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Old Sep 20, 2012, 11:57 AM   #1
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Default Lumix G3 Close Up Filters

Hi There

I am hoping to get a bit of advice to help me use my Lumix G3 to take some close up images. I am mainly going to be focusing on skin but that would not be the sole subject. I didn't want to buy a macro lens without first trying a set of close up filters, purely for the cost. I have a set of filters (+1,+2,+4,+10) and I have had limited success getting the camera to focus as close up as I would like. The only filter that will focus at all is the +1. I have been unable to get any shots with the others. I am hoping to get close enough to clearly see skin pores, and similar levels of details in other subjects. I am using the standard 14-14 lens.

I'm not sure if you would need any further information to give any suggestions. I am very new to photography and it's possible I am not using the camera correctly, or close up filters are not good enough.

I don't expect anyone to spend too much time helping me but if there's a guide that you know of on this subject, or any tips to try out I would really appreciate some guidance.

Many thanks in advance.
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Old Sep 20, 2012, 2:12 PM   #2
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With a +1 diopter, the camera will act a lot like a P&S at shorter distances.
Each diopter will make the range of focusing narrower.
Try this to get the idea:
Set the camera to manual focus and add the +2 lens. Zoom to 42mm. You might want to set the camera to center focus. some of the cheap close-up filters are so distorted that only the center is clear.
Now get close to a distinct subject and very gradually move back and watch carefully for the subject to come into focus. Do the same thing with the +4 added.
Use something like a hand lotion bottle as a test subject to start. A flat subject will be easier to recognize the focus vs: a flower.
Just use the forward and back motion to focus to start and then adjust the manual focus to see how it changes. This will give you an idea of how close the camera/lens has to be for the camera to focus in autofocus.
Once you get a good sense of where you have to be for focusing, then you can switch to auto-focus and shouldn't have any problem. You can use the same method in autofocus rather than manual, just moving forward and back, but you will probably get a better understanding of the procedure starting with manual. When you turn the camera off/on, the lens should go to infinity focus to start.
Work your way up gradually from the +2, +4, then stack them, but no more than 2 at a time and you should get pretty good results easily in autofocus.
If you have really cheap filters, you might only get the center in sharp focus even if you stop down to f/11 or more.
The results and procedure with the +2 and +4 should be similar to the high quality close-up lenses.
I use the +1 a lot for nice close-ups of flowers and nature subjects, then just activate MEZ for the enlargement.
Usually the kits with the +10 are the lowest quality, so don't expect superb results. Keep the lens as parallel to the subject as you can to get a sharp result. With the +10, you might have to get so close that you'll block the light. The +4 is about my limit hand-held.

( I was in a rush when posting, so no offense taken if I'm corrected by anyone.)
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Old Sep 21, 2012, 5:37 AM   #3
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Better than (unsharp) closeup lenses are achromats (consisting of 2 or 3 lenses, avoiding chromatic aberrations) for example Raynox DCR250 (diopter 8) or DCR150 (diopter 4.8) - fitting a lot of lenses

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Old Sep 21, 2012, 9:02 AM   #4
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I think by the time you spend the money on a Raynox adapter, it is worth getting a MF macro lens (I have a Vivitar 55mm macro 1:1 magnification, which produces excellent images. Since you need a tripod to shoot macros with that magnification, shooting with a MF lens is no problem. They go for about $70 on eBay. Of course there are many others to chose from. You'll also need an adapter depending on the lens mount but they are very cheap these days. Another option is to get the Oly 4/3 35mm macro, which also does 1:1. This will cost you more because you need a 4/3 to m4/3 adapter to take advantage of the AF and it goes for about $110.

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Old Sep 21, 2012, 3:47 PM   #5
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G'day Antony

As someone who uses close-up lenses all the time, may I offer you some thoughts
The info above is okay for the most part as well

You have not given us any indication of the primary lens that you will be attaching these devices to > it make a huge difference to the result. I will presume here that it is the 14-42mm, zoomed out to 42mm

Firstly, although these devices attach to the primary camera lens via the "filter" ring, they are not filters > these devices are curved and form an image, thus they are lenses

The "dioptre number" of the lens equals the focussing distance ... ie- the +1 focusses at 1-metre, the +3 focusses at 1/3-metre and the +10 focusses at 1/10-metre

1/10 metre = 100mm or 4-inches, and at 4-inches you have maybe 1/2-inch Depth of Field when using f16

I have a Hoya +10 lens and it's awful > very poor sharpness & lots of colour fringing around the edges. Used once or twice then chucked into a box

My best closeup lens is the "Canon 250D" which is a 2-element lens of +4 dioptre and is used on the 45-200mm lens. It focusses at 1/4-metre [10inches] and with the zoom on 200mm gives me an area about the size of a matchbox. It is a superb lens. It matches the Panny LC55 and the Raynox 250D as well

ps- if you [or any Steve's member] wants a PDF on Close up lenses, PM me
Hope this helps a bit > come back with Qs as they arise
Regards, Phil
Has Lumix mirrorless & superzoom cameras and loves their amazing capabilities
Spends 8-9 months each year travelling Australia
Recent images at http://www.flickr.com/photos/ozzie_traveller/sets/

Last edited by Ozzie_Traveller; Sep 21, 2012 at 5:46 PM.
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