In the brief time we have been together, I have rather fallen in love with my Olympus 60mm Macro.
It takes great photos, and when you are trekking through the undergrowth in times of high humidity, senses on the alert for a poisonous half centimetre long spider, it is very pleasant to be carrying a camera and lens combination that weighs only 400 grammes in one hand and a lightweight tripod in the other; this means you can run away faster if something scares you (such as a half centimetre long poisonous spider). The lack of weight is also useful when you are trying to manoeuvre the camera into position to get a shot without you and your gear disappearing into a ditch.
The problem with all macro lenses is that they require you to be fairly close to the subject to capture all those lovely macro details. You can’t snap an ant’s eye from two metres away. But what if you don’t want to get very detailed shots? What if you just want a photo of a butterfly which you can rarely get with a macro lens because the buggers flit off whenever you get anywhere near?
If you were a complete fool, you could try this:
In the right corner we have the svelte Panasonic GX1 with the Olympus macro lens, less than half a kilo of potent macro bliss. In the left corner we find the rather bloated Canon 1D with a 300mm lens; and between the two is something called an extension tube which will bring the nearest focus point close enough to the camera such that you can stand a metre of so from a butterfly and snap his unsuspecting arse before he flies off. These lumps of technology weigh in at around 3.8 kilogrammes…
Stupid me hauled this contraption into the countryside this afternoon in search of something to point it at. Checking the time afterwards, I lasted twenty minutes. Twenty minutes before the weight round my neck and the sheer bloody frustration of fumbling around trying to mount it on the tripod, and then unmount it so I could move another metre, convinced me this was a bad idea and I should give up.
Yes, there were butterflies, and if you focused as close as the device would allow you could get a shot without the insect flying off. The end result needed some cropping, but it was a tolerable shot.
But if you can creep up on a dozy butterfly with the Olympus, the results are much more satisfying:
Won’t be trying the heavy artillery approach again, it’s just not fun; and if I’m not having fun I might as well be working.