Any recommendations for vintage manual macro lens ?

Started 5 months ago | Discussions thread
Ching-Kuang Shene Veteran Member • Posts: 5,762
Re: Any recommendations for vintage manual macro lens ?

sensiblename99 wrote:

Ching-Kuang Shene wrote:

sensiblename99 wrote:

Is there any such thing as a bad macro lens?

Yes, yes and yes. Most macro lenses for smartphones are bad. This is mostly due to field curvature, coma, and a combination of them.

By the way, the diopter of a smartphone is defined by 250/(focal length) rather than 1000/(focal length). Thus, a smartphone macro lens claimed to be 20x is not even 1:1.


However i was referring to interchangeable film or digital camera lenses spanning the last several decades. I'm not sure that smartphone 'macro' lenses are relevant to the discussion however I take your point that they're rubbish.

Well, interchangeable macro lenses for film and digital cameras?  I believe you forgot one very important class of macro lenses, namely: the bellows lenses for macro work.  Academic definition requires that macro photography is usually 1:1 or higher.  So, to reach 1:1 or higher, there were many such bellows lenses available, including the well-known Zeiss Luminar and Leica Photar and many less well-known name lenses.  Most of these bellows lenses are usually not so great.  Therefore, yes, yes, and yes, there are many bad macro lenses.  Perhaps you started your macro photography with non-bellows lenses and hence got the impression as stated in your post.  However, I started much earlier and used all sort of bellows macro lenses.  Let me tell you that the first Nikon 55mm f/3.5 1:1 micro (Nikon's word) is just not so great.

A second issue is that when you talk about macro lenses, are you referring to the macro range, the optimized range for that lens?  Many lenses are only good in its optimized range, and outside the designed range these lenses are just average or average.  This is similar to enlarging lenses, which always have an optimized range.  So, if we are taking about macro lenses, aren't we supposed to focus on the designed purpose of these lenses?  For example, the compensating version of Nikon 55mm f/3.5, the first version of this lens, only performs excellently but may not be acceptable when shooting distance subjects.  The Nikon 200mm f/4 ED IF shares the same characteristics.

Sometimes people confused between sharpness and contrast+resolution.  Some macro lenses  intentionally increase their contrast to create an illusion of being sharper; however, some other macro lenses may only maintain moderate contrast and at the same time with very high resolution.  Many macro lenses of the reversed Tessar style may be in this category.

I am not the one who prefers to reveal the number of lenses I have.  But, I don't know how many macro lenses I own as of now and I have used or I have been using.

That smartphone metaphore is just a joke.  But, it seems you considered as something serious.  Sorry for that joke.


 Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list:Ching-Kuang Shene's gear list
Olympus D-600L Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
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