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troporobo

Comparison: Olympus m4/3 macro options

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I have been on a quest to shoot some small critters (we have pygmy seahorses at two local sites, and lots of other stuff) and looking to get ever closer. But UW gear is hard to get here and expensive and I could not find the sort of lens comparison that I needed to be confident of having the capability that I wanted. I was also curious about the running debate about the Olympus 12-50 lens and whether it is worthwhile getting the expensive Nauticam port and gear to access the 43mm macro mode or just using the 50mm normal mode plus a diopter.

 

So I put together this simple and somewhat unscientific test to show what is possible with the lenses commonly used by Olympus m4/3 shooters. Lenses are the Olympus 12-50mm zoom and 60mm macro. Diopters are the Subsee +5 and +10. Camera is an E-M5, housing is Nauticam, and port is the Nauticam with zoom gear. The nudibranch "model" is plastic! Cutting to the chase, here is what I found:

 

60mm macro: Maximum native magnification obviously, diopters take it to 2.5:1 and provide closer focus but not much magnification difference between +5 and +10 diopters, very short working distance with diopters is a challenge.

 

12-50mm using 43mm macro mode: Usable native macro but not good enough for the smallest targets, not much additional magnification with diopters, working distance with diopters probably too short.

 

12-50mm at 50mm normal mode with diopters: Using the +10 produces results very similar to the 43mm macro mode with a useful extension to working distance. However not good enough for my purposes.

 

Data and photos follow. Full size versions can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertguild/sets/72157656370044855

 

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60mm macro

 

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60mm macro with +5

 

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60mm macro with +10

 

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Edited by troporobo
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12-50mm using 43mm macro mode

 

19990154266_bc1d089990_z.jpg

20008645252_f9257cc7cd_z.jpg

12-50mm using 43mm macro mode with +5

 

19393802214_49d23b6057_z.jpg

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12-50mm using 43mm macro mode with +10

 

19990155086_1b041c0501_z.jpg

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12-50mm at 50mm normal mode with +5

19829759439_9018a23a62_z.jpg

20021676691_d2d99aa013_z.jpg

12-50mm at 50mm normal mode with +10

19990155626_64fb2a5e15_z.jpg

20016402565_a02f4e4401_z.jpg

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Small Collingwoods Chromodis nudi only 20-25 long, head is about 4-5mm across.

Olympus EM1 with 60mm macro in Nauticam housing and Nauticam CMC-1. Single S&S YS-D1 strobe

1/320, f20 ISO 200, strobe less than 1/10 power directly over end of CMC.

Well worth the effort to master this combination. This was first dive with CMC after selling my Subsee +10 to buy this.

post-50926-0-84198400-1438220652_thumb.jpg

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Hey Troporobo, you may have to repeat your experiment underwater. The refractive index of air is less than water, therefore wet diopters will be more powerful in air than in water, and focus distance will be shorter. A strong wet diopter might seem almost unusable in air because of short focus distance (or even no focus at all), but then will work fine underwater.

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The subsee diopters are sealed and should have the same power in water. Other products definitely will have worst performance in water

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. . . you may have to repeat your experiment underwater.

 

Fair point, and something I am definitely going to try. But when I asked that exact question here a while back, the answer was the same as above - the Subsee will give the same performance dry as wet. I am not smart enough about optics to remember why.

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Small Collingwoods Chromodis nudi . . .

 

Stunning shot! You must be chuffed to get that on the first outing.

 

I'd be curious to know what your max magnification ratio and closest focus distance is with that combination?

 

I would have really liked to test the CMC but it's not available where I am, and I was not willing to take the leap of faith required to buy and ship one without testing.

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The cmc is 2.0x magnification. The subsee +5 is 1.6x. The former has a really short working distance.

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Stunning shot! You must be chuffed to get that on the first outing.

 

I'd be curious to know what your max magnification ratio and closest focus distance is with that combination?

 

I would have really liked to test the CMC but it's not available where I am, and I was not willing to take the leap of faith required to buy and ship one without testing.

 

Thanks, nudi head is 4-5mm across and fills half the frame so is about right for 2:1 magnification as quoted by Nauticam. I agree you need a good focus light to stop hunting but even with close focus distance I managed to get the single strobe to light the subject ok. Last week I used the CMC on my Canon DSLR and Canon 60mm macro lens and the focusing was quicker that being you could focus with the CMC on without having to pre focus first.

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Nice job. Overall I agree with your conclusions, however the numbers in the chart for the 12-50 lens appear off. It seems you read the image width directly from the ruler without accounting for starting your measurement at '10'. For example, image width for 43mm macro is 35(+)mm for a ratio of 1:1.

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Now fixed. Jeez, that's embarrassing! Especially since I framed the ruler that way deliberately. But thanks for catching it, as I should have.

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I have done some tests in water now that j have the lens and there are differences in fact less magnification that makes traditional wet lenses totally useless with the 60mm. Wet lenses are instead a good option for the 14-42 and 12-50 zoom lenses

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I would be very interested to see the results. Can you give me an idea why you think they work for one lens and not another?

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I would be very interested to see the results. Can you give me an idea why you think they work for one lens and not another?

I did some tests that are on my blog with the 14-42mm

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 14-42mm / F3.5 – 5.6 / Power OIS and Nauticam Macro Port 35 | Interceptor121 Underwater Photo & Video Blog

http://interceptor121.com/2015/01/25/panasonic-lumix-g-x-vario-14-42mm-f3-5-5-6-power-ois-and-nauticam-macro-port-35/

 

 

 

Those lenses (without a macro mode) have working distance around 20-22 cm from the port in water when you add the wet lens the distance gets much shorter with a +10 around 5-6cm from the port this gives a large improvement as it is 1/4 of what the lens could do all be

With the 60mm in water you can focus at 9cm which is closer than the +10 diopter at infinity, when you add the diopter although the front of the wet lens is now just a few cm to the subject the port is still at around 6cm which is 2/3 the distance of the lens alone. So the gain is not that much and you have wasted now 5-6 cm of working distance

The lens focal length determines the field of view and the distance to subject then determines magnification (if the lens can focus)

Close up lens allow the camera lens to focus closer but the gain depends on the relative improvement in focus distance

The Olympus 60mm with around 9cm from the port in water is already a +11 diopter alone so to improve you need something really much stronger say the CMC is 15 the total power is now 26 diopters and although you are nearly touching you do see a benefit. In practice I can see that the Olympus lens doesn't take full benefit from the close up lens and a bit of the lower gets lost

Another consideration is that the field of view is really limited and the Olympus lens is best around f/5.6 - f/8 at f/11 is ok at f/16 has lost most sharpness and at f/22 is just garbled so you may have better results staying further away and using f/11 and crop than getting close and using f/22 with loss is resolution obviously this is a theory that needs to be tested

For me having a lens that can do 2:1 in 35 mm terms in its own is sufficient

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post-50926-0-21364400-1438771469_thumb.jpgpost-50926-0-99252000-1438771537_thumb.jpg

 

I took these with an EM1 with 60mm macro with a Subsee +10 which only gives 30% increase of magnification due to its size. I wish I had my CMC at the time as they are so small less than 1mm. The second pic is full frame closest focus with the +10, ISO200, 1/320, f20 and single YS-D1 strobe on about 1/10th power and the first close cropping.

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post-50926-0-20080000-1438772308_thumb.jpgpost-50926-0-75434400-1438772340_thumb.jpg

 

More subjects where macro is not enough and even a +10 is not enough.

Amphipods are 1-1.5mm and "Shaun The Sheep" Sapsucking Slug are only 3-4mm. These would of been better with the CMC.

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attachicon.gifbali0415ladybugs5.jpgattachicon.gifbali0415nudishaun4.jpg

 

More subjects where macro is not enough and even a +10 is not enough.

Amphipods are 1-1.5mm and "Shaun The Sheep" Sapsucking Slug are only 3-4mm. These would of been better with the CMC.

Those look really tiny but I wonder how many people out there shoot those type of critters or even have access to them

 

The CMC looks like a good lens for compact and interesting for people that don't want a macro lens. It also fits some other specific needs for really tiny stuff but I would not class it as an essential item for either the Olympus 60mm or Panasonic 45mm as majority of others can't even spot those tine critters

 

I would still think that the nauticam SMC+multiplier on a Nikon D800 at f/32 would have same magnification and probably better IQ but that's a hell more expensive than a mirrorless so for tiny bugs the CMC is a nice toy

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attachicon.gifbali0415ladybugs5.jpgattachicon.gifbali0415nudishaun4.jpg

 

More subjects where macro is not enough and even a +10 is not enough.

Amphipods are 1-1.5mm and "Shaun The Sheep" Sapsucking Slug are only 3-4mm. These would of been better with the CMC.

Those look really tiny but I wonder how many people out there shoot those type of critters or even have access to them

 

The CMC looks like a good lens for compact and interesting for people that don't want a macro lens. It also fits some other specific needs for really tiny stuff but I would not class it as an essential item for either the Olympus 60mm or Panasonic 45mm as majority of others can't even spot those tine critters

 

I would still think that the nauticam SMC+multiplier on a Nikon D800 at f/32 would have same magnification and probably better IQ but that's a hell more expensive than a mirrorless so for tiny bugs the CMC is a nice toy

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When we dive in Bali we always have Parman as our dive guide and he's great at finding the tiniest critters. We get a wish list and he finds them for us. This time he found us the Shaun The Sheep nudis, amphipods, Mimic occys and Emporer Shrimp amongst others.

I've also used the CMC with my Canon DSLR with 60mm macro lens. Works well and focuses faster than the Oly lens.

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Olympus 60 mm plus Nauticam CMC:

 

I got 17 mm with the 60 mm alone and 9 mm with the SMC (approx 2x).

 

Autofocus and f10.

 

11807779_10207253410953958_3325737337607

Edited by EspenB

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As you go to the sides the image is blurred probably f/10 is not sufficient even for a flat surface?

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Small Collingwoods Chromodis nudi only 20-25 long, head is about 4-5mm across.

Olympus EM1 with 60mm macro in Nauticam housing and Nauticam CMC-1. Single S&S YS-D1 strobe

1/320, f20 ISO 200, strobe less than 1/10 power directly over end of CMC.

Well worth the effort to master this combination. This was first dive with CMC after selling my Subsee +10 to buy this.

Even at f20 you can see how shallow the depth of field from my nudi pic. It's a challenging lens to use but gives some great results. CMC-1 also works with the Canon 60mm on my DSLR.

post-50926-0-68995300-1439005458_thumb.jpg

Edited by Griff

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In this image I can't see anything in focus to be honest. If you do a simulation on dofmaster for the 60mm with a focus distance of 9.5 cm that corresponds to 2x magnification compared to the lens alone you get 0.6mm at f/22 and the lens is already garbled at those apertures. Shooting a flat ruler gives you an idea of magnification but doesn't really tell if the lens will be usable or not. For comparison at f/11 with the lens at normal working distance you get 2.3mm which is around 4 times the dof of the lens with the CMC and at f/11 the lens has around double the resolution than f/22. If you crop the resulting image to 4 megapixels you would in effect end up with the same effective resolution. This is nothing to do with the CMC specifically is that micro four third lenses perform really poorly at small apertures the sweet spot is around f/5.6 and resolution drops a lot after f/8 f/11. From my tests on land the lens is still usable at f/16 but past this point is really bad

Edited by Interceptor121

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As you go to the sides the image is blurred probably f/10 is not sufficient even for a flat surface?

The camera was at a slight angle.

 

I did this in my bobble bath.

 

Seems like the symbol at the bottom edge is in focus.

Edited by EspenB

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