I'm stuck with the Panasonic kit lens (not even de 14-45mm one), because of financial reasons, it depressed me the limited usefulness for the lack of ultra wide angle, fast aperture, limited long focal length, macro ability (for which to achieve this you need separated and / or dedicated lenses ).

... so I bought a old and used 70-210mm f 4-5.6 Macro under the name of Compact (WTF ?!?) on M42 mount (among other M42 lenses), but after a few months the aperture ring got stuck at wide open and after that the focusing mechanism broke down. After a month of not using it anymore (since it was useless) I thought about repairing it (without knowledge or sufficient interest in doing it properly, what could be worse than not functioning, like it was before I f**** it up) with a complete an utter failure. I don't know why but something in my head (let's call it a voice) told me to keep the front elements (with its respective compartment) and I got rid of the rest (no use to me unfortunately).

About a week ago, without a complete reason (or maybe I got to bored), I tried putting the front element (which is a 2-pieces of glass in a metal frame with a small tube going into the back) in front of my kit lens ... and to my shock and enjoyment the image suddenly got magnified without losing Auto Focus (which was a new experience compared to my M42 macro tubes and M42 bellow). So I though I should get out in the world and test this new toy and it's capabilities.

Here are some of the results:

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But it's not all to good unfortunately, the first issue is Auto Focus, it works but not not very good at all, it's slow (but still faster then turning a focus ring) and it's not very accurate (it misses about 50% of the time) and to compensate for this problems I had to turn to Burst Mode so I can have a high success rate. You might think that it's not worth it but it is. Not all subjects let you get close to them but they are far less intimidated by only the camera and not buy the user with the camera up to the eye. And in such an weird and painful position ( with arms stretched and squinting at the screen) is far better to have a green confirmation AF box then a pixelated magnified subject.

Second is that, even though the aperture is not all that big: f 5.6, DOF is still small and hard to get what you want in focus, that's why I had to resort to center point AF only and even then it's not exactly easy getting what you want in focus. Even harder if you want to recompose for other composition with AF locked to one point, loosing focus is very easy by the subject moving or chaining perspective or just hands shacking (don't forger the stretched arms with the shy subjects).

Third, vignetting and it's really bad for anything under 60mm equiv. At maximum of 84mm equiv. there's no vignetting but if your subject is to big (doesn't fill the hole frame) or you want more context by wider field of view you need to sacrifice by cropping or just let it vignette (which is not that bad in some images as it gives an interesting point of view).

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With all that said and done it's still worth it, just that the bad news is I broke (by accident, fall down and it pop-ed off the lens and shattered the glass) and I don't have any broken lens left to try again. Maybe it doesn't work with all telephoto lenses so I don't recommend you go off and destroy a perfectly good lens just for this. But in case you DO have a useless lens (non functional) you might get some use of it after all. Just watch that it doesn't mount on all lenses (the filter thread might be to big or to small) or might not work at all (to much vignette, or not sharp enough or other reasons). I will miss the little guy and might try, in the future, those front filter mounted magnification lenses.
 

Roger

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Jul 2, 2011
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Very interesting. Sorry it broke. I assume that you had to hold the front lens and could not fasten it. Never the less, you got some really nice pictures. I may start looking for a broken or very cheap lens to experiment with.
 

fortwodriver

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Nov 15, 2013
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Frank
Very cool photos. Some Zenit m42 telephotos had removable components. They weren't really removable on purpose, they were just made so poorly that someone at the Arsenal factory must have thought that screwing two asymetrical halves together would be cheaper than having a proper complete barrel. Sometimes, depending on the design, you could get really intense magnifications depending on where they put the "break" in the lens formula and where the thread unscrewed on the lens.

However, that made them "secret" macro lenses.
This sort of thing, and the variability it produces is what makes "living room photography experimentation" fun.
 

L0n3Gr3yW0lf

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Jul 31, 2013
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277
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UK
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Ovidiu
Indeed I think it would work best (maybe only) with zooms designated as macro (even though they are not). As someone pointed out on dpreview forums it's the design of the optical formula and part of it is the 2 front elements ("Pretty cool!
Looks like the front element assembly is actually a dual element achromatic, like Nikon, Canon or Raynox macro filters.Try it on a longer lens, it will bring you even closer."). After I disassembled the lens the front elements where in a round frame connected via a tube that had channels in a spiral (me thinks that they where part of the focusing mechanism) and that let me "force" it upon the plastic filter thread of the Panasonic kit lens and without damaging it. But it stay on just by sheer friction and it could fall off easily with just a slight jolt. I learn my lesson ... just to late, unfortunately. I was thinking of getting a rubber to long enough to cover half the front elements and half the kit lens so it wouldn't fall off ... but I couldn't find a specific size (5 cm I believe it was).
 

broody

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Sep 8, 2013
Messages
388
Those are some fantastic photos, your mod gave them a unique look that's quite terrific. It's saddening to hear about what happened to your lens, but you did get quite a lot out of it producing such beautiful images...
 

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