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PL45 Macro Unsure

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by mav, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. mav

    mav Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 2, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Hey guys I'm trying to decide if I should buy the PL45 Macro, I'm going to mount it on my GF1 to have some fun with macro shooting. Only problem is the price I'm finding it extremely difficult to justify the $980AUD for a m43 lens.

    My main pains have been that I can get a Canon EF 100mm f2.8L Macro for cheaper to put on my girlfriends 5D Mark II which she leaves at my house for me to use. I mean how can the GF1 and the PL45 compete with that, but size is awesome for the GF1. I just don't know... if it was $700AUD I'd just buy it.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Danny_Two

    Danny_Two Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2010
    Get the canon lens and an adapter for your GF1 and use both cameras. Macro is generally done with tripods and manual focus anyway so the extra expense of the P45 auto focus may be unnecessary.
    If its just macro you want to do maybe even consider some old legacy lenses.
  3. alphasierra

    alphasierra Mu-43 Rookie

    Jun 13, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
  4. dayou14

    dayou14 Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    Yes, the EF-M4/3 adapter sounds like best solution.
    You can also look at legacy glass such as Vivitar 55 F2.8 macro, and the legendary Tokina 90mm F2.5 ATX Macro.

    I went ahead and bought both of the above, and I find my desire for PL45 gone.

  5. garfield_cz

    garfield_cz Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 9, 2011
    Czech Republic
    Macro shots always needs midrange apertures so you must somehow adjust it on canon EF lens. It can be done on Canon body (not very comfortable) or via very expen$$$ive EF-m4/3 adapter. I would suggest to buy native Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm F2.8 lens. It is sized and optically designed adequately for m4/3 sensor. Do not forget that 1:1 ratio means 2:1 when compared to 35mm! For instance GF2 with this lens and FL-36R flash attached has still decent size and weight. So I can forget about tripod and enjoy "action" macro shooting either handheld or with simple monopod. Try to shoot live even very slowly moving bug and you will curse your tripod :smile:
  6. Linh

    Linh Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Apr 14, 2009
    Maryland, US
  7. krugorg

    krugorg Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jul 18, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    How much would you use the PL 45 for a walk around, candids, and other non-macro stuff? Seems like this is what could help to justify the purchase...
  8. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    If you need AF macro, you could go with 4/3 Olympus 50 2.0 macro and oly mf1, mf2 or panny 4/3 to m4/3 adapter . Would be closer to your $700 budget requirement.
  9. mav

    mav Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 2, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Okay so its a 1:1 lens so its 2:1 thanks to the 4/3 sensor? Which means the subject will be larger on the sensor?

    Also I know theres all sorts of legacy lenses I could use, but I'm not sure any of you know the difficulty of getting any kind of old lens in australia. Ebay has almost nothing in comparison to the US.

    And I've not seen a single PL45 2nd hand shipping to australia on ebay. Also no local camera stores stock m43 lenses here in Perth where I live.

    I'd prob use the PL45 as a general purpose lens as well as a macro. Plus it looks bloody sexy on the GF1.

    Also whacking a huge 100mm EF lens on an m43 body is totally out of the question, what would the point even be? It'd be huge so why not make it huger with a 5D on the end of it.
  10. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    For under $100 USD you can get legacy glass and an adapter. I found that the lack of autofocus for macro does not diminish the photo taking experience as it would for other types of photography. Unless you are truly into macro (if you were you probably wouldn't be posting an 'unsure' thread) ... or if you're truly into IQ, (in which case I would think that you would have the 5DMKII, not the girl friend), then you probably should give some serious consideration to legacy glass.

    Based upon what you have stated, I think the difference between a good Micro-Nikkor macro legacy glass (or equal) and a PL-45 would not be very significant.


    PS- For IQ, especially in the realm of elevated ISO (above ISO 400), and for prints greater than 11x14, the 5DMKII will be visibly and significantly superior to the GF1.

  11. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 All-Pro

    Micro 4/3 is not meant to be an economical system, if you are comparing to DSLRs. Especially if you already have the cost of the absolutely amazing 5D Mk II taken care of, there is not one m4/3 lens that you can buy that you can't buy cheaper and better by going with an EF mount comparable lens.

    If I were in your situation, and I wasn't heavily invested in the m4/3, I would consider switching if all of these conditions are met:
    -You don't mind the size/weight penalty of a 550D/600D with lenses
    -Your girlfriend has a solid collection of lenses that you see yourself using
    -You are planning on staying with your girlfriend for a long time

    Otherwise, look into adapted lens options. There are tons of used lenses in Australia, as there are everywhere else in the world. Find your local photo shop and go in. Buy yourself a Konica, Minolta, Canon FD, or Nikon non-Ai lens, and then get yourself an adapter off of ebay. No one uses autofocus in macro photography anyway.

    You could even just get yourself the 4/3 adapter, and use any of the 3 Olympus macro lenses:
    Olympus 35mm macro
    Olympus 50mm macro
    Sigma 150mm macro

    No no no no no no no. An EF adapter is not worth investing in. You can't adjust aperture, so you have to shoot the lens wide open. Or, you can spend hundreds of dollars on an electrical adapter that can control the lens aperture, with which you could have just bought a Canon body and gotten 100% compatibility and superior performance.

    Both of those lenses that you mention are great macro lenses; just as good as the competition. There's a common saying in photography: There is no bad macro lens. I have found this to be largely true.

    However, again, do NOT get yourself an EF-m4/3 adapter. Completely worthless.

    No, that's not how focal length changes with macro. Magnification is magnification. 1:1 is the best magnification you can get with a 1:1 lens (not using tubes). The difference is that the 5D sensor is much larger, so you will be capturing much more in your frame. 1:1 means that you are capturing lifesize. So, if something is 24x36mm large, it will fit fully on the 5D frame. A 4/3 sensor can only capture something 17mmx13mm tall. The difference is that to capture the same scene with an m4/3 camera, you can effectively be standing twice as far away. That's how focal length affects macro.

    Don't kid yourself; a 5d with lens is much much much much larger than an m4/3 camera with same lens. Look at my old thread to see the size of a Nikon 55mm macro, with adapter, on a G2:
    However, again, to really drive it home: Do NOT waste your time mounting EF lenses.

    Some camera shops in Perth, after a 10 second google search. Feel free to look for more.

    This I agree with completely. Sorry, but your tiny $400 camera doesn't compare in image quality with a $2,500 full frame camera. Not to say that it doesn't have it's place, but I have not chosen to sell my D200 since I've gotten my G2.

    But, if you want a nice cheap macro option, the 5D can't compare. Look at the above lenses that I mentioned: they are all lenses for which there are currently no digital bodies in production. This means that they're much cheaper, considering what you get. Also, while the new Panasonic 45mm is nice, I wouldn't say that it necessarily can beat an old Konica AR lens in terms of image quality. The 55mm f/3.5 and 105mm f/4 have amazing image quality: the Japanese government even used them as the standard for those little gold quality-control stickers that were used in the past few decades.

    Or, if you find an older enlarger lens, you can build this setup using ebay parts:
    Just use a quality enlarging lens. El-Nikkor, Componon, Rodagon.
  12. Conrad

    Conrad Mu-43 Veteran

    The Canon is somewhat cheaper, but I expect the PL45 to match it easily. The IQ of the 5D will, however, not be matched by the GF1. So if you're serious about macro, and don't mind the weight, go for the Canon.

    If you're casual about macro, try to find lenses that have a double purpose. The PL45 is also an excellent portrait lens, sharp but gentle wide open. Another option is to use the 45-200 or 100-300 with a diopter. You won't get 1:1, but 1:3 is still a nice magnification for casual work and they provide a nice working distance for insects etc.
  13. CPWarner

    CPWarner Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 24, 2010
    I have found the Panasonic 45mm macro to be a very good lens. That said, I have adapted a Canon FD 200mm macro that is really good as well. It has the advantage of longer working distance. So look for a canon FD or Nikon or Olympus OM mount if the Panasonic is too expensive.

    • Like Like x 1
  14. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I prefer a legacy 100mm f/2.8 1:1 macro lens over a 45mm native lens, and I agree that macro lenses do not benefit from Autofocus so a native lens is not necessary...

    However, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L is not the way to go (at least not to save money)! You will have no aperture control on that lens unless you pay $150 - $400 for an adapter which can power the electronic aperture or provide an aperture control ring on the adapter. You don't need AF, but you will need to stop down your aperture to control DOF. There are a lot of other legacy lenses however, which have their own physical aperture rings... Personally, I use a Kiron manufactured Vivitar 100mm f/2.8 Macro, which works just dandy...
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    A legacy lens like that would be the cheapest route. Second cheapest route and probably the best route for maximum image quality, would be to get a Four-Thirds mount adapter and try some of the Four-Thirds Macro lenses. Being digital spec, they will have more advanced multi-coats for digital sensors and can provide better contrast and less flare than most legacy lenses, especially if you have to shoot wide open though this is not likely with macro work. The Zuiko 50mm f/2 Macro is one of the sharpest lenses made, and the Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro is an APO lens which should give you good quality if you like the greater working distance of a tele-macro (as I do). The Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 macro is very sharp (nearly as sharp as the 50mm/2), and can even focus in twice as tight... but with very limited working distance. It is a very affordable lens though, and well worth considering.
  15. mav

    mav Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 2, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Yeah you've all got the right ideas. TBH the reason I got my GF1 in the first place was so I could stop taking the 400D out and looking like a dork with a giant camera while I was overseas. So I'm leaning towards just getting the PL45 for its size, sharpness, macro and portrait ability. It'll compliment my 14mm and 20mm as well.

    If only that 5DII wasn't there taunting me with its awesomeness, the controls, the resolution, the viewfinder, that f&$%ing gigantic sensor! I do also have a 400D so any EF lens purchases would not go to waste whatsoever. However the 400D image quality doesn't even come close to the GF1 in my experience, even in low light.

    Adapted lenses are a cool idea and all but AF is a pretty much a requirement for me, I want to be able to use whatever macro I get as a short-telephoto as well. Don't want to be screwing about with MF on a GF1.
  16. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    2:1 means you can record an object half as wide as the sensor.
    1:1 means you can record an object the same width as the sensor.
    1:2 means you can record an object twice as wide as the sensor.

    That's one variable. The other is sensor size.

    Full frame is 36mm wide
    APS-C is 22mm wide (Canon 1.6x)
    Four Thirds is 17mm wide

    So, lets take some pictures of a ruler:

    Canon 5D + 100/2.8 macro (a 1:1 lens): 36mm of the ruler
    Canon 5D + MP-E macro at 2:1: 18mm of the ruler
    Canon 7D + 100/2.8 macro (a 1:1 lens): 22mm of the ruler
    Canon 7D + MP-E macro at 2:1: 11mm of the ruler
    Olympus EP3 + Oly 50/2 macro (a 1:2 lens): 34mm of the ruler
    Olympus EP3 + Panny 45/2.8 macro (a 1:1 lens): 17mm of the ruler
    Olympus EP3 + Canon 100/2.8 macro adapted (still a 1:1 lens): 17mm of the ruler

    You can see that magnification ratio does the same thing on any system, but on a smaller sensor you are effectively getting magnification for "free", just like you get reach for free with a 2x crop. You could just as easily crop the 5D2 image down to 2x and get the same image, but given the more-dense sensor on the EP3, you'd get more actual image resolution from the EP3 and the 5D2 if you do so.

    I've shot a lot with a 100/2.8 on a 5D, and I'd often add a 1.4x TC or some tubes to get a little closer. I rarely needed to go closer than 2x unless I wanted to shoot abstract textures and such. Right now I'm using an adapted 35/3.5 macro, and it gives me the same kind of macro "reach" without accessories; I can shoot stuff half as big as I could with the 5D.

    At some point I'm going to sell my Canon macro rig to convert to M43 for this reason. I'm just waiting to see what Oly's macro lens looks like. If it's 1:1 and f/2 and internal focus, I'll buy that. Otherwise I'm buying The 45/2.8.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    In the US, the Canon 100mm L macro is about 70% more expensive than the PL45. Are you sure you're talking about the L lens?

    At any rate, the PL45 is a fantastic lens. I've used the Canon L lens alongside the PL45, and I thought the PL45 did very well. In terms of size/weight, there is no comparison.

    With macro, you're often trying to get as much DOF as possible, and if shooting handheld and have to go above base ISO, the Canon sensor's advantage is lost at matched DOF (eg, Canon has to be shot at twice the f-number for the same DOF, necessitating 4X the ISO value for the same shutter speed).
  18. mav

    mav Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 2, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    It does seem there are some advantages to using the m43 for macro.

    Its def an L lens I was looking at, was some 20 dollars cheaper than the PL45.
  19. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    Canon has made three 100mm macros for EOS:

    100/2.8 Macro. The original launch lens, no longer made. Its early AF motor has no full time manual focus, and is not an internal focus lens.

    100/2.8 USM Macro. A currently-produce model, and the only one Canon made until recently. Has full-time manual focus and is an internal focus lens. $570USD.

    100/2.8L IS USM Macro. The new macro lens which may or may not have better IQ, but adds IS and the famous red band. $1000USD.

    I have the 100/2.8 USM and it's a wonderful lens. Very sharp and no optical flaws. Its bokeh is nice, its build is solid, and it handles very nicely. If it has any flaw (and I'm nitpicking) its AF isn't very fast even with the limiter set. But there's no real way around that considering its very long focus travel.
  20. Jman

    Jman Mu-43 Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    Columbus, OH
    If you want to do macro on the cheap, get an Olympus 50mm f/3.5 macro. A mint one is about $100, it's blazingly sharp and works great on m4/3. I still have mine even though I own the PL 45.
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