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Discussion in 'Macro Photography' started by Mike Kennedy, Sep 3, 2006.
I was thinking about picking up a set.
Bellows\ext. tubes have better quality
I like closeup filters. I had some for the Hassie and that worked so well. I'd like to find some for the Pentax 67, but can't find that much info on them. Easier to use than extension tubes. Cheaper than macros.
An easy way to get closeups. Be sure and get multicoated sets, the cheaper ones have so much flare as to be practically useless. A good lens hood will help too. Another cheap way for doing closeups if your camera is manual focus is to pick up a really cheap telextender and unscrew the lens elements from it. Makes a nice little extension tube for a fraction of what the usual ones cost.
There are several kinds, and generally you get what you pay for. The most expensive are multicoated achromats, the cheapest are simple uncoated glass lenses.
All of them are usable with due care, but there's little doubt that the best results can be had with the best lenses. The cheap ones can be problematic...
a bit of a nitpick
shouldn't these be called as closeup lenses instead of "filters"? They aren't filters by definition, but real lenses placed over the camera objective.
Try the Nikon or Canon two element ones, they work pretty good.Just keep your lens stopped down to about f8 or higher for good sharpess and depth of field.
I have one and it produces a fuzzy picture. An automatic extension tube is a better option.
Get dual element ones
The dual element ones from Nikon (3t-6t) or Canon (250D, 500D) and also from Minolta are high quality. The single element ones were not worth the effort in my experience.
Compared to tubes, they are lighter, easier to carry and don't mess with AF contacts which are required for some low end Nikon cameras. But on the flip side they eat into working distance more than tubes do. I'd get diopters for occasional macro use but get tubes and macro lenses if carrying them is not a bog deal.
PS: The new Macro forum would have been a great place to ask this.
So what do you have? A simple lens, or a coated two-element achromat?
Among the simplest uncoated lenses, I've had some really good results with 1930's Focar lenses...
I remember a brochure from Leica during the 70's. It showed closeup of a map taken with an extension tube and an Elpro. I believe the lens was a 90mm Elmarit R.
The matched set of Elpro and lens beat very decisvely the extension tube.
Does the maker of your camera offer closeup lenses?
I'll take a tube over a diopter lens any day (okay, maybe there are one or two closeup lenses matched to specific prime lenses, but in general this is not the case). If you decide to do more macro, eventually you'll want to upgrade to a macro lens and/or you might want a bellows. If you get an extension tube, you can always use it, no matter how sophisticated your macro setup gets.
Leica suggests specific combinations of Elpro lenses (which are achromatic doublets) and focal length lenses. I have an Elpro that I don't use often, but the few photos I took with a 180mm and Elpro last spring on Velvia 50 showed no sign of the softness that shows up away from center with many other supplementary lenses I've seen. Minolta made doublet close up lenses as mentioned earlier that you might find used, and some filter makers also produce them, although I forget whom. In addition to the Nikon and Canon, I'd check on B+W, Heliopan, and perhaps Hoya for doublets.
A bellows, a quality enlarging lens of maybe 100 to 150mm focal length, and an adaptor to use it on the bellows may be cheaper than a OEM dedicated macro lens. A 50mm enlarging lens reverse mounted on a bellows gives more magnification at little additional expense. Some enlarging lenses don't stop down far enough for good depth of field. Also, a little math is needed in using these setups.
Diopters work very well, most of the soft shots come from operator error, they buy cheap glass and then don't spend the time to learn how to use them . the best are the canon 500D & 250D along with the Nikon T series . Buy to good stuff and learn how to use it . You can get plenty of DOF along with excellent sharpness, easier to get an accurate focus because of no loss of light .
here is a shot of a sunflower that is 3 " in dia , with dof out the you know what.
I'll even through in a old dragon fly shot . 500D was used.
Mike, this is an old question that's unfortunately not going to go away. The right answer is to buy a used macro lens that will fit your camera or a new Phoenix/Vivitar 100/3.5. Do it right, don't dick around with second-best solutions that cost as much as doing it right.
Once upon a time there was a photography magazine called Modern Photography. Successor to, IIRC, Minicam Photography. Back before self-focusing cameras came in, MP ran a cycle of educational articles. It took about two years and then repeated.
I mention this because among the articles that showed up every other year was one on whether the cheapskate closeup photographer -- in those days discounts were few and far between and there weren't many macro lenses on the market -- was better off with a set of extension tubes or a set of diopter lenses.
The answer, after exhaustive testing of a fair number of normal lenses for SLRs, was always "it depends on the lens." Some lenses gave better image quality closeup behind a diopter than in front of a tube or two, other gave better image quality on a tube or two than behind a diopter. The only way to know which was best for a lens not in the test was to get tubes and diopters and ask the lens. Go for it! Or don't go for that, do it right.
The one characteristic about diopter lenses is how powerful they can be when used with long focus lenses. A 1 diopter lens will focus whatever lens it is put on at on at a distance of 1 meter. Therefore, if a 1 diopter lens were put on a 300mm lens, it will be focused at 1 meter, a number 3 lens will focus a 300mm telphoto at approx 13 inches.
It is very doubtful that even the very best of these closeup lenses will fully equal a fine macro lens. It is also true that for the investment good closeup lenses do add a goodly measure of flexibility to you kit.
SHOULDN'T THIS DISCUSSION BE IN THE MACRO FORUM?
Aggie, are you yelling at me?
I almost always have a set of extension tubes in my kit. They will essentially work with any lens to allow one to focus closer and without the inherent quality loss of most closeup lenses. Oh, and they are pretty inexpensive. No name brand tubes work just as well as OEM tubes. Reverse adapters are another inexpensive choice. You can (and I have) spend a bunch of money on macro gear, however it is pretty inexpensive to get ones feet wet. <[8^) Bill Barber
I use tubes (bellows) and close-up lenses. The quality argument just doesn't hold water under the conditions I usually shoot in - outdoors without flash.
The Nikon two element close-up lenses work very well, especially with my old 80-200/4.5 multicoated zoom-Nikkor. Magnification with diopters increases with focal length, so I use the zoom is a sort of macro zoom. Stopped down to macro typical ranges, critical sharpness is there.
Secondly, there is no light loss from extension using the tubes. There are many times where I would simply not be able to make a shot in the field due to subject motion, were I to lose another stop or two of light from extension tubes and/or bellows.
Huh? At what magnification is there no loss from gaining magnification by adding extension? Did you mean to say there's no loss from using diopters?
Dan, are you saying there is no light loss with diopters? I thought there is light loss with magnification, period.
No light loss w/diopters is correct. That's the biggest advantage to them.
Light weight & compact size also help.
There is light loss w/tubes or bellows though.
I don't think so. Light is not quite 'lost.' It is spread out to cover a larger area and so correspondingly loses intensity. Just like an enlarger making an 8x10 print will need 4 times more exposure (2 stops) than when making a 4x5 print (1/4 the area of an 8x10). This spreading out happens no matter what method you use to achive the magnification and so there is an equal loss of light intensity.