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Why I Love My 30mm Macro Lens – Despite It’s Limitations!


I have always been interested in macro photography, yet it was only some years ago, when I watched a TV documentary of a nature photographer lying on the ground to take macro images of the tiniest plants, that I became fascinated by this genre.


I love to study close up images of insects and of nature’s tiny hidden gems. I constantly have my eyes opened by the small world that exists all around us but that we rarely stop to notice.


While I enjoy looking at the macro images of others, it is not a genre I have rushed to get involved in, largely because of the cost of good macro equipment and the level of expertise required to make even decent macro images.


Yet, what harm in giving it a try at a lower level!


My initial foray into the world of macro was to purchase some macro lens filters for my 50mm Nikon lens. I had limited success with these and didn’t find it to be a satisfactory experience.


Last year I decided to try the Olympus 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens. I bought it second hand, in excellent condition, from MPB, which meant that I paid a very inexpensive price for what was already an inexpensive lens when bought new.


The lens is not perfect. It has difficulty focusing when it has to hunt across it’s full range, which can be frustrating. The images are not sharp all over and that's ok with me, although some photographers might want to do focus stacking to get edge to edge sharpness.


But this lens does have a lot going for it and I have enjoyed using it.


Here are some reasons why I love my 30mm macro lens:


1.   It helps me slow down


The process of macro photography is much slower than many other types of photography. From finding a tiny subject, to getting close enough to line up a composition; from focusing accurately to eventually capturing the image, can take longer than you might realise so you have to be patient and be prepared to go slowly and deliberately if you want to be successful.


I like this slower pace of macro photography and I enjoy the time it takes to find a subject before I even start to use the camera.


2.   It helps me become more observant


Macro subjects are not always easy to find. Unlike regular landscape views they are not immediately visible and often move before you can capture their image! Therefore macro photography encourages us to become more observant. I have often spent a long time watching a butterfly, bee or other insect move around it’s patch until I get to know it’s routine and work out how long it will stay in one place until I capture an image. The time spent is often futile in terms of an image but worthwhile in terms of noticing what is happening around me and of becoming more patient.



flower and bug

One of the joys of macro photography is that you often see something unexpected on your image!


3.   It introduces a challenge to my photography


There is no doubt that macro photography can be frustrating. You spend time watching your subject, focusing your lens, and you are eventually ready to take the shot when the subject flies away.


Or you line up a good close up view of a flower, you get your lens into focus and just as you press the shutter the wind blows and your result is a blurry image.


These are just some of the frustrations of macro photography, as well as finding your compositions in the first place. They place challenges on you as a photographer, but challenges are good. They help you learn and grow and become a better photographer.


And when you eventually capture that beautiful, in-focus macro image, it all seems worthwhile.


4.   It is enjoyable


In my view, nothing is worthwhile in photography unless it’s enjoyable, and macro photography is enjoyable. It’s time consuming, often frustrating, tricky to get right and often ends in failure. But it often ends in success too and the journey involved in getting to a successful macro image is a most enjoyable one.


Here are some of the images I have taken with the 30mm macro lens:



flower on black

 


Dandelion

Purple

Leaf

Furry top

Tulip

lightshades

Open tulip

Dandelion seed

leaf on the ground

 The 30mm lens also doubles as a good standard walkabout lens.


the rope

froggy

climbing frame

the frame

TO SUM UP...

 

The 30mm macro lens is small, cheap, lightweight, and it produces sharp pictures. It performs well as a macro lens, capable of 2.5 times magnification, while also doubling as a good standard walkabout lens.


If you have ever thought of doing macro photography and haven’t yet started, I highly recommend getting some macro filters or extension tubes, or investing in a macro lens that is within your budget, and giving macro a try.


You might just love it!

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