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5 Frames of Close-up and Macro with an Olympus OM20, a Tokina 80-200 zoom and a Raynox DCR150 – By Richard Patterson

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The background to this story is that I bought an Olympus OM20 when they came out back in 1983, together with the 50mm kit lens. Over the next few years I added a Tokina 28mm and then an 80-200mm zoom. This gear served me well over many years, but about 2002, when small and light digital P&S cameras became affordable, they seemed much more practical. So I got one and the OM20 got used less and less, eventually being consigned to the back of a drawer.

Fast forward almost two decades to 2021 and we were in Covid lockdown. By this time I was using an Olympus EPL8 mirrorless camera with add on viewfinder and various lenses. As travel was difficult, I was taking lots of photographs in the garden, in particular close-up and macro shots of the various flowers as they came into bloom. I started off using extension tubes on the 14-42mm kit lens, which were fine for close up shots, but as I increased magnification the focal distance decreased to about 10cm, which left a working distance of about 1cm. This was so short I ended up getting in my own light a lot of the time, so I decided to try a close up “filter” instead. Luckily I managed to get a Raynox +5 dioptre filter in a sale on Amazon and in combination with the Olympus 40-150 zoom this was much easier to use, with a working distance around 10cm.

As lockdown dragged on I decided to take a few shots on the OM20 for a change, and then I thought: why not give macro a try? The Raynox comes with an adapter to fit various lens diameters so it was easy to attach it to the Tokina zoom. This allowed magnification all the way up to 1:1 but still with a reasonable working distance. A selection of shots follows :

Centre of Hibiscus flower

Centre of an Hibiscus

Raindrops on a petal

Raindrops on a petal

More raindrops

More raindrops

Rose

Rose

White Rhododendron

Rhododendron

The results were rather hit and miss, probably because I wasn’t using a tripod, but it seemed to me that the good ones had something special.

Digital techniques, in particular focus stacking, can produce stunning macro images these days. But compared to digital, the film images appear less clinical to me, instead they seem more painterly. It’s as if for a scientifically accurate image, digital is better, but for a more artistic image film is better. Or maybe it’s all in my imagination and these are just a bunch of shots where I slightly missed focus! Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

All shots taken on Kodak Colorplus 200 and developed by Photo Hippo in Burnley.

Thanks for reading ….

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