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Macro lenses for GH2
  • Has anyone shot any macro photography or video with the gh2? Any recommendations on some good glass?

  • 13 Replies sorted by
  • Panasonic Leica 45mm is beautiful.

  • @Seethlaw The Olympus 60mm F2.8 is probably the best value macro for the system with AF. You can pick them up for as little as $319 for factory refurbs (getolympus.com), $399 on sale or $499 regular price for new. If you need OIS, check out the Panny 45mm F2.8. You can also adapt an older Tamron 90mm for as little as $75 on eBay (F2.5 older / F2.8 newer). The Tamron is an impressively sharp piece of glass for the money, with very nice bokeh.

  • For macro going manual focus is usually best, autofocus does not help much (especially when you aim for like a 1:2 or 1:1 or beyond) and becomes more a hit and miss festival.

    There's always the method of getting a good condition bellows or extension rings (i use minolta auto bellows) and a standard lens, or better yet a set of good macro lenses to use with and without the bellows, im using an array of macro lenses depending on the magnification i need, old macro glass from the 70's/80's adapted to m4/3 is just fine for the job and is plenty sharp with insanely pleasing bokeh when you know what to look for.

    Some of my favorites:

    Minolta 50mm F3.5 macro (md or mc mount) Random gallery at flicker to show what it can do in the right hands: https://www.flickr.com/photos/nunoalexandrerodrigues/galleries/72157630825291620

    Vivitar or Tokina 90mm F2.5 (aka bokina), see for a proper review: http://makingnottaking.blogspot.nl/2010/05/tokina-90mm-f25-at-x-macro-bokina.html

    Although i highly prefer these two lenses the Tamron's Tron mentions are indeed also good candidates!

    both are 1:2 lenses that you can make into 1:1 with their supplied adapters. using a bellows or additional extension rings you can go beyond 1:1

    From macro, you can than travel into the world of micro too! This means using a bellows or extensions rings with an RMS adapter. (Royal microscope mount)

    You can then use an array of microscope lenses (olympus, leitz, nikon etc..) or get micro photography objectives like the Leica Photar's or the Minolta Micro Rokkors which are usually a tad sharper and have apertures, see for example: http://coinimaging.com/min12bel.html

    This will yield you around 9:1, but there's also options that land you around 4:1 if you don't want to go too extreme, 9:1 already gets to a level where there is very thin DOF and image stacking becomes a must.

    1:2 or 1:1 is still doable handheld, but another good friend of the macro photo/video freak is the trusty tripod (or monopod) so make sure to use those too for optimal results, lighting becomes an issue when you get close to subjects with macro, that's why im always advising finding your personal balance between enough DOF/appro shutter speed/way of lighting (natural/artificial) of course lenses like the tokina which give perfect results wide open at 2.5 and become insane sharp just a 1 or 2 stops closed more can be important in this matter too, but in general most dedicated macro lenses will not disappoint you. avoiding using an old zoom with so called "macro mode" though (as they're slow, not as sharp, heavy and don't magnify much), especially since you can already start cheap with a 50mm 3.5 macro which are readily available.

    Feel free to ask more if you're interested in certain matters.

  • @DouglasHorn

    Have you used it for photography or video?

    Were you using a gh2?

  • @kritzresn

    Thanks for the great post! The world of micro would be awesome to visit one day, but for now I'm focusing on macro lol.

    I forgot to include with my post, are you into photography or videography? Have you ever used a gh2 for macro? Did you have any specific hack you used for it?

    For this project I want to try to achieve the maximum image quality I can get (without bricking the camera lol).

  • @tron

    Thanks man, I'll check out those lenses and see if there's any deals on ebay!

  • Yes, I've used it for both on a GH2. It's also a nice portrait lens.

    Any time I'm really close up on macro, I find it's best to "rack focus" by moving the camera ever-so-slightly rather than trying to nail the focus with the lens.

  • @ Seethlaw, Both, but actually everything i mentioned could apply for a sony nex or any other mirror less too for example.

    For video in general i always use recent intra-frame frame patches from the great Driftwood, currently i would suggest Moon T7 (release 8 i still don't trust) which works great for me for everything actually. that is if you can run it dep. on which memory card you have + the camera settings you use (non-af, non-electronic lenses, no tele-ex or postproccesing features turn on, like iResolution and such, for macro only you could do some tweaks like turn audio off, but i usually use that for my own comments (when i don't need to record in camera audio for the video in the edit) about the footage while im recording it for easy reference in my NLE.

    Don't see why a certain patch would be better than others for macro, kind of depends in videography if you have a close to static object or a fast moving object, but that goes just as well for normal recordings, movement simply requires higher Bitrates and lower GOP to stay smooth, why still images or barely moving subjects can do with lower bitrates and thus have the perk of longer recording time.

  • @kritzresn

    Thanks for all the great information. As far as my project is concerned, I'll be filming a very slow moving object over a period of time. I'll have to check out that hack your talking about and personalize it for my set up. It sounds right up my alley!

    @douglashorn

    10-4 on that :)

  • I've used a bunch of these, including ones mentioned above, and I really like the Vivitar 55mm long throw macro. Great as a regular lens as well. I have the Series I 90mm but I always go for the 55, it is so much easier to work with, lightweight, accurate, and sharp. The Olly 60 is a very good lens, but for that price I would like a bit better overall IQ. If you see it onsale it is a good lens with a somewhat clunky interface. I paid $13-$15 for my 55 macro, and use it all the time. Harder to find these days. A few years ago, I posted a shootout with a 50/1.4 Rokkor prime and the Olly 45mm. A slight percentage picked the 55 over the other two.

  • If you want a true gem, get the Zeiss Contax 60mm Macro. Great for portrait too. There are two versions, a more compact one which goes to 1:2 and a larger one going 1:1. The latter is harder to find and seems to have the same glass.

  • And if you can't afford the Zeiss, here's another vote for the vivitar 55mm f2.8 - I have two of the these, and as well as being unbelievably sharp as a macro, its a nice portrait lens too

  • @drdave

    I'll check those out, I would love to find a quality lens for $12 lol. Do you know of any other places for lens besides ebay?

    @nomad

    I'll look into both of those. I'm pretty patient and check ebay a lot.

    @mrbill

    Awesome! I really want a sharp image with this project.