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Macro and Close-Up Photography
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.

 Minimum field of view with FZ10  Relative minum view with FZ10 camera  Minimum field of view with FZ10 and 2.9 diopter close-up lens, attached  Relative minimum view with FZ10 and 2.9 diopter close up lens attached  Macro shot examples with the FZ10
   Minimum field of view with LX3 with zoom set at 5mm is approx. 27 mm  Macros Examples with the LX-3      Minimum field of view with LX3 with zoom set at 13 mm and with Opteka macro lens attached is approx. 34 mm  Macros examples with the LX-3 and attached Opteka macro lens.    Minimum field of view with LX3 with zoom set at 13 mm and with stacked Nikon 4T and Opteka macro lens attached is approx. 30 mm  Macros examples with the LX-3 and attached stacked Nikon 4T and Opteka macro lens.