Monday, August 24, 2009

Sigma achromatic macro lens

click photo to enlarge
When I set myself up with my first Olympus DSLR a few years ago I bought a screw-on close-up lens; the sort that mounts on the filter thread of a fixed or zoom lens. I'd used such things in my days with the OM1n, valuing the ability to always have the macro facility to hand without the weight penalty (or cost) that a dedicated macro lens brings. The lens I bought (from Ebay for £8.00) was the Sigma Achromatic Macro Lens. It has a 58mm thread, allowing it to be mounted on the standard Zuiko kit lenses. As I understand it the Sigma is a two-element design (similar, if not identical, to the Canon 250D Macro close-up lens that retails for about seven times the price), and of much better optical quality than cheap +1 to +4 dioptre screw-on close-up lenses. My experience of the lens is nothing but good, though I have used it much less since I acquired the Zuiko 35mm f3.5 Macro lens.

Today, as I was rummaging about in my photographic equipment I came across the lens and thought I'd give it a work-out with the Zuiko 14-42 f3.5-5.6 kit lens. I shot a few flower close-ups that I'm pleased with, then noticed a number of greenbottles on the sedum flowers that are just beginning to open. I first became acquainted with the greenbottle, a handsome looking but unsavoury character, when I photographed one a few years ago with my new, at that time, 35mm macro lens. The shot I got today has received no processing other than sharpening for the web, and is a slight crop of the original frame. I've compared this image with my earlier greenbottle photograph, and have to say that only by close pixel peeping is it possible to distinguish the better quality of the Zuiko macro. My recommendation for anyone who wants to try macro photography without the expense of a new lens, or who wants to do macro and travel light, is to buy one of these achromatic macro lenses to fit on your standard lens. You won't regret it.

photograph & text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Olympus E510
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 42mm (84mm/35mm equiv.)
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/125
ISO: 200
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On
Supplementary lens: Sigma Achromatic Macro