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I've recently purchased a micro 4/3 camera (Panasonic GF1), and I'm aware that with an appropriate adapter, I can use a large variety of third-party lenses.

I'm interested in experimenting with macro photography, and I'd like to purchase a reasonably inexpensive macro lens (2nd hand is fine) from ebay to allow me to get my feet wet.

  1. Are there any particular brands or models that would be worth looking out for?

  2. Are there are any limitations with the micro 4/3s format, that I should be aware of when purchasing a third party lens?

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5 Answers 5

First, the only Micro Four-Thirds macro current is the Leica 45mm F/2.8.

The easiest thing to adapt to Micro Four-Third are Four-Third lenses, since they are designed to work in exactly the same way with an all-electronic interface. When you adapt other lenses, you will usually lose features like autofocus or stop-down metering. Here are all current Four-Third macro lenses.

Notice the Zuiko 35mm F/3.5 goes for less than $200 which is generally cheap for a lens.

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Thanks for the answer, while I realise that there are specific lenses available in the micro 4/3s format - I'm specifically looking to make use of second hand lens with an adapter. I'm not worried about losing auto-focus or auto-exposure. –  codeinthehole Feb 6 '11 at 4:01
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Honestly, unless you have other uses for an adapter, I doubt you will find a good value for all this. Even used macro lenses cost money and they won't be designed for digital sensors which will reduce quality due to the angle of incident light at the rear. I suggest you look at the price of used macro diopters for whichever lens you already have, it has more chances of giving you better value. –  Itai Feb 6 '11 at 21:35

Micro 4/3 sensors are, well, small. That means that a "true" (1:1) macro lens may be overkill; one of the less-pricey 1:2 (half-life-size) designs may be more than adequate. A 1:1 lens with a small, high-resolution sensor will get you images that would count as microphotography on a full-frame SLR if both are printed at the same size with the same resolution (or displayed on the same screen). If you're looking for a cheap alternative to a microscope, well, you have that option with a true macro lens, but if you're not going to be shooting insect eyes and so on, your costs may drop a little if you include 1:2 lenses in your search.

And something that applies to macro work in general: remember that the focal length will also determine your working distance. A 35mm macro lens will only be 70mm (a little over two and a half inches) from your subject at 1:1, which can make lighting a real pain in the patook. The lens (and the camera body if you're using off-camera lighting) gets in the way, leaving you with a choice between side lighting and back lighting. A longer lens will give you far more options at any given magnification factor.

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Dude just buy a Raynox dcr 250 macro lens attachment it will blow you away!they cost around $75.. Just read the reviews and check out the sample images. You won't believe that the images you get are from a $75 lens attachment.

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More on this possibility here: Will the Raynox DCR 250 Macro + GF3 kit lens provide good results? –  mattdm Jan 14 '12 at 14:04

There is also a cheap way to make macro photos without a special lens. You just need to buy some Tube Rings (Macro Extension Tube Ring )

You need to place these rings between your regular lens and your device and you can go closer to the subject , and with some rings you can keep your autofocus:

So you can go to ex 1 cm from your subject and make a sharp photo.

I googled one for your camera and the price was something of 9 dollar: http://www.rainbowimaging.biz/shop/product.php?id_product=484

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extension_tube

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More on extension tubes from other questions on this site: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/tagged/… –  mattdm Jan 14 '12 at 14:05

Besides the Leica 45mm F/2.8 already referred by Itai there is a new lens coming out, the SLR Magic Noktor 12mm f1.6.

The Leica lens is quite expensive, so the Noktor wins here, but its macro capability are not as good as the Leica. So, to give you an answer it really depends on how close you want to get.

There are other alternatives that you can try to use, for that have a look at this post.

I'm a GF1 user as well and a macro lover, so shortly after buying my GF1 with the 20mm f/1.7 I bought a 8x macro filter just to try it out, the results are pretty cool. From what I've searched before I can conclude that macro photography in the m4/3 realm is not the most common type of photography to be found, so I leave here to you my pics with this 8x macro filter for you to judge your options.

EDIT: A new lens just got announced today, it's a rumour but maybe worth waiting, Sigma will launch in 10th of January a 30mm g/2.8 Macro lens, more information here.

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