HELP!!!! Canon Power Shot G1X Can't photograph SMALL OBJECTS CLOSE UP

Started Mar 28, 2013 | Questions thread
Marco Nero
Marco Nero Veteran Member • Posts: 7,628
G1X - Macro Limitations and using Closeup Filters for small things...

Joseph Broz wrote:

I use Nikon cameras and Canon G1X has me baffled!!!!

A fellow photographer that weddings and events has been a dedicated Canon shooter for over 20 years.  Matt talked me into buying the Canon Power Shot G1X camera.  I have had the G1X for three days.  I could return it,

This camera is driving me nuts I can't photograph religious medals and crosses that I have cast with the GIX.  Matt told me he has NEVER tried to do macro photos!!!!

Help!!! How do you photograph small crosses, religious medals close up with the Canon Power Shot G1X.  The macro settings baffle me.

I have never owned a camera that could not do close up photos.

Fr. Joe

The Canon 58mm Closeup Lens is known as the '250D'.  You will also need to obtain the Canon G1X adapter Ring for mounting it to the front of your lens.  This ring can be used to add all sorts of creative and protective filters.

Hello Fr. Joe.

I can understand your initial despair over not being able to get too close to your subject with the G1X because the minimum focus distance with the G1X is 7.9 inches... which is about the same distance as the tip of your thumb-tip to the tip of your longest finger with your hand outstretched.  I was one of the very first to buy the G1X and knew of the limitations with Macro on this camera at the time of purchase although I still found it very limiting until I sourced a Closeup Filter for it.  Thanks to those members who somehow found my older posts on the G1X, by the way.  I'd forgotten about many of them.  If you are new to the G1X, try using it in P-Mode when you can.  It's similar to Auto but in P-Mode the camera will remember many of the changes to the settings that you might make.  Almost all of my G1X shots are taken in P-Mode.

The reason the G1X takes amazing pictures in low light is because of the much larger than usual sensor it has.  The larger surface of the sensor can gather much more light very quickly and produces less grain or noise in a photograph.  Unfortunately, in order to use a larger sensor, the lens array has to be moved forward slightly away from the sensor.  This is why the lens of the G1X sticks out slightly from the body.  This allows the light coming through the lens to properly cover the much larger surface area of the 1.5 inch sensor in the G1X.  The result of this is that we can't bring the camera much closer than 8 inches towards any object when in Macro Mode (or Closeup Mode).

The Canon s100 and the G15 use the same sensor (I think).  The G1X is using a MUCH larger one which means the lens has to be further for the sensor or else it would only focus the image over the central part of the sensor instead of covering all of it... and that means our Macros are limited compared to smaller censored cameras.  The Solution is to obtain Closeup Filters.

But there's certainly a solution:  You can buy "Closeup Filters" to use with your G1X which will magnify the subject (you still won't physically get any closer than 7.9 inches) and this should enable you to capture anything small like jewellery.

My own G1X with 250D Closeup Lens attached

I would recommend that you use a small tripod to steady your camera for such shots if shooting indoors and then try using apertures in AV-Mode of around f/5 to f/8 in order to capture more depth to the image.  Otherwise you can usually shot in P-Mode like I do and the camera will give you a nice, shallow Depth Of Field (DOF) image by default in most instances.  One of the reasons the G1X can produce such a strong DOF image compared to any other compact camera is because of the larger sensor.  And as I mentioned before, the larger sensor means we can't shoot the really tight Macro shots like we can with smaller cameras with smaller sensors.  It's often the same with DSLRs which are larger and have the same design differences.... and most of those DSLR lenses often have minimum focusing distances much greater than our G1X.

I also agree with the suggestion that the G15 might offer you similar construction to the G1X and similar performance yet it has a much closer Macro of just 1cm (if my memory serves me correctly).  This would enable you to capture these macro shots but remember that the G15 uses a much smaller sensor and therefore cannot produce images with the same DOF that the G1X can.

If you intend to concentrate on shooting Macro shots for quite some time, the G15 will serve you better for this purpose and its other abilities and even results are very similar to the G1X.  But if you are likely to shoot some Macro shots only on occasion, and would otherwise be taking shots of other daily events, them the G1X is an amazing camera that will produce very beautiful pictures.  Even today, I have not seen another camera with the capabilities of the G1X.  I'm sure it will happen some day, just not yet.

If you decide to keep your G1X, the following would be useful to you:

* (1) Solid, Mini-Tripod (desktop sized) that will accept the weight of the G1X.

* (2) Canon's FA DC-58C Filter Mounting ring for the G1X.  This allows you to mount all types of external filters.

* (3) Canon 250D (58mm) Closeup Lens.  This lens is made from Canon's best optical glass.

* (4) Microfiber Cleaning Cloth for removing any marks or dust from your closeup lens should you accidentally touch it.  The best types are usually found at Sunglasses stores.

* (5) A simple 58mm lens cap.  This will protect your filter if you choose to leave it on the lens all the time like I do.  Just "twist" off the whole lot together to take a "normal" picture and then replace it the same way.

As an alternative:

* Hoya Closeup Lens set (as an alternative to the 250D if you cannot source one).  They are also slightly less expensive and produce a similar magnification.

* Any type of flash that has a swivel head and can be used to "bounce" the light from the ceiling.  You don't have to use one at all with the G1X but a flash indoors can be bounced off the ceiling or walls to produce a very flattering result.  All G-Series cameras and Canon DSLRs can use a Canon Flash to this effect.

This shows the difference between using the G1X with and without a Closeup Filter

You don't HAVE to use Canon's filter's either... any 58mm Closeup Filter can do the job.  These Hoya Filters cost me about $50 many years ago and they worked almost the same as the 250D closeup filters.  The image taken with the Canon filter shows less Chromatic Aberration although you will not easily notice it in this shot.

An alternative to the Canon 250D are these Hoya Closeup Filters which come as a set and can be stacked together.  Be sure to get the 58mm size. And you'll need the Canon Filter Ring.

G1X + 250D and 500D (handheld): If you get REALLY enthusiastic, you can mount more than one Closeup Filter to the other to create even more magnification.  This image was captured using TWO closeup filters stacked on top of one another: The Canon 250D and the 500D closeup Filters were mounted together for this shot of a very tiny hover fly which was merely 1cm long.

G1X with 250D (tripod): This Pendant that I purchased for my wife was photographed next to a 1cm scale cube.  I was also able to get closer to it than this.

G1X with 250D (handheld): Clover - up close with the 250D on the G1X

G1X with 250D (handheld): This is about as close as you can get with this filter.  This tiny honey bee is about 2cm long and has excellent detail if you click on the image to view it a little larger.  As such, you can crop your pictures and still have plenty of image to work with.

When shooting with the G1X with the 250D on it, you'll sometimes find the Live Preview on the LCD very useful and you can even Manually Focus the pictures you are about to take when using it.

There is another Filter than Canon made called the 500D closeup filter.  To use this filter, you generally have to zoom the lens right out first but it CAN be mounted on top of the 250D filter as well... and this will give you VERY strong magnification with an extremely shallow DOF.  The 250D is adequate by itself though.

Finally, (and, as I mentioned briefly before) if photographing jewellery or handcrafted work of the size of a pendant or coin is important to you, the Canon PowerShot G15 will allow you a much closer Macro for this type of work and you won't need to add and creative filters to do this.  Since you said you could return your G1X, this might still be an option for you to consider.  If I were shooting things for say Ebay, and I wanted to shoot nothing but small coins or pendants up close, I would probably choose the G15 simply because it does this VERY well.  But if I wanted to spend more time shooting architecture or landscapes, wildlife or events involving people, then the G1X would certainly be my preferred camera.  I use my G1X for almost everything.

I hope this is of some use to you.

Kind Regards,

Marco Nero.

 Marco Nero's gear list:Marco Nero's gear list
Canon EOS M6 Canon EOS Ra Canon EOS R6 Canon EF-M 32mm F1.4 Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM +20 more
selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow