To get close to an object you just leave the camera on wide angle and this is the closest you can get, right?
Let´s find out.
50 mm 2x zoom
75 mm 3x zoom
125 mm 5x zoom
250 mm 10x zoom
It seems that the 50 mm = 2 x zoom is the setting to get closest to your macro object and even 75 mm = 3 x zoom gets your a bit closer than full wide angle.
I checked if the area around 2 x can provide more magnification than 2 x flat.
The result is:
The sweet spot for maximum magnification is exactly between 2.3 and 2.4 x
Let´s see what else we can figure out
minimal distance to focus and captured size at 1x (25 mm) zoom
minimal distance to focus and captured size at 2x (50 mm) zoom
minimal distance to focus and captured size at 2.4 x (60 mm) zoom
These are 37 mm or less than one and a half inch in length you can capture compared to 73 mm or a bit less than three inch if you use full wide angle.
Cool, so how close would the HX5 be to an object in 1 x zoom to have the same captured size as in the sweet spot around 2.4 x?
14 mm or a bit more than half an inch.
Pictures are just resized, all tests were done on several objects and with 5 out of 5 successful focus locks to ensure accuracy.
Dear Sony, if would have been nice to mention this fact in your HX5 manual.
Or should I presume , that you did not know for yourself?