Homemade macro zoom

Started 9 months ago | Discussions
NoRules
NoRules Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Homemade macro zoom
2

I was reading this article very early in my macro project: http://extreme-macro.co.uk/anybrand-mpe-65mm/

At the time it looked fun, so I decided to order all the parts I needed. I finally got the last adapter from China, and made the lens today, and, considering what I know now, did not leave this franken-zoom-macro-thingy much of a chance.

First the one with the Franken-Macro--Zoom, and under, the same Amber Inclusion insect with the modern Pentax 50mm FA 2.8 Macro reversed.

There is of course a difference. This image is a 3x macro, so the 50mm macro is out of its comfort zone. It is still beating the Franken-Macro-Zoom, and even on a low resolution like this. But writing off this project just because of this, is not the point of my post.

I think the hommade lens is *good enough*. For posting on the web at least. It has plenty of details and nice colors. There are some more bleeding/ softness, but given that you can play with 3 apertures (the front cap, the zoom lens aperture, and the empty 50mm aperture, I guess this can be fine tuned to do better.

I have lenses and setups to beat this lens at all magnifications, from 0,5 to 3x. But if I want that much power when I go out, I would have to drag with me 3 lenses, bellows, reverse adapters and extension tubes. Or I could just grab this lens, adjust the mag. on the fly, have auto aperture, and use a ring flash. Catching live insects is notoriously difficult, and given the ability to adjust magnification this fast might give this lens the upper hand from time to time.

What I'm saying is this: The lens cost me $110 in parts, It's easy to use, and weighs next to nothing. If I know what I'm going to photograph in my garden, I will of course use my best gear, but if I'm walking around in the orchard, just to have some inocent fun in the morning, this will actually be the lens I'd grab This lens, at 3x, will take a better image than a 100mm macro at 0,5x, if the subject matter is really small.

Now I'm not saying I'm impressed with it optically, not by a mile, but the versatility, the price, the ease of use, compensate for this. I mean, if you are going to do important work, you know what to bring of equipment, and you have time to set up your shot. This lens is for macro fun! And, belive it or not, it actually have a distinct character, soft, with strong colors and above average contrast, and with details.

I spent half an hour putting the parts together. Removing the front lens of a Pentax 50mm SMC A f.2.0 proved a bit difficult. Had to take the lens further apart than usual.

Parts needed and image of such a lens can be found in the link at the top of this post.

Cheers!

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c h u n k
c h u n k Contributing Member • Posts: 989
Re: Homemade macro zoom

Interesting. However - I fell in love with macro by using a 50mm 1.8 and a full set, I think 65mm, of extension tubes. I consistently impressed and baffled hobbyist photographers that spent the $ on a 100mm macro. Not because my lens could take better photos, but because they didnt understand the fundamentals of lighting, composition, defraction, etc. It did take surprisingly SHARP images, but there was no versatility. Focused from closest to what would be infinity almost had no affect. The magnification was just below 2:1 or I had to remove a section of tubes. I missed many photos because of that. I finally bought the Canon 100mm 2.8 USM macro a couple years ago. The lens does have attributes in IQ that, as should be expected, are better than the nifty 50+tubes, but believe it or not, there really wasnt a huge improvement in in sharpness/detail. It does have the versatility that is a big deal - going from 1:1 to infinity is nice, but 1:1 isnt enough for some of my favorite subjects. I found myself still adding tubes. Then I bought the Raynox which was my longg winded way of tying in to your post. The 100mm macro with the Faynox 250 gets me to a little better than 2:1. It snaps off and on. It only costs $50 USD. Its actually hard for me to tell how sharp the DIY lens you made is, and its a cool experiment no matter what, but based on other DIY lenses Ive seen, I cant imagine it having practical real world use for anyone that has a macro lens. I also cant imagine choosing it over the 50 1.8 (VERY inexpensive lens) with tubes.

.

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 c h u n k's gear list:c h u n k's gear list
Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) +9 more
NoRules
OP NoRules Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: Homemade macro zoom

c h u n k wrote:

Interesting. However - I fell in love with macro by using a 50mm 1.8 and a full set, I think 65mm, of extension tubes. I consistently impressed and baffled hobbyist photographers that spent the $ on a 100mm macro. Not because my lens could take better photos, but because they didnt understand the fundamentals of lighting, composition, defraction, etc. It did take surprisingly SHARP images, but there was no versatility. Focused from closest to what would be infinity almost had no affect. The magnification was just below 2:1 or I had to remove a section of tubes. I missed many photos because of that. I finally bought the Canon 100mm 2.8 USM macro a couple years ago. The lens does have attributes in IQ that, as should be expected, are better than the nifty 50+tubes, but believe it or not, there really wasnt a huge improvement in in sharpness/detail. It does have the versatility that is a big deal - going from 1:1 to infinity is nice, but 1:1 isnt enough for some of my favorite subjects. I found myself still adding tubes. Then I bought the Raynox which was my longg winded way of tying in to your post. The 100mm macro with the Faynox 250 gets me to a little better than 2:1. It snaps off and on. It only costs $50 USD. Its actually hard for me to tell how sharp the DIY lens you made is, and its a cool experiment no matter what, but based on other DIY lenses Ive seen, I cant imagine it having practical real world use for anyone that has a macro lens. I also cant imagine choosing it over the 50 1.8 (VERY inexpensive lens) with tubes.

.

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“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” --Dr. Seuss

Hi C h u n k!

I agree with you on all points, except one, and that is your conclusion. If I were to go out with my 100mm Pentax macro, and saw a 2mm long bug I wanted an image of, I would really used my home made lens over that one

The reason for this, as you also implies, is that a 100mm macro is actually not a very sharp lens, and a 200mm macro lens is worse, relatively speaking. The reason for choosing anything longer than 50-60mm, is to get long working distance. If your target is stationary (or not easily frightened), a good 50mm (Pen/Nik/Can 50mm f.1,8) with extension tubes for 1:1, will have better resolution than a 100mm macro almost allways. And reversed, a 50mm is brilliant for 2x.

I have tested this extensively for the last 2-3 months, because I have (had) a lot of lenses to test. If you want details you never use a tele-macro lens over a 50mm, or 50mm macro. And you never reverse a tele-macro, only a 50mm macro, and never beyond 2:1 or 2x. Beyond 2x even a reversed top-of-the-line macro lens looks like a toy lens compared to a enlarger lens or a microscope objective.

Even though my home made lens does not have great details, it maintains colors and contrast at 3x-4x, even though resolution is "empty magnification". Images just looks nice, and are good enough, if you don't plan to stack.

I'll post some more images in a minute if they turn out right

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NoRules
OP NoRules Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
3 images

So, establishing that pretty much any reversed 50mm lens is probably better at photomicrography stacking than this one, I took some flower images at different zoom magnigications with this lens an hour ago.

As indicated in my first post, this is a fun and capable lens for casual macro photo. And yes, I think it, regarding resolution, is just as good as a 100mm macro lens at the far end.

Here are some flower-scapes at 80mm, 50mm & 35mm zoom settings. Working distance is only about 10-5cm, and the flower is a yellow tulip. From about 0.5x to 3x. Direct sunlight, no diffusors. Some PP, mostly WB and some contrast management in ACR.

80mm. Plenty sharp, if you ask me

50mm. Still good enough, but could have better bokeh.

35mm. It actually works on this magnification (3x-3,5x), if you have the optimal f.stop combo

I had to do some tests for the best f.stop at each mm, because there are aperture in the empty lens and the optical lens. I chose to use the empty lens more as a baffle than an actual aperture, because of ugly bokeh and artefacts. Even at a very high contrast this lens can be used at max mag, and still deliver ok results.

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NoRules
OP NoRules Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: 3 images

Here is another one with max magnification. Again direct sunlight, and although the bokeh is nasty, it has ok resolution

35mm, 3x, plant leaf

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c h u n k
c h u n k Contributing Member • Posts: 989
Re: 3 images

Id have to see a comparison of a dedicated macro to the diy lens siflde by side..i guess because Im just not that familiar with high magnification flowers. Perhaps if I saw an insect at 1:1 or 2:1. My guess is that it does look better than the DIY lens shots Ive seen in the past, but I just cant tell with the subject

NoRules wrote:

Here is another one with max magnification. Again direct sunlight, and although the bokeh is nasty, it has ok resolution

35mm, 3x, plant leaf

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Some of my photos here: https://flic.kr/ps/2i6XL3
“You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So... get on your way!” --Dr. Seuss

 c h u n k's gear list:c h u n k's gear list
Canon EOS 550D Canon EOS 70D Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Tamron AF 28-75mm F/2.8 XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) +9 more
NoRules
OP NoRules Senior Member • Posts: 1,448
Re: 3 images

c h u n k wrote:

Id have to see a comparison of a dedicated macro to the diy lens siflde by side..i guess because Im just not that familiar with high magnification flowers. Perhaps if I saw an insect at 1:1 or 2:1. My guess is that it does look better than the DIY lens shots Ive seen in the past, but I just cant tell with the subject

Thanks!

But I chose the flower-scapes to make that point. You can't tell

And as you stated, understanding the use of f.stops and light can make a poor lens perform better than a good one in the proper hands.

I think I have found a splendid use for my Franken-Macro-Zoom... Spring is going to be so much fun!

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