Cheap macro lens for Lumix G3?

Started Oct 11, 2012 | Questions thread
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 9,466
Re: Cheap macro lens for Lumix G3?

ryan2007 wrote:

andrethaiss wrote:

Hello everyone, I am new to the forums and I really like the users on here and I guess I should get some good advice from the professionals.

So I have started to get interested into photography after my mother recieved a Canon Powershot SX40HS, which is a bridge camera. Since then I have been in love with photography, specially flowers and close ups. I was thinking of starting off with a cheap m43 camera such as the GF3/G3 to start photography as I would like a larger sensor than the regular point and shoots

I would suggest the G3 since a viewfinder is EXTREMELY helpful when you are doing macro work.  Remember, you are usually out in a bright environment, and even the best LCDs will wash out in those conditions.  Also, the viewfinder allows you to brace the camera against your face if you are taking hand held shots, and improves stability.

I need advice in lens for close up pictures of flowers and smaller objects (nothing professional, just as a hobby). I was wondering if the kit lens on the Lumix G3 (14-42mm) would be sufficient for any close ups. If not, would anyone recommend me a set of cheap macro/close up lens under 200$? They don't have to be fancy or anything, just something simple. I know its not much in terms of lens cost but I have to start somewhere, I was also looking at the Raynox DCR macro lens/adapters but was not sure if they would work good with the kit lens.

The kit lens does not focus close enough to allow decent macro images without an adapter.  Also the kit lens is really not sharp at its edges, and is just not a great choice for macro work, even with an adapter.

Any help would be appreciated as I am a complete novice in the world of lens and adapters/tubes, but I am willing to learn.

Thank you!


Their are a few options.  The most important is to buy yourself a tripod and if the camera accepts a cable release buy that too.  Macro work or close up work is critical since you have to be still to avoid camera shake. You can always use a table or the ground and prop up the camera as a makeshift way to keep vibration reduced and you can use the camera's self timer in lieu of a cable release if need be.

Tripods are extremely useful, but you CAN take macro shots without them.  If you make sure to keep the shutter speed up and learn how to brace your camera as you hold it, you can do pretty well on the fly....If you look in my gallery, I have LOTS of flower and assorted other macro shots, and I think only three of them (the sunflower seeds) were taken with a tripod.  The rest were hand held.

The best option is using a lens specifically designed for macro like the Panasonic 45 2.8 and yes it is expensive. Many times in photography you get what you pay for. You can always look at something used.

Yes that is one option.  HOWEVER, you do NOT have to buy an expensive macro lens if you are willing to use manual focus.  If you are, you can buy a decent legacy lens (an older macro made for an SLR type camera).  These can typically be had for between 50-100, and an adapter for the M43 mount is around $20.  I use a very vintage Nikon 55mm (micro-Nikkor) f3.5 non-AI lens, which cost me all of about $50; so for a grand total of $70 I have a really excellent macro that works wonderfully.

By the way, most people find that even with an autofocus macro lens, most of the time you will use manual focus when taking very close up shots, since it affords you a degree of precision that it's hard to replicate in auto mode.....

The next thing you can do is buy a telephoto lens like the Panasonic 45-200 just to get the magnification part.  Their is such a thing as close up filters and Tiffen is the typical manufacture.  However, they are meant for 2D not 3D objects. It does allow a lens to focus closer but the trade off is some distortion on the edges. Its a sub $100 quick fix.

Longer lenses will work, and I do use them also sometimes, but they don't substitute for being able to get up close and personal when you really want to.

Most important when you look at lens spec's is the close focus distance.  Another feature is the lens aperture ability to help blur the background so your separating the foreground. You can search Macro flower photography for examples easily.

Last, if you are truly serious about macro photography and I am a micro four thirds user, I would tell you to buy a DSLR instead.  I am familiar with Nikon so that is what I will talk, check out Canon too.

Hogwash.  If anything M43 is a better choice for macro work, since the inherent depth of field is deeper than larger sensored cameras, and makes getting tiny objects in deep focus a LOT easier than a larger sensored camera would.  Honestly, I don't even remotely understand the rationale behind this statement.....

Some photos from the vintage Nikon macro lens below....


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