Want to try macro, what are my best options

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by monchan, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    I have the OMD and 4 lens.
    pl25mm, oly45mm, kit 14-42mm, kit 40-150mm

    So I have seen a number of macro images I like on mu-43 and want to give it a go. I`m interested in insects, flowers and small macro landscape scenes like clumps of mushrooms etc.

    Have been thinking about extention tubes to use with the lenes I have.
    Or the 60mm oly macro lens, which I have the funds for now.
    Not sure about going adapted lenes as will lose AF and as I understand it
    the AF is not bad with the 60mm macro right?. And if I get the kenko tubes I keep AF right?

    Say for example I use tubes with the 40-150mm, does that only mean
    I can get the macro shots from a further distance and I get really close to the subject The macro image will be much more macro than the 60mm macro?

    Also how would using the oly45mm with tubes difer from using the 60mm?
    Also looking for a tripod, one that can get right down low and take a bit of water. can someone throw a few names out. was looking through amazon japan but to many for me to make a good/correct decision. some names/models would be good then I`ll go back and see if they have those.

    looking forward to the replies
    Cheers.
     
  2. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    You do not need AF at all for macro. Macro is shot with Manual Focus, or when it gets really close then with small movements of the camera - either with a focus rail on a tripod, or with a gentle sway of the body if shooting hand-held.

    So don't even bother with extension tubes for a non-macro lens when you can get a real dedicated macro lens for just as cheap. Save the extension tubes for when you already have a dedicated macro lens and want to improve it.

    The Leica 45mm Macro-Elmarit and m.Zuiko 60mm Macro are awesome lenses if money is no object. Otherwise just get a manual lens. AF is just silly for macro.

    Plus, macro lenses have naturally slow focus since they generally have at least twice the focus throw to allow for precise adjustments. If you want AF, get a portrait lens.
     
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  3. kevwilfoto

    kevwilfoto Mu-43 Veteran

    294
    Sep 23, 2011
    Colorado
    Personally, I find that as I get closer and closer to "true" 1:1 macro, I never use AF. I have used my 100-300 for close-ups a lot in the past, and AF was great there. Now I have the Olympus 60mm, and I find that I just move the camera for focusing when I set the lens to 1:1. So, given that I think manual focus is fine for macro, I don't see why extension tubes or adapted lenses would be any different/worse than native macro lenses. I haven't tried extension tubes with native lenses.

    If you're considering native lenses, I suggest renting a few for a week and see which one works best for you.
     
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  4. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sam
    Here is my two cents about macros and tripods: doing macros of insects is a real pain in the ass with a tripod! By the time you set the tripod up, the insect is long gone. Some of the best macros I've have been able to capture have been handheld. I'm usually lucky enough to find a way to stabilize myself using my surroundings; being it a rail, fence, a branch etc etc. Its good to have a tripod in your arsenal anyways, so get the tripod if you don't already have one. If you want a tripod for macro work, get one that has a center column that can be mounted upside down and horizontally, like the Manfrotto 055XPROB.


    I'm currently thinking about getting a monopod or a pistol grip along with a shoulder brace for macros work. I'm not sure how well its going to work on alleviating the back and forth motion that throws things out of focus , but hey, its worth a try:

    Amazon.com: Manfrotto 361 Shoulder Brace for Monopod - Replaces 3248: Electronics

    Amazon.com: Camera Pistol Grip: Electronics

    A self standing monopod might be another good option, especially this Giottos one that lets you mount the legs around the head so you can get low to the ground:

    Amazon.com: Giottos MM5580 5-Section P Pod Monopod: Electronics
     
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  5. arentol

    arentol Mu-43 Veteran

    269
    Jun 29, 2012
    Longer lenses actually benefit less from the same amount of tubes as a shorter lens. Also, really short lenses may not benefit at all because too long of tubes can push the front element out past the new minimum focus distance (MFD) of the lens.

    Another factor is the starting reproduction rate of the lens. The better this is the more effect tubes will have. A 1:1 reproduction rate lens, meaning that at minimum focus distance an object the same width as your cameras sensor will fully fill the width of your cameras sensor (width of the final image). 1:2 means an object twice the width of your sensor will fully fill it, and 2:1 would mean an object 1/2 the size of your sensor will fully fill the frame.

    The 40-150 lens has an MFD of 90cm and a reproduction ratio of 1:6.2, so not that great to start with. My research indicates that with a 25mm extension tube the 40-150 can achieve a 1:1.6 ratio at 40mm and a 1:3.6 ratio at 150mm. However, the working distance at 40mm is about an inch, so you are going to have to backup a little and get a worse resulting ratio to shoot insects.

    On the other hand, the 60mm has a 1:1 ratio, so already a lot better. It also would be at 1.4:1 if you added 25mm tubes to it. So basically there is no way to make the 40-150 into even a comparable macro lens to the 60mm. This is also the case with the 25 and 45. I don't know about the other kit lens, but it would likely have MFD issues anyway for insect work.

    I would strongly recommend the 60mm if you can afford it and are at all serious about shooting some macro, even if just for your own enjoyment.

    Another alternative btw is to go entirely old-school manual. This is what I did (in addition to the 60mm). Made for fantastic working distance with very good results:

    https://www.mu-43.com/f40/interesti...eries-1-vivitar-2x-macro-teleconverter-30615/
     
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  6. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    Ok so I guess I cant go wrong with the 60mm. think I will just start out with that and doing hand held to begin with. Save the tube s for another day if I think I need them.
    Money is a big problem for me. I make enough, it`s just the wife wont hand any of it over. ha ha.



    No I dont have a tripod, and have been thinking about one for landscapes
    and shots from the beach. Thats why I wanted one that gets low.
    Will have to do more research into what is best.
    Amazon japan has that manfrotto ¥17000 with no top part, any suggestions?

    Also could you explain the benifits of having a centre column or not. And I dont understand what you mean by "can be mounted upsidedown"

    thanks for the replies.
     
  7. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    Long before you consider lenses, as far as macro is concerned, you should think about LIGHTING your subject. This is an often overlooked aspect of macro photography.

    All the beautiful super-macro photos of insect eyes, etc, you see, are done with great care on lighting, either with speedlites or continuous sources. If you start using the lenses stopped down (to increase DOF) lighting becomes imperative.

    You don't need to spend a lot in a good setup: any speedlite and some sort of continuous light (a good flashlight would do) are perfect as a start.
     
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  8. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sam
    If you look at the pictures on the amazon link: Amazon.com: Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod Legs (Black): Electronics

    the center column is the adjustable tube in the middle of the 3 legs. Every tripod has a center column, but with this tripod (and some others like it), you can mount the column sideways and upside down. The pictures on amazon better illustrate this. As you can see in the photos, this tripod can get really low to the ground and can be coaxed into a variety of stable positions.
     
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  9. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    thanks for your post. That explains it very well. although its still a bit beyond
    my understanding of how lenses work.

    Yeah I`ve been looking at some cheap led ring lights. to pick at the same time

    thanks got it now the japanese amazon doent have those pics cheers
     
  10. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sam
    If I may chime in again, those cheap LED macro lights wont let you achieve high shutter speeds, making them pretty much useless for handheld macro. Just something to consider if you want to go that route. If you can manage the cost, get a flash. For macro, almost any flash will do it seems. You just might have to modify it with a softbox
     
  11. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
    thanks for the heads up on those. will save up for an all purpose flash, been thinking about one for indoor work anyway.

    Thanks for all your replies, been a great help.
     
  12. With_Eyes_Unclouded

    With_Eyes_Unclouded Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 17, 2012
    Vassilios
    :thiagree:

    The rings are more for making it possible to easily achieve focus and also as a fill light in some circumstances. They are practical though in that context and could easily be used in tandem with a speedlight.
     
  13. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    +1 on the reminder to think about lighting. You can get some amazing macro shots handheld as long as you have flash to stop the motion. The principles are the same for any kind of flash use - you want the light to be as large as possible relative to the subject to get nice diffused light. For macro that can be accomplished by getting the flash+diffuser/softbox as close to the subject as possible.

    I've got an Olympus FL-36R on a small flash bracket, angled so the end of the diffuser is right about at the end of the lens and high-left, triggered using camera's pop-up flash. Since the flash is so close, you can shoot at f/11-16 for deeper focus and still shoot flash at partial power.

    Very inexpensive to DIY. Check out this thread on FredMiranda for photos of many kinds of set ups and go nuts!
     
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  14. merosen

    merosen Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jun 14, 2012
    Somerville (Boston), MA
    Mark
    fyi
    The nice thing about the E-M5 is you can save settings in Mysets. I have Myset2 setup so that that the shutter button does not focus. Fn1 focuses. Set the 60mm macro to 1:1 and move the camera back and forth to focus. Press the shutter button (doesn't change focus point) when ready
    If you want to use the lens as a normal lens, just use Fn1 to auto focus.
     
  15. Stonehollow

    Stonehollow Guest

    My "go-to" setup for macro is the Zuiko 50mm 4/3 macro lens with the EC-14 and m4/3 adapter. This is used almost exclusively for dragonfly and moth photos. I've also got some great photos with the "kit" 12-50 (macro mode) in conditions with sufficient light.

    In lower light conditions, you will need a tripod. There are many, many recommendations. All I can say is that I'm very happy with the Bogen 055XPROB (Kirk BH-3 ballhead). There is now a graphite version, which I am contemplating. It does allow for reversing the column so the camera is truly on the ground if you need it.
     
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  16. uci2ci

    uci2ci Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2012
    Los Angeles, CA
    Sam
    Ive never used a native macro, but wouldnt it be easier to just set the camera to MF and rotate the focus ring a couple of times to the right to set it to closet focus distance to get a 1:1
     
  17. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    Two things: In terms of flash, the Nissan flash for :43: is relatively inexpensive and works very well. Second, I use manual focus almost exclusively with macros. It's about the only way to get the focus on the spot that you want it. That means that I can buy an inexpensive legacy lens for macro and still get great results. If you buy the 60mm you need to consider whether you will use that focal length for other shots. If not, it's a very expensive option compared to legacy lenses.
     
  18. merosen

    merosen Mu-43 Regular

    128
    Jun 14, 2012
    Somerville (Boston), MA
    Mark
    Sure you can. The 60mm conveniently has a 1:1 switch. also the 60mm has finer focus (more rotations) so it takes longer to get from infinity to 1:1 (manually). The setting will move from infinity to 1:1 in a second. It's part of the focus limiter knob. Most auto focus macros have a focus limiter because macro lenses tends to travel a lot while focusing. It's a long way from infinity to 1:1. With the switch you can set the distance or magnification range you want without the lens hunting for your focus point (subject). In fact you would want the exact opposite if using it as portrait lens. You set the focus limiter so it doesn't focus down to 1:1
     
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  19. monchan

    monchan Mu-43 Veteran

    257
    Jul 7, 2012
    Tottori City, Japan
  20. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I also like adding the EC-14 to my macro lens to get in even closer. :D I couple it with the Kiron 105mm f/2.8 Macro or Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 Macro as they are both 1:1 naturally and the EC-14 gives them even greater magnification.