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Macro photographs are those where the subject is larger than actual life size. The minimum focus distance on the Lumia 1020 is about six inches, which is not quite close enough to do macro photography with its wide angle lens. But it isn't really that far off, either. So I set out to force the camera to do something that it wasn't really designed to do: macro images.
|Digital Concepts 10x Macro Lens|
The easy solution was to buy a macro lens adapter. These are designed to screw onto the end of your SLR lens. What they do is reduce the minimum focus distance, which makes macro photography possible with a lens not designed for macro photography. The price of these vary quite a bit depending on brand and quality, but since I spent only $100 on the camera, I could not stomach spending a bunch of money on accessories.
The macro lens adapter that I settled on was Digital Concepts' 52mm four lens kit. This has an MSRP of $20, but was on sale at Amazon for $6. That's exactly the price point that I was looking for. It comes with a +1, +2, +4 and +10 macro lens adapters.
These Digital Concepts macro lens adapters are most certainly on the cheap end. I could have spent much, much more and had much higher quality glass, which wouldn't have had nearly as large of a negative impact on image quality. But I did not want to spend a bunch of money on this.
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The adapters can be attached with scotch tape, carefully placed rubber bands, or simply hand-held in place. I tried all three techniques, and preferred the tape and hand-held methods over the rubber band method, but that's simply my preference.
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The +4 adapter brings the minimum focus distance on the Lumia 1020 from about six inches to about four-and-a-half inches. This is close enough that you can do macro photography. There is very little loss in image quality when using the +4 adapter, mostly just some softness in the corners.
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The +10 adapter brings the minimum focus distance to about three inches. The downside to using this adapter is that there is quite a bit of softness in corners and edges, and also some chromatic aberrations in the highlights. This will get you the closest to your subject, but it must be used carefully.
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Now you may be wondering, since the Lumia 1020 has a whole bunch of resolution, can't you just do a massive crop and achieve the same thing? Not quite. For example, an image captured using the +4 macro lens adapter is sharper, has more fine detail, and has noticeably finer "grain" than an image captured without an adapter but cropped to make it look the same. A large crop will reduce image quality more than the macro adapters will. Besides, when you use the adapters, you can still crop, allowing you to get even closer (zooming by cropping).
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