Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.

Started Mar 7, 2013 | Discussions
JoeyCF3
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Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
Mar 7, 2013

Hey guys,

I just bought a Rokkor-X 50mm f1.7 and I am very happy with it!

Now I find myself wanting to buy a macro lens. I am looking at the Minolta lenses on eBay and they're all $75+! This is just a small hobby of mine, so I don't want to spend too much money on lenses.

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

Glenn
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 7, 2013

75.00 is too much? I see the 100mm F3.5 and 100mm F4's are going for 250-300 and I though that was a pretty good price. these were the best 100mm 1:1 macros there were in their time. I'll bet the coatings hold reflections to a minimum too like the other SR mount stuff from the 70's does too.

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clockwork247
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 7, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Hey guys,

I just bought a Rokkor-X 50mm f1.7 and I am very happy with it!

Now I find myself wanting to buy a macro lens. I am looking at the Minolta lenses on eBay and they're all $75+! This is just a small hobby of mine, so I don't want to spend too much money on lenses.

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

depends on what FL, the 50-55s are ok (around 50+ each), the 100s gets close to 100 USD each, and if you move further out, the 150+ are in the 200+ minimum.

Macro lens don't qualify into the regular category of MF lens. because in macro you'll almost always MF, and no one care about infinity focus, meaning the 2 biggest downfall of manual lens when mount on an SLR are taken away, that's why their price is so high compare to other manual lens.

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LifeIsAVerb
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 7, 2013

If you're thinking $75 is too much for a lens, you might look into extension tubes or an add-on close-up lens attachment.

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Richie Beans
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 7, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

Yes.... it's called the reversing ring.

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Lightshow
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 7, 2013

$75 is a good price for an MC/MD macro, you won't find much better for less,
Good luck hunting one down.

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Lightshow, Mar 8, 2013

Glenn wrote:

75.00 is too much? I see the 100mm F3.5 and 100mm F4's are going for 250-300 and I though that was a pretty good price. these were the best 100mm 1:1 macros there were in their time. I'll bet the coatings hold reflections to a minimum too like the other SR mount stuff from the 70's does too.

I'm not saying that it's too much. I was just wondering if there were any cheaper MD/MC lenses instead of the Minolta ones. If $75 - $100 is a reasonable price, then I guess that's the price I'll have to pay.

clockwork247 wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Hey guys,

I just bought a Rokkor-X 50mm f1.7 and I am very happy with it!

Now I find myself wanting to buy a macro lens. I am looking at the Minolta lenses on eBay and they're all $75+! This is just a small hobby of mine, so I don't want to spend too much money on lenses.

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

depends on what FL, the 50-55s are ok (around 50+ each), the 100s gets close to 100 USD each, and if you move further out, the 150+ are in the 200+ minimum.

Macro lens don't qualify into the regular category of MF lens. because in macro you'll almost always MF, and no one care about infinity focus, meaning the 2 biggest downfall of manual lens when mount on an SLR are taken away, that's why their price is so high compare to other manual lens.

So in a nutshell, you're saying that people don't care that they're older and that they're just as good as new ones? I'd believe it!

LifeIsAVerb wrote:

If you're thinking $75 is too much for a lens, you might look into extension tubes or an add-on close-up lens attachment.

It's not that it's too much, but it's a bit pricier than the 50mm prime lenses.

Richie Beans wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

Yes.... it's called the reversing ring.

I'm well aware of them, but I'm not sure that's the route I'd like to take. I was asking specifically about lens options.

Lightshow wrote:

$75 is a good price for an MC/MD macro, you won't find much better for less,
Good luck hunting one down.

Looks like that's the case for a near-mint condition one.

Thanks for all of your input, guys. Unless there are some cheaper 3rd party lenses, I think I know what I have to do now!

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wfektar
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

I don't think there are any bad macros in the ~100mm focal length range. Some of the 3rd party lenses are as good as any out there (the best are all 3rd party but those are eyewateringly not cheap). Tamron 90s have a particularly good reputation so you're not likely to find one for $100, but a Vivitar, Tokina, Tomioka, Cosina etc are definitely possible. You can even find a brand new Phoenix in MD mount for $100: http://www.adorama.com/SY100MN.html

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jazzroy1972
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to wfektar, Mar 8, 2013

I bought a 58mm F1.4 Minolta Rokkor lens for about 40$ on ebay.

I made a short movie with it, you can check it on this forum and judge yourself the quality of the lens

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3392848



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davect01
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

As mentioned, $75.00 is not a bad range, especially as you want more and more out of it.
I happened to pick up a 28-70 Tokina and a 70-150  Vivitar, both with Macro ability.  I happened to find them in the $35.00 range, but that is rare.

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to davect01, Mar 8, 2013

jazzroy1972 wrote:

I bought a 58mm F1.4 Minolta Rokkor lens for about 40$ on ebay.

I made a short movie with it, you can check it on this forum and judge yourself the quality of the lens

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/thread/3392848

Wow, that's fantastic! Is this a Macro lens, though? I don't think it would be suitable to take pictures of little bugs etc. I've liked your YouTube video!

davect01 wrote:

As mentioned, $75.00 is not a bad range, especially as you want more and more out of it.
I happened to pick up a 28-70 Tokina and a 70-150 Vivitar, both with Macro ability. I happened to find them in the $35.00 range, but that is rare.

-- hide signature --

Novice photobug, proud NEX-3 owner
http://davesnex-3photos.blogspot.com/

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?

So if I pick up a 70-150 Vivitar lens, would that allow me to zoom/focus up close to insects?

Thanks guys!

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KM Legacy
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

Older (manual focus, legacy) zoom lenses usually aren't very good by today's standards, and so-called "macro" zooms are not corrected for close-up use the way true macro primes are. (The exceptions are expensive, discontinued true macro zooms like the 70-180mm Micro-Nikkor and the 90-180mm Vivitar Series 1 Flat Field Zoom). If you're serious about macro of bugs, you should get a true macro of at least 90mm. You could get a Minolta MC 100mm macro for $100 or even less. A Canon FD would be similar in price & quality.

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clockwork247
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Glenn wrote:

75.00 is too much? I see the 100mm F3.5 and 100mm F4's are going for 250-300 and I though that was a pretty good price. these were the best 100mm 1:1 macros there were in their time. I'll bet the coatings hold reflections to a minimum too like the other SR mount stuff from the 70's does too.

I'm not saying that it's too much. I was just wondering if there were any cheaper MD/MC lenses instead of the Minolta ones. If $75 - $100 is a reasonable price, then I guess that's the price I'll have to pay.

clockwork247 wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Hey guys,

I just bought a Rokkor-X 50mm f1.7 and I am very happy with it!

Now I find myself wanting to buy a macro lens. I am looking at the Minolta lenses on eBay and they're all $75+! This is just a small hobby of mine, so I don't want to spend too much money on lenses.

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

depends on what FL, the 50-55s are ok (around 50+ each), the 100s gets close to 100 USD each, and if you move further out, the 150+ are in the 200+ minimum.

Macro lens don't qualify into the regular category of MF lens. because in macro you'll almost always MF, and no one care about infinity focus, meaning the 2 biggest downfall of manual lens when mount on an SLR are taken away, that's why their price is so high compare to other manual lens.

So in a nutshell, you're saying that people don't care that they're older and that they're just as good as new ones? I'd believe it!

LifeIsAVerb wrote:

If you're thinking $75 is too much for a lens, you might look into extension tubes or an add-on close-up lens attachment.

It's not that it's too much, but it's a bit pricier than the 50mm prime lenses.

Richie Beans wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Is there a cheaper variation of a macro lens that will work on the MD/MC - NEX adapter?

Yes.... it's called the reversing ring.

I'm well aware of them, but I'm not sure that's the route I'd like to take. I was asking specifically about lens options.

Lightshow wrote:

$75 is a good price for an MC/MD macro, you won't find much better for less,
Good luck hunting one down.

Looks like that's the case for a near-mint condition one.

Thanks for all of your input, guys. Unless there are some cheaper 3rd party lenses, I think I know what I have to do now!

I haven't come across a bad macro lens in terms of sharpness. most of them if not all are very good. but then again you're talking about a 60 USD MF macro 50mm VS a newer AF 50mm macro for 150, you do the math, I can assure you my MD 50 3.5 macro vs the minolta 50 3.5 macro won't show much difference (if any difference at all).

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Richie Beans
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?


Total and complete BS.

I use my 35-70 and 70-210 and get great images with both. The macro capability is also stellar. However, there is NO IMAGE STABILIZATION. All those wankers that take crappy images with these zooms simply don't know how to hold a camera.... it's an old-school skill!

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?

So if I pick up a 70-150 Vivitar lens, would that allow me to zoom/focus up close to insects?

Thanks guys!

Zoom lenses produce excellent quality on the Nex if they are of excellent quality. Many people here have been proving that point with various zoom lenses. So yes, it is BS.

Legacy zooms, although there are exceptions, usually are of lower quality than primes. When you go into macro photography, sharpness and accuracy are required, which is the reason why most people will select prime lenses.

I do not know the Vivitar 70-150mm f3.8, but the little I read about it is that is is labelled as "Close-focusing".
A Vivitar "Close focusing" usually means that you can get a good magnification ration sometimes close to 1:2, which may not be enough for insects. I use a Vivitar 135mm f2.8 "Close Focusing" prime, and the interest of this lens for me is that I can have a 1:2 magnification ratio at 50cm with a high quality. I do not think I would have a similar quality in a zoom lense from this era.

The most important step is to define what you want to photography, so that you can define the focal length you are interested in. Flowers ? A 50mm may be enough. Insects ? A 90-105mm may be a good start, but maybe 300mm may be necessary. Maybe you have some example pictures that you could link us to ??

The problem really is to be able to define what you would like to shoot, and to name your budget.

Marc

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Richie Beans, Mar 8, 2013

Richie Beans wrote:

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?


Total and complete BS.

I use my 35-70 and 70-210 and get great images with both. The macro capability is also stellar. However, there is NO IMAGE STABILIZATION. All those wankers that take crappy images with these zooms simply don't know how to hold a camera.... it's an old-school skill!

Do you know how happy this makes me? I've only been looking at prime lenses because of this BS rumor I heard!

Vivitar makes a 70-210 lens, correct? Do you have photos of the macro capability with your lens?

They seem to be pretty cheap on eBay.. I don't see any reason not to buy one lol.

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Richie Beans
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Richie Beans wrote:

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?


Total and complete BS.

I use my 35-70 and 70-210 and get great images with both. The macro capability is also stellar. However, there is NO IMAGE STABILIZATION. All those wankers that take crappy images with these zooms simply don't know how to hold a camera.... it's an old-school skill!

Do you know how happy this makes me? I've only been looking at prime lenses because of this BS rumor I heard!

Vivitar makes a 70-210 lens, correct? Do you have photos of the macro capability with your lens?

They seem to be pretty cheap on eBay.. I don't see any reason not to buy one lol.

I've been in the process of testing all of my legacy lenses after getting my 5R last month. I own both the vivitar and minolta 35-70. The reason I bought the minolta unit is because the i felt the vivitar was junk by comparison (this was 30 years ago). I recommend brand-name glass, especially since the cost is so low.

I was skeptical that I could get sharpness out of legacy zooms but was very surprised at how my old zooms have performed. The focus peaking feature really breathes new life into these units.

As far as primes go... they are in fact sharper, period. But if you got a NEX for it's compact size, why would you lug around 40lbs of prime glass?

Additionally, regarding primes, there's a trade-off when you have to start cropping your shots to get your subject. Plus, your cropped (prime-shot) image bokeh doesn't hold a candle to a zoomed bokeh.

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Richie Beans, Mar 8, 2013

Letsgokoulos wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?

So if I pick up a 70-150 Vivitar lens, would that allow me to zoom/focus up close to insects?

Thanks guys!

Zoom lenses produce excellent quality on the Nex if they are of excellent quality. Many people here have been proving that point with various zoom lenses. So yes, it is BS.

Legacy zooms, although there are exceptions, usually are of lower quality than primes. When you go into macro photography, sharpness and accuracy are required, which is the reason why most people will select prime lenses.

I do not know the Vivitar 70-150mm f3.8, but the little I read about it is that is is labelled as "Close-focusing".
A Vivitar "Close focusing" usually means that you can get a good magnification ration sometimes close to 1:2, which may not be enough for insects. I use a Vivitar 135mm f2.8 "Close Focusing" prime, and the interest of this lens for me is that I can have a 1:2 magnification ratio at 50cm with a high quality. I do not think I would have a similar quality in a zoom lense from this era.

The most important step is to define what you want to photography, so that you can define the focal length you are interested in. Flowers ? A 50mm may be enough. Insects ? A 90-105mm may be a good start, but maybe 300mm may be necessary. Maybe you have some example pictures that you could link us to ??

The problem really is to be able to define what you would like to shoot, and to name your budget.

Marc

Understood.. now things are becoming a little clearer to me. I want it for flowers and shots of insects on flowers and branches.

Richie Beans wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Richie Beans wrote:

I read that "zoom lenses" produce poor quality on the NEX system. Is this just BS?


Total and complete BS.

I use my 35-70 and 70-210 and get great images with both. The macro capability is also stellar. However, there is NO IMAGE STABILIZATION. All those wankers that take crappy images with these zooms simply don't know how to hold a camera.... it's an old-school skill!

Do you know how happy this makes me? I've only been looking at prime lenses because of this BS rumor I heard!

Vivitar makes a 70-210 lens, correct? Do you have photos of the macro capability with your lens?

They seem to be pretty cheap on eBay.. I don't see any reason not to buy one lol.

I've been in the process of testing all of my legacy lenses after getting my 5R last month. I own both the vivitar and minolta 35-70. The reason I bought the minolta unit is because the i felt the vivitar was junk by comparison (this was 30 years ago). I recommend brand-name glass, especially since the cost is so low.

I was skeptical that I could get sharpness out of legacy zooms but was very surprised at how my old zooms have performed. The focus peaking feature really breathes new life into these units.

As far as primes go... they are in fact sharper, period. But if you got a NEX for it's compact size, why would you lug around 40lbs of prime glass?

Additionally, regarding primes, there's a trade-off when you have to start cropping your shots to get your subject. Plus, your cropped (prime-shot) image bokeh doesn't hold a candle to a zoomed bokeh.

What exactly is "cropping"? Is there an image where you can show me an example?

Also, what would be the real difference between a f3.5 and a f4.5 70-210mm Vivitar? Am I sacrificing a lot by getting the cheaper f4.5?

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Richie Beans, Mar 8, 2013

Richie Beans wrote:

I've been in the process of testing all of my legacy lenses after getting my 5R last month. I own both the vivitar and minolta 35-70. The reason I bought the minolta unit is because the i felt the vivitar was junk by comparison (this was 30 years ago). I recommend brand-name glass, especially since the cost is so low.

I was skeptical that I could get sharpness out of legacy zooms but was very surprised at how my old zooms have performed. The focus peaking feature really breathes new life into these units.

As far as primes go... they are in fact sharper, period. But if you got a NEX for it's compact size, why would you lug around 40lbs of prime glass?

Additionally, regarding primes, there's a trade-off when you have to start cropping your shots to get your subject. Plus, your cropped (prime-shot) image bokeh doesn't hold a candle to a zoomed bokeh.

Richie, the Vivitar 70-210mm and Minolta 35-70mm are definitely good examples that zoom lenses can be of good quality, although my personal feeling is that the Minolta just is in a higher league than the Vivitar, either for sharpness, IQ or ease-of-use.

I do not understand your comment with regards to prime lenses. There are many good legacy macro lenses that certainly weigh less than a Vivitar 70-210mm ??? Even a heavy 105mm lense like the Kiron is lighter.

And when you speak of bokeh in macro photography I do not see your point with cropping and zoom lenses.

Would you mind further developing your arguments ?

Marc

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KM Legacy
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

It is most certainly not BS, nor is it a "rumor." It's a fact that most zooms, esp. legacy ones, are not corrected for close-up work the way a true macro is! Now some people may be happy with the results they get from kit zooms, old (pseudo) "macro" zooms, etc. That's their right. But don't let people tell you that cheap old zooms are the best option. It all depends on how high your standards are, and how hard you want to work.

You can buy a legacy 50mm true macro for $50-100 which will blow away any zoom in terms of IQ, but only if you exercise care, like focusing carefully and using a monopod or tripod. You could buy a 100mm macro for $100 which would work better for insects and would not weigh anywhere near 40 oz., let alone "40 lb." (now that's BS for you).

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