About that OM 50mm/1.8

Started Aug 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Tim F 101
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About that OM 50mm/1.8
Aug 6, 2012

Although I own a macro lens, a manual Sigma 50mm, macro extension tubes always seemed like an intriguing idea. For about twelve bucks you get a hollow tube with lens mounts that fits between the camera body and a lens. If you want more macro, you screw a couple of extension tubes together into a longer tube. For less macro you use a short tube that extends the lens by only a little bit. The result works like a dedicated macro lens except that it has no electrical contacts, bright apertures get less bright, and focusing with the lens's focus ring does very little good. Instead you have to rack the whole camera forward and back to find your focal point. Still, the low price and the promise to use any lens as a macro sounded pretty cool.

This technique throws away a lot of light, so you need to use a flash or else shoot in bright sun. For these pics I used an old Achiever strobe on a cheap radio trigger, set on minimum power with a clip-on diffuser and held just outside the image frame. Getting it so close and behind a diffuser helps to spread out the ugly flash highlights a bit. The lens is an OM "Made in Japan" 50mm, one of the many very sharp 50mm choices that you can find online for peanuts. Other than the GH2, you could probably buy everything that I used for a total of about $150, counting shipping and four AA's in the strobe.

The results of one short weekend's work look pretty satisfying, but you tell me. Based a 100% crop of pic #1 (pic #2), it looks like this approach does not quite give you the quality of an expensive, dedicated macro lens, but you would have to print it pretty darn big to see a difference.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
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