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

Started Mar 7, 2013 | Discussions
Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 8, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

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

How close would you like to get to insects ? The closer you need to get the longer the focal length you will need. Insects are easily scared, so you need to shoot from a distance. This distance is set by the focal length and the magnification ratio you expect to obtain. If you want an ant to fill your frame, then we are speaking of ratios higher than 2:1. If you want a butterfly on a branch, the ratio is closer to 1:2. And of course, the higher the ratio, the more expensive the lens...

A crop is the selection of a part of your picture. Here is an example, with a small jumping spider that must measure about 2.5 mm in width :



Uncropped, this is the original picture (with a magnification ratio of about 10:1)

The magnification ratio is around 10:1 in this case, because the spider of 2.5mm in width would need to be multiplied by a factor of 10 to fill the entire width of the sensor, which is 23.4mm

Cropped. I selected a part of my picture which is now enlarged (the magnification ratio now is closer to 5:1) to fill the same area. This means that I am loosing some pixels and therefore the resolution of the picture is lower that the original uncropped picture

With regards to the minimum aperture, this is important for regular photography for influencing the depth of field, i.e. controlling the in- and out-focus areas. The higher the aperture value the smaller the aperture is (f3.5 is larger than f4.5). And larger the aperture is, the deeper the depth of field (DoF). I hope I am not teaching something you do not know, but if i do, I strongly recommend you read some books on the basics of photography.

In macro photography, you never use aperture values of f3.5 or f4.5, since the DoF is then far too shallow, you usually go to f8 up to f22 or even higher. If you look at the example above, the tiny spider is not fully in focus. This means the DoF (the area in focus) was under 1mm, although the aperture used was f11.

And when you use small apertures like f11, there is not much light coming on the sensor, therefore your shutter speed drops tremendously. And when shutter speed dicreases, you risk having blurred pictures, particularly with moving insects...

So, to conclude: define the type of macro photography that you would like to achieve, let us know (there are many other experts in this forum who can provide you with good advices) and tell us what your budget is. If you are starting and are not sure of what you want to achieve, a 50mm macro prime could be a good idea. You can find some high-quality 50mm like a Minolta Macro-Rokkor-QF 50mm f3.5 or a Canon FD 50mm f3.5 macro for around 100$, maybe less if you are patient and lucky. There also are other brands, but I cannot list them all.

There are, otherwise, many other possibilities to get started in macro, such as extension tubes, close-up adapters, reversing rings, etc... Keep in mind that macro usually is manual focus because of the shallow depth of field.

Marc

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

Letsgokoulos wrote:

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

Marc...

You are correct, a legacy macro is lighter than a zoom and is a better lens for hi-mag imaging. The OP's author drifted into zooming macros like the 35-70 which, despite it's macro capability, is not a macro lens.... not by a long shot, sorry to confuse the issue. Same for the bokeh issue, I was discussing bokeh in terms of the mentioned zoom (versus wider primes), not macro lenses.

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WaltKnapp
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Richie Beans, Mar 9, 2013

Richie Beans wrote:

You are correct, a legacy macro is lighter than a zoom and is a better lens for hi-mag imaging. The OP's author drifted into zooming macros like the 35-70 which, despite it's macro capability, is not a macro lens.... not by a long shot, sorry to confuse the issue. Same for the bokeh issue, I was discussing bokeh in terms of the mentioned zoom (versus wider primes), not macro lenses.

That zoom has no macro capability.  What it has is slightly closer focus than a ordinary lens.  It would be called a closeup lens if marketing was being even slightly honest.  But it's really not designed for closeups, it's optimized and calibrated at infinity focus, same as regular lenses.

Macro lenses are designed and calibrated for optimum IQ at their closest focus.  And if they are being honest in putting on a macro label then the lens should be capable of shooting at 1:1 magnification at least.  At 1:1 magnification the image of the subject on the sensor will be the same size as the subject itself. Macro photography extends from it's lowest magnification at 1:1 up to about 40x that, at which point one would switch to photomicrography.

Now, for shooting insects and wildflowers as the OP seems to want to do, you do need quite a bit of magnification.  In fact even 1:1 macro magnification may not be enough for the smaller flowers or insects.  And, yes the insects do run away when you get too close, for some insects you may need to be way far away to have much hope of not spooking them.

My recommendation for insects and wildflowers is to compromise with a true macro lens of about 100mm focal length (that's true optical focal length not equivalents or such). Even this is a compromise for working distance, but will cover more closeup and macro insect/wildflower shooting than anything longer or shorter. The cheapest way to get that is likely to use a old macro lens designed for use on bellows or extension rings.  Use of such is entirely a manual operation, no AF, even exposure metering may or may not work. And it will end up being awkward and bulky and almost require a tripod for every shot. If you spend more money and go for a modern macro lens in this length you can have some usable AF and good exposure metering in a more compact package.  There is a lot to be said for saving your money until you can buy into something modern.  (and that's not MD/MC lenses)

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davect01
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 9, 2013

A lot depends on how close you want to get. I used my 70-150mm Vivitar with Macro for these. And then I was still able to use it for normal, everyday shots.

Macro shots

Every Day Shots

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to davect01, Mar 21, 2013

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I just purchased a Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5 with 14mm, 21mm, and 28mm extension tubes. Total cost was $106 shipped. I'm hoping that this is a good starter setup and that it'll keep me busy for a while.

Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5

Extension tubes

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captura
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 21, 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?

In answer to your question, yes of course there is! The Minolta MC or the MD 50mm f3.5 macro lens, VERY sharp, around $99 on fleabay.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/?_nkw=minolta%2050mm%20f3.5%20macro&clk_rvr_id=460712494953

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Russell Evans
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 21, 2013

Try the extension rings on your current 50mm and see if that works for you. If it does, sell the 50mm macro as you'll probably get close to your purchase price back. You can then put that towards a longer macro in the 100mm range.  A Phoenix 100mm f3.5 1:2 macro would be my pick as you can find them for little money and they are very light at about 215g. Not the best build quality, but the optics are up there on APS-C sensors.  You can use the extension ring to get the 1:2 macro down to 1:1 as it will only take 50mm of extension to do so.  The Phoenix 100mm f3.5 might even have the 1:1 matching diopter if you get lucky. It is an achromatic 49mm lens and also works well with the Sony 55-210mm.

Thank you
Russell

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 21, 2013

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I just purchased a Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5 with 14mm, 21mm, and 28mm extension tubes. Total cost was $106 shipped. I'm hoping that this is a good starter setup and that it'll keep me busy for a while.

Congratulations on your new lens ! So we should soon see some of your pictures, then...

I advise you to also find some flash or continuous light solution. As you will see, the DoF becomes so shallow that you need to close the aperture down to gain some, and the only possible compensation is adding light to raise the shutter speed.
The extension tubes also loose light, as you will find out soon.

Good luck with your new gear.

Marc

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forpetessake
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 21, 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.

I would strongly recommend getting a dedicated prime macro lens. There is no such thing as enough resolution in macro, and the best dedicated macro lenses have much better resolution, contrast, and handle OOF areas smoothly without CA and other aberrations. They also go to 1:1, while zooms typically top at 1:2.

I think I paid for Panagor 90mm/2.8 around $150, and it's a great lens in all respects.

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franzel
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Richie Beans, Mar 21, 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!

I couldn't agree more . I have some of the more highly regarded MF zoom lenses for sale, and can use all the help I can get .

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franzel
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 21, 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?

Consider a reverse ring, the quality can be very good even with the lens you have .

Less cumbersome would be a close-up filter; as you don't have the budget for a macro lens, and no experience, that should be just fine for your needs .

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Letsgokoulos, Mar 22, 2013

Letsgokoulos wrote:

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I just purchased a Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5 with 14mm, 21mm, and 28mm extension tubes. Total cost was $106 shipped. I'm hoping that this is a good starter setup and that it'll keep me busy for a while.

Congratulations on your new lens ! So we should soon see some of your pictures, then...

I advise you to also find some flash or continuous light solution. As you will see, the DoF becomes so shallow that you need to close the aperture down to gain some, and the only possible compensation is adding light to raise the shutter speed.
The extension tubes also loose light, as you will find out soon.

Good luck with your new gear.

Marc

Thank you for reading the update in my thread! Lots of people posting still think that I need to buy a lens.

I'll be posting some pictures in a couple of weeks when the lens arrives for sure.

What are some continuous light solutions for the NEX? Would just simple table lamps do?

Thanks Marc!

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kcire
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to KM Legacy, Mar 22, 2013

how about Minolta MD zoom 35-70/3.5 macro?

it capable for 1:4 macro

and also cheap 

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 22, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Letsgokoulos wrote:

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I just purchased a Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5 with 14mm, 21mm, and 28mm extension tubes. Total cost was $106 shipped. I'm hoping that this is a good starter setup and that it'll keep me busy for a while.

Congratulations on your new lens ! So we should soon see some of your pictures, then...

I advise you to also find some flash or continuous light solution. As you will see, the DoF becomes so shallow that you need to close the aperture down to gain some, and the only possible compensation is adding light to raise the shutter speed.
The extension tubes also loose light, as you will find out soon.

Good luck with your new gear.

Marc

Thank you for reading the update in my thread! Lots of people posting still think that I need to buy a lens.

I'll be posting some pictures in a couple of weeks when the lens arrives for sure.

What are some continuous light solutions for the NEX? Would just simple table lamps do?

Thanks Marc!

Simple (but powerful) lamps could do, but of course this means you need to be close to an electrical socket and your subject must not be of the moving type...

If you need mobility, one of the Sony flashes can do. I use the HVL-F20S for my Nex-3 or my Nex-5N, and am very satisfied with it. I have tried one of the LED light rings that can be found on the bay, but find it rather weak. A ring flash might be the best solution, but powerful ones may be expensive.

Marc

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JoeyCF3
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to Letsgokoulos, Mar 22, 2013

Letsgokoulos wrote:

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Letsgokoulos wrote:

Thanks for all the advice, guys.

I just purchased a Minolta Celtic 50mm Macro f/3.5 with 14mm, 21mm, and 28mm extension tubes. Total cost was $106 shipped. I'm hoping that this is a good starter setup and that it'll keep me busy for a while.

Congratulations on your new lens ! So we should soon see some of your pictures, then...

I advise you to also find some flash or continuous light solution. As you will see, the DoF becomes so shallow that you need to close the aperture down to gain some, and the only possible compensation is adding light to raise the shutter speed.
The extension tubes also loose light, as you will find out soon.

Good luck with your new gear.

Marc

Thank you for reading the update in my thread! Lots of people posting still think that I need to buy a lens.

I'll be posting some pictures in a couple of weeks when the lens arrives for sure.

What are some continuous light solutions for the NEX? Would just simple table lamps do?

Thanks Marc!

Simple (but powerful) lamps could do, but of course this means you need to be close to an electrical socket and your subject must not be of the moving type...

If you need mobility, one of the Sony flashes can do. I use the HVL-F20S for my Nex-3 or my Nex-5N, and am very satisfied with it. I have tried one of the LED light rings that can be found on the bay, but find it rather weak. A ring flash might be the best solution, but powerful ones may be expensive.

Marc

Hmm I get it now.

But if I'm taking photos in broad daylight, do I still need a ring flash or other lighting solution? Or would this be strictly for inherently darker situations?

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Letsgokoulos
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Re: Looking for a "cheap" MD/MC macro lens.
In reply to JoeyCF3, Mar 22, 2013

JoeyCF3 wrote:

Hmm I get it now.

But if I'm taking photos in broad daylight, do I still need a ring flash or other lighting solution? Or would this be strictly for inherently darker situations?

You normally should not need any additional lighting if you are working in broad day light and do not project a shadow over you subject, unless you want to highlight a particular part of the subject which is in the shadow.
The problem is that you never are assured of getting the proper weather, and somtimes have no choice over the location your subject selects. In the case the subject is in the shadow, if you project a shadow, if you need details over parts being in the shadow, you are very happy to have an easy solution...

The investment in the HVL-F20S is not so high, and it seemed logical to me rather than having unsatisfactory macro results.
I would advise that you start taking pictures without any additional lighting, so you can judge whether or not such an investment makes sense to you. This is the way I did it, and it took me less than 2 weeks to decide I needed some lighting in some instances that could justify the additional cost. I decided not to invest into a more complex lighting solution (wireless trigger, external flashes, flash ring, etc...) and so far I am fine with this decision. If I decided to go deeper into insect macrophotography, I think I would invest in a more expensive lighting solution.

Marc

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