Macro and close-Up photography means having the ability to photograph images of objects at a point
closer than normal in order to expose intricate details that are not normally seen by the naked eye.
The stricter definition of macro means having the ability to make a image that is 1:1 up to 1:10 on
film such that it can be developed as a "life-sized" image. Common subjects for macro photography
are flowers, insects, coins, etc.
In order to perform macro photography one needs to bring the front element of the lens as close as
posssible to the subject to reduce the field of view of the image to be recorded. It is also possible
to zoom in by reducing the view angle to magnify the objective image size to be captured. However,
this may be counter-productive because the minimum focal distance often increases to move the lens
farther away from the subject as the viewing angle is reduced giving a net result of little or no gain
in the captured image size. One way to further reduce the minimum focal distance is to attach a
macro/close-up lens, essentially a magnifying element, on the front of the normal lens.
I have a 52mm Nikon 4T close-up lens which is composed of 2 elements that provides a gain of 2.9
diopters. The rear element of my Opteka 0.45x WA adapter can also be used separately as a 52mm macro
adapter lens. I don't have a specification for the macro element itself , but it has a higher
magnification than the Nikon 4T. It is only a single element design which may result in more
curvalinear distortion at the edges. Needless to say, the Opteka lens minimizes the minimum focal
distance more than the Nikon. SInce both lenses accept 52mm threads, I can stack them
together for even more gain.
The Lumix FZ10
can focus as close as 5 cm from any subject. However, at close distances, the
focusing system can operate only within the zoom range from full-wide to 2.5 x. The minimum focusing
distance for the remainder of the zoom range is approx. 2 meters which limits how much magnification
I can get. I got around this limitation by adding a close focusing adapter lens such as the Nikon 4T.
Besides getting a 2.9 diopter magnification, I can use the entire 12x zoom range from a focusing
distance of approximately 0.3 meters. This arrangement is preferable in that I'm not blocking the
ambient light when I do macro photography nor do I have to get too close to frighten away certain
subjects such as insects.
The Lumix LX3
can be switched to a macro focus mode that allows you to get as close at 1 cm.
from the subject at the wide end of the zoom. However, as you zoom in, the focal distance increase
away from the subject and defeats the purpose of obtaining a larger image. Despite that, I find it
helpful to just zoom in slightly and be able to move away enough from the subject to not cast a
shadow. My Nikon 4T close up doesn't shorten up the focal distance enough to compensate for the small
gain in zoom. However, the Opteka Macro adapter does shorten up the minimum focal distance enough
at the long end to give beneficial results. I find it handy to use the LX3 for flower photography
because of its increased depth of field and the live view LCD screen for framing.
The Nikon DSLR System's
close up ability will depends primarily on the
Nikon System lenses that one has to support
the system. One other aspect about doing macro photography in the field with a DSLR is that having to
use the viewfinder for composing and focusing is not always convenient depending on where the subject
to be photographed happens to be located. The d3100 does support live view and is easier to use than
the d40x in this respect.
The Micro Four-Thirds (M43) System's close up ability will depend primarily on the
M43 System lenses
that one has to support
the system. The G3 has a tilt adjustable LCD which make it more convenient to use for akward shots.