Macro Zoom and AF Macro  modes on Panasonic cameras

The new feature introduced on the FZ300/330/1000/2000/2500 is the macro zoom mode.

This mode sets the camera to its widest angle setting (25mm EFL) and then to provide additional magnification uses digital zoom up to x3.

Allowing a close focussing distance mode of just 1cm (under 1/2 inch) can prove challenging with lighting set ups. Natural history photographers may also come across the problem where insects may not allow you to get this close before flying off.

In video where the image resolution isn't needed to be as high as in stills photography the results can be quite good, especially if you shoot in 4K mode.

Whilst the choice of mode will be dictated by the subject size and camera to subject distance some of the best choices will still rely on the use of close up lenses to allow longer focal lengths/greater working distances to achieve the optimum image quality.

The close up lenses are supplied in sets of usually 4 or they can be purchased as individual strengths.

The usual range is #1,#2,#4 and #10.

To get a better understanding of how these work if you set the camera to manual focus and set the focus point at infinity then if you were to put a #1 dioptre lens In front of the main lens you would find that objects just one metre away will be in sharp focus.

attach the #2 lens and the infinity focus will now be 50cms and with the #4 lens it will be 25cms.

So we can get good image size at distances which allow insects etc., to be filmed without spooking them off.

Of course if you focus the lens closer than infinity the corresponding near focus point will be closer as well.

You will find how these distance change in the article about close up lenses here

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mode is selected on the FZ300/330 with the push button on the lens barrel (assuming you haven't re-programmed this button to give FF/SS changes)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This first image is with the AF macro mode set and the camera lens to subject about 15cms (6 inch). The model car is about 10cms long (4 inch).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second image is with the lens set to 35mm EFL

 

 

 

 

 

Switching to macro zoom the camera zooms out to 25mm and then I used the macro zoom option to bring the lens back to 35mm EFL.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again using the 2x digital zoom to bring the lens to 50mm EFL

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the macro zoom almost fully engaged this image at 70mm is just showing signs of loss of resolution when enlarged to A4 print size

 

 

 

 

 

 

In contrast this image with the lens set to give 160mm EFL and with a 250D achromatic lens fitted #4 the image quality is still excellent at the working distance is 24cms allowing more opportunity to get good lighting onto the subject using ring flash or LED light rings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this last shot you can see the field of view and magnification when the lens is set to 600mm EFL. The camera is still at 24cms subject to camera distance