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

Introduction | A First Experiment | Sample Photos | Conclusions | 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 Marumi +5 achromat, and a Dörr +10 achromat.

 

Introduction

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, according to Sony, it fits only 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 $ as a kit (plus customs for Germany). I ordered this adapter at the beginning of October 2017, received it on October 20 after it was checked by the German customs, and will report my experiences here (unboxing and installation) and here (first experiences with my close-up lenses).

But before I ordered and received the Lensmate adapter, I remembered what I did as a youth: I was allowed to use my father's Braun Paxette Reflex SLR, which had a fixed 50 mm lens, and I took quite a few close-up shots with bare lenses that I simply held to the camera lens with my hand. My father gave me these lenses, and as far as I remember, they were taken from the lens of an old slide projector. All in all, this worked quite well for me. So I concluded that, using the "hand-held" method, I would at least be able to get an impression of which magnifications I would 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 of my 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 out that only two zoom lengths are interesting for close-up shots, namely 24 mm and 70 mm (both equiv.). The latter provides a larger minimum object width (about 16 cm), 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 conditions shown below (see test shots below) - and got the following results:

The following table summarizes my minimum object width results for the Sony RX100 M1 and M4:

 
Sony RX100 M1
Sony RX100 M4
Focal Length
Close-up Lenses Setup
Focal Length
None M +5 2 x M +5 D +10 None M +5 2 x M +5 D +10
28 80 mm 67 mm 53 mm 55 mm 100 mm n.a. n.a. n.a. 24
100 200-205mm 62 mm 36 mm 37 mm 161-162 mm 68 mm 46? mm 46 mm 70

Summary

That is, at the telephoto end you get a minimum objects width of a little more than a postcard without a close-up lens, with a Marumi +5 achromat it is about 7 cm, and with a Dörr +10 achromat it is 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 at 24 mm (equiv.), which makes this set-up unusable.)

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 a Marumi +5 achromat (middle), and with a 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 Dörr slide copier and not available on its own. Since I own two Marumi +5 achromats, I can stack both to get the same effect as with the Dörr achromat.

 

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.)

Note: For photos taken with close-up lenses using a lens adapter (and thus delivering better quality), see page Sony RX100 M4: Close-Up Experiences - Lensmate Adaper Tests.

 

Conclusions

Using close-up lenses at the Sony RX100 M4 makes sense only when these are used at the telephoto end. The magnification increases consistently with increasing diopter numbers and the shooting distance is wider and thus, leads to a better perspective and disturbs insects less. You also cast less shade on the objects that you take photos of.

 

References

 

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11.11.2017