I have three lenses for my Panasonic GM1, and none of them are macro. I don’t really want or need another lens at the moment, but I do want to try a bit of macro photography. The last time I had a macro lens was back in the day of my Minolta Dynax 500si film camera, so it’s fair to say it’s been a while! I bought this pack of two extension tubes as I’d heard it’s a good alternative. One or both fit between your camera body and lens to give a macro effect, and this is how I got on…
Firstly, I tried the 16mm one with my 20mm (equivalent 40mm) fixed pancake lens and was amazed. I was so pleased with the pictures and I love all the details you can pick out in the flower petals.
Then I tried it with my 14-140mm zoom lens, but I had no luck at all. I just couldn’t get anything in focus no matter which end of the scale I went. I think I was just moving around too much to be able to shoot handheld and get any results. So I went back to the 20mm and this time tried the 10mm extension tube. This one on it’s own just didn’t get the results I was after. I could get close to the subject, but it didn’t feel
much different to my normal range. So then I stacked it on top of the 16mm to see what they were like together. This didn’t work either – I literally had to have the flower petal squashed up against the lens to be close enough to get it in focus.
I had fun experimenting with different apertures. I love the shallow depth of field keeping only the tip of a stamen in
focus; but I also love seeing all the tiny little veins and textures of a petal that you see with a wider one. Trying it out on these dying lilies (from Tescos, not the garden), luckily I spotted a hair on the element before I’d taken too many.
The sun was strong in the sky and my micro four thirds camera has dense pixels, which really helps, speed-wise, so I was able to take all of these handheld and in the wind! This is just as well because I rarely have the patience for a tripod.
I’m very happy with the results and will definitely be taking this add-on to my camera kit out with me when I visit National Trust gardens. I’m also looking forward to when my buddleja is in flower and I can have a go at getting close to butterflies. I actually saw a peacock butterfly in the garden for the first time this year today, (which is now a couple of weeks since these photos were taken), so I’ll have another go with these extension tubes now it’s getting warmer and the insects are coming out to play.
This is the set I bought. At about £20 you really can’t complain and they saved me from spending quite a bit more on a new lens!