Cheap macro lens for Lumix G3?

Started Oct 11, 2012 | Questions thread
gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 4,600
Re: Cheap macro lens for Lumix G3?

You can use Raynox lenses with the 14-42 kit lens, but you get vignetting from about 30mm, and it rapidly becomes very severe as the focal length decreases. See the images in the second half of this set for illustrations of this.

You can get nice quality from Raynox lenses on longer zooms. I previously used the Raynox 150, 250 and the Canon 500D on the 45-200 kit lens on my G3, and now use them and also the Raynox MSN-202 on the Panasonic 45-175 lens. None of my achromats vignette on either of those lenses. Before that I used them on a Canon SX10is and before that on a Canon S3is, on which the 150 and 250 vignetted at shorter focal lengths.

As you will find out, if you haven't already, it is a matter of sometimes strong opinions and lively debate as to what kit you do or don't need to produce pleasing macros. I have produced results that I quite liked with a tripod and without, with flash and with natural light and with mixtures of light, with and without a focus rail, with a micro four thirds camera and with a bridge camera. And there are other factors such as post processing and associated software that play into the equation.

And there are strong and varying opinions about some other matters such as what apertures are good for macro work - I use very small apertures, many other people would not even consider using such small apertures. I use high ISOs, many other people don't, ever. I use autofocus almost always, many people don't use autofocus for macros, ever. I sometimes use extremely slow shutter speeds, some people only ever use fast shutter speeds. Some people only every use RAW, some like me never use RAW, and others use a mixture of RAW and JPEG.

There are even strong views about what a good macro/close-up image looks like, and even what counts as "real" macro and what doesn't.

So?  I suggest you take your time, get something inexpensive to start you off, and explore and experiment, listen to what other people say and try things for yourself to find out what works for you. At that stage you will be better placed to decide whether, and if so exactly how and with what purchases, to take forward what by then may have turned into a passion for close-ups and macros. (It does grab some people like that!)

Given your sub $200 requirement you may not be able to afford a longer zoom and one or more of the Raynox, Canon, Marumi etc achromats. So a legacy macro lens may be your best way forward. On the basis of a very inexpensive initial experiment, just to help you get into close-ups, you might want to try a close up filter set with single element lenses (as against the two, three or four elements in achromats), but if you do don't expect to get terrific image quality from them, and do expect to discard them for something better quite soon.

I think practice, study and experiment may be much more important in the early stages than exactly what equipment you are using.

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