Sony RX100 M4: Close-Up Experiences - Hand-held Close-up Lenses

Introduction | A First Experiment | Sample Photos | References

This page and its companion pages discuss the macro, or better, close-up, abilities of the Sony RX100 M4. Although the camera has a macro mode (allowing shots from 5 cm), I would not call these photos "macros" and therefore use the term "close-up."

On this page, I present some experiments with hand-held close-up lenses, a +5 Marumi achromat, and a +10 Dörr achromat.



In my youth, when I was allowed to use my father's SLR with just a fixed 50 mm lens, I took quite a few close-up shots with lenses that I held with my hand to the camera lens. My father gave me these lenses, and as far as I remember, they were taken from the lens of an old slide projector. In the end, this worked quite well for me.

Since the lenses of the Sony RX100 models do not have a filter thread, I cannot use my existing close-up lenses with this camera. At least, I would have to buy some sort of "lens adapter" like the one that Sony sells (VFA-49R1), but obviously this fits, according to Sony, only for the models 1 and 2. In his book on the Sony RX100 M4, Alexander S. White mentions the Lensmate adapter for the Sony RX100 (all models). This seems to be the only option for using filters and close-up lenses at the moment, and has to be imported from the U.S.A. It costs about 25 $ (plus customs for Germany). I may consider buying this adapter later...

Then I remembered what I did as a youth and concluded that, using the "hand-held" method, I would at least be able to already get an impression of which magnifications I will get with different close-up lenses, of the overall quality of the close-up shots (with a grain of salt, because it is very fiddly to hold the camera and the close-up lens...), and of a few things more. Therefore, I did a first experiment with two close-up lenses, a +5 Marumi achromat, and a +10 Dörr achromat, the results of which I report on in the following.


A First Experiment

When I measured the minimum object width for different zoom lengths, I found that only two zoom lengths are interesting for close-up shots, namely 24 mm (equiv.) and 70 mm (equiv.). The latter provides a larger minimum object width, but also a comfortable object distance of 30 cm. A focal length of 28 mm (equiv.) might also be usable, but for my experiment I restricted myself to the following conditions (see test shots below) :

That is, at the telephoto end you get a little more than a postcard without a close-up lens, with a Marumi +5 achromat with is about 7 cm, and with a Dörr +10 achromat even below 5 cm. That means that with any of these achromats you get a smaller minimum object width than with a focal length of 24 mm (equiv.) without a close-up lens (a close-up lens would lead to very short distances, though...).

Test Shots

The following informal photos measure the minimum object width (using manual focus) at the telephoto end of the zoom range using a ruler:

Photos: Horizontal section of test photos at 70 mm (equiv.) without close-up lens (top), with Marumi +5 achromat (middle), and with Dörr +10 achromat (bottom)

Photo: Earlier test shot at 24 mm (equiv.)

The Achromats


Photos: Marumi +5 achromat (left) and Dörr +10 achromat

Please note that the Dörr achromat is part of the Därr slide copier and not availabe on its own.


Sample Photos

The following photos (unprocessed) were just taken to demonstrate the magnification differences under the different conditions. They are not really sharp because holding the close-up lens to the camera lens was fiddly, and they are also not "nice" motifs.


No close-up lens, 70 mm (equiv.)


Marumi +5 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)


Dörr +10 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)


No close-up lens, 70 mm (equiv.)


Marumi +5 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)


Dörr +10 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)


No close-up lens, 70 mm (equiv.)


Marumi +5 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)


Dörr +10 achromat at 70 mm (equiv.)




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