Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?

Started Feb 14, 2013 | Questions
Prembo
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Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
Feb 14, 2013

Hi,

I would like to purchase a macro lens for my Nex-5.  How good would vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses be on the NEX as opposed to the AF SEL30M35?

What vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses do you recommend?  What about the following:

  • Canon FD 35-70 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 28-55 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro
Which would allow getting close to the subject?  Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots?
Prembo. 
Thank you.
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Sony Nex-5, 18-55mm Kit Lens

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

Prembo wrote:

Hi,

I would like to purchase a macro lens for my Nex-5. How good would vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses be on the NEX as opposed to the AF SEL30M35?

What vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses do you recommend? What about the following:

  • Canon FD 35-70 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 28-55 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro
Which would allow getting close to the subject? Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots?
Prembo.
Thank you.
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Sony Nex-5, 18-55mm Kit Lens

Most macro lenses can be good portrait lenses.

In order to help you, it is necessary that you explain what kind of macro photography you intend to produce... Flowers, insects, still objects ? What level of magnification are you expecting ?

Marc

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fotowbert
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Macro vs portrait lens
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

The description of a zoom lens as "macro" implies it focuses closer that an "non macro" zoom lens but it will not focus to anything like the magnification (think life size or even half life size) that a true macro focusing prime lens is capable of.  Therefore the Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro will allow you to fill the frame with smaller subjects.

Portrait shots of people look best when taken from a distance that we are used to looking at each other.  This gives a normal looking distance perspective of the facial features.  If you shoot tight head portraits with a 30mm lens you are likely to be close enough that the subject's nose will appear overly large.  A 50mm or even longer (90 to 100mm) would be better at this.  For full body and group portraits 30mm would be fine.

Also if you want really shallow DOF something f/1.8 may be more to your liking than f/3.5.

  • John 

Prembo wrote:

I would like to purchase a macro lens for my Nex-5. How good would vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses be on the NEX as opposed to the AF SEL30M35?

What vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses do you recommend? What about the following:

  • Canon FD 35-70 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 28-55 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro
Which would allow getting close to the subject? Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots?
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El Matadurr
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

Prembo wrote:

Which would allow getting close to the subject? Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots?

To my knowledge, there is no 50mm macro out there faster than f/2.8, though I think Tamron has a 60mm f/2 Macro (it's modern though, not legacy).
By definition, the Sony macro will get you "closest" to your subject, in the case of distance from lens to subject. It's working distance at 1:1 I believe is just a centimeter. If you are instead talking about wanting a LONGER working distance so YOU don't have to physically get closer, the macro lenses with the longest focal lengths will be your friend. You could probably do portraits okay with the Canon 50 macro, but you won't be getting shallow depth-of-field if that's what you are expecting. 
For a relatively compact legacy lens capable of both distance macro AND portraits with good separation, you may want to give the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro Nikkor a look. I'm in the process of reviewing it, and it's a stunner of a lens, one of the sharpest I've ever used.
http://matthewdurrphotography.com
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Sonyshine
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to El Matadurr, Feb 14, 2013

The SEL30M35 gets my vote!

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nevercat
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

First, when you want to do real macro work (like pictures at 1:1 or so) then you will want to manual focus, as the DOF is very small. And manual focussing wil make you in charge of what is sharp and what not, and not the camera. So Manual Focus lenses are good enoug.

Then when you want to do insects or other living creatures, the FL of the macro lens can not be to long. With the 30mm E-mount you will be very close to the object to obtain 1:1 macro shots. I find a 100mm lens the smallest FL to do macrowork on insects.

There are a lot of those lenses for sale, some older MF lenses are very cheap second hand.
An other thing to remember is the apperture, you will most of the time use a small apperture (likr F8 or so) to obtin the best DOF, so there is no real need for a fast macro lense, a macro flash can be very important.

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PaddyC
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

Another option is to use the LAEA2 adapter and purchase some Minolta macros. I have the Minolta 50 2.8 which I use on my a850. But it works great on my 5N with the adapter.

Just something to think about.

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forpetessake
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

Prembo wrote:

Hi,

I would like to purchase a macro lens for my Nex-5. How good would vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses be on the NEX as opposed to the AF SEL30M35?

What vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses do you recommend? What about the following:

  • Canon FD 35-70 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 28-55 mm macro zoom lens
  • Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro
Which would allow getting close to the subject? Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots?
Prembo.
Thank you.
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Sony Nex-5, 18-55mm Kit Lens

Tried a lot of options: extension tubes, reverse mount, macro add-on lenses, specialized macro lenses. Nothing works better than a good specialized lens, and among everything I tried the Panagor 90/2.8 (also comes under other names) was an absolute winner, great resolution and contrast upto 1:1 around f/11; and it doesn't have any visible chromatic aberrations, coma or astigmatism, which are all important in macro. If you use add-on lenses choose APO glass, I have a Sigma APO add-on lens and it's flawless.

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Joachim Wulfers
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to El Matadurr, Feb 14, 2013

El Matadurr wrote:

Prembo wrote:

Which would allow getting close to the subject? Would any of those lenses be versatile to do good portrait shots? 
For a relatively compact legacy lens capable of both distance macro AND portraits with good separation, you may want to give the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro Nikkor a look. I'm in the process of reviewing it, and it's a stunner of a lens, one of the sharpest I've ever used.
http://matthewdurrphotography.com

I agree that the 105/2.8 Micro Nikkor is probably one of the sharpest lenses I have. Together with the Nikon PN-11 (with tripod mount) it gives you the 1:1 magnification. See the detailed description in Ken Rockwell's Nikon lens review as well

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Joachim

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Brian Zhou
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

It really depends on what kind of macro you want to do. For flower, half life size is sufficient; for insect eyes, you want > 1:1 magnification. For insect macro, the working distance is also important. The longer the focal length, the longer the working distance.

Most zooms marked with "macro" are not real macro, cannot achieve half life size magnification.

Macro lenses are typically a little too sharp for portrait. For portrait, subject isolation usually is more important. The traditional focal length (Field of view really) for portraiture is 85mm - 135mm. With NEX's 1.5x crop factor, you're looking at 55mm - 90mm.

There're some excellent legacy macro lenses in that range if your main purpose is macro. Micro Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 or f/3.5, Konica Hexanon 55mm f/3.5 Macro, Tamron Adaptall-2 90mm f/2.5 Macro, Tokina AT-X 90mm f/2.5 Macro. 50mm, 100mm, or 105mm is not far either.

If your main purpose is portrait, I'd also consider a 85mm f/1.8 legacy lens, you can use it for macro with some high quality achromatic close-up add-on.

If you're not sure, consider a 70-150mm zoom lens that can focus relatively close, such as Vivitar 70-150mm/3.8, Nikon Series E 75-150mm/3.5, or Kiron 70-150mm/4.

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dpdog
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

I've heard good things about the SEL55-210 + Canon 500D close-up lens. I think there are some posts on this forum with photo examples.

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blue_skies
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 14, 2013

Prembo wrote:

Hi,

I would like to purchase a macro lens for my Nex-5. How good would vintage/legacy manual focus macro lenses be on the NEX as opposed to the AF

They are different lenses:

SEL30M35

  • Maximum Magnification: 1:1 (1.0x)
Canon FD 35-70 mm macro zoom lens
  • Maximum Magnification: 1:5 (0.2x)
Canon FD 28-55 mm macro zoom lens
  • Maximum Magnification: 1:4 (0.23x)
Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro
  • Maximum Magnification: 1:2 (0.5x)

Consider which macro level (1:1 or 1:5) you need.

Then, a longer FL enables you to be further away from your subject, given its maximum magnification  level. However, at large magnification, this is always short.

The SEL30M35 does 1:1 magnification at extremely short distances, so lighting could be an issue (e.g. you'll need a ring LED or ring Flash light).

But for small objects, you can get incredible amounts of detail.

The SEL30M35 is great for studio work. If outdoors, you'd be using it more like 1:2 or so.

Alternatives would be the SEL18200 OSS or the Vivitar Series 1 70-200 as a legacy MF lens. Both have decent magnification at reasonable distances. I'd guess that these have magnification factors of around 1:2.5 or so.

You can increase the magnification ratio on any lens using extension tubes or by adding a diopter in front of the lens, something else to consider.

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Cheers,
Henry

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Brian Zhou
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to blue_skies, Feb 15, 2013

blue_skies wrote:

  • You can increase the magnification ratio on any lens using extension tubes or by adding a diopter in front of the lens, something else to consider.

Extension tubes does not work very well with native lens, because you lose aperture control.

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blue_skies
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Brian Zhou, Feb 15, 2013

Brian Zhou wrote:

blue_skies wrote:

  • You can increase the magnification ratio on any lens using extension tubes or by adding a diopter in front of the lens, something else to consider.

Extension tubes does not work very well with native lens, because you lose aperture control.

On e-mount lenses, aperture settings are retained when the lens is removed from the camera while the camera is on. Live view has to be on too.

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Cheers,
Henry

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steve vida
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to blue_skies, Feb 15, 2013

Ive been very happy with my 55micro Nikkor,the 1.5x factor makes it a reasonable portrait lens but as mentioned these lenses are extremely sharp so they may lead to more work in Photoshop.Im sure the 105Micro would be better for portraits with softer backgrounds but are a few hundred dollars more than the 55 & a bit rarer to find.

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El Matadurr
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to steve vida, Feb 15, 2013

steve vida wrote:

Ive been very happy with my 55micro Nikkor,the 1.5x factor makes it a reasonable portrait lens but as mentioned these lenses are extremely sharp so they may lead to more work in Photoshop.Im sure the 105Micro would be better for portraits with softer backgrounds but are a few hundred dollars more than the 55 & a bit rarer to find.

Not if you do some hunting. Snagged my 105 f/2.8 for $200. Sellers on eBay are usually willing to come down (pretty substantially) if their item doesn't sell at a higher price.

http://matthewdurrphotography.com

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captura
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 15, 2013

For my money, I got the Canon FD 50 mm f3.5 macro. Very inexpensive on the bay and check it out; the resolution etc. is as good as the fastest  f1.4 models from Canon.

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kerpan
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to El Matadurr, Feb 15, 2013

Your Nikon 105 micro shots are gorgeous!

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El Matadurr
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to kerpan, Feb 15, 2013

kerpan wrote:

Your Nikon 105 micro shots are gorgeous!

Thanks a bunch man, I hope to write the review once I can do it justice (i.e. when flowers start coming back, bugs wake up, etc.).

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keith1101
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Re: Macro lens for Sony Nex: SEL30M35 or Vintage/Legacy manual focus?
In reply to Prembo, Feb 15, 2013

canon 50-3.5 macro fd is a great , you dont need a fast lens,as you need good dof.

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