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Started Jul 15, 2010 | Discussions thread
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subhrashis Forum Member • Posts: 66
Re: Best close-up filters for the HS20

If you find 4.8D too strong, you coud try the +3 achromats from marumi.

Leif S. wrote:

I loved reading this thread! Thanks to all who contributed. My obsession is insect photos, and a big reason for me to buy the HS20 was the threaded lens. So, a lot of my 7 weeks of HS20 ownership has been focused on figuring out how to get the best close-ups. I started with two close-up lenses. Here are results used with HS20 at high telephoto:

Nikon 6T (2.9 diopter): Chromatic aberration toward the edges, but not too bad.

Canon 250D (4 diopter): No CA at all(!), but, images show a defect I don't have a name for. If you take a photo of a black & white bar code, toward the edges of the photo each black bar has a large portion that's bleached by the adjacent white being smeared onto it (away from the center of the photo). Also, in flash photos, white circular highlights occur with a black ring inside them.

These observations led me to finally favor the 6T (yes, even when the 250D is used with reduced focal length, about 500mm, to give comparable magnification to the 6T at 720mm, it still loses to the 6T). Then, I learned that John Shaw has promoted using the Nikons backward, so I'll try that soon, once I get a reversing coupler.

But, reading this thread I learned about the Raynoxes! Could not find any info out there about their diopter values. Guessed that the DCR-150 model is best for my needs. Received it 2 days ago, and so glad! Turns out it is 4.8 diopter, versus 8 for the 250 model. Trying it out, so far I'm delighted, seems better than either 6T or 250D. Think i saw a little bit of C.A. at the edges, but overall seems more contrasty than the other lenses, and absolutely no funky highlights like with the 250D.

And, yes, the DCR-250 would have been unusable for handheld photos of live insects. (Absurdly short working distance, and too much magnification to handle.) In fact, my main complaint about the DCR-150 is it is too strong. The Raynox lens has small diameter and requires you to zoom in to around 300mm at least to avoid vignetting. That forces you to magnify the critter quite a bit so butterflies around 1+ inches will be a problem. The alternative is to take off the Raynox and use ordinary macro, but then you have given up the 8" (inches) or so working distance and forced to get to within 3-4" of the subject which will scare off a lot of critters. The DCR-150 is great for tiny critters though (bees, flies, beetles) which are not adequately magnified with lower diopter. But, I would like to see them make a model with 3 diopters or so, to swap as needed in the field.

The BIG advantage of the Raynoxes is the universal mount so you can pop it on or off at a moment's notice. This is huge because often, I'm photographing a tiny butterfly when suddenly a swallowtail appears at 10 feet. I need to whip that close-up lens off ASAP to catch the swallowtail which will fill the image at full zoom. I already have nearly broken my 6T due to anxious fingers in just this scenario.

Amazingly, all the close-up lenses I've mentioned work fine with built-in flash (even at full zoom, no shadow is cast on the image). However, not sure but there may be some kind of sporadic flash metering problem when using the DCR-150; some photos just turn out dark for no clear reason.

Best way to use the DCR-150 seems to be, forget the lens caps, just drop it (attached to adapter) in the plastic snap box it comes in. Too bad the box is about 2x as big as necessary, but the adapter makes it impossible for the lens to contact any surfaces even while it rattles around in there.

So thanks to those of you who mentioned the Raynox, I think it's the best so far. (How is it that it costs less than the others?!)

If you have any more advice for HS20 close-up lenses please chime in. Sorry for the lack of photos, I find uploading a hassle... eventually will pick out some samples...

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