E-M5 Mk2 High Res – Or Macro?

High Res or macro? They don’t sound particularly related to me but I’m always fascinated by the number of different ideas photographers have for using the new facilities that Micro Four Thirds system makers offer.

For example, there was me thinking how handy a 7,296×5472 pixel image would be for product shots, food photograhy, commercial stuff like that. I couldn’t see who else needed it, though. Unless you regularly make prints 2 to 3 feet across, of course. After all, since the camera must be solidly mounted and exposure take a second or so, it was limited to static subjects. So, very nice, I thought, play a little and then switch it off and forget it is there.

Then Soffi Fossi commented on my YouTube channel Olympus E-M5 Mk2 review wondering if I’d make a comparison between a macro lens shot and a non macro lens shot at using High Res. I hadn’t thought of that at all. In other words, if you were content with the standard 4608 pixel width, you could use the High Res facility and then crop to the standard size. Now, I know you can work out mathematically what that would achieve but I find it hard to appreciate mathematical explanations. I’m a hands on sort of person.

So I shot a few frames showing the effects of cropping. While doing it, it occurred to me that you could do the same with the macro lens and get a kind of super macro shot. I know there are all sorts of equivalents with full frame cameras and pixel counts to be  made here but I am thinking purely in terms of MFT as a system existing in its own space. I only have Micro Four Thirds equipment, chosen for its own qualities and I judge it, therefore, on its own terms.

Here’s a standard 1:1 macro shot with the Olympus 60mm f2.8 lens.


It covers a bit over 17mm, as you’d expect.

Here’s the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 zoom at its closest focus.


It’s covering just over 49mm so about 1/3rd life size. That’s pretty remarkable for a standard zoom, actually.

Now here’s the zoom, shooting at High Res and then cropped to the E-M5 Mk2’s normal resolution.


This is near enough 32mm across so a fraction over 1/2 life size. So while the macro lens can obviously go closer, you wouldn’t often need to be shooting at its closest distance. For me, 1:2 would cover 95% of my ‘macro’ work.

Of course, what you can do with the zoom you can do with the macro. Here’s the macro at 1:1, High Resolution cropped to normal. That’s covering just over 11mm which is about 1.5x life size.


If you display this on a 22 inch monitor that’s a magnification of about 40x. (Don’t nag me with the details, please!).

So, Soffi Fossi, I have just two things to say to you. First, Thanks for causing me to spend a sunny spring afternoon indoors with a camera, macro lens  and ruler when I could have been out cycling in the park 🙁

And secondly, what an interesting thought! I really enjoyed indulging my inner nerd so thanks again,  this time without the sarcasm 🙂




4 thoughts on “E-M5 Mk2 High Res – Or Macro?

  1. Ashley R Pollard

    My main photography is, shall we say unconventional, as I take pictures of very small toy soldiers and want large images, and ideally, a shed-ton* of depth of field.

    *shed-ton definition: more is better, to infinity and beyond better still.

    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      I like that word and definition! The E-M5 Mk2’s Hi-Res was made for you, then.

  2. Soffi Fossi

    Thanks David,
    but what about depth of field? Can the high res give you macro with great depth of field so you don’t have to stack images?


    1. dt@dthorpe.net Post author

      No, sadly not. Depth of field is purely dependant on distance and the diameter of the lens aperture and at 1:1 distances there isn’t much DoF it even at f/16. There is a misconception that DoF is to do with the lens. It isn’t, it’s the same for all lenses and is governed purely by the laws of optics. Another factor often misunderstood is that DoF is an objective measurement. It isn’t. It is purely subjective, governed by 3 things, the size of the image you are viewing, distance from which you view it and what you personally consider adequately sharp.


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