In this little test I wanted to do a test of the Panasonic DMW-GMC1 macro converter lens that has been designed to work in conjunction with the Panasonic 14-42 PZ lens. It is a relatively cheap and compact solution, but how does it fare?



I compared this solution to the fabulous dedicated macro lens Olympus 60 ED 2.8 Macro lens, but also to some add-on macro converter lenses that were attached to the 58 mm filter thread of the second generation Panasonic 14-140 mm 3.5 – 5.6 mega zoom lens.  This is the SRB photographic 58 mm Close Up Lens set. It got an excellent review at Digitalcameraworld. The set contains four screw-on lenses: +1 / +2 / +4 / +10. It is a relatively cheap solution and it is sold in various thread sizes.



Al these pictures were taken at f8 with electronic shutter (to avoid shuttershock) and with an exposure delay of 1 second. A fixed Iso=200 was used. I used autofocus, but it was checked by using the magnification feature of the Panasonic G7. I used the best jpg setting of the G7 (16MP).

You can click on any picture to see it in its original full resolution.

The coin is the 2 Euro piece that has a diameter of 2.6 cm.

All pictures were taken at the minimal distance to get pictures in focus. So the distances mentioned here are the closest you can get for each lens and combination, except for the Olympus 60mm. That lens needs further investigation.

Let’s now move on to the shots… I will start with the little Panasonic 14-42 PZ zoomlens.


Panasonic 14-42 PZ at 14 mm without converter:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 12 cm)



Panasonic 14-42 PZ at 42 mm without converter:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 22 cm)



Panasonic 14-42 PZ at 42 mm with Panasonic DMW-GMC1 macro converter:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 9 cm)


The DMW-GMC1  nearly doubles the magnification. The quality is far above my expectations. If we look at a 100 crop:


We see an impressive amount of detail. If one is not satisfied with the 0.4 factor one could easily crop the image in post. The result will still be good.


As a reference I added the very well tested Olympus Macro lens.

Olympus 60 mm ED Macro lens:


(Note that it was taken on another day and place and hence the lighting was different. I will try to borrow this lens again and do some more tests with it).


Panasonic 14-140 (mark 2) at 140 mm:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 35 cm)



Panasonic 14-140 (mark 2) at 140 mm with Macro Converter 1x:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 25 cm)



Panasonic 14-140 (mark 2) at 140 mm with Macro Converter 2x:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 20 cm)




Panasonic 14-140 (mark 2) at 140 mm with Macro Converter 4x:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 14 cm)



Panasonic 14-140 (mark 2) at 140 mm with Macro Converter 10x:

(Distance from the front of the lens to the coin is about 9 cm)



My initial conclusions:

  • A dedicated macrolens like the Olympus 60 mm ED  is in a class of its own. Both the picture quality and the ergonomics are better than using any add-on solution. The downside is of course the much higher price, the size and the added weight in your bag, though one should also remember that this 60mm can double as a (slightly tele) portrait lens too that gives excellent results.
  • The Panasonic DMW-GMC1  is a nice addition if you own the 14-42 PZ lens, but it has its limits in getting a real macro reach. The photo shown here is at it’s closest distance and at 42 mm. This thus gives one a maximum close up that measures about 5 cm in width. That translates to approximately a 0.4 factor in MFT. It will be enough for getting nice pictures of flowers, but if you want to shoot little bugs, it will not be entirely sufficient (although cropping in post may get you there). In terms of sharpness though it is better than what I expected, and also clearly better than the so-called universal solutions like the SRB Photography set. It confirms again that screw-on converters are only able to deliver good results when you combine them with a lens for which they were optimized.
  • The SRB Photographic screw-on lenses are nice in that tou can get really close to the subject. They are inexpensive and very small so you can carry them easily around and screw them on when needed. The quality is not great, but as long as you step the aperture down to f8 or f11 and use the +1 and + 2 lenses, you can get very usable shots. The +4 is already a bit more problematic, but the +10 seems rather unusable. At this magnification the edges and corners become extremely soft in conjunction with the 140 mm tele setting of the megazoom. Maybe I need to do some further testing with the +10 to see if one gets better results at other fovs, but my initial impression is not good.
  • With all the non-dedicated add-on lenses one should ask oneself the question whether the loss of resolution is worth it, or if it isn’t better to crop images that start with a much higher quality. The Panasonic DMW-GMC1  is a welcome exception in that it doesn’t degrade IQ as much and by further cropping one can very often reach a magnification factor of 1:1 with sufficient IQ left for presentation on displays or not so large prints. Of course cropping is not an option if you would need a wider angle, but even then one could consider high quality stitching in some cases as a better alternative.
  • All in all the Panasonic DMW-GMC1 (like the Wide Angle and Fisheye converter in this series) presents good value for money. The combination with the Panasonic 14-42 PZ lens makes for a very affordable and compact solution that will only be inferior to original dedicated lenses that cost much more and take up much more space in your bag.


If you have any questions or remarks, please post them here below.