Photographers often use lenses for subjects they are not primarily designed for. Macro lenses, for example, often double as portraiture lenses – especially the ones with medium-long focal lengths. But how about doing it the other way around and using a dedicated portrait lens – such as the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for micro 4/3 – for macro photography? Not a good idea? Well, no, not if you are only going to use the portrait lens. But if you attach one or two close-up lenses, you will be surprised what can be done with that kind of set-up. Take a look at the following photos I’ve shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M10, 45mm f/1.8, Marumi DHG200 (read my review here) and Raynox DCR-250. It’s important to note that none of these images were cropped.
I’ve added lots of photos taken with the Marumi DHG200 + 5 with the Nikon…
In my reply to Joni in the comments of my last post on the topic of shooting macro with the Ricoh GRD3, I said that the GRD3 has a very special wide angle lens, unlike any other either fixed (as in compact camera) or interchangeable. I now want to show you just how close you can get to your macro subjects with the 6mm f/1.9 (28mm full frame equivalent). What you see below is an image of a microSD card shot at the closest focusing distance. It’s important to note that it was not cropped at all. I just resized it from 10MP to 1920 × 1440 pixels. If anyone wants to see the photo in full resolution, I will upload it to Flickr. Just let me know in the comments. 🙂
It’s hard for me to fathom, just how much time has passed since I bought the Ricoh GRD3. I purchased it in October 2011 as a small street-photography camera, an addition to my “big guns”. In case you were wondering about the name of the blog: “big guns” for street-photography or big street guns… It just made sense back then, but not so much now. Anyway, I carried the Ricoh everywhere with me, but somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to like the wide angle focal length, since I was so used to shooting with 50mm standard primes with all my other cameras. After a while I stopped carrying the Ricoh with me and a couple of months later I gave up street-photography altogether. Since then the GRD3 has been slumbering, tucked away in a drawer, waiting for me to rediscover it.
More than two years after release Nikon still doesn’t offer a native macro lens for its Nikon 1 system. This means that if you intend to take macros, you are left with a few “odd” choices. The most powerful, but also the most expensive and bulky solution is to buy the FT-1 adapter and a DX or FX Micro-Nikkor, like the 40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8G ED, 85mm f/3.5 IF-ED or 105mm f/2.8 IF-ED. These lenses will allow you to achieve even greater image ratios (above 1:1) on N1 cameras than when used on DX or FX Nikon DSLRs. Including the FT-1 adapter these setups will cost you from $530 up to $1000. The other two solutions are intelligent extension tubes for existing Nikon 1 lenses (you can’t buy a “dumb” tube, because AF will not work, and “by wire” MF and aperture control on N1 lenses need power from the camera) or achromatic and close-up lenses. Both are considerably cheaper, but also less powerful. BUT, depending on your expectations, cheap solutions such as extension tubes and achromatic lenses could be just the right thing for you. One of my main reasons for investing in Nikon 1 was low size and weight, which was the reason I wasn’t ready to add so much weight and bulk to my photo bag with the FT-1 and a full grown Nikkor. I ended up buying the Marumi DHG200 +5 achromatic lens with a 52mm filter thread and a 40.5mm to 52mm step-up ring instead, which turned out to be perfect for my needs. At least until Nikon releases a native Micro-Nikkor for Nikon 1, in which case I will get that lens and use it WITH the Marumi. Here is what the Marumi looks like mounted on the Nikon V1 and 10-30mm.
The Nikon 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 has an exceptional image ratio. Without any additional close-up or achromatic lenses you can fill the frame with larger insects, like some butterflies. I’m expecting that with a close-up lens you can come pretty close to a 1:1 macro lens. That’s the reason I’ve bought a Marumi DHG200 (+5), but didn’t have the time to test it so far. The Nikon 18.5mm f/1.8 on the other hand is no macro wonder, but still pretty good for a “nifty fifty”. The problem with this lens is that because of the shorter focal length (I use the 10-30 at 30mm for macro), you get more spacial distortion the closer you get. Don’t get too close, or features of various insects will get distorted. In the following you will see what these two lenses can do without the use of close-up lenses. As I’ve said, the 10-30mm is pretty impressive for a lowly kit zoom. 😉