Saturday, 20 November 2010

Using the 8mm fisheye lens as a macro lens

Using a fisheye lens as a macro lens is probably a very strange idea. But the Panasonic Lumix G 8mm Fisheye lens has a remarkably short minimum focus distance, so it actually makes some sense.

The closest focus distance is specified as 0.1m. However, this is measured from the sensor plane. So the distance from the front element is about 0.02m, or 20mm.

This corresponds to a magnification of 0.20x, or 1:5, which is not very impressive. We should keep in mind, though, that the field of view is more compressed in the corners, hence this magnification measure doesn't make much sense for the fisheye lens.

Here's my setup for photographing a LEGO figure at the closest focus distance:


The camera is on a tripod, and the figure is about 2cm from the front lens element. At this close distance, it is inevitable that the lens casts some shadow on the subject.

And here is the resulting image, taken at ISO 100, f/5.6, 1.3 second exposure:


The very close focus distance possible with the Lumix 8mm lens can be used to make interesting compositions. Especially when combined with the deep depth of field associated with a wide angle lens.

4 comments:

  1. Thanks, but should it not be possibly to do that without a tripod ??

    - I ask because I am interested in this lens - I am tester for a well known software, which change fisheye pictures to normal, and I normal shoot with Nikon 10,5 mm,also very close and without tripod,

    .... but has recently bought the Olympus E-M5,so therefore I am very interested.

    Thanks

    Gan.

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    Replies
    1. If there is enough light, then you can do without the tripod, no problem! I took this image indoor, with somewhat limited light, that's why I needed the tripod. Also, you can increase the ISO quite a lot, which will reduce the need for a tripod.

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    2. I'm curious if this might be used with a short extension tube to increase magnification. Any info on this? I'm very enamored of wide macro photography and am preparing to buy in to some system for the first time, considering M4/3.

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    3. In theory, it would be possible. However, the macro extension you need would be extremely short, due to the short focal length of the lens. For example, macro rings of 10mm and 16mm length are available. However, even the shortest one, 10mm, is way too long for this use.

      Besides, the lens is not well suited for even closer use, as the object would then almost physically touch the front lens element, and lightning is impossible.

      I would rather buy the set of macro rings and use it with the kit zoom lens, for example. That is much more useful.

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