January 26th, 2013, 09:46 AM
Forget the macro lens, get a serious compact instead!
So I am of the opinion that macro lenses are not reaaaaaally essential.
A friend was asking which macro lens to buy for her Canon DSLR but I told her: 'fahgedabahditt'!
For the same amount of money or less, you could:
- get yourself a serious compact that can do a seriously mean macro at a high standard,
- plus it will probably be smaller than or the same size as any DSLR macro lens,
- having a serious compact for macro means you won't have to go changing lenses just for that one macro shot while you're on the move,
- AND when you're not using the macro function on the serious compact you can also use it as a (maybe) pocketable carry-everywhere serious compact which you probably can't do with your tank of a DSLR, for all the other non-macro photography.
Which serious compact would you buy primarily for its macro to complement your non-compact non-macro gear? I've seen some great macro photography posted by forum members here taken with the X10 and the LX7 amongst others. Is the Canon S100 still in contention? What about the new Sigma compacts? They're probably a lot more expensive to buy just for the macro function though I think.
Last edited by TraamisVOS; January 26th, 2013 at 09:48 AM.
January 26th, 2013, 09:57 AM
I agree. I'm amazed by the macros you can get from the X10 & X100.
January 26th, 2013, 10:00 AM
James, I can't comment on any compacts except the Sigma's which I do own, and whilst they focus close(ish) it's far from being macro, so I think you can rule them out from the start. My old Coolpix 880 from some years ago was way ahead of them in terms of a macro capability.
Sigma DP1M and DP2M, Panasonic GH2
January 26th, 2013, 10:10 AM
Seems like the smaller the sensor, the easier it is to do macro well. The LX3/5/7 can all focus crazy close - like you have to be careful not to hit the subject with the lens close. The GRD3 was like that too, and I'd imagine any camera with a sensor that small should be as well. The X10 sensor is slightly larger but they took care and offer both macro and super macro options and its crazy good too. The RX100 and G1X, which are fine cameras in their own right, have larger sensors (MUCH larger in the G1X) and neither can focus all that closely. The only macro function I have on my larger cameras is the macro on the 12-50 Olympus kit lens, which is good enough for me, but I'll still pull out the LX7 more often for the very occasional close shot I want to do. If I was REALLY into macro shooting, I'd probably get the 60mm Olympus m43 macro lens, but I'm not much into macro shooting, so the lesser options will more than handle my meager needs...
January 26th, 2013, 10:17 AM
Barrie, I've always not-so-secretly wanted one of those Sigmas and I probably would have gotten one of them if they were a bit cheaper but I am disappointed to hear that. Do they not have a macro function at all or it has one that doesn't work so well?
Malcolm - does the X10 and X100 do macros equally well or does the larger sensor in the X100 produce better images overall?
January 26th, 2013, 10:21 AM
Ray - I saw the amazing macros you did with your LX7 and it's making me a little hungry for one. I have an LX5 which served me well for a while but I thought the X10 had well and truly overshadowed the IQ until I saw your LX7 images. I wasn't really looking at the changeable lens compacts though, I was looking at the smaller fixed lens compacts which can replace or equal an actual DSLR macro lens for size, weight and price.
January 26th, 2013, 10:40 AM
Originally Posted by TraamisVOS
The specs give the closest focus distance as 280mm. I've just checked with my DP2M, rough and ready hand held and it's about that, or perhaps slightly less and when in focus the subject size is about 7" in the long direction, well short of being macro in my book. An advantage with a true macro lens is the ability to be some way from your subject if it's easily disturbed. So I can photograph dragonflies from about 36" away with my 150mm Kern Paillard Yvar on a 20mm extension tube fitted to my GH2 and achieve a good sized image, more than half the frame for the insect, but be outside of the disturbance radius for the insect. The distance from the subject is likely to be a lot less with most compacts, so that factor has to be considered in your choice of camera and lens.
Sigma DP1M and DP2M, Panasonic GH2
January 26th, 2013, 10:51 AM
January 26th, 2013, 10:58 AM
Didn't even know the aphid was there when i took the photo! -Ricoh grdIII I think it focuses down to a centimeter or two.
January 26th, 2013, 11:02 AM
Well maybe it depends a little on what your friend intends. My preference is to start at the end and work back when thinking about gear. What does she mean by macro? Is it the occasional close-up shot, or is it something she wants to seriously explore? What is the subject matter? Will she use natural light or flash or both? Is she prepared to use a tripod? What is the final output?
What is her intention?
Those who are really in to macro are unlikely to settle for anything that is not truly a macro lens.
If she has a Canon body, is comfortable with it, and is remotely serious about exploring macro, then get the appropriate lens. She can always pass it on for very little loss if macro is not her thing. Why have a whole new camera to get comfortable with?
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