What should I use for Macro?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by cyrax83, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Hi All,

    I have an E-M1 with the following gear:

    1. 25mm oly f/1.8

    2. 45mm oly f/1.8

    3. 12-40mm f/2.8 pro

    4. Nissin i40 flash

    I want to start taking some awesome Macro shots. I've never really done Macro before so ~$450 on the 60mm macro lens is a big outlay, and I've heard the oly 60mm f/2.8 macro lens isn't the best thing out there.

    There are a couple of options out there but I'm not sure which is the best:

    1. Purchase MCON-P02 macro converter and use it on the 25mm/45mm f/1.8 prime (would look better on the 45mm)

    2. Buy a Marumi DHG Achromat 200 (+5) or 330 (+3.3) with a filter step down converter and put it on the 45mm. I've never used one of these so don't know much information about the macro strengths

    3. I've heard Raynox are quite good also (DCR-150/250?)

    4. Just save up for the 60mm

    Thoughts? Thanks
    • Like Like x 1
  2. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Just to make your decision more difficult, I'll throw another option out there -- you could get a non-m43 macro lens and an adapter.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Oh man, this is even more confusing.

    I'm a bit apprehensive about venturing out of the non-m43 lens as I've never done it and I understand you'd lose some features like autofocus and electronic aperture (although not a big deal if you can do it manually). I'm from Australia so my choices may be limited but I'd most likely purchase from Amazon or Ebay anyway.
  4. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Yes, with a legacy lens you'd be restricted to manual.

    (Also, I have to respond to your comment on the Oly 60mm. It may not be the absolute best possible macro lens, but it's quite a nice lens, and people like it for portraits as well.)
  5. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Yep I've heard it's nice for portrait as well. I figure I've got the 45mm for portrait anyway so I guess just focused on macro for now.
  6. listers_nz

    listers_nz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 22, 2013
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    With macro photography you may find yourself using manual focus anyway, so a manual focus legacy lens might not be such a big deal. I've got a manual focus Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 macro lens + applicable adapter (Minolta mount in my case). Beginner mode is just set the aperture to around 5.6 and concentrate on the focus.
    Another option is there are some four thirds macro lenses which could be used with an adapter - focus would likely be slow which isn't an issue if you manual focus, but at least you would have auto aperture etc.
  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    For shorter lenses, extension tubes work better. I'd look for some af capable tubes for your your 25/45.
  8. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Do you have a flash? I would seriously consider budgeting for one if you don't.

    Are you looking to get into macro photography generally or do you have some specific subject in mind? Some things are easier than others to shoot without AF and at short or long working distances.
  9. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
  10. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    I use Kenko extension tubes with the O45.
  11. fin azvandi

    fin azvandi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 12, 2011
    South Bend, IN
    A lot of macro will be manual focus, so if you're just looking to dip your toes in I wouldn't worry too much about keeping AF. Do you have local thrift stores that might stock some old lenses? There are tons of legacy macro lenses around 50mm or 90-105mm that you could probably pick up at very little cost just to practice your technique.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    You can look for a refurbished copy and save yourself some funds, and I am not sure who thought that the 60 isn't the best thing out there, but it is quite an amazing lens. I also shoot with Nikon 60mm and 105mm macros, and the 60 can hold its own if shot properly.

    Good luck,

  13. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    The Oly 60 is a very good macro lens (I don't like it for more distant shots, but that's another matter). I still play with my manual micro-nikkors, but the oly arguably out-resolves them for detail (although you're at the pixel peeping level to really notice). I find the 105 a bit long and heavy for hand-held use (no ibis on a GM1 ;) )but my ancient AI converted Nikkor 55mm 3.5 works well and is cheaply available used.
  14. piggsy

    piggsy Mu-43 All-Pro

    Yeah the drawbacks to it are basically -

    1. it's a 60mm and you may not want a 60mm prime macro lens depending on what you're using it to shoot

    2. it uses motor focus in manual focus mode with no absolute position/distance/dof scale

    OTOH - upsides - weather sealed, very small and light, good focus limiter and actually pretty decent AF all things considered, and it produces pretty much as nice an image as is possible to get out of any 4/3rds sensor AFAIK.

    I would think about lighting at least as much as about the lens choices too. If you shoot stuff that moves and has any more depth than the front of a coin or a piece of paper - you will always be after greater DOF and faster shutter speeds no matter what lens you buy. Perhaps someone remembers the maths for this exactly but when you're at high magnifications the standard DOF per F-stop rules start breaking down, and it can end up so that at 1:1 magnification you have an effective aperture roughly double what the camera itself is reporting. Considering that you may well be already at ISO200 to minimise noise, 1/250 to freeze the subject and F11 to maximise depth of field as reported on the camera and it can be a challenge to find something that brightly lit via natural light.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. flamingfish

    flamingfish Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Nov 16, 2012
    Don't you generally want control over your aperture for macro anyway? As piggy said, DOF is a major issue when you're that close, and auto isn't necessarily going to give you the aperture you want.
  16. Paul80

    Paul80 Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 6, 2014
    One issue with using a legacy macro lens is in macro you often shoot with the lens stopped down to one of the smaller apertures to get any sort of DOF and doing that with an adapted legacy lens will leave the EVF far too dark to use, the can auto compensate down to 5.6 ish but go smaller than that and the Screen will be too dark to reliably use.

    The Oly 60 is an excellent lens though as is the Pany 45. Some say they are a bit shot for macro but they are giving the same FOV as 120 & 90 if they were FF lenses and in the FF film world macro lenses were nearly always between 90 & 105 so in the real world 90 & 120 is not so restrictive is it.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  17. wjiang

    wjiang Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Use the 12-40 for pseudo-macro stuff for now (it has a pretty good magnification ratio), practice using the flash.

    Then, if you find that you can't get close enough... How seriously into macro will you get? The 60mm is extremely good (most think better than the PL45 optically). Otherwise, look for a good deal on one of the MCON-P02, Marumi, or Raynox achromats for the 45mm, quality-wise they are similar enough. Note that with the larger achromats you can also use them on telephoto lenses which will give more magnification than the 45mm. Automatic extension tubes are another possibility, there is practically zero IQ degradation but you lose some light.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
    • Agree Agree x 2
  18. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    I don't know where you got that the Oly 60mm is not good, as all of the reviews available state exactly the opposite.

    Ming Thein, Steve Huff, ephotozine, Robin Wong, thephoblographer, etc... Only bad sides presented in those reviews are related to slower AF when not used for macro (not that uncommon for macro lenses, and managable when the focus knob is used), lack of hood (typical Olympus) and some say it has soft edges at f/2.8 (could be bad copy but still).

    It is without a doubt, a great lens, and well worth of the price (even when buying new).
  19. cyrax83

    cyrax83 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 8, 2014
    Thanks guys for all you advice. I really appreciate it. I cancelled my MCON-P02 Amazon order and ordered some Fotga Extension Tubes for $41 AUD. Looking forward to trying them out! It should work great with the 45mm f/1.8 for some great beginner macro
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. MadMarco

    MadMarco Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 30, 2014
    Guildford, England
    Good choice, I'm still enjoying using mine and no problems to report:


    • Like Like x 1
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